Going Off Grid
If living off grid makes you think of compostable toilets, no signs of civilization within an hour, and making your own clothes, we’re here to tell you that there’s another way.
Nowadays, the goal of going off grid is autonomy. Rather than relying on the city’s overworked power grid system, what if you could generate your own power (and even sell excess power back to the main grid?). Now we’re talking. You also aren’t subjected to rising utility costs or tied to major power outages in inclement weather. There’s a lot of freedom in cutting ties with the main grid.
And if you’re seriously considering becoming an off-grid pioneer, Santa Cruz is an ideal spot to start your journey. Santa Cruz enjoys a Mediterranean climate, which is pretty much as idyllic as it sounds. We may not be basking on the beaches of Sicily, but we do enjoy temperate weather year-round. No snow, an average of 33 inches of rain per year, and 262 days of sunshine spell mild conditions.
All of that sun is also perfect for setting up solar as an alternative energy source – getting even 4-5 hours of sunshine a day is enough to keep you charged! Plus, taking some pressure off the city’s main grid is fantastic for the thriving local environment.
Additionally, the Santa Cruz Mountains provide a robust watershed system comprised of seasonal creeks, annual streams, and rivers. There are also two aquifers that feed the community. This gives you plenty of options for tapping into local resources if you want to find a clean water source for your home.
So you can easily go off-grid in a resource-rich environment like Santa Cruz – but what about the lifestyle? Most people who live off grid aren’t hermits – they are every bit a part of the community as their city-slicker counterparts. And the Santa Cruz community is unlike any other.
We’ve got to start with the coast, because that’s what draws us all here. The calm Monterey Bay meets the open Pacific right here in Santa Cruz, resulting in incredible waves, stellar views, and the freshest air straight off the sea. Settle onto one of the beaches and just take in the views, the sounds, the smells, and the breeze. Time ticks by a little slower on the sand.
For the best surf in the county, drop in at Pleasure Point or Steamer’s Lane. These are the most popular surf spots, but you could also find other coves up the coast that are a little quieter. But we assure you, you don’t have to get in the water to enjoy the ocean. Take a walk along East Cliff pathway, explore the shops in Capitola Village, ride the Giant Dipper at the Boardwalk, or grab dinner on the Santa Cruz Wharf.
This community may be drawn to the coastline just like the tide, but there’s a lot more to Santa Cruz than the surf. Check out Henry Cowell State Park for incredible hiking trails that weave through the redwoods. You’ll also want to explore Wilder State Park for trails that have stellar ocean views from bluffs above the waves. A few miles south in Aptos, Nisene Marks Forest is another wooded trail system that plunges you into the Santa Cruz mountains – make sure you keep an eye out for Banana Slugs! They’re kind of a big deal around here.
Santa Cruz County also offers a burgeoning culinary scene. Michelin mentions like Mentone in Aptos and the new installment of Manresa Bread in Downtown Santa Cruz are a few of our famously recognized stars, but Santa Cruz is also home to one-of-kind, locally-owned fan faves.
Downtown you’ll want to stop by Alderwood, Oswalds, and Hula’s Island Grill. There are too many others to mention, but these are great picks to get you started. In Soquel Village, make a reservation at HOME for an elevated dining experience just like Mama used to make. Before going to dinner, swing by Vinocruz or Beer Thirty for a drink. In Capitola, you have to go to Shadowbrook Restaurant. It’s a classic around here, and you won’t experience anything else like it. Built into the hillside along Soquel Creek, this 1920s-era mansion provides beautiful views and an upscale culinary experience. And in Aptos, stop at the aforementioned Mentone, but also check out Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant for some out-of-this-world comfort food.
Now that you’re sold on Santa Cruz, you just need the perfect off-grid escape. Thankfully, we have that on deck too: located at 4260 Paul Sweet Road, this Santa Cruz estate boasts 26 acres of redwoods, valleys, and gorgeous hilltops, and a breathtaking custom home with ocean views. Oh, and it can go completely off-grid, as promised.
The property itself sweeps across the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains. You’re actually only a couple of miles from town, but up here? You could be convinced that you’re in your own country.
Solar panels, an independent well, a state-of-the-art water filtration system, and a blossoming garden give you all of the ingredients you need to go off grid with the flip of a (few) switches. There is also a large workshop and studio for any additional projects. As if that isn’t enough, a two-bedroom guest cottage sits on the property as well.
And now to the house. This home is truly a magnificent piece of craftsmanship – custom doors, radiant heating, hardwood floors, massive windows that open up to ocean views, a stunning kitchen, and a central atrium that’s the heart of the home. That’s one of the things we love most about this home: the access to the outdoors. Whether you’re relaxing with a cup of coffee in the atrium, pruning fruit trees in the garden, hosting a dinner party under the mature oaks, or relaxing on your expansive patio in the backyard, you will enjoy that clear, calm fresh air – a mixture only the mountains and the sea can concoct.
Are you ready to reclaim your autonomy and go off grid in style? And in an incredible community? We’ll meet you at 4260 Paul Sweet Road, Santa Cruz.