Catalina Island

Catalina Island is perhaps my favorite place on earth.
One hour ferry ride from the California coast.
Life slows down.
No cars.
Everything within walking distance.

It’s one of those vacation spots where you spend a good part of an afternoon collecting “for sale” fliers of all the beach front homes. You walk the streets imagining what it would take to transfer your complicated, over-scheduled life to the calm and peace you find here. We could just open up a bed-and-breakfast, you tell your husband. We could get rid of all of our “stuff”.  I could homeschool the kids. They would be barefoot all the time. We would be characters in a Nicholas Sparks novel. And it would be magical. 

This was our first Catalina trip as a family of four and I was nervous that our boys “energy and spirit” wouldn’t allow this visit to feel like a vacation at all. I was never so happy to be so wrong in all my life. It was almost as if the boys could sense the shift in energy and they responded accordingly.

We all took a breath. Walked slowly. Lived in the moment. Abandoned schedule and routine. And I watched as the magic I remember from my childhood transcended into this new stage of our life. There’s also something pretty cool about bringing your kids back, year after year, to the spot where you went on your honeymoon.

Wesley cried when we had to leave.
And to be perfectly honest, Ben and I got a bit choked up too.
Until next year.



















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  • Reply
    Susan @ Living with Punks
    October 22, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Ahhhh…Catalina! We go there about 6 times per year. My mom has a home there, so it makes it real simple to hop on the boat and go over for a few days at a time. You are so right, the pace is much slower and relaxed. I definitely feel less stressed there…. I think we all do! I’m really loving all the improvements they are making too. Bringing in nicer restaurants and Descanso is divine!!

  • Reply
    lucy at dear beautiful
    October 22, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    This looks like an amazing trip, so beautiful. And I can’t believe the size of that cone, wow! x

  • Reply
    Dee Williamson
    October 22, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Sounds like it was a perfect vacation! I wish we had a place like that here. At least I have one claim: Nicholas Sparks movies were filmed here in North Carolina. I drove up to the house from Nights in Rodanthe and snapped a couple of pictures!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    That looks and sounds like absolute HEAVEN!

  • Reply
    lindsay roberts
    October 22, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Looks like such a relaxing trip Ash. I do that all the time. Imagine myself living where life could be slower. Miss you!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Gorgeous. Glad you had fun.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2013 at 1:42 am

    So happy you all had a relaxing time. You could tell by the smiles on your faces.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2013 at 1:58 am

    wow they have really made some changes since we were there last. not even one line of boats and yachts and closures all over the island. we wanted to see the horse ranch but something was going on and no visitors that day. were you able to visit it ?
    Thank you for sharing and injecting a lot of hope into our outlook on our economy and progress. Poor Calif. needs all the help we can get.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2013 at 2:21 am

    So, how did your husband respond to your ideas? Hehe

    I wish for a life like that!

  • Reply
    Auntie Bubbie
    October 23, 2013 at 3:05 am

    Had such a wonderful time with you guys there. Can’t wait to make long lasting family memories there year after year.

  • Reply
    Jenn Zaruka
    October 23, 2013 at 4:59 am

    Thank you so much for this post, Ashley. My family and I will be visiting later this year and now I am even more excited for our first visit. I am so glad I found your blog while doing some research earlier this year. Keep up the good work!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Love Catalina!! We went there on a school trip when I was in jr high. So much fun!

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Brings back great memories!!! I grew up in So. Cal.. Our family had a boat and on Saturday mornings Dad would say “Let’s go to Catalina, it’s only 26 miles”.

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