My #SantaCruzLife: The Churro Guy, A Hidden Car Museum & an Animal-Friendly Halloween Tip

My SantaCruzLife: Churros, Car Museum, Pumpkin Carving

After what was starting to feel like an endless summer, there’s finally a slight chill in the air. My kids are planning their Halloween costumes and I ate my first slice of Costco pumpkin pie—in September!

The daily whale shows off West Cliff have been replaced by the fiery sunsets of fall, and the monarchs trickling in remind me, once again, this place is magic and I’m lucky to call it home.

In this edition of My #SantaCruzLife, I’ll take you to a churro cart in Watsonville, a car museum in Scotts Valley, and up Highway 1 to Wilder Ranch’s pumpkin-loving farm animals.


Watsonville Churros
Crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside, lightly dusted with cinnammon and sugar. In other words, heaven.

Jesus Lopez of Watsonville, aka “The Churro Guy”, is a professional churrero—that’s Spanish for churro whisperer. From his mobile cart emblazoned with a “Mexican Churros” sign, he makes magic in the form of delicious, authentic, fresh hot churros; just one bite will have your tastebuds giving the side eye to all those carnival and theme park imposters out there.

If you love churros as much as I do then read the following carefully, commit it to memory, and remember to roll your r’s!

The Churro Guy can be found in Watsonville and Corralitos throughout the week from about 1pm to 7pm (6pm in the fall/winter).

  • Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays: Farm Fresh Produce 37 Holohan Rd. Watsonville
  • Thursdays and Fridays: Corralitos Feed 2895 Freedom Blvd. Watsonville
  • Sundays: The legendary Carnitas Trejo 370 E. Lake Ave. Watsonville

So there you have it, folks, churros for every day of the week except Saturdays- that’s when you can hire him to come to your special occasion and prepare fresh churros for all your guests. Hmmm, my 40th birthday is coming up….

Churros Mexicanos

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines…

Canepa Motorsports Museum
Who knew a life-sized Hot Wheels museum existed in Scotts Valley?! Canepa Motorsports Museum is a little-known gem I only recently discovered on a family outing.

The upstairs floor of Canepa Design, a collector car dealership and restoration shop located on Scotts Valley Drive, is home to the museum’s amazing collection of racing cars and motorcycles ranging from the golden age of the sport to modern times.

As you get up close and personal with these legendary vehicles, a screen playing historic races adds just the right sound effects of cars zooming by, while a faint smell of motor oil and rubber fills the air.

There’s even a viewing platform overlooking the shop where you can see mechanics in action, expertly restoring some incredible cars. On the day we visited, we spotted Porsches, a Lamborgini, Woodie, and Shelby Cobra!

If you want to impress the car lovers in your life, young and old, race on over to Canepa—it’s free and open to the public Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm.

4900 Scotts Valley Drive
Scotts Valley, CA 95066

Donate your guts and gourds!

Pumpkin Carving
I have a handy trick AND treat for all you pumpkin carvers and bakers out there. This year, instead of tossing your jack-o’-lanterns after Halloween, consider donating them to the Wilder Ranch farm animals.

Pumpkins are a mouthwatering treat for the cows, goats, sheep, and chickens, and Wilder will accept all things pumpkin related including whole pumpkins, tiny pumpkins, carved pumpkins, pumpkin guts, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin leaves, and even slightly rotten pumpkins!

You can drop off your tasty pumpkin donations at Wilder Ranch anytime, just leave them in the horse barn—the main, big barn—in the doorless stall on the middle left. Please don’t feed the animals yourself!

This is a great excuse to take that family road trip up Highway 1 and visit Wilder Ranch State Park.

Wilder Ranch State Park
1401 Old Coast Road
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Your Turn!

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About Christine Candelaria

Christine Candelaria is a local mom of four who enjoys sharing her Santa Cruz adventures. You can follow her #santacruzlife on Instagram at @theaumsmama.