logo-print

CIVR Blog: Catalina Island Medical Center

12:04 pm
Catalina Island Medical Center is located on Falls Canyon Road

Catalina Island Medical Center is located on Falls Canyon Road

With about 4,000 year round residents, Catalina Island is not only one of the top Southern California vacation destinations, it’s also a vibrant community filled with children and parents, teachers and students, employees and bosses. Like any community, Catalina has a school, churches and a hospital. Now known as Catalina Island Medical Center, Avalon’s hospital was built in 1960 to serve the needs of the island’s residents and visitors – a job it continues to do to this day.

CIMC employs three full-time physicians, who see patients in its doctors’ offices as well as in the hospital. The 12-bed hospital has a laboratory, radiology department, emergency room and physical therapy department as well as a in-patient care for the island’s skilled nursing patients. Routine medical care is handled Monday through Friday at the Medical Group Office, while the emergency department in the hospital is staffed 24 hours a day. While more severe trauma cases are flown to the mainland via specially equipped helicopter, the vast majority of cases can be addressed on the island. Catalina Island Medical Center sees several thousand patient visits and more than 1200 emergency room visits a year.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Conservancy Ball

2:14 pm
The Catalina Island Conservancy Ball will help support efforts to the protect the Catalina Island fox. Photo by Jack Baldelli, Courtesy Catalina Island Conservancy.

The Catalina Island Conservancy Ball will help support efforts to the protect the Catalina Island fox. Photo by Jack Baldelli, Courtesy Catalina Island Conservancy.

Catalina Island’s unspoiled natural beauty has intrigued generations – and thanks to the Catalina Conservancy, it will continue to offer a respite from the unbridled development on the mainland. Charged with preserving the island in its natural state in perpetuity, the Catalina Conservancy is responsible for nearly 90 percent of the island.

Supported by grants and donations, the non-profit Conservancy is also the beneficiary of the one of the most elegant events on the island. Each year, the Catalina Conservancy Ball fills the Casino Ballroom with tuxedoes and ball gowns for a gala event that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars. This year marks the 20th Catalina Conservancy Ball and organizers are celebrating with an emerald theme and a tagline of Leaping Lizards.

With more than $4.5 million raised over the last two decades, the Conservancy Ball is one of the organization’s most important events. The first ball was co-hosted by the Corsair Yacht Club, and this year the club will reprise its role. The evening will include dinner and dancing as well as a silent and live auction. The fun begins at 6 p.m. on April 11. Invitations may be requested here.

CIVR Blog: How big is Catalina Island

5:01 pm
Catalina Island's coastline stretches over 54 miles.

Catalina Island’s coastline stretches over 54 miles.

“How big is Santa Catalina Island?” is one of the most common questions asked by visitors. How to answer the question depends on just what parameters you want to measure.

One of the easiest answers is length. Catalina stretches about 22 miles from the East End, past Avalon, to Land’s End, on the island’s rugged West End. Width is a harder question to answer. At Two Harbors, Catalina narrows to its narrowest point — the Isthmus is just about half a mile wide. On the other extreme is Long Point, where about eight miles separate the windward side from the leeward side.

Catalina’s coastline is about 54 miles and offers everything from gentle sand beaches and secluded bays to dramatic cliffs and imposing pinnacles.

With steep valleys and sheer cliffs as well as gentle meadows and compelling flora, Catalina Island’s interior is a fascinating expanse wilderness that stretches across about 75 square miles. As any hiker, mountain biker or marathoner knows, those 75 square miles are far from flat. The island has dramatic elevation changes and Mt. Orizaba, the island’s highest point, reaches 2,097 feet above sea level.

However you measure it, Catalina Island is big enough to explore for a lifetime.

CIVR Blog: Catalina off season

8:11 pm
Visitors to Catalina Island in the off-season discover a unique destination

Visitors to Catalina Island in the off-season discover a unique destination

When the Banning Brothers first began developing Catalina Island as a tourist destination back in the early 19th century, Avalon was seen as a seasonal destination. For generations, visiting Catalina was something that was only done in the summer months. From Labor Day until Memorial Day, the island’s visitor services were minimal – the joke was that “would the last person to leave the island after Labor Day please turn off the lights?” Restaurants closed their doors, busses stopped running and tour boats were hauled from the water.

These days, visiting the island is something that happens 12 months of the year. Hours may change, but restaurants stay open nearly year-round and – while not every activity is available as readily in February as it is in July – there’s still plenty to do 365 days of the year.

What most off-season visitors discover is that discovering Catalina off season gives them an entirely new perspective on this Southern California destination. While they may trade expansive hours, what they get in return is hillsides greened by rain, uncrowded activities and a destination that welcomes them with enthusiasm. Thanks to Southern California’s normally mild temperatures, they can also expect mild winters and sunny skies.

CIVR Blog: Wrigley Botanic Garden

5:19 pm
Exploring at the Wrigley Botanic Garden

Exploring at the Wrigley Botanic Garden

Thanks to the 20 or so miles separately Catalina Island from the rest of Southern California, flora and fauna have had a chance to evolve separately, creating unique species found nowhere else on earth. One of the most charismatic of these island natives is the Catalina Island fox, a diminutive cousin to grey foxes that is a subspecies found only on Santa Catalina.

While the Catalina Island fox may steal the spotlight, Catalina is also home to a number of additional endemic species. Catalina Island Mountain Mahogany, Catalina Ironwood and St. Catherine’s Lace are just a few of the plant species found nowhere else on earth.

One of the best places to learn more about Catalina’s native plant life is at the Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden, located at the top of Avalon Canyon Road. A 30-minute walk from town, the garden is a 37-acre showcase of California island endemic plants, as well as succulents and other desert plants. The garden was originally planted at the direction of Ada Wrigley, wife of William Wrigley, Jr. She had desert plants brought from around the world to create the original garden in 1935. More than 30 years later, the garden was revitalized and expanded and plants from all of the Channel Islands were planted.

