Two days ago, after more than a year of hearing about this majestic place, I made it to Catalina. With a duffel bag in tow, Chloe, my Dad and I were en route to a weekend away in some sort of paradise. The couple days leading up to our departure, I’d started to catch a pretty good cold, so the car ride to the port was bittersweet, but I was truly excited to see another new place, especially during my dad’s California visit and with my girlfriend, Chloe. I knew that the island was supposedly beautiful but had no idea how much so.
When the boat pulled into it’s spot at the dock, I waited for two to three minutes to let the lines go through the door (as I HATE standing in line). When we started walking off the dock and onto the island, the view looking up, over the bay and up the foothills into the mountains of Catalina, was extraordinary. The rolling hills were partially covered with classical housing, lush foliage and old structures signifying construction circa pre-1900. I’ve never been to Europe, but solely from my post card absorption, this place looked like a Greek Island. Straight from a Facebook photo that may have previously made me jealous.
With each corner you turn, there’s a new group of locals, walking, drinking, smoking, talking, whatever.. The entire town is the epitome of “laid back.” Everyone greets you with a smile, unless maybe they’re another tourist. And in each establishment, there’s immediately an energy that has been culminated and built upon for decades. There’s a unexplainable feeling of rich history that, with a bit of research, is confirmed. The part-time workers on the island are partying in the most jovial way possible. The tourists walking the streets are mesmerized by the community’s contrast to those outside of the bubble there. The local population let’s it all happen while embracing everything as destiny, it seems. An incredibly calming sensation overtook me, despite a strong cold coming on, clogging my sinuses.
At the hotel room that Saturday night, we opted out of restaurant dining and in for grilling on the porch. A stainless steel grill, provided by the hotel, with a view of the sunset glow on the bay and the smell of potatoes, asparagus and flank steaks cooking… It was a pretty ideal weekend evening… 😃 Following much food was beer… We had a few. Walking out into town was quite a trip. The local vibe was still present, just turned up to 11.. The bar scene of Avalon was fueled equally by rowdy temporary island workers, cool pool sharks and one-off vacationers (even given the winter season).
The bay that Avalon surrounds is astounding. The blue water pierces your attention like you wouldn’t expect. It pops to you so well, and the clarity of what’s underneath the surface… It’s all there. Hundreds of boats are moored there in the water, and they each most likely have their own unique stories, none of which we knew. I felt that way about a lot of the locals there, really. I constantly wanted to interview the passers by in the streets of Avalon. Wanted to know if they’d grown up on the island. Wanted to know where they DID grow up, if not. Wanted to know what they did for work, if they didn’t work, why they decided to give up everything for specific paradise in the not-so-far-away Pacific. I’d bet there’s a trend to those answers, but I’ll never know until I ask the questions.
Maybe next time...
As I sat there on the ferry home, a whimsical feeling in my heart and a tasty meal in my stomach, I only hoped that I’d be back again for an even deeper experience of the island (and not sick :-/).
- 7Ply Epic