E.g., 03/24/2019

5 Reasons to Play Hooky and Head to Catalina

Catalina Island is just an hour off the coast, but it’s a world away from the mainland grind. Studies show that taking an unscheduled day off on Catalina will make you a healthier happier, more productive worker. Okay…so there are no studies. But you have to agree that the idea of playing hooky on a beautiful island paradise is a tempting proposition. Here are just five in a long list of reasons to give in to the temptation and take off for Catalina. 1) Soft sand, warm sun and cool cocktails Every impromptu Catalina escape should include a visit to hooky heaven, otherwise known as Descanso...

Buffalo Milk - the Official Drink of Catalina Island

A little known fact: Catalina Island is home to a herd of of bison, also known as the American buffalo. Twelve head of bison where brought to the island in the 1920's for the filming of Zane Grey's book adaption of the Vanishing American. Over the years the herd has expanded and thinned, leaving us with about 150 permanent residents. We drink a lot of Buffalo Milk on Catalina Island, but it's not the kind of Buffalo Milk that you might think. Our Buffalo Milk is a creamy and delicious libation, best enjoyed at the beach. "Buffalo Milk" was created by a bartender at Harbor Reef in Two Harbors...

What to do on Catalina Island

Have you ever asked the question "What is there to do on Catalina?" For first time visitors considering a trip to Catalina Island, it can be a daunting task figuring what to do. From outdoor adventures, to tours, to shopping and spas, there is so much to consider.

The Catalina Wine Mixer is Real

Yes, it's true. The Catalina Wine Mixer was a fictional event. Those familiar with the Will Ferrell movie Step Brothers will know the reference to the Catalina Wine Mixer. The characters in the film, Dale and Brennan, played by John C Reilly and Will Ferrell become step brothers in their 40's after their parents, played by Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins marry. Crazy antics ensue including planning the "biggest helicopter leasing event in the Western Hemisphere," also known as the "F#$%% Catalina Wine Mixer."

A Step Back in Time: Brown Berets

Brown Berets Catalina Island
On August 30, 1972, the Los Angeles Times headline read “Brown Berets Invade Santa Catalina Island.” The Brown Berets were a pro-Chicano group formed in the late 1960’s to address the issues of farm workers’ rights, educational reform, anti-war activities, police brutality and other problems confronting the Chicano community.

A Step Back in Time: Bird Park

Catalina Island Bird Park
Catalina Island’s Bird Park opened in 1929 and was a popular attraction in Avalon for over 35 years. Admission to the park was free. It was considered the world’s largest bird park at the time, covering almost seven and a half acres in Avalon Canyon, across from the Catalina Island Golf Course.

Catalina Island Museum to Present Exhibition by Artist Dale Chihuly

Chihuly at the Catalina Island Museum
The Catalina Island Museum will present an exhibition of works by internationally renowned artist Dale Chihuly. The exhibition, Chihuly at the Catalina Island Museum, will open on March 26, 2017 and run through December 11, 2017. Chihuly, an American sculptor, has mastered the alluring, translucent and transparent qualities of ice, water, glass and neon, to create works of art that transform the viewer experience. He is globally renowned for his ambitious site-specific architectural installations in public spaces, and in exhibitions presented in museums and gardens worldwide. The exhibition...

Rainy Day Activities

Rainy Day Activities in Avalon Wondering what to do on Catalina Island on a rainy day? We've compiled a list of ideas to keep your day full of fun! Tour the Catalina Casino. The Casino Walking Tour is offered twice daily and lasts about 40 minutes. The Behind the Scenes Casino Tour is a little more in-depth. It lasts about 70 minutes and and is also offered twice a day. First run movies are shown in the Catalina Casino Movie Theatre each night at 7:30 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the Casino Box Office. Visiting the Catalina Island Museum , in it's new location on Metropole Avenue, is a...

A Step Back in Time: Holly Hill House

Holly Hill House
The Holly Hill House In 1888, Peter Gano, a civil engineer and talented craftsman from Pasadena, began building a beautiful Queen Anne architectural style cottage on Avalon’s southern hillside overlooking Avalon bay. Mr. Gano came to love the island when he was helping to create the island’s first fresh water system. Originally, the home was named “Lookout Cottage,” and Gano built the home almost completely by himself. Should you want to know who helped him build the cottage you will find a clue by looking up to the weather vane that sits atop the red cupola of the home. It is in the shape of...

