Davenport, the Food and the flowers

Davenport Travel Blog

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HWY 1 In Santa Cruz County
As you drive south from San Francisco or north from Santa Cruz on the Cabrillo Highway 1, one of the small towns you might miss if you blink is Davenport. It’s a small coastal agricultural town with a population of nearly 300 that’s comprised of mostly artisans and craftsmen.

Davenport is 15 miles north of Santa Cruz on the rugged wildflower-covered Northern California central coast. The town has spectacular ocean views that are prime for whale viewing in the winter, and open expanses of land with beautiful redwood forests nearby.

It started out as a bustling whaling outpost in the 1800s, and even today, migrating whales are seen passing by and providing delight to those who enjoy watching them and their flumes in the distance.
Thats it, Davenport


Nowadays, Davenport is little more than a cute boutique highway stop with two stores, a post office, two restaurants, a café, and several somewhat hard to find art galleries. It’s not much but it holds a special place in the hearts of those who live there and the people who come for lunch on the weekends.

The residents it serves enjoy a village-like community and they are very friendly. The town also has a small community of farm workers who work the local artichoke and Brussels Sprout growing industry. You also may notice as you approach from either north or south, one of Davenport’s most dominating features¬—a huge industrial cement tower. The Cemex concrete company operates a processing plant here, but draws most of its employees from outside of Davenport.
The cement tower
Although it’s a big plant, you may never know it’s there, as it’s just so quiet and hidden by the trees.

Davenport has no town center to speak of, no gas stations or motels, no Burger Kings, McDonalds or Wal-Marts.  A traveler has only the necessities to choose from, nature and a limited palette of colors to absorb. The green grasses, rich blue skies and the azure ocean seem more vibrant and colorful every time you visit.

 While in the area you may find a B&B or two, the most famous place for a bite and an overnight stay is the “Davenport Roadhouse at the New Cash Store”. The original Davenport Cash Store once stood in the same location, but sadly it was destroyed by fire in the early 1950's. A new building with a pottery studio and The New Davenport Cash Store opened in 1978.
Wild Flowers
While it’s best known for being a breakfast place, they do have a full menu. The Cash Store Restaurant offers fine dining, a friendly bar, eight individual guest rooms and a delightful shop with wares from around the world as well as those made by local artisans. The inn is located in the first set of structures you see when approaching from the south.

Today, the Cash Store operates as a bed and breakfast, store and restaurant all in one. Restaurant hours are Tuesday- Sunday from 8AM- 9PM.

While on our brisk spring walk with the kids they demanded hot cocoa and muffins, so we stopped at the Whale City Bakery. This combination bakery, bar and grill is open early for breakfast and is also known for its dog-friendly policy. Judging by the size of the weekend crowds, this place is good.
The Cove and remnants of a pier
Our evaluation of the cocoa, coffee and cookies will bring me back for more.

The other place I know best is Taqueria El Jarro. The restaurant is the recently under new ownership, and I was very happy with the food. This place is always busy on the weekends and seems to draw a harmless yuppie Harley crowd. The kids were taken care of to the fullest; the menu was complete and delicious, and the parking was easy. Of the three places in Davenport, I would come here first for a meal.  

The post office and general store are as good as they can be. Arro's Store and Tourist Bus Stop is a convenient place to stop for food and supplies.

If it’s a secret spot you seek, I’ll let the cat out of the bag just for you.  Check out this fine oasis of peace in a wicked world— cross the main street at the top of the hill, and you will find a dirt parking lot.
Roadhouse Davenport and New Cash Store
Park and cross the railroad tracks by foot, continue walking until you reach the cliff. Now enjoy the view, it’s even better at sunset with someone warn and cozy.

If you want to take it to the next level, walk south along the cliffs and you’ll end up at the beach. It’s a very secluded and private beach, but watch out for the waves and tide.
 
