Indeed, the moment you cross the bridge and enter Marine Avenue of Balboa Island, you're immediately transported into another world.
Balboa Island is a charming community of beach-inspired boutiques and All-American ice cream shops and a myraid of restaurants. It is also a place that is oozing Southern California architecture, Mediterranean homes, harbors filled with luxury yachts and wide stretches of sand lined with quaint beach homes.
It was a chilly morning and the streets were still quiet when I arrived. The first thing I noticed were the luxury houses overlooking the sea and was amused to see this big CosmetiCare - Plastic Surgery Specialists building along the street. Needless to say, this is big business in LA!
The morning fog hung in the air for most part of the day.
Walking down Marine Avenue, the main business street, I was charmed by the little boutiques selling knick knacks, clothes, flip flops and beach wear.
It is easy to get a sense of nostalgia here.
The frozen banana is a must-eat around here. I had one of course.
Even though the air was chilly, I couldn't resist the hot chocolate fudge sundae sprinkled with pecan brittle. It was amazing!
At the end of the street, I turned and walked along the pier that is lined with beautifully decorated beach houses. Most of these are holiday homes owned by the rich and famous, like the one below which has many sculptures in the living room including John Wayne's. I heard he has a house in Balboa. Could this be the one?
These houses come with private jetties too.
There's even a Statue of Liberty in someone's yard.
It was just days away from Halloween, many houses were elaborately decorated.
After admiring the gorgeous homes, I took a ferry to Balboa Peninsula just across the waters. The ferries bring cars (maximum 3) and people across for a small fee. It's US$1 per person.
Balboa Peninsula is a neighbourhood city of the Newport Beach.
The carpark was filled with cars but the beach was rather empty because of the cold.
Most families were having Sunday brunch in the local restaurants like Ruby's or Cab Cantina.
After a quick walkabout, I took a ferry back to Balboa Island. It was not the right day to be at the beach.