A Step Back in Time: Hotel Atwater

Atwater Building The Atwater Building opened in time for the start of the 1920 summer season on July 1, less than a year after William Wrigley Jr. purchased the Santa Catalina Island Company. Wrigley hired David Malcom Renton, known as "DM", a Pasadena builder, to take charge of the project. It was the beginning of a work relationship and friendship that would last Wrigley’s lifetime. Wrigley often referring to DM as “my right hand.” Renton's other Catalina Island projects included Mt. Ada, Thompson Dam, Catalina Pottery, Casino Ballroom, Wrigley Memorial and El Encanto. The Hotel Atwater was...

Pigeon Mail Service

Catalina Island Homing Pigeon Service
Santa Catalina Island Homing Pigeon Service Up until 1894, the only way for Avalon to communicate with the mainland was to send messages to the mainland via the late afternoon steamship. The island was then owned by the Banning brothers, who had thought about laying cable between the mainland and island, but found it too expensive of an enterprise. It was then that two brothers, Otto and Oswald Zahn stepped up (or more correctly, flew up) to meet the needs of the community and its visitors. The Zahns created a homing pigeon service from Avalon to downtown Los Angeles. Once the carrier pigeon...

A Step Back in Time: Union Barracks

Civil War Barracks Catalina Island
Union Barracks Santa Catalina Island has the unusual distinction of having Union Barracks dating back to the Civil War. They were built in 1864 and are located at the island’s isthmus, now called Two Harbors. Lt. Col. James F. Curtis , in a scout report to his superiors, told of the two good harbors, available fresh water and the best weather in the southern part of the California coastline. The reason for the scouting of the island was smuggling. Southern California was full of Confederate sympathizers and the U.S. Army, Drum Barracks in San Pedro was concerned about Confederacy guns and...

Live at Descanso Beach Club - Summer Concerts on Catalina Island

Live at Descanso Beach As a follow up to the successful Castaway Concert Series of 2015, the Catalina Island Company, in conjunction with Xceptional Music, has launched Live at Descanso Beach for 2016. The concert series kicks off over Memorial Day Weekend with Smash Mouth live on May 28th. Smash Mouth is an American rock band from San Jose, California. The band was formed in 1994, and was originally composed of Steve Harwell (vocals), Kevin Coleman (drums), Greg Camp (guitar), and Paul De Lisle (bass). They are known for songs such as "Walkin' on the Sun" and "All Star." On July 8th we...

A&E's Born this Way

The cast of A&Es Born This Way television series spent the day at Descanso Beach Club last summer. The docu-series follows a group of seven young adults born with Downs Syndrome, along with their family and friends in Southern California. For more about this series, click to go to A&E . Watch the clip from Born This Way below.

A Step Back in Time: Incline Electric Railway

Incline Electric Railway - sometimes called “Angel’s Flight” after the funicular that was built in 1901 on Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill. In 1908, under the Banning Brother’s ownership of the island, Hancock Banning was the instigator and supervisor of the railway. The entrance was next to Avalon’s Greek amphitheater at the southeast end of Avenida de Cresenta (Crescent Avenue). The cart could hold twelve passengers and as it ascended the hillside up to Buena Vista Park (the point below Mt. Ada) a second cart would be descending down to Lovers Cove as a counter-balance. At the apex of the two...

Winter Wonderland at Descanso Beach

Winter Wonderland - Island Style! The Santa Catalina Island Company is hosting the 2nd Annual Winter Wonderland at Descanso Beach, December 4 to 6, 2015. Kids of all ages will have fun at Rudolph's Ice Rink, St. Nick's Snow Globe, where you can stand inside and have your photo take, Elf's Bounce House, the Mt. Blizzard Slide, the Nutcracker Snowboarding simulator and the Polar Express Train. Guests can also have their photo taken with Santa, create an ornament, have their face painted and play holiday themed carnival games. Enjoy tasty treats from Descanso Fresh likes hot cocoa, cider and...

Mt. Ada Now Open for Lunch

Mt. Ada Now Open for Lunch Reservation-based lunch launches to the public! The historic Mt. Ada began serving intimate lunches to the public on Tuesday, August 18. Available either on the patio or in Mt. Ada's dining room, lunch will be served from 11:30 – 2 PM daily for $48 per person (exclusive of tax & gratuity). Three courses are included, as well as fresh juice, soft drinks and coffee, and your choice of champagne, mimosa, wine or beer. The lunch menu features new American cuisine, and was designed by our executive chef with the support of the Catalina Island Company culinary team...