For you history buffs, I have compiled some brief facts.  Captain John Davenport, a whaler from Rhode Island, migrated to Monterey. When he sailed into the San Francisco bay in 1851 with a shipment of oranges, he passed by a school of whales swimming not far from shore. Believing that they would be easy to capture and process for oil, he dreamed of creating a whaling business. He started the first coastal whaling business in California in Monterey, but decided to move it closer to San Francisco.
Bella and Coco
In the late 1860's, Captain Davenport built a pier for his venture and the town of Davenport quickly grew as travelers discovered this scenic coastal stop with its beautiful shoreline and fantastic weather.

The original town was approximately a mile north of the present location in a cove now called Davenport Landing. Captain Davenport built a 450-foot wharf and a house that stood on a high bluff on the right side of the cove. The wharf became known as the Davenport Landing and was considered one of the best landings along the coast.

A village sprang up with hotels, a livery stable, blacksmith shop, cooperage and general store. Whaling gear and the blubber melting pots were located near the wharf. The whaling business was not a profitable venture and lasted only a decade.
Old cement Church
The Davenport Landing wharf was abandoned in 1880, and Captain Davenport moved to Santa Cruz and lived out the rest of his life.

In 1906 the Santa Cruz Portland Cement Co., started operation and the present town was developed by the Coast Dairies and Land Co. Most of the old landmarks have been destroyed by fire, but the old jail is still standing, built in 1914, situated off the main highway on Center Street. An old Catholic Church is also considered a landmark in Davenport; built in 1915, it is situated at the end of Davenport Avenue. Both buildings were constructed of cement.

In 1998, Coast Dairies and Land's 7000-Acre Ranch was purchased for preservation, leaving Davenport located in the middle of miles of open coastal space for all to enjoy.

What is certain is that this stretch of coastline should not be missed, Davenport is simple, pleasing and relaxing and you should come to enjoy the spring wild flowers at the least.

 
aerynn says:
Wow, i didn't know anybody had ever heard of this place! I visited while road tripping in 1999 and I loved the art galleries in Davenport! Not to mention Greyhound Rock just up the road.
Posted on: Jul 08, 2008
portia says:
great write-up. Nice wildflowers showing that spring is here!
Posted on: Apr 04, 2008
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HWY 1 In Santa Cruz County
HWY 1 In Santa Cruz County
Thats it, Davenport
Thats it, Davenport
The cement tower
The cement tower
Wild Flowers
Wild Flowers
The Cove and remnants of a pier
The Cove and remnants of a pier
Roadhouse Davenport and New Cash S…
Roadhouse Davenport and New Cash …
Bella and Coco
Bella and Coco
Old cement Church
Old cement Church
Kees and Isabella fighting the sea…
Kees and Isabella fighting the se…
Old expose sign
Old expose sign
The main Drag
The main Drag
Wild Flowers and plants too
Wild Flowers and plants too
Davenport Landing Beach and Wild F…
Davenport Landing Beach and Wild …
Wild Flowers
Wild Flowers
Wild Flowers
Wild Flowers
California Poppy, Wild Flowers
California Poppy, Wild Flowers
miles of open space
miles of open space
Having watermelon juice
Having watermelon juice
Wild Flowers
Wild Flowers
Pacific Ocean @ Davenport
Pacific Ocean @ Davenport
Wild Flowers
Wild Flowers
Wild Flower (Isabella)
Wild Flower (Isabella)
Wilder Flower (Kees)
Wilder Flower (Kees)
Whale City Bakery
Whale City Bakery
El Jarro
El Jarro
Wild Flowers
Wild Flowers
HWY 1
HWY 1
Snack time
Snack time
Davenport Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
The only Eat and Sleep in town
The most famous place for a bite and an overnight stay is the “Davenport Roadhouse at the New Cash Store”. The original Davenport Cash Store once … read entire review
Davenport Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Killer Breakfast on the coast
While on our brisk spring walk with the kids enjoying the spring flowers and the vistas of the wild open Pacific Ocean the kids demanded hot cocoa and… read entire review
Davenport Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Nice Taco !
“Pleasantly suppressed by the rockn’ food”, that is what my quote in the food journal would read. Davenports Taqueria El Jarro is the new name a… read entire review
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Davenport
photo by: lonlee2