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www.ifframericas.org
International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians
Americas Region, President Larry Wolfsen

2013 IFFR Santa Cruz Social

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On September Friday 13, 2013 we joined a group of eighteen IFFR members and spouses at the home of Charles and Sandy Eldridge in a gated golf course property in Pasatiempo, a suburb of Santa Cruz. Our hosts put out a delightful lunch of salads, sandwiches and desserts with wine, beer and lemonades to quench our thirst. We relaxed in the shaded patio overlooking the terraced garden full of fruit trees, vegetables and even Chardonnay grapes to make their own wine.
 

After a most satisfying lunch, Charles gave us a tour of his home, starting from the roof where one can see the Monterey Bay, to the train room with a magnificent collection of Lionel train sets, down to the creek below where a deck was built equipped to tie up a boat. On the deck was a float with IFFR written on it, a portable grill for BBQ and of course, a bottle opener for beer. All ready to party.

Charles had set up games like croquettes and horse shoes for guests to play but there wasn’t enough time. By late afternoon we left to either check in to hotels or to where accommodation was provided for the weekend to freshen up and off to our next program, which was a private tour of the Boardwalk of Santa Cruz.

We gathered at the Coconut Grove door at 5:30pm. Through personal friendship of our Santa Cruz hosts, we were given a private tour by Tom Canfield, fourth generation of the family that owns the place. The Boardwalk opened a century ago, the wooden Giant Dipper Roller Coaster and the Carousel are now National Historic Landmarks. The old casino, now the Coconut Grove with an impressive ballroom was a popular spot for big bands like Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Lionel Hampton in the 30’s and 40’s. We walked under the wooden roller coaster, went into the famous Looff Carousel with its original 300 plus pipes organ and 73 antique horses each valued between $20,000-$50,000.

Last event of the evening was a bumper car ride with pizza, beer and wine party at the Bumper Car Pavilion hosted by Sam and Elena Bishop. Haven’t done bumper car for ages, we went around several times, had some pizza and back at it again. We all felt like little kids once more. What fun!

Saturday morning started with a guided tour of the Canepa Design Classic and Racing Car/Motorcycle Collection Museum and Restoration Shop in Scotts Valley. The Owner Bruce Canepa grew up in the auto business and became a race car driver. He is passionate about classic and race cars, many in his collection have won awards, and are very sought after. We saw one owned by Steve McQueen, there was a first production Duesenberg which takes over a million dollar to restore, and there was a Bugatti that cost as much, these make owning a small airplane very economical. We were wowed by the showroom of these beautiful cars and motorcycles, we were even more impressed by the immaculate condition of the restoration workshop.

Lunch was back at Pasatiempo Golf course at the MacKenzie Bar and Grill, organized by Sandy Eldridge. We took up a long table overlooking the beautiful golf course and the Monterey Bay beyond. It’s a million dollar view. What a superb place to enjoy lunch.

At 4pm, a wine tasting tour was arranged at the historical Bargetto Winery established in 1933 by  Italian immigrants. While walking through the wine cellars with big barrels of wine, our docent let us taste some direct from the barrel. We were then invited to a private tasting room where five different types of wine were poured for us. Started with Pinot Grigio, to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, then Merlot and finally La Vita, their premium bottle, I noted on the fact sheet this wine “is made to be consumed with good food and better friends”, well, it definitely suits our group and our occasion!

At 5:30pm we arrived at Shadowbrook restaurant in Capitola by the Sea. It has many levels that take us down to the Soquel Creek. They even have their own quaint cable car taking guests to the restaurant level. It has old world charm, good service and wonderful view of the creek.  Through the Eldridge’s friendship with the owner, we dined at the owner’s private reserve room. Food and wine were plentiful and delicious. Each of us were given an additional dessert, a chocolate airplane, how thoughtful for this group of flying Rotarians.

Sunday morning, the departure brunch was at the beautiful home of Larry and Diane Wolfsen. Their view of the Monterey Bay was truly spectacular. I’ve heard about it and finally got to see it firsthand. Wow, what a view! You can see it from every room of the house, from the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, the patio, the backyard, and my favorite, the newly enclosed BBQ patio. Larry and Diane, when are you having a BBQ party? After a scrumptious brunch of fresh juice, champagne, fresh fruits, quiche and sausages, it’s time to say good bye.

Not so fast for some of us. With the beautiful weather, Sam Bishop invited us out in his yacht whale watching in the bay. How can you say no to that?! We sailed out of the marina looking back at the bay and the beautiful Board Walk along the shore, we saw sea lions swam by, and before too long we saw the tail of a whale flipped up in the distance where a few sail boats gathered to catch a closer glimpse of the migrating whales. Sam decided to head over there too. We followed one whale for a while and saw him come up several times. That made our day! And what a grand  finale for our Santa Cruz weekend.

We couldn’t thank our local hosts: Charles and Sandy Eldridge, Larry and Diane Wolfsen and Sam and Elena Bishop enough for showcasing the best of Santa Cruz, rolling out the red carpet with all those private tours, giving us a fantastic fun filled fly-in weekend. We know how much thoughts, time and work went into organizing these events, we truly appreciate their generosity and warm hospitality. I want to quote what one of our members said over the weekend “IFFR is the best Rotary fellowship of all”. We couldn’t agree more. Although most of us ended up driving in, it didn’t matter, it was the fellowship, the common interests shared and the friendship cultivated that matter. I strongly urge all IFFR members to participate in fly-in events any chance they get.

Shirley More #8584

 Pictures here...