Little-known gem, quiet, on river
The San Lorenzo Valley is actually in the mountains, between San Jose and Santa Cruz. It's a stretch of about 20 miles, spanning four towns: Boulder Creek, Brookdale (real small, but featuring the famous Brookdale Lodge), Ben Lomond, and Felton. There are places to stay along the way but the MerryBrook is special because 1) it's mostly cabins with easy handicapped acccess. 2) you can walk down to the creek to relax. 3) the cabins have wood stoves if you go in the winter, not that it gets that cold. 4) Some cabins, like #5, where our family stayed this past weekend (7/13/07-7/15) are plenty large and have decks, some overlooking the river, with full kitchens and a separate bedroom and a main room with TV and a couch that converts to a bed and an extra twin bed. The kitchen has a microwave, toaster, range with oven, large frige with freezer, sink, cleaning stuff, eating ware, etc. Want more? Ask the guy at the office, who is always around. One cabin has a ping-pong table. There are a few motel-like units we didn't check out. It is very quiet, even in the middle of July, and cool, because you're under the redwoods. The cabins are non-smoking but you can smoke outside on your deck, on the plastic chairs and small table provided. I think there are some barbeques at some of the other cabins. Best thing is, you can walk to downtown Boulder Creek (2/10s of a mile). Just remember the town rolls up its sidewalks early. Also: Easy access to many state parks and of course, Santa Cruz. We paid $150 for 3 people for cabin 5, they will charge less for 2 ($130), and probably much less off-season and if you
grumble about your AAA discount. The stars and the redwoods are worth it.