And it’s just an hour away…
I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 30 years, and I never made it over. Can’t explain it. But my niece Kyle decided to celebrate her 30th birthday there, and that was impetus enough to give it a go.
Its beauty and Mediterranean feel draw over a million visitors a year. The water’s edge appears emerald green, and then it eases into a soothing pure blue. The stark white architecture of the island’s historic casino catches your eye as you disembark. Inside, you’re met with stunning art deco murals and 1920s interior design. If you explore the island a bit, you’ll encounter one stunning scenic view after another.
These might be the attractions that draw the most visitors. But it’s the underbelly of any destination that’s appealing to me: the wear-and-tear, the urban decay, the ravages of saltwater eroding the ports, docks, and sea walls. I guess I’m more drawn to the “abstraction” of something, rather than the literal impression. Check out the photos we grabbed from exploring “the other side” of the island and the Port of San Pedro (below).
A little island history:
Amazingly, the island has been inhabited for at least 8000 years. At the time of first European contact in 1542, it is thought that the Native Americans living on Santa Catalina called their island “Pimu.” In more recent years, Catalina was owned by William Wrigley, Jr. of Wrigley chewing gum fame. He developed Avalon as a resort island and brought the Chicago Cubs (which he owned) there for spring training from 1921-1951.
The Island also served as a location for many of the movies filmed in the early days of Hollywood. In fact (you may have heard this one) one of the features filmed in the 1920s brought 14 bison to the Island and left them there. Now a herd of about 150 bison roam the Catalina’s interior. In the 1970’s Wrigley deeded 88% of the Island to the Catalina Island Conservancy. It remains undeveloped and wild.
Heading back soon.