Monday, April 25, 2011

The Lure of Catalina Island

Growing up in Southern California, I could see the island of Catalina from our backyard. As a kid, we used to go over for the day to explore the island, run around, camp, and basically feel like we were in another world - just for a couple of days. This past week, Sofia JZ and I headed over on the ferry, the Catalina Express, for a short break - just 26 miles from Palos Verdes Peninsula.

I hadn't been to the island since 8th grade, when our whole class played hooky and spent the day on the tiny beach tanning (burning) ourselves in preparation for our graduation. The first think I noticed about the island were the beautiful, colorful tiles that seemed to be everywhere - along the walkways to the casino, on the beach benches and throughout the botanical gardens. 1920-1930 tile designs had been preserved or restored and gave the island a vintage feel - almost like nothing had changed since the twenties when Hollywood stars used to go over and dance at the casino for a night or two.

We found a couple of good restaurants - Sofia enjoyed her first pound and a half lobster, after she figured out how to eat it - and there were plenty of cafes serving the local fish. A visit to Catalina wouldn't be complete without a Pacifica and a basket of fish and chips, doused with vinegar, from the pier.

Pondering why I wasn't doing one thing everyday that scared me, I decided to join Sofia and JZ on a parasailing adventure one afternoon. Flying 1200 feet into the air, we were pulled by a small boat which gave us a birds eye view of all of Avalon. Slightly unnerving, but eventually exciting, we were amazed to see the dolphins and seals swimming below us.

A perfect three day vacation, within an hour from Los Angeles - the lure of Catalina is still as strong as ever - I can't wait to go back!


Jillayne said...

Wow Kaari, good for you! 1200 feet is pretty high when you're being pulled by a boat - that would definitely be a thing that would scare me.

molly said...

dude, we want in on that trip next time!

Unknown said...

Yum! Lobster and fish/chips totally made my mouth water! Looks like you all had a blast. Parasailing...I'm impressed!

Rose Brier Studio said...

I love Catalina too! My grandparents used to go over in the 30's -- I think that's when grandpa bought the table with the beautiful tiles! I spent summers (well 2 weeks) at Girl Scout camp near Avalon. Sounds like your family trip was wonderful!

Anonymous said...


Oh, I agree with you, it's a wonderful outing. The 1st. time I went was 1968 with my
best friend GlowBug.. We didn't realize at the time that the ship USS Catalina days
were numbered. Glow and I had $50 each for 3 days. The Hotel was $7 each a night. We
ate frozen banana's so we could use the money for whatever treasures we might find,
instead of food.

Did you tour the Casino yet,? If not just do it, next time. The dance floor up
there at the top of that beautiful building. That floor was the most famous dance floor
on the earth at the time. 14 layers of cork to give the best bounce possible, when
dancing to the Big Bands' wonderful music.

AND It's cheaper then you'd believe to rent the Casino for your wedding. Like you said
"Another World" just 26 miles across the sea.

I need to go back, but I only wished we could still go on the USS Catalina...

V.C. Torrance, Ca