Balboa Island Show-Offs!

“Welcome to Balboa Island…where the cats are numerous fat and lazy, the dogs are spoiled, the houses are quaint and enchanting, and the living is creative and carefree.”

So it says on a website promoting Island commerce. I’ve written about the history of Balboa before, and  I helped promote the release of Arrested Development to Netflix with the story of the traveling  Bluth’s Frozen Banana Stand.  

Welcome to Balboa Island

 There are many multi-million dollar luxury homes on the Island, but my favorites are the smaller, older homes that have been family residences for decades. Property is so valuable and coveted on Balboa Island that the homes are passed down from one generation to the next.

Let’s take a walk!

The charm is undeniable. Take note of the originality in many of the very small pocket gardens, as well as the “I’ve got to be me” color choices.

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Sometimes when I just need a little boost of artistic inspiration, a trip to Balboa Island is in order. Just walking around infuses me with a strong desire to get home and break out the originality!

That is, after I’ve had a Frozen Banana.

Balboa Bars

45 thoughts on “Balboa Island Show-Offs!

  1. Jacqueline King

    This is brilliant, Debra! We’ve just scribed to Netflix and are fans of ‘Arrested Development’ ~ crazy but good fun! Balboa Island looks like a great place to spend the summer and I’d love to taste one of those frozen bananas ~ we don’t have them here, so I wondered if they’d been made up for the programme. Thanks for putting me straight and showing me around! :).

    Reply
    1. Three Well Beings Post author

      Balboa Island is a world away! It’s really not far in distance, but it feels unlike anything else I can point to in Southern California. I’m glad yo enjoyed the photos. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Three Well Beings Post author

      The little beach cottages are so unlike anything else I could point to in all of Southern California, Karen. I think referring to them as fairy tale cottages is perfect! I’m glad you enjoyed m little tour! 🙂

      Reply
    1. Three Well Beings Post author

      I do think Balboa Island has a bit of east coast sensibility, Rosie. I have always thought I’d feel quite at home on Martha’s Vineyard. I’ve never been…but I’d love to visit. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Slow Happy Living

    I recognize some of the homes in your photos. It’s an undeniably charming place! I sometimes felt a little bad for the homeowners, who have to accept the constant stream of visitors strolling by. I suppose that once you get used to that, it becomes a part of the charm. They are certainly very gracious in sharing the place with all of us.

    Reply
    1. Three Well Beings Post author

      I’m sure you can recognize some of the Balboa homes, Lori. They do stand out! I do know what you mean about the constant visitors strolling by…and ones with cameras, too! LOL! I could have taken so many more photos, and really wanted to, but if I sense the homes were occupied I held back. The whole beach culture is so different and on the whole homeowners feel more tolerant of what I’m sure I would sense as an intrusion! 🙂

      Reply
  3. auntyuta

    ” . . . . the homes are passed down from one generation to the next.”
    I reckon it’s great to restore old homes again and again and preserve some of the history of the place. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Three Well Beings Post author

      Someone suggested that Balboa Island reminded them of Key West before the hotels and tourists arrived. Do you ever travel to Key West? I was only there once, and it made an impression on me. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Three Well Beings Post author

      I think you have so many quaint and lovely little coastal towns that are probably very similar to Balboa Island, Charlie. The one thing that I think amazes me about this spot is that it’s an oasis planted in the heart of Orange County–not as large as Los Angeles County, but close! It really is a fantasy island. 🙂

      Reply
  4. ChgoJohn

    This is another bit of California that I’d love to see, Debra. It reminds me of what Key West was once, before the large hotels moved in and created a tourist Mecca out of what was once an idyllic island community. How fortunate that you could spare the time to visit the island. I would imagine a stroll about would be a wonderful way to spend a Summer’s day — especially if it ended with a frozen banana. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Three Well Beings Post author

      I hope some day you’ll find a way to visit out here…and perhaps much of the Los Angeles area wouldn’t feel at all like a holiday! You have your own big city! But the ocean and the coastal towns would provide a nice destination. If you ever do, I hope you’ll let me know. I’ll treat you to a frozen banana. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Perpetua

    I remember your last post on Balboa Island, Debra, and thinking then what a wonderful, away-from-it-all place it looked. But oh my – those colours…. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Three Well Beings Post author

      Aren’t some of those home colors flashy, Perpetua? They definitely stick out from the others, that’s for sure. I would like to know more about the people who own them. Something tells me they are true free spirits…I’m not sure their neighbors are all that happy with them, though. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Three Well Beings Post author

      I just loved the originality in some of the colorful houses, too, Terri. I have to believe that some of the neighbors perhaps weren’t too thrilled. They “stuck out”–which I liked, but not everyone is inclined to enjoy the lack of conformity. It’s an artist’s haven, though. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Terri at Time To Be Inspired

        My house used to be the most gorgeous violet blue, with white trim and a grey shake roof. I was so disappointed when we renovated and switched to stucco and there weren’t great colors available! Of course eventually I tiled most of the front to add some color because I couldn’t stand living in a grey house!

        Reply
    1. Three Well Beings Post author

      I hope you can visit the Southern California beach coastal towns sometime! They provide a wonderful place to vacation. And Balboa Island has summer rentals. LOL! Come on for a visit. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Three Well Beings Post author

      Balboa Island is such a lovely, quaint little place to live. I would be very happy to give it a try. LOL! Instead, I visit frequently and soak up the atmosphere. I’m glad you enjoyed it, too, Karen. 🙂

      Reply
  6. lifeonthecutoff. wordpress.com

    As you might imagine, I LOVE it; all the colors and “attitude”, the originality and pride of ownership on Balboa Island. I can certainly see why it is your place for a “boost of artistic inspiration”, Debra. I especially love the little cottage with the two Adirondack chairs, right up to the walkway. I would have been tempted to plop myself down and watch the world, or boats, go by, but, I would have picked a few of the grapes first. tee hee

    Reply
    1. Three Well Beings Post author

      In time I will perhaps have a chance to go back to Balboa and take even more photos of the little gardens, Penny. I think in fall or early winter maybe there won’t be quite so many homeowners watering and weeding…I try not to be a nuisance! You would absolutely love walking around and taking notes! I loved the Adirondack chairs and the setting, too, Penny, and think I’m going to try to create a version of it myself. Of course, it’s not quite the same as at the beach. LOL!

      Reply
  7. Mustang.Koji

    My good car enthusiast friend and his lady are moving to Balboa Island this week. If you hear a very loud engine and its not from a Harley, its him. Tell him I said to put one of those frozen bananas in his tailpipes. You’ll need two. lol

    I had NO idea somebody was growing grapes! How cool is that? And I loved the shot of the “tiki” in a yard.

    Another nice, fun pictorial, Debra!! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Three Well Beings Post author

      I only managed to take a few photos of the wonderful small gardens on Balboa Island. I would love to take more, but I try not to be too obvious and annoy the homeowners! Is your friend moving to the Island permanently? Perhaps it’s just for vacation, but what a lucky couple if they are able to live there! You’ll have to visit. 🙂

      Reply

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