Balboa Island day tripping…

One of our favorite parts of Newport Beach week is taking a short break from our Pacific Ocean rental home to spend several hours on Balboa Island. Balboa is a charming community joined to the mainland by a two-lane bridge on the north or privately operated ferryboats making the island accessible from the Balboa Peninsula–the Newport and the Pacific Ocean side.

The history of the Island is fascinating when you consider the contributing players. In the 1860s the Bay was a formidable landing, positioned to load hides, tallow and goods for export. By the turn of the century half of the Peninsula was bought by Real Estate promoter William S. Collins who took on Henry E. Huntington as a partner in the Newport Beach Company. Huntington had acquired the Pacific Electric railway system and extended the “Red Car” line to Newport, promoting the Bay as a resort and recreational area.

In 1908 and 1909, with permission of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Collins began cutting a channel along the north side of the bay, piling the sand and silt up to eventually create Balboa Island. In short time real estate promoters began a sales campaign in Pasadena and Los Angeles–both connected by the Red Cars–and the little homes were sold, some for as little as $25.00. Homes on Balboa Island are now estimated at average values of between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000. Yes, that many zeroes. The pieces of land are very small with older bungalow-style homes nestled in among the elite. The beauty of the Island is partially found in the small town charm.

Balboa is a family favorite. My first love of the beach came as a result of our family spending time each summer on the Newport side of the Bay. By day we’d spend hours on the sand and in the water and many evenings we’d cross on the ferry and walk the Island, getting an ice cream or other treat.

The popular Frozen Banana or Balboa Bar create an irresistible draw to hop aboard the ferry and make a walk to Marine Avenue.

Marine Avenue…the one street on the Island for quaint shopping and a variety of very nice restaurants.

The Fun Zone I enjoyed as a child is still a popular feature, and the Ferris Wheel is now just as popular with Sophia and Karina. This was the first summer in 60 years that the Carousel is no longer in operation, but much of the boardwalk charm remains as I remember it as a child.

From the top of the Ferris Wheel I can see the Pacific Ocean and the strand where we spend most of our beach time. But we always make our way to Balboa for some old-fashioned, nostalgic fun.

 I took several hundred photos…you may still see a few more. I may be home, but part of me is still on vacation.

Breathing lighter…Debra

Vacation over…It’s back to work Monday!

I had a wonderful week…but I have had my last swim in the ocean for a while!

I took off my hat and combed my hair…

 Made sure everything was in order…

Are we absolutely sure I can’t spend one more week at the beach?

Alright, I guess I’m ready to get back to work now!

The beach in brief…another world entirely!

We’ve been coming to the same beach house for close to twenty years. When we first began, of course, there wasn’t any Internet and we didn’t have cell phones. We were truly unplugged–although we’d probably never used that term. Now, we dip in and out, and you’ll have to believe me that we’ve had such full days it feels good to further unwind with some computer time…the last game of Uno was played, books were read, and children are now in bed. Ahhhhh…..

I thought I’d hop on the Internet while I have it! It comes and goes, but it’s really quite phenomenal we have it at all. A very enterprising beach rental company blankets the area with free WiFi and although it’s a little slow in the evenings when everyone in the area is taking advantage of the connectivity, it’s nice to just check in.

We are having typical Southern California beach weather. The sun doesn’t make a full appearance until sometime in the early afternoon. It’s there, giving a little warmth, but the marine layer is heavy and the fog banks are low on the horizon. It doesn’t dampen any enthusiasm. We know the sun is coming.

This morning we watched young pre-highschool-aged children learning to surf. Sophia has now decided she’d like to surf.

Southern California surfers…in the making! The water seemed cold to me, but they were having a wonderful time. It was fun watching some of them get up on their boards for more than likely the first time.

I’ve never been this close to a Pelican before, but he was squarely perched on the pier and seemed delighted at the attention.

I took a nice long walk along the boardwalk today, camera in hand, just to see what I might find interesting. It didn’t take long!

Off to their left is the most beautiful stretch of Pacific Ocean…were they in a hurry? And they all appear to be looking in the opposite direction. Oh but I have so many unanswered questions, don’t you?

On the same walk I headed over a few blocks to the Marina and Back Bay. It’s another scenic spot on the way to Balboa Island where my family stayed when I was a child. I’ll be sharing more about Balboa later, but before I began my return trip I could hear quite a clamor. I followed the familiar barking noise and saw two seals aboard someone’s boat. It didn’t seem to me that any humans were onboard, but these two fellas were having quite a time of it!

I found a little beach condo with a spectacular view of the ocean…for Darwin!  It was a good sized beach Tortoise Shack, but I think we’d need to enlarge the entrance. Someone had a nice little beach place, though!

Sunset is 7:57 PM…so we need to keep moving if we are going to fully enjoy it. I like to be back on the beach by 7:15 to watch the sun fully set. If the fog rolls in we might not catch it fully slip into the sea, but we honor the ritual to its full extent.

Goodnight Mr. Sun! We’ll have another full day tomorrow…see you then!

Breathing so much lighter, and a lot of lovely salt air…Debra