Balboa Pavilion in Newport Beach, CA
I love the word pavilion. It conjures up images of spacious grand structures, where fun things happen. The Balboa Pavilion has been having some fun since it opened on Newport Bay in 1906.
Ferry from the Island
Don and I were visiting Balboa island in May of 2014, when we realized we could catch the ferry across the bay to the iconic waterfront pavilion and recreation area.
It was a pretty fun little trip, watching the sailboats and glide by. We could see the ferris wheel, palms and the flag waving on the top of the ornate cupola.
Seeing the pavilion from the water, was ideal. You could imagine the ballroom on the second level, where there was no charge for dancing, unless you wanted to dance in the roped off area in the center.
In the 1930's, during the Big Band Era, Goodman, Basie and the Dorseys played here. There were also dance marathons in the ballroom, where contestants danced until they could dance no more!
I've always been curious about the seaside bathhouse world at the turn of the century. When I visit nearby Galveston, I have to just imagine those Victorian structures. They're all gone.
It was just an hour ride on the new Pacific Electric Railway from downtown Los Angeles in 1906.
The whole lower floor was a bathhouse, so travelers could change from their city clothes for a day at the beach. There were even options for renting bathing suits. For those who would rather look at bathing suits, in the 1920's there were bathing suit parades with judges of course.
The look is not so impressive today. But at least the pavilion continues to run. And there was a very cute Balboa Bakery on the corner with a fun old Donuts sign.
The entrance on the street is a little too modernized for my taste, but at least there was a restaurant on the lower level, so we could enjoy the once grand place.
Bar and Restaurant
My bar image is not too impressive, with tourists on cell phones and ball caps. Not one of those long striped bathing suits in sight anywhere! But we took a window seat and ordered some wine and 4-dollar small plates to celebrate the "Longest Happy Hour in Town" (11-7)
It would have been fun to have dined there at night with dim lighting, so we could imagine the Victorian crowds or the gambling and dancing crowds that came in later years. But, how could we complain? We had a "lunch" for a few bucks and a window where we could watch kids taking sailing lessons, or a mini parade of flag covered yachts.
A Step Back in Time?
Our dining adventure at the Pavilion didn't really give take us back in time to experience a different era. (too many tourists around us) But the world we watched from our table, was just as foreign as a different time period. Someday I'll have a dining adventure on a sailboat or yacht!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.