Hey Everyone! Hope you are having a great President’s Day weekend.
You know, as much as I love to be in LA, and USC particularly, sometimes you just need to get away…..and remind yourself that there is more to life than just school….for some people like me with two majors, I do need that occasional reminder.
Thank goodness for this small island called Catalina, about 30 miles off the coast of LA, a bit further south towards Long Beach. Here’s where I am talking about:
It’s a really cool place to just get away, escape the busy-buzz of LA, and just relax. I’m out here staying at the Hotel El Terado with some buds for the weekend.
For those of you who are not set to swim 30 miles across shipping lanes and open waters (com’on…who is?) the best way to get to Catalina is the Catalina Express. It’s a bit pricy, but it’s a really fun and comfortable boat ride of 1 hr to the island.
While you’re there on Catalina, there are lots of things to do-hiking, biking, tanning, shopping,eating,sleeping kayaking, diving, fishing, boating, and yes, even see a movie. Lots of stuff for a small island, right? Let me just put it out there and encourage you to check out the main Catalina tourism page to learn more about the island, and then I’ll tell you a bit about my experiences/my favorites on the island.
Okay, so running from Twin Harbors (Northwest side) over through the midlands, and down to the Southeast part of the island, there is a total of about 33 miles of paved road, with about 3,200 vertical ft traveled (up and down). Breathtaking sites from up in the mid-part of the island near the airport. Any part of this stretch is really a nice hiking trail, but it might be a good idea to stick to the coastline on some paved/dirt roads if you want to go for nice sites or take it easy on your knees.
As for diving….well, I don’t have any favorite businesses in particular, but I did run in to this funny sign while walking around the Casino:
You get the point!
Before we get on to my favorite part of our trip so far (eating), take a look at this cool island gem: The Catalina Casino. Here’s a picture of it from the air:
Basically, there are two levels to this edifice- the ballroom and the movie theater.
In terms of food, my favorite places to hit up are The Cantina, and Steve’s Steakhouse. Do one for lunch and one for dinner. Steve’s Steakhouse has Coke imported from Mexico (which is made with real sugar cane, not fructose syrup, so it tastes that much better). Between lunch and dinner, you have to hit up Dessert Island. Basically you get a sense overload. When I walked in there to satisfy my sweet tooth, I had to choose between fudge, brownies, cookies, ice cream, dipped apples and other assorted goodies. Ended up going with a combination of ice cream – cake batter and double fudge brownie. Yum!
As for hotels: My top three recommendations are:
1) Hotel El Terado
2) The Aurora Hotel
3) The Pavillion Hotel
Here’s a pic of me hanging in the harbor, getting a good tan!
Yep, life is good out here! Definitely recommend you make a trip out here sometime! Until next week, I am going to leave you with a picture of tonight’s sunset from our balcony that I took! Have a great President’s Day! See you next week.