CIVR Blog: Catalina Island collectibles

Catalina Pottery Factory

For generations, Catalina has offered a number of treasures for shoppers. Catalina Island pottery is still collected today. Photo courtesy of the Permanent Collection of the Catalina Island Museum

Catalina Island offers a myriad of souvenirs for vacationers. Avalon shopping includes art, jewelry, clothing, housewares, home décor and much more. For the true Catalina Island aficionado, this Southern California vacation paradise also offers a number of collectibles.

Catalina Pottery, made on the island in the 1920s, is a favorite Catalina Island collectible. With its distinctive colors and Art Deco style, Catalina Pottery complements nearly every décor. Highly sought after by collectors both on and off the island, pieces can sell for hundreds of dollars when sold by those who know what they have. On the other hand, stories abound of lucky individuals who have found valuable pieces at garage sales and thrift stores.

Another popular Catalina collectible is historic postcards. These colorful – or black and white – mementoes provide a glimpse into the past and are a decorative reminder of your favorite Southern California resort island when framed and displayed.

Catalina Island beaches provide other options for collecting. Seaglass, tossed by the waves and polished by rocks and sand, makes a perfect reminder of a Catalina Island vacation when tossed in a small glass jar. Seashells are another beach treasure ideal for collecting – just make sure your shell is unoccupied when you take it home.

CIVR Blog: Avalon Theatre

Photo courtesy Santa Catalina Island Company

Photo courtesy Santa Catalina Island Company

Island life is different from life on the mainland in many ways. Catalina Island residents are surrounded by spectacular natural beauty and a relaxed sense of pace that few take for granted.

Another aspect of island that no one ever takes for granted is going to the movies. Catalina Island has only one movie theatre and one movie a week, which shows nightly. While many residents might at times miss the selection of movies available on the mainland, none would exchange the theatre itself for that selection.

Catalina Island’s movie theatre is the Avalon Theatre, a spectacular circular space that composes the lower floors of the Catalina Casino. With fantastical art deco murals by the celebrated artist John Gabriel Beckman, the theatre is an awe-inspiring space no matter what is on the screen. Twinkling lights evocative of stars and a crowning fresco of the Birth of Venus, add to the drama as do art deco tragedy and comedy masks over each doorway. Built in 1929, the Avalon Theatre was one of the first movie theatres to be built for the then-innovative technology of movie sound.

Today, the Avalon Theatre stands as testament to the glamour and artistry of a bygone era. It is a must-see part of the Catalina Island experience – whether you live here for a lifetime or visit for a weekend.

CIVR Blog: Cocktails on Catalina Island

A raid on Vinegar Hill during Prohibition.

A raid on Vinegar Hill during Prohibition.

When most visitors think of alcohol on Catalina Island, they envision a tropical drink with a paper umbrella, a bucket of beer on the sand at Descanso Beach or a bottle of fine wine at a great restaurant. While that may be the current reality of Catalina alcohol, the history – particularly during Prohibition – is much more entertaining.

When the 18th amendment banning alcohol nationwide was implemented in 1920, along with the Volstead Act, which authorized its enforcement, Southern California was a much different place. The population was many magnitudes less, but like the rest of the country the Roaring ‘20s were – for most people – a time to circumvent Prohibition. Long a haven for smugglers, Catalina Island quickly became a stopping point and rendezvous point to avoid US Revenue Agents. Illegal booze was brought down from Canada and up from Mexico and smugglers made Catalina a favorite point to stash their stash before arranging for it to be brought to speakeasies on the Southern California mainland.

Residents on Catalina Island also made their own booze, particularly the Slavic immigrants who made wine on the hill between Whitley and Marilla avenues. Vinegar Hill, as it became known, was home to at least one now picturesque raid by revenuers.

These days, finding cocktails on Catalina Island is a simple matter of choosing your favorite watering hole.

A raid on Vinegar Hill during Prohibition.

A raid on Vinegar Hill during Prohibition.

CIVR Blog: Catalina wine mixer

Wine fans will find plenty to taste this September

Wine fans will find plenty to taste this September

This September is shaping up to be the perfect month to mix wine and a Catalina Island getaway. Two great wine events in Avalon will make for an ideal excuse for every oenophile.

The first event will bring a legendary festival to life at the Descanso Beach Club. Inspired by an event central to the action in the comedy StepBrothers, the Catalina Wine Mixer will bring together wine-tasting, gourmet food, live music and more on Sunday, Sept. 13. Headlined by the The Dan Band, seen in movies like The Hangover and Old School, the Catalina Wine Mixer will be $35 for adults and $20 for children.

