CAPITOLA — Exploring the many nooks and crannies of Capitola can be a daunting task, especially if one doesn’t have a tour guide to help them through.
Brion Sprinsock is changing that, and he’s bringing delicious food along for the journey as well.
Sprinsock and his wife, Kristine Albrecht, launched the Capitola Food Tour three weeks ago, an offshoot of their popular Santa Cruz Food Tour, which began in April of 2011.
Get your walking shoes: During the tour, guests, which are typically in groups of two to 12, traverse slightly more than 2 miles of Capitola, making stops at The Bloomsbury Tea Room, Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria, Paradise Beach Grille and The Shadowbrook Restaurant.
Along the way, they will explore Capitola’s history and architecture during the approximately three and a half hour-long walk.
Capitola natives who think they know all there is about their town might want to think again.
“There is a lot of hidden history and stories for people who live here,” Sprinsock said.
Despite about 55 percent of the people who go on the tours are locals, “most of them say they knew very little of where we went and what we discussed,” Sprinsock notes.
This is more of an eating tour than a tasting tour, Sprinsock said, so guests are advised to bring their appetites.
“Along the way we stop in at four different restaurants and eat a progressive meal,” he said. “Most people do not have dinner after our tours.”
Sprinsock breaks down the tour as about two hours of visiting restaurants and one and a half hours of walking and exploring history, architecture and culture.
The idea for the Santa Cruz Food Tour, and the subsequent Capitola tour, began when Sprinsock and his wife took a food tour in Chicago.
“(We) began to explore the idea of starting one here in Santa Cruz County,” Sprinsock said. “We watched the culinary scene develop in downtown Santa Cruz until the time was right.”
When the Penny Ice Creamery and the True Olive Connection opened in 2010, that time had arrived, he said.
The Santa Cruz tour visits these two locations, along with The Center Street Grill, Surfrider Café and Malabar Restaurant, in about three and a half hours and just under two miles.
The tours take place within the months of March through November, and since the first tour, 85 tours have been conducted, Sprinsock said.
Thanks to the success of the Santa Cruz tours, “we started to look around for a second location to create a tour for,” Sprinsock said, and Capitola seemed to be perfect destination for a tour.
The Capitola tour took about seven months to create, he said. Further expanding the tours to other cities is on the agenda in the future, but at the moment Sprinsock said he is unsure where they will take place.
Capitola tours take place Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2:30 p.m., and Santa Cruz tours occur Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., rain or shine. Admission costs $52.50 for each tour, and tickets can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com, or by calling (800) 838-3006. Meeting locations are provided with the purchase of a ticket. For information about the tours, visit www.santacruzfoodtour.com.
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