A DESTINATION: CATALINA ISLAND
This past year, I made my way over to Avalon, which is the only incorporated city that can be found on Santa Catalina Island (of the California Channel Islands). The city is a resort-based community whose waterfront features ample tourism-oriented businesses. Interestingly enough, the city is only one square mile and therefore is do-able in a day for those looking to explore in a short amount of time. I headed there for a quick weekend getaway with a special someone I won’t be telling you about. We left on a Friday evening, taking a high-speed ferry called the Catalina Express out of the Long Beach port. Travel time was only an hour long and actually quite enjoyable, unless you get motion sickness. As we arrived, I could see all of the anchored boats lit up and the moon glistening above reflecting on the ocean. Simply gorgeous. We stayed at the Hotel Mac Rae, which we personally wouldn’t stay at again but the view out of our window was picture perfect. It was budget-friendly, but didn’t really leave a lasting impression.
A Friday-Sunday was perfect for this trip. We were able to fit a lot in--adventure, eat bomb food and take in the island life. We started our morning having breakfast at Avalon Grill, which has a great view of the harbor. 10/10 would eat there again. Once we finished, we walked what seemed about 10 steps to the Green Pleasure Pier. We had tickets to go on a semi-submarine and see into waters of Catalina Island. A fully submerged submarine would cause me to feel pretty claustrophobic but I was glad to visually experience marine life this way. Once our tour ended, we rented a golf cart for the rest of the day. A large percentage of people who reside on this island could most likely afford luxury cars, but the most common transportation on the island is a golf cart. Most residents don’t even own cars. I remember seeing the one and only gas station there and the gas was over $7.00 a gallon. I then understood why residents Choose to roll with the golf carts. We took the rest of the afternoon adventuring through the streets and mountains. It’s not exactly easy to get lost on this island, so we took every road possible and really took advantage of our wheel time. Once the sun started to go down, we returned our golf cart and headed back to our hotel to get ready for dinner at Steve’s Steakhouse and Seafood. Let me just tell you, this place is so worth going to. We were very pleased with our meals and the owner, yes Steve himself, stopped by our table to see how everything was. After we finished our dinner, we wandered around the nightlife scene. Everything is walking distance, so no need to drink and drive. I rarely drink so we enjoyed the ocean and went back to the hotel and watched American Gangster. My man.
We were told we HAD to try The Pancake Cottage, so we had breakfast there. I ordered Belgian waffles and strawberries. Ohhhh myyyyy, so good. The woman who worked there was so kind, she made my heart flutter. She reminded me of my mom. We ended up renting another golf cart after breakfast to cruise through the island one last time. It was so peaceful to ride around such a happy little island full of picture-worthy views everywhere you turn. It took us out of reality for the short time we were there. We stopped at the Original Antonio’s Pizzeria & Deli for pizza before we headed out on the ferry back to Long Beach. Not bad pizza either, and that’s coming from a New Yorker. Overall, I felt like it was the Amalfi Coast of California. The simplicity and exclusively small town vibes made it a really comfortable, welcoming and homey place to go to. Also, if you take the ferry on your birthday you get to go fo’ free.