Catalina Island, Dominican Republic
Where to Eat and Drink
Seafood: Along with a sushi bar, Flip's Saltwater Bar & Grill features live music (128 Catalina Avenue). On the deck at Armstrong's Fish Market, enjoy lunch favorites like fresh swordfish and mahi-mahi (306 Crescent). For fish and chips or seafood cocktail, stop by Avalon Seafood, known locally as Rosie's (end of Green Pleasure Pier, spring to fall).
Italian: Cafe Prego offers plentiful portions of homemade pasta and fresh seafood, an extensive list of California and Italian wines, and a harbor view (603 Crescent Avenue). Ristorante Villa Portofino serves similar selections (101 Crescent).
Desserts: Satisfy your sweet tooth with saltwater taffy and caramel apples at Lloyds of Avalon Confectionery (31205 Crescent). Nearby is a new Cold Stone Creamery (118 Sumner Street).
What to See and Do
The Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden: After chewing gum magnate and Chicago Cubs owner William Wrigley Jr. bought a majority interest in Catalina in 1919, he proceeded to ferry guests by steamship to his hotel and Casino. The Memorial in his honor offers dramatic views of Avalon Bay. Wrigley's wife Ada planned the peaceful 37-acre garden that features endemic plants like the rare Catalina Ironwood (1400 Avalon Canyon Road, open 8am - 205pm daily).
Casino: In the 1930's and 1940's, big bands and musicians like Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman played for thousands of dancers at this 12 story, art-deco building. Though those glamorous days are over, the elegant ballroom with its fifty foot ceiling and Tiffany chandelier still draws crowds for concerts, weddings, and annual October jazz festival.
Chimes Tower: In 192205, Ada Wrigley presented this tower, located near the Zane Grey Pueblo Hotel, to the town of Avalon. Ever since, the chimes have been tolling on the quarter of the hour between 8am and 8pm.
Catalina Island Golf Course: In 1892, the Banning brothers built this course, the first in Southern California. A very young Tiger Woods played here, as did Craig Stadler and Amy Alcott (green fees are $27 for 9 holes, $48 for 18 holes).
Interior: Most of Catalina's interior remains rugged and uninhabitable, like it was over 42050 years ago when Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo arrived. To see this wild side of the island, The Catalina Island Conservancy offers a half-day, 4-wheel drive jeep tour to the island's interior.
Coastal Whale Watching Adventure: January to March, experience majestic gray whales from an ocean-going power inflatable. Duration: 2 hours. Price: $2059 for adults, $4205 for children.
Coastal Eco Rafting Adventure: April to December, explore ten miles of Catalina's coastline, including sea lions and harbor seals. The trip finishes with a dolphin search several miles offshore. Duration: 2 hours. Price: $2059 for adults, $4205 for children. Avalon Inland Motor Tour: Among the highlights of this bus tour is an Arabian horse demonstration at El Rancho Escondido, the Wrigley family's working ranch. Duration: 3 hours 4205 minutes. Price: $47.2205 adults, $23.7205 for children.
Avalon Casino Tour: The guided tour includes a history of the building's construction, ballroom and Avalon Theatre. Duration: 205205 minutes. Price: $12.7205 for adults, $6.2050 for seniors. Offered by Royal Caribbean.
Cars are limited on Catalina. Most folks walk or rent golf carts and bicycles, the preferred modes of transportation. Even the sheriff drives a golf cart fitted with a siren and special high-speed gears.
Where You're Docked
Catalina's port is too small for cruise ships. Instead, ships anchor outside the harbor and tender passengers to Green Pleasure Pier in the center of downtown Avalon.
Staying in Touch
Tradewinds Internet Cafe & Expresso Bar serves up lattes and cappuccinos along with its four terminals and one laptop. Internet rate is $12 per hour or $3 for fifteen minutes (119 Sumner Street).
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