Zachariah and I spent our honeymoon on Catalina Island in the city of Avalon. We had such an incredible time together, eating and enjoying our first few days being married! The island holds a special place in our heart now and I know it does for many people. I put together a guide of what we did in Catalina with suggested places to stay, eat and stay and with a few quirky history tidbits thrown in here and there! I hope you enjoy!
Where to Stay…
Zane Gray Pueblo… Built as the getaway home of millionaire author (and avid ladies man), Pearl Zane Grey. Zane is one of those fascinating characters in history who seemed to just about everything. He ended his career in dentistry to write Western Novels in Altadena, CA. He made quite the living selling these novels and built his home overlooking the Avalon Cove. Below his home is the Tuna Club where he served as president. When the film ‘The Vanishing American’ (a Zane Grey novel turned screenplay) was filmed on the island, 14 bison were brought to the island and were left behind to grow into a large herd which now roams Catalina. Staying at the Zane Grey Pueblo will guarantee amazing views and a little taste of the southwest. If you love the 1930s and Hollywood History, this is a fun place to stay. Call 800-378-3256
Snug Harbor Inn… This is where Zachariah and I stayed on our honeymoon. I have to say that this was the very nicest hotel I have ever stayed in (and Ive had some pretty great hotel experiences!) The room was light and airy, incredibly clean with the biggest and comfiest bed. The service of the hotel was perfect, the staff was very very kind. They bring you a basket of breakfast in the morning with yoghurt, milk, juices, cereal, bread and fruit. In the evening is a complimentary happy hour in the lounge (which we took full advantage of) The hotel is off the beaten path just enough but you have instant access to the seafront. The whole experience with this hotel was perfect. I can’t wait to go back for my anniversary (hint, hint Zachariah!) Call (310) 510-8400
(Zachariah at the entrance of Snug Harbor Inn)
Where to Eat:
Blue Water Grill… Zachariah and I ate here on our first evening in Avalon. I’m not even a seafood person, but the fried Calamari was so delicious, I couldn’t keep away from the plate. We also ate a great salad with avocado and endives. They have a great wine selection, and an all around fabulous view of the cove. You can sit right outside on the patio over the water and all the little kid swimmers snorkeling in the swim zone. To your left is the beautiful Avalon Casino and to your right is the Holly Hill House. (310) 510-3474
CC Gallagher… We came buy this place twice. One evening for an after dinner beer and the next for a romantic dinner. The design afficionado in me really appreciated the aesthetics of this restaurant/gift store. Zachariah and I both really loved the extensive and exotic beer and wine menu. We ate the goat cheese with honey and almonds appetizer, Zachariah ate the sushi and I have a grown-up fig and brie grilled cheese. We had really great service here for dinner and everyone was very helpful. Call (310) 510-1278
(At CC Gallaghers)
*On the Pier… Zachariah and I ate really yummy fish and chips and a fish sandwhich on the Catalina Pier. I can’t find the place online for whatever reason. I know it is not ‘Erics’. If you walk past ‘Eric’s’ and keep walking down the pier, you will find this yummy little joint. Sit in the sun and watch the glass bottom boat tours come in and out of the dock.
Points of Interest…
Holly Hill House… The pretty white house perched on a hill overlooking the Avalon Cove serves as a residence today, but was originally built by Peter Gano in 1889 and named ‘Look Out Cottage’ Gano built is for his sweeheart who refused to move to the Island with him. Gano swore off women after that (apparently posting ‘No Women Allowed’ signs around the property) Its currently under renovations right now, but still, its quite the house! One real estate listing I found quotes the house at $6,500,000!
Marilyn Monroe’s House… I mentioned that Marilyn lived here in wedded bliss as Norma Jeane to her husband who was stationed on Catalina during the war. Apparently she lived here at 310 Metropole Ave in this little white house! House sweet is this?
The Avalon Casino… The Casino was built in 1929 by William Wrigley Jr (Yes, like the chewing gum) as a theater, which is down below, and a gorgeous ballroom up top. The theater was often used by Hollywood producers to preview their films. The ballroom can hold up to 3,000 dancers and you can still find balls to attend in the 20,000 sq ft room! Try this one put on by the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles.
Things to do…
Walk… We did a lot of walking on Catalina, for one because Avalon is a tiny little town which you can really see in just a day! For two, I have a ‘through the back door’ (Rick Steves Europe Nerd Alert) approach to tourism. I love to explore little back streets of any place and find what makes a place charming. I like imaging what it is like to be a resident. Zachariah and I wove back and forth through Avalon, climbing up and down hills. One Afternoon I pointed to a bell tower which rings every hour on the hour and said, “I want to go there”. Just 20 minutes later we found ourselves at the most glorious lookout (and right across from the Zane Gray Pueblo). For this walk, leave the shore and go up Marilla Way. Make a Right on Vieudelou Ave. Continue on the Chimes Tower Way (R)
We also walked every evening down Casino Way towards the lit up Theater and Ball room. Incredibly beautiful!
Snorkel… I loved our snorkeling excursion to Lovers Cove. Our Masks and Fins cost us $12 each and we had use of them for two hours! We swam out into the seaweed and saw all kinds of fish which I don’t even know the name of. The water was warm enough to swim in, just needed some getting used to, and we were off!
Other things to do… We would have also liked to hike, rent a golf cart and drive to Twin Harbors, take a island tour to find the buffalo, take a little Glass Bottom Boat Tour (did you know Glass Bottom Boat with Doris Day was filmed on Catalina Island?)
There is so much to do on Catalina, especially if you love nature, island living and a little bit of Hollywood sprinkled in! I’m happy to answer any questions so shoot me an email at email@example.com
Do you have places to go on Catalina which I didn’t mention? Tell me about your Avalon experience!
I’m planning on writing more installments of Vintage Roadtrip! If you love vintage shopping, buildings with character, and quirky history, these posts will be a combination of all of that and more! I’m excited to share some local cities and grow this part of my blog as I continue to travel and explore! I would love and appreciate feedback so let me know what you think, and what you look for in a travel guide! Xx