The garden is open daily and can be reached by trolley, golf cart or on foot.

CIVR Blog: Catalina Marathon

7:43 pm
Catalina's terrain challenges runners

Catalina’s terrain challenges runners

Catalina Island has become a world-class destination for long-distance athletes. With rugged terrain and spectacular vistas, the island is a perfect alternative to city-based marathons across flat, asphalt –finished roads. Spanning the traditional marathon length of 26 miles, the Catalina Marathon begins in Two Harbors and traverses the island – taking athletes across dirt roads and along hiking trails; rewarding them with awe-inspiring views and bringing them face to face with compelling wildlife like American bison and bald eagles.

As part of Spectrum Sports Management’s array of athletic events, the Catalina Marathon benefits from the company’s broad base of race management experience. The race benefits the Catalina Island Conservancy, the non-profit organization responsible for preserving the island in perpetuity.

This year’s Catalina Island Marathon is scheduled for Saturday March 14. Marathoners will begin in Two Harbors and finish in Avalon. For those looking to cheer the runners through the streets as they finish, the first runners will complete the race less than three hours after the start. Athletes looking to take on the challenge of Catalina Island but who are perhaps not quite ready for the dramatic distance and challenging elevation changes of the Catalina Marathon; may want to take on the Catalina 10K and 5K, both held the same day in and around Avalon. Kids can also take on the Kids 5K.

CIVR Blog: CIVR profile

12:33 pm
Jamie Hmielak

Jamie Hmielak

Catalina Island Vacation Rentals is not just the Avalon homes and cottages, Hamilton Cove Villas, Two Harbors Casas and Avalon condos that it represents, it’s also the dedicated staff that loves the island and loves making Catalina vacation dreams a reality. Today’s post is part of an on-going series introducing our CIVR family to you.

Jamie Hmielak is the manager of operations at Catalina Island Vacation Rentals. He loves the variety his job offers and doing different things every day.

After nearly eight years on the island, his favorite things about Catalina are the weather and being surrounded by the ocean. Jamie’s ideal day is on his boat fishing. Jamie encourages everyone who visits Avalon to explore the rest of the island. “Many think Avalon is all that is here,” he said. “Catalina has much more to offer than just Avalon.”

 

CIVR Blog: Catalina Art

11:05 am
The Catalina Art Gallery recently opened.

The Catalina Art Gallery recently opened.

Surrounded by the sea and the blessed by an abundance of natural beauty, Santa Catalina Island has been a muse for artists for thousands of years. Native islanders carved totems, plein air artists captured natural vistas and photographers pushed the digital envelope thanks to the inspiration of Catalina.

For more than half a century, one organization has worked to bring artists living on and inspired by Santa Catalina together. The Catalina Art Association, best known for organizing the Catalina Art Festival, also works year round to promote art, support artists and contribute to art education. The Catalina Art Festival, held each year in September, brings thousands of art aficionados to the island and in April, the Catalina Art Fair and Exhibition is becoming another must-do art event on Catalina Island.

In January, CAA took another big step in promoting art on Catalina Island by opening the Catalina Art Gallery. Made possible through the collaboration of USBank of Avalon, the new gallery space showcases a variety of local artists, creating in a variety of mediums. Local artists show up to four items each and also volunteer as docents. The Catalina Art Gallery is located in the foyer of USBank on Crescent Avenue.

CIVR Blog: Profile — Denny Honsey

12:32 pm
CIVR General Manager Denny Honsey

CIVR General Manager Denny Honsey

Catalina Island Vacation Rentals is not just the Avalon homes and cottages, Hamilton Cove Villas, Two Harbors Casas and Avalon condos that it represents, it’s also the dedicated staff that loves the island and loves making Catalina vacation dreams a reality. Today’s post is part of an on-going series introducing our CIVR family to you.

CIVR General Manager Denny Honsey has lived on Catalina Island for about 12 years. He finds the vast majority of CIVR’s owners, guests and neighbors are terrific and on the rare occasions that an issue does arise, he enjoys solving the problem.

Denny’s favorite things about Catalina Island are the views, the people and the way the influx of visitors complements the small town atmosphere. He loves to getaway to the interior for a hike and enjoy the amazing views Catalina offers. He encourages all of Catalina’s visitors to do the same as well as take time to explore the Casino on a backstage tour and enjoy Avalon’s live music venues.

 

CIVR Blog: Catalina Silent Film Benefit

12:44 pm
The Catalina Casino will host the Silent Film Benefit on May 16.

The Catalina Casino will host the Silent Film Benefit on May 16.

One of Catalina Island’s most enduring events has been enjoying renewed popularity. The Catalina Island Museum’s annual Silent Film Benefit combines the power of a live orchestra with the nostalgia of silent films.

Held for nearly 30 years, the Catalina Silent Film Benefit has spotlighted some of the most iconic films ever made and 2015 will see another icon brought to the Avalon Theatre. The Phantom of the Opera was considered ground-breaking when it was first filmed and the story’s popularity has continued to resonate, thanks to the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. The 1925 film starred Lon Chaney as the title character and was remarkable for several innovations. For the Silent Film Benefit, the film’s dramatic score will be performed live by a 30-piece orchestra, accompanied by a soprano soloist.

The Silent Film Benefit tends to sell out early and with the popularity of Phantom of the Opera, museum staff recommends advance ticket sales. Tickets are $20 for museum members and $24 for non-members and can be purchased by calling the museum at (310) 510-2414 or visiting the museum website. The Silent Film Benefit will be held on Sunday, May 16, at 1 p.m.