Less than a week later, the Catalina Island Wine Festival will bring together more than 70 wineries along with appetizers, live music and an irresistible silent auction. The annual event is a primary fundraiser for the Catalina Island Women’s Forum’s mentoring program and attracts hundreds of local residents and visitors alike. Scheduled this year for Sept. 19, the Catalina Island Wine Festival will take place on South Beach, near Crescent and Claressa avenues, from 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $80 and are available online. Proceeds go towards college scholarships for senior women at graduation from Avalon High School.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island summer

Catalina’s warm waters are calling.

Southern California’s recent heat wave sometimes makes it difficult to remember that fall is just around the corner, but the time available for a summer getaway is quickly running out. Fortunately, one of the best times for a Catalina summer getaway is the last time for a Catalina summer getaway.

Santa Catalina Island has seen record crowds this summer, with perfect weather and a wealth of new activities and experiences creating an irresistible combination for Southern California travel enthusiasts. Most Catalina island visitors think they’ve got to wait until fall to beat those summer crowds, but the last two weeks of August often offer a chance for a Catalina Island summer vacation without quite as many fellow travelers. Many schools are back in session beginning August 24 and for those that aren’t, parents are often making last minute preparations for when school does start. For those who can escape school obligations, Catalina Island in late summer offer the perfect respite from the mainland, with cooler temperatures, sea breezes and a carefree attitude perfect for this idyllic Island.

Catching that last wave of summer for a Catalina Island vacation is even easier, thanks to Catalina Island Vacation Rentals. CIVR will be offering an end-of-summer special offer of 50 percent off on stays between August 23 and August 27 (must reserve by August 22, certain restrictions apply).

CIVR Blog: Avalon library

Avalon Library

Avalon Library

Catalina Island visitors have a wide range of opportunities to discover the many adventures of this Southern California vacation destination, but for many travelers a Catalina Island vacation wouldn’t be a vacation without some time spent on the beach with a good book. Or some time spent posting photos on Facebook. Or even some quick time checking email.

All of that – and more – can happen at the Avalon branch of the Los Angeles County Library. With a generous collection of best sellers, as well as children’s books, non-fiction, a travel section and DVDs, the Avalon library is popular with visitors and locals alike. Anyone who resides in the state is eligible to apply for a library card and – just in case you forget to return your book before you leave, books can be returned to any Los Angeles County library branch. The Avalon library also features free wifi and computers available for public use.

Recently the Friends of the Avalon Library received a grant and they are currently developing a series of educational lectures that will be focused on Catalina Island.

The Avalon Library is located at 215 Sumner Avenue. The library is closed on Sunday and Monday, but has generous hours the other five days. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday it is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the Avalon Library is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

CIVR Blog: Catalina art festival

art festival 2

Fall is festival season in Avalon and one of the biggest festivals is also the oldest. For more than half a century, the Catalina Island Festival of Art has brought artists and art fans together in the middle of September. Scheduled this year for Sept. 18 to 20, this popular weekend attracts artists from throughout the country, who set up booths along Crescent Avenue, sharing their inspiration and creations with hundreds of art fans who return year after year for the festival.

Free for the public, the Catalina art festival provides a wealth of opportunities to experience – and purchase – art in a variety of mediums, including oil, photography, watercolors, mixed media and crafts. Catalina Island itself is a frequent inspiration, with much of the art created either on or about Santa Catalina. A children’s art competition brings out some of the next generation of artists, who vie for a prizes including an array of art supplies.

The festival is organized by the Catalina Art Association, one of Catalina Island’s oldest organizations. In addition to the Catalina art festival in September, the association also organizes a spring festival and operates an art gallery in the lobby of US Bank.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Family Reunion


Undersea Expedition

Undersea Expedition

Catalina Island, with its wide range of activities and easy access from the Southern California mainland is a destination for all reasons and seasons. One of the best special occasions to get away to Santa Catalina Island is a family reunion. Avalon offers a number of relaxing spots for catching up with family or bond together over an exciting new activity like parasailing, ziplining or snorkeling. Dining options run the gamut from burgers and fries for the kids to culinary creations sure to please even the pickiest foodies in the family.

Catalina Island Vacation Rentals is the perfect choice for Catalina family reunion accommodations. With quaint cottages, exclusive Hamilton Cove Villas and Avalon condos all available, CIVR offers Catalina Island family lodging options for just about any budget. All the comforts of home mean your family will be able to spend time together over a meal – and argue over who gets dish duty. As the day comes to close, your Catalina Island vacation rental will come to be your home away for home, with room for relaxing, family game night or just long talks into the wee hours.