Friday, May 30, 2014

catalina island

This past Memorial Day Weekend, I headed to Catalina Island for a mini getaway.

While Los Angeles is a lovely place in itself with numerous options for beaches, it's always nice to get away from the city for awhile. The boyfriend & I decided to do just that this past MDW. We opted for Avalon on Catalina Island which is just 22 miles southwest of LA and 1 hour 15 minutes by ferry via Catalina Express from San Pedro. A one-night stay was enough for us as Avalon is a small, quaint town that can easily be explored in a day or two. 

Our first stop upon docking in Avalon was the Inn on Mount Ada for brunch. This used to be Wrigley's (past Chicago Cubs owner) mansion when he first bought Catalina. It is now a beautiful inn perched atop a hill overlooking Avalon Bay. Non-overnight guests can still visit the inn by making breakfast/lunch reservations. These reservations can get booked up fast, however, as there are a limited number of tables. Luckily, I made the reservation a month in advance so we were able to snag a table on their terrace with gorgeous views.

After brunch, we proceeded down the hill to the main part of town. For the rest of the afternoon, we explored Crescent Avenue, their main street and where most of the shops / restaurants / hotels are located. I wanted to try their infamous island cocktail, "Buffalo Milk", so we found a bar right on the bay that served this delicious concoction of Kahlua® coffee liqueur, creme de bananes, dark creme de cacao and milk.

For dinner, we decided to splurge a bit and opted to dine at Avalon Grille. There are many good choices on the island (Lobster Trap, Steve's Steakhouse, etc.) but this is a fairly new establishment & I wanted to check it out. Situated on the corner of Crescent Avenue and Catalina Avenue, this is a prime spot to people watch.

Must-try places / things to do on the island:
Big Olaf's for ice cream - fresh made, huge waffle cones!
Rent a beach cruiser to explore the island - super fun and a great work-out! $5 an hour for each bike.
Original Jack's Country Kitchen - hearty breakfast / brunch restaurant. Their biscuit & gravy is everything!
Descanso Beach Club - lovely private beach where you can rent cabanas / lounge chairs. Younger crowd.

Thanks for the awesome visit, Catalina! We'll be back for sure this summer.


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