What a great week it has been in Southern California! We really lucked out on the weather - kind of unseasonably warm and clear for February. We (me, Jim, son Tom and niece Angela) have been staying at my time share - the Marriott Newport Coast Villas in Newport Coast. This is my 4th time here and I like it better every time. So beautiful and a wonderful location - tucked between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. One of my best friends from high school - Liz Tutton - lives in Newport and is a fantastic resource on what and where to go! Plus I get to hang out with her as much as possible! Here are a few pictures of the resort.
It's a very easy walk to the beach - less then half a mile and we are right at Crystal Cove. That's a beach area that is owned by the parks system so a public beach. I try to walk down there as much as possible - or take a run which is great too!
One of my most favorite things to do here is walk to the beach and eat at the Beachcomber. It is literally right on the beach and the food is great - but the wait is usually long so we try to go for breakfast and get there as early as possible keeping in mind we are on vacation and no one likes to get up too early! We got there about 8:30 Monday morning and only had about a 20 minute wait - totally worth it!
As mentioned my good friend Liz and husband Bill invited us to go sailing Monday afternoon and that sounded great! Something we don't get to do in the Midwest. Well when we got to the boat they discovered a problem with the motor - but were able to borrow a Duffy Boat from a good friend in the harbor so that saved the day. I had never heard of a Duffy Boat but they are basically an electric cocktail cruiser - so fun!
Tuesday we went to Balboa Island for lunch. If you ever watched the show "Arrested Development" one of the characters worked there selling frozen bananas. It is so retro - an old Fun Zone arcade and a Ferris Wheel. The easiest way to get there is to take a very short ferry ride from the mainland - three cars at a time. We took the ferry and played some games in the arcade - then Tom and Angela rode the Ferris wheel. Kind of touristy but still fun. If you remember Tapanga from Boy Meets World you will be interested in knowing that she walked right past me there - looked exactly like she does on TV - celebrity sighting!!
Tuesday night we celebrated a birthday for Jim at a pretty famous restaurant in the area called Javier's. It's an upscale Mexican restaurant that has an awesome atmosphere and the food was delicious!
Tom and Angela and I got up early Weds and drove to Ruby's Shake Shack for breakfast overlooking the beach! Such a cool place and you can get shakes at 8 AM!! I can't think of a better way to start the day!
Weds afternoon Angela and I were going to try Stand Up Paddle Boarding with my friend Liz - but the weather really didn't cooperate. That afternoon it got cloudy and windy and even rained a bit. So instead we had a great lunch at a place called Greenleaf. You guessed it - great salads - my favorite lunch! It was in Newport and had a great atmosphere. The people who worked there were pretty cute too!
Then Liz took us to a few more beautiful spots around Newport and Corona Del Mar where she walks with her friends. Spectacular views of the beach and ocean.
Weds night we took another of Liz and Bill's recommendations for dinner and tried Bandera's in Corona Del Mar - perfect for a rainy night as it has a wonderful warm atmosphere. We had to wait about 20 min for a table so had a drink by the fireplace!
Thursday we did some shopping at Fashion Island and then Jim and I went in to Laguna Beach to walk around that cute artsy beach town. I think Laguna has a much different feel then Newport although I really like them both. Laguna has so many cute little restaurants, shops and art galleries - feels quite a bit more laid back to me.
Thursday night was lots of fun! The 4 of us went with Liz and her son Marshall up to the Comedy Club at the Irvine Spectrum. We had dinner before at the Cheesecake Factory and as always it was delicious. In fact it sparked my next countdown idea - I'm going to eat my way through their entire dessert menu one week at a time! Starting next week! The Comedy Club had a special show featuring only female Asian comics - and one man that is in the process of becoming a woman. No it's not Bruce Jenner! It was a fun and different thing to do.
Friday was BIG!!!!! The high point of the trip for Tom and Angela was to skydive for the first time! They had reservations at Go Jump Oceanside which is south of Laguna but not as far as San Diego. The three of us headed there first thing Friday morning on a spectacularly beautiful and perfect day. I wanted to be there to see it but it was not something I myself wanted to do. They were really excited and nervous - me too! It was a very professional operation and great group of people that made you feel calm and secure immediately. Most people will not believe me but I think I could have done it! And maybe one day I will! Tom and Angela had a phenomenal experience - it exceeded their expectations and they said the feeling was incredible!
After the jump we headed to Carlsbad for lunch. Such a cute beach town! We found a great place thanks to Tom and Yelp - as you might guess neither one of them had eaten much that morning. We ate and then walked around the cute village area and to the beautiful beach.
Friday night was our last night. Jim's friend Todd who lives in Newport had just gotten back to town so we planned to meet him at Javier's for a drink. Liz and Bill joined as well so it turned out to be a very fun conclusion to a great week.
It wouldn't be a trip to California if we didn't make it here at least once!
This was a really relaxing vacation for me. The weather was perfect almost every day, great food, beautiful walks and runs at the beach, wonderful friends and lots of fun! My next big trip will be quite a bit different. Mid April I leave for two weeks in Europe - traveling solo and heading to Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon and Paris!! If you want to come along subscribe to my blog and you will receive an email when I update my blog - which I will try and do every day. Just click on the SUBSCRIBE link at the top and enter your email!!
"I do not bring back from a journey quite the same self that I took." W. Somerset Maugham