For as long as I’ve been living (31 years, to be exact!), I’ve spent my summers down in Newport Beach with my family (with the exception of last summer because I was looking for my future apartment in NYC!) We are blessed with rental properties on the beachfront that my Grandmother, Violet, so wisely invested in before I was even born. I have very fond memories of this Orange County beach town and I wanted to share some of my favorite places to take in the sights, eat, and play while visiting since summer is fast approaching! Oh, and if you’re interested in renting one of the properties we have, call Cannery Rentals and ask for any of the Gilmore properties (949-675-4606)!
First of all, most people go to the beach to lay out under the sun and work on their tan, but for me (whitey over here) I’ve actually never gotten a tan in my life….just lobster red from time to time. My beach vacations were taken up digging tunnels in the sand neck deep and venturing out to the end of the rock jetty’s during high tide to pretend I was Ariel from The Little Mermaid. The daily trip to the candy store and donut shop down by the pier was a must and rollerblading (!) was (okay, maybe still is!) my favorite activity. Now that I’ve grown a little I can still appreciate my childhood memories, but I am drawn to the food more than I ever was before. My absolute favorite must do thing while I’m down in Newport is grab a pizza at Original’s. Its THE best. You’ll need a few days here to really take in all the sights (and food!) so be prepared to stay the weekend.
Start your day with some physical activity (because you’ll be doing ALOT of eating). Our house is on 31st, so I usually walk or jog along the boardwalk down to 15th street (where the elementary school is) and back.
On the way back, stop at Seaside Bakery for a croissant or donut…but note that it’s cash only.
Take a breather on the beach. Play some card games if you’re up for it.
Take a dip in the ocean and cool off before heading down to the pier again (more walking!) for a slice or a whole pie at Original pizza. Seriously, this pizza is so delicious with it’s super crispy soda bread crust and greasy cheese and toppings. Be aware that it is cash only (they literally have a sign saying “in God we trust, all others pay cash”) and that the pizza is extremely hot when it comes out of that huge vintage pizza stove. I think I love this place even more because it holds sentimental value for me. My grandma loved this pizza…she even knew the old owner, Sam, when the place was once called Original Sam’s.
On the way back to your beach towels, stop at Pipeline for a frozen banana (yes, I was eating these WAAAYYY before Arrested development was around!)
Now you’ll definitely be needing another dip in the ocean with all that walking. Hang out on the beach for a bit and fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing just feet from your toes.
After your nap, take a stroll (or a hop) on the “rocks”. I would always venture out to the end and sit while the waves crashed and sprayed mist on me and my friends.
You’ve probably had enough sun by now and want to go in and freshen up before dinner time.
For dinner, you should head down the boardwalk to the pier again and stop at The Crab Cooker (there is also another, less crowded location in Tustin off the 55). Of course, the king crab legs are the thing to try on the menu (share with someone!), but everything is great here! The manhattan clam chowder (red instead of white), crab cakes, and scallop skewers are all favorites!
For your second day of festivities, start with a walk over to the bay and take a look at the boats in the harbor. Stop in to Alta Coffee to grab a pastry and coffee.
Lunch at Ho Sum bistro– You must try the combo salad. It is out of this world delicious.
Dinner at Mama D’s. Their second (original) location is in Manhattan Beach, but this eatery is a welcome addition to the NB area. The waitstaff is super friendly (they win awards every year!), their food is flavorful and the portions are huge! I LOVE their eggplant parmesan and the fra diavolo sauce is so so good!
After all the eating and festivities, my family usually sits at the dinner table back at our house and plays games until the wee hours of the morning. We laugh, we drink, and we play. It is truly a joyous week of spending time with family and friends that I look forward to each year.
Other destinations to try: taco shop- bear flag?, Pescadou, Whimsical Gelato, Hotel- it is rumored that Michael Jackson stayed here!!
What kinds of things do you like to do on your summer vacation?