My name is Casey Feldstein and I'm the amatuer sleuth in Yarn to Go. I recently moved from Chicago to Cadbury by the Sea, California. It’s a quaint town on the edge of the Monterey Peninsula, which means lots of white skies and fog. Cadbury certainly isn’t a cutsy town with Ye Olde anything. The old Victorian style storefronts are all genuine as are the grand houses on the main street. Though most of them are now bed and breakfasts instead of family homes.
Even though it is a tourist stop for people from around the world, the Cadburians go about their business as if they weren't on display. I think the word I’m looking for is authentic. Cadbury is definitely an authentic town.
My number one favorite spot is really on the edge of the town. Vista Del Mar is a hotel and conference center. The grounds have all been left in their natural state, which means there are no manicured lawns or borders of bright flowers. Instead there are tall slender Monterey pines, and Monterey cypresses that have been given a flowing horizontal shape by the constant wind. It feels almost like a camp with the large social hall and buildings with guest rooms scattered over the 100 and something acres. The air always smells of wood smoke and you can hear the rush of the sea nearby.
Most of the buildings are over 100 years old and covered with dark weathered shingles. Mix that with the fog and you get a moody feeling, maybe even a little sinister. The room are spare with simple furnishings and no TV or telephone. Deer wander through the grounds paying no mind to the guests.
You might wonder why I know so much about the place. It wasn’t my plan, but I inherited my aunt’s yarn retreat business, and that’s where the retreats are held. I certainly can’t complain about the commute. My house is across the street.
I don’t want to make Vista Del Mar sound too forbidding. The social hall is an inviting gathering spot with an old fashioned feel. My yarn people love to meet up in the sitting area in front of the massive stone fireplace. Mostly they knit, crochet and talk. There is a pool table and one for table tennis. A piano for sing alongs. The gift shop sells snacks and coffee drinks along with tee shirts and post cards. I find it particularly appealing at night when the glass amber lampshades give off a warm glow.
My number two suggestion is the Blue Door Restaurant. It’s located on the main street in downtown Cadbury. As it’s name suggests, it’s in a house that is painted blue. The building itself is also over 100 years old and has a plaque on the side to prove. Why am I so partial to this place? It is owned by my best friend in town Lucinda Thornkill and her husband Tag. They are a story onto themselves. They were high school sweethearts who only reconnected recently. Their happily ever after is a little complicated. They are also my bosses. After a laundry list of professions, I am currently working as dessert chef at their restaurant. I am self taught and so far my desserts all seem to be a hit. I also bake muffins for the coffee shops in town. All my baking is done at the Blue Door when the restaurant is closed. I turn on some mellow jazz and get lost in mixing flour, sugar, butter and more into something delicious.
My number three suggestion is the Vista Del Mar Beach. A street is all that separates the Vista Del Mar grounds from the sand. It’s not ordinary sand. Just like the trees are special here, so is the beach. It is the only one in Cadbury that has the silky white sand made from some stones with a hard to pronounce name. It is so soft, you don’t even mind getting it in your shoes. The waves are big as they roll in and such a special color. Remember the crayon that was called sea foam green? The water here really is that color. And sometimes, if your lucky, you may catch sight of the spray coming from a passing whale.
Number Four would have to be the Cadbury Lighthouse. It’s the oldest one on the west coast and has been continually operating since some time in the 1800s. Since it is on the very tip of the peninsula, it is often shrouded in fog. Unlike most of the light houses that I’ve seen, it isn’t a cylinder with a light on top. Actually it looks like somebody took one of those traditional lighthouses and jammed it into the top of a house. No silky white beach there. There is just a tiny strip of beach before the rocky shore and signs that warn of dangerous currents and undertow that could rip you out to sea.
It might seem odd that Number Five is the Cadbury Cemetery, but if you saw it, you’d understand why. It is a small patch of deep green lawn, which is a rarity in Cadbury. Most houses have just some kind of natural groundcover which is the politically correct way of saying weeds. When I say weeds, I’m not talking about an abandoned yard kind of weeds that looks like nobody cares. Here it is more about going with the natural flow of the land. So, the green of the cemetery stands out along with all the flowers left on the graves. There are usually a lot of deer lounging between the headstones.
Cadbury by the Sea is a lovely little town that has a very low crime rate. It certainly can’t be my fault, but ever since I moved here, there just seems to be one murder after another.
Yarn to Go is the first book in the Yarn Retreat series for Berkley Prime Crime. Betty Hechtman also writes the national bestselling crochet series for Berkley. Just like her characters, you could say she’s up to her elbows in yarn. Check out www.BettyHechtman.com for more information. You can stop by her Facebook page or read her Friday blog at www.Killerhobbies.blogspot.com