Xmas from Balboa Island!

December 15th, 2017 | by Annie
Xmas from Balboa Island!

It was a cool, crisp Xmas vibe in Southern California and we decided to take a spin down south to Newport Beach for the weekend. We were not disappointed. After 10am Mass at St. John Vianney Chappel, we grabbed coffee and deliciously frosted orange-cranberry muffins at Blue Chair Bakery where we always get friendly service and fabulous baked treats. From there we strolled over to the waters edge. The walk around Balboa Island is perfect for conversation punctuated by boats, kids playing in the sand and gorgeously cute story book homes.

Honestly, you won’t find a better time to share with friends or a loved one than an inspiring walk on the island at Christmas time. In fact on any average Balboa Island day you’ll find inspiration because despite the trends in home building and restoration there is no standard look from one home to the next. You’ll find a brand new generic white box home next to an original 1920’s craft beauty, followed by crumbling late 80’s corner apartments each begging for you to comment. It’s actually quite fun and if you’ve ever read the humorous and clever commentary from curbed.com you’ll understand the value here. And speaking of value one thing to keep in mind as you reflect on the architectural beauty of the island or bereft of is that he average tear down here is in excess of $2mm.

The almost 2 mile walk around the island was boosted by the carbs our orange cranberry muffins provided included fresh salty ocean air at zero cost and friendly faces. In fact it seems both locals and visitors to Balboa assume an island state of mind. You won’t find a grumpy look or stink-eye anywhere and if you’ve brought along your dog they have clean up bags at several intervals along the route. Back on Marine Avenue you can Christmas shop to your hearts content. They have it all here from quaint cafes, toy and candy shops, gents haberdashery, home decor to the perfect Xmas-red vixen minidress. One thing to keep in mind is there are no restaurants with water views, those eateries can be found on the harbor, mainland or peninsula but what the island does offer it’s visitor is a peacefulness, slower pace and humanity those water view eateries funnily enough do not have. It’s a place that’s all about people watching and conversation and where a visitor can feel you’re part of the island community.

Whenever you make your trip to the island you’ll want to make a brief visit to the Balboa Island Museum where old timer’s and younger peeps color in the early black and white photos of what an adventurous early life on the island was like. One of the most famous island residents was Buddy Ebsen of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and tv show The Beverly Hillbillies. In fact the tall lanky actor lived there until his passing in the late 90’s. And America’s sweetheart Shirley Temple herself spent many a summer on the island as a youngster with family and friends.

We reluctantly said goodbye to Balboa Island and jumped into our Jeep and driving over the bridge while admiring the sail and power boats dotting the water on our way to the mainland. There is a certain relaxation and comradery you build up while on the island. Is it “island time” I don’t know but I can tell you we will all be making our return to Balboa very soon.

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