A Step Back in Time: Little Harbor Inn

If you had visited Santa Catalina Island in 1895, you might have taken a glorious stagecoach ride from Avalon to the Isthmus. It was the first stagecoach ride out of Avalon since that segment of the road had been completed in June of that year. Six horses began to climb the steep, rugged dirt road that led into the heart of the island and although the excitement and danger was enough to take your breath away, it was truly a spectacular trip of beautiful foliage and wild flowers set against a sunny bright blue sky that held you and your fellow passengers in awe. The island’s newest hotel, The...

REI Campout in Two Harbors

Camping on Catalina Island Two Harbors CA
First REI Campout in Two Harbors a Success! 70 outdoor enthusiasts ventured from the mainland to Two Harbors for the REI Campout on June 20 and 21. Kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and snorkeling filled the days while evenings consisted of campfires and s’mores and rustic relaxation. “We were excited to partner with REI to bring this event to Two Harbors,” said Todd Wade, SVP of Two Harbors Operations. “Two Harbors is host to many notable events like the Annual Wine Fest and Buccaneer Days, and we were thrilled to host this outing during National Great Outdoors Month.” In addition to camping...

Featured Recipe: Restaurant-Style Buffalo Chicken Wings

Restaurant-Style Buffalo Chicken Wings 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon salt 10 chicken wings oil for deep frying 1/4 cup butter 1/4 cup hot sauce 1 dash ground black pepper 1 dash garlic powder .................................................................................................................. 1. In a small bowl mix together the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Place chicken wings in a large nonporous glass dish or bowl and sprinkle flour mixture over them until they are evenly coated. Cover dish or bowl and...

A Step Back in Time: Catalina Tile

Catalina Pottery
In the early 1920’s, William Wrigley Jr. and David M. Renton were driving Mr. Wrigley’s car up by the Catalina Island golf course. It had been raining earlier in the day and as the gentlemen turned the car around, it became stuck in some clay-like mud. Mr. Renton wondered if the clay was good enough to make bricks. Mr. Wrigley told him to look into it. That began the use of clay bricks for building in Avalon as early at 1923. It was a department of the Santa Catalina Island Company. The Tile Factory and later the Catalina Tile and Pottery followed and became a prosperous business unto itself...

Point your boat out to Catalina Island

Map to Catalina Island
For adventurous skippers in Southern California, Catalina Island remains the most convenient and most enjoyable cruising destination available. Sure, if you’re financially independent or just quit your job, you may consider La Paz and the Sea of Cortez. For the rest of us, we’re more than happy to cross the channel and drop anchor for a long weekend in a protected bay on Catalina.

Blanche W. Set to Retire

Blanche W Catalina Island
Our wonderfully iconic “Blanche W.” will be saying goodbye to her millions of fans after 85 years of service, at the end of this summer. Built in 1924 “The Blanche,” as we all call her, has grown old and beyond being able to repair and maintain her to the standards of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Blanche W. is a 64-foot, 98-passenger, solid-wood vessel built just to watch the flying fish. Her World-War-I-era, 40-million candlepower searchlights shine on the sea at an angle that simulates the silver streak of a large predator fish, enticing the fish to fly out of the water and into visitors'...

Get Ready for Shipwreck Weekend 2015

Shipwreck Weekend, Two Harbors
Ahoy mates! Catalina Island’s party of the year is right around the corner with the 2nd annual Shipwreck Weekend kicking off April 10-12, 2015 at Two Harbors. A spring version of the popular Buccaneers Event that takes place every October, Santa Catalina Island Company is excited to host a castaway weekend of costume contests, live entertainment, DJ’s, treasure hunts and more.

Catalina Chimes Tower

First time visitors to Avalon are often deeply moved by the sights and sounds of this beautiful seaside hamlet. The iconic Catalina Casino is invariably the first sight most see as they approach the harbor, and often the first sound they hear once they arrive emanates from the hillside just above the Casino.

Mt. Ada

Mount Ada If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind Catalina weekend escape, look no further than Catalina Island’s icon, Mt. Ada. The famed 6-room bed & breakfast is home to the best views of Catalina Island, Avalon and the Pacific Ocean. Once the home of William Wrigley Jr. and his wife Ada, Mt. Ada, feels more like a private home rather than a hotel and the personalized service offered to each guest is second to none on the Island. This year, Santa Catalina Island Company (SCICo) is pleased and honored to announce it will assume management and operations of Mt. Ada! We know what you’re...

