The pics really tell most the story about this wonderful little secret spot 22 miles off of Long Beach. Well, not much of a secret really since MORE THAN 1 MILLION people made it to Catalina this past year! This is a little bitty island for that many folks but I can see what pulled them here because now that we know about what we’ve been missing we will surely be pulled back.
- In the little hamlet of Avalon about 3600 call it home. It’s also the host of the most marine traffic in California.
- The island is 22 miles long but it is mostly undeveloped thanks to Mr. Wrigley of Wrigley’s chewing gum who bought the island and then turned it over to a conservatory organization to keep it undeveloped. Such foresight.
- In 1929, Wrigley built this awesome “casino” (in those days, casino meant “gathering place” — it never was a casino in the way we think of the word.) It was built to host the first movie theater for talking pictures and includes the most incredible ballroom ever on the top floor. We took a backstage tour of it all today and we’re still talking about it tonight. Awesome! What a cool gift to the US.
- Catalina really hit its hey day in the first 50 years of the 1900′s. Movie stars galore loved this private getaway. Marilyn Monroe got her start here as did Ronald Reagan and the museum here has a big display on the night Natalie Wood died off the shore here when somehow she drowned while staying on her yacht.
- Big band music also played a big role here and I love how the shops and restaurants have big band type music still playing.
- The mode of transportation here is golf carts. All the local’s drive them everywhere and there’s places to rent them around town but honestly we’ve had no problem walking everywhere. There’s really not that many places to go.