Feature Writer Ann Chiappetta – Incidental, Accidental…Whatever

I love vacationing mostly because it’s always an adventure. Being stuck in a rut living, working, and doing the same thing over and over gets boring, and that’s why I love to travel. There is one rule of thumb when traveling, though: don’t ever expect any particular part of the journey to go as expected. There are just too many variables for one to assume everything will run perfectly. That’s why I pack along a large helping of flexibility along with the other toiletries.

For instance, after booking a trip with Jet Blue, I called the motel I usually frequent in Saratoga, California. Surprise, the renovations weren’t completed and they don’t have rooms. Frustrated, I go to Plan B and find another motel in the area and book it, annoyed that I am paying $20 more a night for older and less stellar lodging. But, hey, it is pet friendly, has a free buffet breakfast every morning, and is in downtown Campbell near all the restaurants. That large helping of flexibility just got cracked open and used for this unexpected snafu.

Thankfully, my flight was uneventful and we arrived at the motel, checked in, and I collapsed after being reunited with family. It’s a large motel with 200 rooms, amenities, and best of all, I was only a few hundred feet from the dog walking area.

It’s a decent place, but in need of updating. The furniture and beds are from the last century and it took me and BFF Myla three days to get used to the old, paddle like springboard we slept upon. To make up for the retro ambiance, however, the food and coffee were wonderful and we ate a leisurely breakfast every morning, Verona lying down under the table.

We enjoyed the weather, the family, and the plentiful and fresh organic food. I munched on sourdough bread–which, for some reason, isn’t as good on the east coast. I tried a new wine from Cupcake Vineyards in Napa Valley. Very tasty. I also got happy over being able to find one of my favorite beers, Fat Tire, in the market and enjoyed that, too. We ate at a great pizzeria and another organic cafeteria which I wish we had in New York.

While we were in Santa Cruz, I saw Betty’s Burgers. Apparently there are quite a few of these little burger joints in the immediate area and I got a kick out of the slogan, which my BFF Myla read to me. It says: ‘Betty’s hot and juicy burgers and fresh hot buns’. It reminded me of the 1950s burger joints and I made a pledge to go back and try their food.

All in all, the trip was wonderful, even if I didn’t get the chance to try a burger from Betty. There might be a trip back to Santa Cruz during the holidays, and if I eat a Betty’s, I’ll mention it for sure.

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