Golfing on Catalina Island

Catalina Island Golf
Catalina Island is home to the oldest golf course west of the Rocky Mountains. The scenic 2,100-yard course boasts nine holes and two sets of tees for 18 hole play. The course offers a fully stocked Pro Shop. There’s no need to worry about the hassle of bringing clubs over on the ferry – you can rent clubs, electric and pull carts.

Real Island Wedding at the Casino

Many say the most notable landmark on Catalina Island is the iconic beautiful Casino building. Perched along the harbor, the Art Deco circular icon has been the focal point of Santa Catalina Island entertainment and culture since it opened its doors over eighty years ago.

Rosie Cadman - Longtime Local

The longer you live in Avalon the more you become aware of the unique and wonderful people that are your friends and neighbors. Some of these individuals are especially unique for you know that they must have wings or a halo somewhere, for they truly are angels on earth. Rosie Cadman is such an individual. Her sunny and positive disposition shines through even in the gloomiest of times. Always ready to lend support and comfort, Rosie is a beacon of faith and love that has blessed us for the past seventy years of her living on the island. Rosie was born in Boston and moved out to the west...

Rose Ellen Gardner, A True Catalina Islander

We want to tell you a little bit about some of the wonderful people that call Avalon their home…Rose Ellen (Arno) Gardner is a true Islander and one of a few actually born on the island. Rose Ellen’s parents, Joe and Rose Arno arrived in Avalon in 1934 to run the local fish market eventually owning the market, Catalina Café, Arno’s Seafood Grotto and the ice concession.

Lolo Saldana, an Avalon Treasure

Lolo Saldana is an Avalon treasure. For the past 60 years he has run the local barber shop in the Island Plaza. Lolo’s is an island tradition, a place to gather and chat while waiting for your haircut and learning the latest Avalon news. Every kid in town knows that Lolo is always ready to give them a piece of bubblegum or candy when they stop in to say hello.

Island Spa Catalina

As construction continues on the former El Encanto building, the new destination spa is beginning to emerge and is due to open early summer. As with any eighty-two year old building, as the remodel progresses, some construction issues are beginning to pop up that need to be addressed. Most of these issues were anticipated, some were not. The main focus has been on the replacement of portions of the foundation in the entry tower.

Catalina Island Weddings

Romance is in full bloom this spring on Catalina Island! Spectacular views, a calm setting and a variety of venues to choose from ensure that couples and their guests have an experience to remember. Catalina Island Company’s team of skilled wedding planners make it their priority to plan dream weddings and guide each step of the planning process from choosing the perfect location to planning an exciting weekend for wedding guests.

Heli-Hiking & Biking

Just 26 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, adventure junkies can experience one of Catalina Island Company’s thrilling hands on, packaged experiences. Taking guests to new heights, the Heli-Adventures showcase breathtaking views and allow guests to explore the natural, uninhabited beauty of Catalina Island via helicopter, trail trekking or pedal power.

Get Ready for Shipwreck Weekend

Ahoy mates! Catalina Island’s party of the year is right around the corner with the 2nd annual Shipwreck Weekend kicking off April 11-12, 2014 at Two Harbors. A spring version of the popular Buccaneers Event that takes place every October, Santa Catalina Island Company is excited to host a castaway weekend of costume contests, live entertainment, DJ’s, treasure hunts and more.

Water Conservation on Catalina Island

“Water, water every where, nor any drop to drink.” These words were written in 1797 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his epic poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” They might well apply to our beautiful drought stricken island surrounded by a glistening salt water sea. However, the Catalina Island Company is taking major steps to see that it doesn’t happen to Avalon in particular or the Island as a whole. In the Catalina Island Company’s planning of several new projects, fresh water has been a major consideration for the Company, not only to reduce usage but to actually have their water...

Zip Away to Catalina

Looking for a quick and easy getaway from southern California that leaves room for plenty of thrills? Then look no further than Catalina Island Company’s zip line, offering adrenaline junkies an exotic experience just 26 miles away from Los Angeles. Guests are invited to propel down five separate zip stations dropping from 500 feet to 600 feet above sea level, with one stage that is up to 1,100 feet long!