Escape to the Other ‘Catalina’ for October’s Jazz Trax, Two Harbors and Buccaneer Days

October 2, 2009

MARINA DEL REY, Calif., Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ — Many world travelers list Catalina, just 26 miles off L.A.’s coast, on their “bucket list” of must-see destinations, whether they hail from Japan, Germany, down under Australia, or Pasadena. “It’s amazing how many Southern California residents have never been here,” comments Ron Hoffman of the Catalina-Marina del Rey Flyer based in Marina del Rey – http://www.CatalinaFerries.com. “Nearly every day, we greet locals joining their visiting guests, all on their first trip to this 27-mile-long island jewel, or for that matter, sending visiting ‘Aunt Susie’ by herself on a quick vacation to, frankly, get her out of the house for a while.”

A trip to Catalina is like stepping back in time. The pace is slower, the water is clearer, and there’s always time to savor a conversation as much as a glass of wine. While today’s Catalina is a vacation paradise, its rich history as a Wrigley family playground, spring training locale for the Chicago Cubs, buffalo grazing grounds and as a movie location for over 500 productions, the island offers plenty to explore.

Catalina Island is much more then the well-recognized City of Avalon, home to about 5,000 residents, and famous as a tourist attraction for its quaintness, charming hotels, restaurants, and shopping. “The Other Catalina” – the Village of “Two Harbors” about 11 miles west of Avalon – has become a must-go destination. After a few hours exploring Avalon, consider a trip to Two Harbors, or better yet, make it your primary destination. Two Harbors – the Isthmus Cove and Catalina Cove – is a playground for boaters and visitors wanting to explore the natural side of Catalina.

A short high-speed jet catamaran ride from Avalon or Marina del Rey takes passengers to this tiny enclave of “Two Harbors.” It’s about as far away from the bustling Los Angeles metropolis as you can get … and it only takes about 90 minutes on the “Marina Flyer.”

The active adventurer can choose snorkeling or scuba since the Two Harbors area offers one of the best dive sites available on the Pacific Coast, with incredible visibility, fish-filled waters and prolific reefs. Rentals, air tank fill, first-timer education and even a children’s dive camp are offered. “Many new divers get certified at Two Harbors; it’s such a terrific dive spot,” says Hoffman, who was certified there himself.

A new glass-bottom kayak and back-country tours are favorites, while up-close and personal drives in a Mercedes-Benz Unimog and Jeep Eco-Tour are popular. If romance or just kicking back with the family in a quiet corner of the world is more your speed, Two Harbors offers a pristine beach, barbecue and picnic grounds, restaurants, outdoor dance floor for weekend band or DJ music, nearby cabin and camp facilities and the historic 1910 Banning House Lodge, now a B&B. Built as a hunting lodge and summer home by the Wrigley family, Banning House offers fabulous views of both harbors and wonderful hospitality, and even hosts weddings.

Once a year, the other “Catalina” takes on a different personality during Buccaneer Days. This year’s date, October 3rd, during Catalina’s Jazz Trax Festival in Avalon, is when all things “pirate” descend on the village of Two Harbors. Each year gets more elaborate as visitors and locals escalate the celebration, complete with costumes and lots of frivolity.

“A Catalina vacation starts right here on the dock,” quips Hoffman. “Our Marina del Rey ferry terminal is only 10 minutes north from LAX, so it’s really easy to hop an airport cab or park in the adjacent lot then hop on our ferry. Once onboard, your vacation is underway. It’s as much about a very enjoyable ocean voyage as it is about Catalina itself. Our crew understands that guests are on vacation and the Catalina Marina del Rey flyer (ranked #1 by Trip Advisor as the best activity in Marina del Rey) delivers the best guest experience by ferry to Catalina. We’re also excited to see whales in the Catalina channel all year long, in addition to the pods of hundreds of dolphins that frolic here daily and often follow the boat. The captain tries to get as close as possible to get a good view,” comments Hoffman. Of course, drinks and snacks available at the cozy bar help get the party started, and every guest has a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and the sights.

A visit to Two Harbors is guaranteed to create an unforgettable memory. Getting to Catalina is easier than you think from L.A.

More Catalina Travelers’ Tips:

Catalina Ferries from Marina del Rey to Avalon and Two Harbors: http://www.CatalinaFerries.com

Banning House Lodge, Two Harbors: http://www.visitcatalinaisland.com/twoHarbors/lodg_banningHouse.php

Buccaneer Days in Two Harbors, Catalina: http://www.catalinaferries.com/bucday08.htm

Cruise Ship Schedule – Visiting Catalina: http://www.catalinachamber.com/community/community-cruise


    Ron Hoffman

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SOURCE Catalina-Marina del Rey Flyer

Source: newswire

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