Catalina Island Part II - Avalon

Happily leaving the campsite behind for a day, we went down into the city to relax and enjoy Catalina's city life in Avalon. This is a gorgeous town whose architecture is influenced by the original Spanish architecture.

Down in the city, there are two main activities. The first is shopping in the wide variety of Catalina shops that offer long, gauzy, Spanish style skirts as well as California-style surfer wear. We walked through these shops and questioned the salespeople on life on Catalina, which they described as quiet, small and laid back.

The second main attraction is the waterfront. There are two main beaches in Avalon, the first being right in front of the shops where families go out to the beach at 8:30 am to spread their blanket for a 'good spot'. The second beach is at the north end of the city and, while privately owned, is open to the public and serves cocktails and food. I checked this beach out and read my magazine while Nate went scuba diving in the underground waterpark that houses a shipwreck.

Shopping and diving work up an appetite and we asked many people about where to eat. Most of the locals that we talked to said that they'd rather eat at home - it's cheaper, the fish is just as fresh, and they can relax more. A few mentioned the hype in town about the new executive chef at the country club so we ate there on Saturday night. Our table was in a beautiful Spanish colonial courtyard. The food wasn't anything to write home about so I won't, but I was not in a hurry to get back to camp and enjoyed myself during the three hour dinner we had while relaxing by the fountain as the sun was setting (I was in no hurry to finish, our after-dinner activity was more camping).

The best meal we had on Catalina was at The Lobster Trap. We were referred here by Craig, our favorite ranger at the campground. His friend is a chef there and he recommended we order the swordfish tacos, made with local fish. While this meal didn't take three hours, it was definitely the star of the trip. The swordfish was pan-seared and served in corn tortillas with crunchy cabbage, housemade salsa, and a sprinkling of sharp cheddar. It was delicious and worked perfectly with the citrusy Shock Top beer I had ordered. It was a good recommendation and the casual and friendly atmosphere embodied the lifestyle and attitude of the locals.

I loved Catalina Island and want to return soon! I want to experience more of the preserved land and spend a whole day on one of the sparkling beaches.....who's with me?

1 comment:

  1. I would like to get back to Catalina Island too!! -Nate