Geology of the Northern Monterey Bay Region

Are you getting curious about rocks? Want to know more about the fossils you’ve spotted in the creek at Nisene Marks, or the cliffs at Seacliff? Want to learn more about the Sand Hills of Henry Cowell, or how to “read” the history of our area hidden in stone? You’re in luck – local author Frank A Perry has written a comprehensive guide to the geology of our home! There’s even information about the history of adobe bricks, and the restoration of the Castro Adobe State Historic Park! 

The northern Monterey Bay region has more interesting geologic features packed into a small area than almost any other part of California. Its dynamic history has been shaped by dramatic uplifts, volcanic eruptions, rising and falling sea levels, and the ever-moving San Andreas Fault. The book explores in simple language an amazing diversity of topics. These include rocks, fossils, earthquakes, beaches, minerals, water, marine terraces, and the Monterey Submarine Canyon. The author places each within the context of human history, and the book includes activities, places to visit, and sources for further reading.

Introduction to California Spring Wildflowers

An easy-to-use, fascinating field guide to the most commonly-encountered wildflowers in California. 

In the spring, California’s rolling hills, green valleys, and coastal slopes are colored with wildflowers treasured by both residents and visitors to the state. First published more than forty years ago, this popular guidebook has helped thousands of amateur and intermediate wildflower enthusiasts learn the names of the flowers located in some of the state’s loveliest and most accessible areas—from below the yellow pine belt in the Sierra Nevada westward to the coast. Thoroughly revised and updated throughout, it is now easier to use and more accurate—the perfect guide to take along on outdoor excursions in California and surrounding regions.

The New Beachcomber’s Guide to Seashore Life of California

This newly-updated field guide is the perfect companion for your long beach walks. 

Newly revised and expanded, this guide to the most common animals and plants of the California seashore is a must-have companion for any curious beach visitor.

Look no further than The New Beachcomber’s Guide to Seashore Life of California for the essential tidal guidebook. More than 600 species of the sponges, molluscs, crustaceans, sea stars, sea anemones, jellies, fishes, seaweeds and other flora and fauna you’re likely to see are described here in concise detail―that’s more than double the entries from the original and ever-popular Beachcomber’s Guide to California.

Each entry is photographed in splendid color for identification in the natural habitat, and there are new indicators classifying introduced/invasive species. Also included with each species are common and scientific names, description, size, habitat, range and interesting notes, such as how the Dalmation polyclad has about forty eyes or how it takes ten years for a common lampshell to reach full size.

The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds

Learning to draw birds can do wonders for your ID skills! The combination of close observation and sharp drawing/sketching skills can help your brain hone in on the small details that separate species. Don’t think your art skills are up to snuff? No worries! Anyone can learn to draw, and this staff favorite is a perfect starting place.

From publisher Heyday:

John Muir Laws’s guide to drawing birds is itself winged, soaring between a devotion not only to art but also to the lives, forms, and postures of the birds themselves. Here, artistic technique and the exquisite details of natural history intertwine, and drawing becomes the vehicle for seeing. As Laws writes, “To draw feathers, you must understand how feathers grow, overlap, and insert into the body. To create the body, you must have an understanding of the bird’s skeletal structure. To pose this skeleton, you must be able to perceive the energy, intention, and life of the bird.”

This how-to guide will perfect the technique of serious artists but also, perhaps more importantly, it will provide guidance for those who insist they can’t draw.  Leading the mind and hand through a series of detailed exercises, Laws delivers what he promises: that “drawing birds opens you to the beauty of the world.”

Secret Walks and Staircases in Santa Cruz

This book is a treasure trove for locals and visitors alike! Written by a long-time Santa Cruz resident who is passionate about walking and hiking, it includes 44 detailed maps and clear step-by-step route descriptions that are easy to follow, as well as more than 130 photographs of secret spots, plants and animals likely to be seen by the walker. All walks are rated by distance and elevation gain and range from one to more than six miles in length.

Laminated Guide to Northern California Tidepools

Bring this lightweight, waterproof guide covers the intertidal plants and animals found from the Oregon to Central California coast. Bring it along on your next tidepooling adventure, and see what you can identify!

Haunted Santa Cruz

Though generally a peaceful coastal city, the dark stains from Santa Cruz’s past still linger. A former Spanish Mission, Holy Cross Catholic Church harbors a dark history of a brutal revolt of native Ohlone Indians that killed the cruel Father Andres Quintana. Frequented by mobsters and celebrities in its heyday, the famous Brookdale Lodge’s most talked-about guest is the ghost of a little girl who died nearby in 1892 after nearly drowning. Terrorized by three different serial killers during the 1970s, the city earned the nickname of “the Murder Capital of the World.” Local resident Alfred Hitchcock derived inspiration for his iconic film Psycho from the haunted mid-nineteenth-century Hotel McRay. Tracing the city’s eeriest incidents back to their roots, historical researcher and paranormal investigator Maryanne Porter details these and many more stories of local legend and lore.

Aptos (Images of America)


Aptos Images of America

Aptos is a coastal town filled with beaches, a federally protected redwood forest, a community college, shopping centers, a golf course, and more. It is also home to the self-proclaimed “World’s Shortest Parade,” which takes place every Fourth of July. The true meaning of Aptos lacks definitive evidence; however, all sources agree that it is derived from an Indian word. The most common belief is that Aptos translates to “the meeting of two streams” or some variation of that phrase. The two bodies of water the name describes are known today as the Valencia and Aptos Creeks. Another explanation is that the town is named after a famous Indian chief. A third theory comes from Fr. Juan Crespi’s interpretation of the native language on the Portola Expedition of 1769. Although the native people had been here for thousands of years, the first deed of land was not granted to Rafael Castro until 1833. In its relatively short life, Aptos has changed significantly.

This is a collection of stories and photographs, selected by Kevin Newhouse and the Aptos History Museum Committee that best allows readers to travel back and visit Aptos through the years.

Field Guide to the Animals and Plants of Monterey Bay: Santa Cruz Shoreline

Bay Area author Lorrie Klosterman has created a unique and beautiful field guide to one of Santa Cruz’s favorite local attractions: West Cliff Drive! Bursting with incredible illustrations and information, this book is all you need for a stroll through Lighthouse Field or a trip to the Natural Bridges tidepools. Learn about flowers, geologic formations, birds, and many other flora and fauna. 


Union-printed in the USA! Also available at the Seacliff, New Brighton, Santa Cruz Mission, Natural Bridges, and Wilder Ranch ParkStores. 

Bird Watercolor Workbook

Painting birds is a wonderful way to brush up on your identification skills! This watercolor workbook includes 10 full-color bird examples, step-by-step instructions, and lightly illustrated sketches. Perfect for artists of all ages!