Tag Archives: catalina island

Catalina Island – Ultimate Beach Town ©

On Catalina Island with Shinazy

catalina islandThere’s a feel to Beach Towns.  I live on the San Francisco peninsula, where I try to live as if I were in a beach town – this takes effort.  Living in a beach town you just connect with other people – that’s simply how you live life.

I’m on Catalina Island, the 26 miles across the sea Santa Catalina Island.  I’m here with my sister and brother, we’re on our Third Annual Sibling Reunion.  We arrived yesterday afternoon from Long Beach, after staying on the Queen Mary.  Once you leave the Catalina ferry dock, you can sense you are in a Beach Town.

We asked the cab driver where he eats when going out and he recommended the Buffalo Nickel.  Our GPS showed it was near to our condo, when actually it was a 20-plus-minute-up-the-hill-no-sidewalk trek.  And, of course, we go lost.  We stopped a man named Campos and asked for directions.  He told us the Buffalo Nickel has a shuttle, he then called them; and told us to wait by the two palm trees.  A few minutes later, a van arrived.  This pick-up service is offered to everyone and when your meal is over; someone in the kitchen will drive you home.  Would this happen in your downtown?  Not mine, but remember this is a Beach Town.

catalina islandThe next morning, while walking to the Zip Line, I stopped a man driving a golf cart, carts are the major mode of transportation on the island, and I asked the man if we could pay him to drive us to the Zip Line.  “No problem, hop in.” and off we went.  It was his day off, he was driving to the store, and although the zip line was out of his way . . . well, this is what folks do in a Beach Town, they do favors for each other and for strangers.  Folks do this without thinking about pay back.

Wherever you are, you can make that place a Beach Town.  But How?  Well, talk to the person behind you while you stand in line.  Chat with the store clerk about something other than what you intend to buy.  Hold open the door for the person entering or exiting.  Offer to take the vacationing couple’s picture.  Try talking to folks you just met  . . . You will be surprised how open people are and how much joy you will get from the conversations.  You, too, can live life in a Beach Town.

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Beach Towns – Catalina Island, part 2 of 2

by Shinazy

One of my intentions for this website is to share links to information I find useful, or fun, or interesting, or . . . 

    • Spend the extra few dollars and upgrade to the Commodore Lounge.  You get a voucher for a beverage; I like Bailey’s and coffee or Mimosa.  You sit on the top deck so you get a great view of the Queen Mary, then Catalina Island.  If it is foggy, you can stay inside.  If it is sunny, you can go outside.  I like options.
  • Buffalo Nickel Restaurant: 
    • www.buffalonickelrestaurant.com
    • The food is fresh and tasty.  I recommend the Mahi Mahi tacos – big moist chucks of fish.  For dessert try, a drink called Buffalo Milk, the signature drink on the island.  Each establishment has a slightly different recipe.  I think the one at Buffalo Nickel is the best (ask for more chocolate syrup if you want) – beware Buffalo Milk is easy to drink and potent.
      • Buffalo Milk
1 ½ oz. Smirnoff vodka
¾ oz. light crème de cacao
¾ oz. dark crème de cacao
¾ oz. banana liqueur
1 ½ oz. half and half
½ of a fresh banana
Blend ingredients with ice and pour into a hurricane glass.
Dribble chocolate around the inside of the glass and top with grated cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Zip Line: 
    • www.visitcatalinaisland.com/avalon/tour_zipline.php
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vrR_TpZEcI
    • Yes, this is FUN.  The first step on the first line is scary.  The first step on the second line is less scary.  Then it is just FUN.  On line 2, my sister stopped short of the landing.  As promised, a rope was tossed at her, but she forgot to catch it.  Then came a series of maneuvers until one of them worked and she was pulled onto the landing.  Was she scared being stuck on a wire, hanging over a ravine?  “Nope, it was pretty cool”
  • CatalinaWiFi 
    • http://gateway.catalinawifi.com/index.html
    • If you want speed greater than 1Mbps without interruptions, then head for somewhere above the fifth floor, otherwise, forget it.  Anyway, you’re in a Beach Town, try unplugging.
  • Taxi from LAX
    • www.lbyellowcab.com
    • Before your trip to LAX, call and arrange for a taxi to be at the airport.  I call the Long Beach Yellow Cab Co-Op and ask for the driver named Menour.
    • Try to travel the freeways between 10:00am and 2:00pm; otherwise, it will take twice as long to get anywhere.