Santa Catalina Island

Weekend getaways are my favorite sort of travel.

Weekend getaways are my favorite sort of travel.

Packing’s easier, the time away is less stressful, and as far as we know, a change in scenery never hurt anyone.

In celebration of our yearlong love, D and I went on a three-day vacay to the resort community of Avalon; the only incorporated city of Santa Catalina Island. We had never been there before, so we followed our usual M.O. – a hotel reservation, a couple changes of clothes, and no real plans. The trip, however, decided to start out a little interesting. Dana Point Harbor doesn’t like signage [I guess], so long-term parking was sort of a bitch to find, and in true Jenna fashion [yes, I’m absentminded at times], I left the car without my luggage, and by left, I mean I left my luggage sitting outside the car, realizing five minutes later “wait, where’s my luggage,” giving me the option to sprint back and retrieve it. [Wow, D must really love me.] Oh, and Catalina Express, well, Mother Nature decided our morning wasn’t entertaining enough, so we got to endure some pretty rough swells on our hour-long boat ride. The good news is D has excellent sea legs, but for me, I was a little concerned [I’ve been known to get motion sick during 3D films], but as it turned out, I can hold my own on a boat. And by the time we docked and got our luggage [yes, I did remember to grab mine], it was smooth sailing.

Man, what a fun area! I fell in love almost immediately. It was filled with small town charm, quaint shops, beachy hotels, and waterfront restaurants; and even with the weather being quite chilly, the city invited us in.

Saturday was busiest and [in my opinion] the best day of our pleasure trip. We ate the biggest clams I had ever seen at the El Galleon Restaurant. We discovered a dive bar called the Marlin Club and spent a good chunk of the afternoon there enjoying a few cocktails and listening to D’s selections from an old jukebox [he has really good taste in music]. We also enjoyed supper at the Avalon Grille, sat in our hotel’s rooftop Jacuzzi, and finished the night off with a return to the El Galleon for their Karaoke night [D even got up and sang some Jimmy Buffet]. Due to our first day excursions, we took Sunday pretty easy :) lounging around most of the day, only to leave the hotel for food: breakfast at Joe’s Place where we had the worst service of my life [sadly, Yelp seems to agree with me], a carry-out pizza lunch from Antonio’s Pizzeria & Cabaret, and a delicious Italian “anniversary” supper at Ristorante Villa Portofino. After our much-needed day of rest, though, D and I were ready to hit the streets of Avalon, so we spent most of our Monday cruising around the island in a rented golf cart; their most common form of transportation. We drove along the coast, up to the highest “drivable” point, walked the Wrigley Botanical Garden, found the Zip Line Eco Tours [too high for us], and went on a journey of their most recognizable landmark, the Casino. An Art Deco lover’s dream, this twelve-story building was constructed from 1928-1929 and is a definite must see. It contains a theatre, a ballroom, and now a museum. The structure was the first of it’s kind and gets its name from the Italian language, where “casino” means a gathering place, so there’s never been any gambling [wamp, wamp, wamp]. Its murals, woodworking, and light fixtures were astounding. It’s a true classic. Once the guide wrapped up her spiel, D and I headed back to the hotel to claim our luggage and start our trek back to Carlsbad.

Catalina was the perfect destination for a romantic rendezvous.  We had just the right amount of entertainment and relaxation to leave us feeling ready to return home. What can I say? There’s no permanent place for me and D without our three little monsters.

I guess I’ll need to remind myself of that next time they’re being bad ;)

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