Eco

Newport Coast Villas vacation, June 2012 Print

Having enjoyed two weeks at our timeshare last year so much, we decided to do the same thing this year. This was an excellent idea, because (1) it was, again, incredibly relaxing, (2) we enjoyed visits from friends and family, and (3) getting there isn't arduous. Also, did I mention that it was relaxing?

 

 

We did our usual thing of going to the Trader Joe's nearby for provisions before checking in, and after unpacking and storing the provisions, ate dinner in the unit. We spent the next two days reading and relaxing. Art and Ellen came down on Wednesday and we went to the Mission San Luis Rey just east of Oceanside, only to learn that the chapel and museum were closed for seismic retrofits. Would have been nice if they had posted that on their web site. We looked at what we could and determined that (1) there was some interesting plant life there and (2) the outside of this museum isn't nearly as pretty as Mission San Juan Capistrano.

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I opened the Diners TV app on my iPhone, which lists those establishments featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but there weren't any within an acceptable distance. We used Yelp! to locate numerous places in Oceanside and settled on Beach Break Cafe, which was great. We enjoyed a long lunch there and then headed to Balboa Island to walk the area. I found this hibiscus and posted it under the name "hibiscuit", which is what Jennifer called them when very young.

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We had dinner with Art and Ellen at the crow bar and kitchen, a huge favorite of ours located in Corona Del Mar. An indication of our much a favorite it is would be the fact that we had just eaten there the night before. Awesome food, beer selection, and bar service.

We walked around the following day so I could photograph the koi pond and we could both see the entire complex again. The pool area is enticing and so we took advantage of it extensively on a number of occasions.

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On Friday, Jennifer and Shannon came down and made haste to the pool, their plan being to spend maximum time at the pool while eating food from the grill there (which is quite good) and imbibing. I'm told that the margaritas, mojitos and all manner of other libations are good. We had dinner with them at The Bungalow the first night they were there; it was the first time any of us had been there and it was excellent. One of those places that's busy all the time and for good reason. The second night, we ate at Tommy Bahama's Island Grill again (we'd eaten there with them last year) and enjoyed it again, although the service was a little off. The table decoration was cool, and the food was good.

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What's cool (for me) about Tommy Bahama's is that I can walk across the lobby in the same structure and shop for another camp shirt. And yes, I always do that.

On Sunday (Father's Day) Duane brought Christopher and Brooklyn down and we all spent the afternoon at the pool. He had a hockey game that night so went home early, while the rest of us went to Balboa Island for dinner at Wilma's Patio. The food there is nothing to write home about, but it's more tasty than most places and, as the saying goes, it fills a void--and, there is stuff on the menu that fussy children will eat.

Christopher and Brooklyn stayed at Newport with Sue and me for two nights (two sleeps, as Christopher would say) and we spent much of that time on Balboa Island because they love it there. We played skee ball at the arcade, Sue and I watched them play on the beach, we rode the ferry to and from the Fun Zone, etc., etc. After skee ball we bought Icees for them (they both love Icees, which are disgustingly sweet).

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On their final day with us, we went to CPK in Fashion Island (a favorite of theirs) and I successfully asked them to pose for an iPhone photo one more time.

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We delivered them back home safe and sound, and returned to relax. We spent the next two days doing a bunch of nothing (what fun!) and then enjoyed having Christine and Kelsey visit us for our last two nights. Sue and Christine have been BFFs since kindergarten and Kelsey is (1) pretty much like our goddaughter and (2) godmother to Christopher and Brooklyn. We spent some time at the pool and had lunch again, and went to Balboa Island more than once--I had to get salt water taffy for Duane and Balboa Candy has a great selection.

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The next day we went to Crystal Cove for most of the day. If you saw the movie "Beaches" with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey, you'll remember the scenes at the beach cottage--that was filmed at Crystal Cove. Great beach, and the Beachcomber Café there has very good food. And, it's worth eating there because if you do, they validate your parking so you pay nothing to park at the parking lot. Otherwise, you'll pay $15 for parking. Anyway, it was a great day at the beach.

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The Beachcomber is always busy so we requested a table upon arrival. They give you a pager, you go set up on the beach, and you wait (patiently, I hope) for the pager to go off. Being used to the drill, this was fine--we didn't really care how long it took. After a while, it buzzed and we went up for lunch which, again, was great. The view from the cafe is lovely.

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After a nice day at the beach we came back to our villa, freshened up, and went to Balboa Island. We went to Olive Oil & Beyond--a great place for olive oil, balsamico and all manner of things connected therewith--and had dinner at Wilma's Patio. We walked around some more and had a Balboa bar, which is something everyone should do when on Balboa Island.

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We checked out the next day, wondering where the time went, and a week later decided that, rather than turning our weeks in for points, we should stay there again next year. And so, I made arrangements to do that and you'll hear from us again about the trip next year.

I took all the photos in this dialogue with my iPhone. I took all sorts of "big boy" photos with my D800 and my infra-red converted D200, and you can see those real photos by clicking the following thumbnail.