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Archives for June 2012

Balboa Island, CA USA

Balboa Island offers a small town vibe amid sprawling Newport Beach and Orange County.  Driving over the bridge from Newport Beach onto the Island, you’ll be on Marine Avenue, Balboa Island’s main street, lined with shops with colorful flags and awnings, and a lot of red, white and blue.

Balboa Island is a comfortable place for a summer stroll.

This small piece of paradise is an ideal place to enjoy a relaxing walk, once you find a parking spot.  The residential streets are narrow and, since the entire perimeter of the island is less than a two mile walk, you can park anywhere, walk around the island, and be back at your car in about an hour (just remember the name of the street where you parked!).

Walking around Balboa Island is a comfortable experience. The boardwalk is smooth and flat, lined with beautiful bay front homes, private docks, and a front-row view of the array of boats cruising Newport Harbor.

Related: Check Real Time Traffic Conditions to Balboa Island & across California
Marine Avenue features an array of unique boutiques, restaurants and ice cream shops featuring chocolate dipped frozen bananas and ‘Balboa Bars,’ vanilla ice cream on a stick dipped in chocolate and colorful sprinkles.

Balboa Island is the place to enjoy a frozen banana or ice cream bar while shopping.

You can hop on the ferry (in your car or on foot) for a five minute ride across the bay to the Balboa Peninsula, where the Balboa Fun Zonefeatures a bayside Ferris wheel, arcade games, along with boat rentals and tours.

Balboa Island will be decked out in red, white and blue for Fourth of July week and other summer holidays.  It’s also a good place to catch the Old Glory Boat Parade on July 4th,  sponsored by the American Legion Yacht Club.

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Balboa Island, CA USA

Balboa Island, CA is a seaside getaway in Orange County. It offers a small town feel on the edge of sprawling Newport Beach.

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[img src=]40Balboa Island in Orange County has a ferry to take drivers, bikers, skaters and pedestrians from Balboa Island to the Balboa Peninsula.
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Nearby attractions:  Newport Beach Fashion Island, Corona del Mar, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach.





Opa! VC Greek Festival comes to Camarillo

Members of the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church are cooking up a storm, preparing for this weekend’s Ventura County Greek Festival.  If you love all things Greek, there are several reasons you’ll want to hop on the 101 and head to Camarillo.

The 34th annual Ventura County Greek Festival comes to Camarillo June 22-24. It’s worth the drive from Los Angeles! (source:

For starters, the food is delicious! Authentic dishes, prepared with love in the church’s kitchen.  Gyros, pastichio (Greek lasagna), roast lamb and chicken, spinakopita, dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves) and, my favorite, saganaki (flaming cheese), are just some of the yummy dishes on the menu.  The desserts are just as tasty, baklava, pastries and cookies, packaged to take home while they last.

There’s live music featuring the Olympians, Greek dancers, and everyone’s invited to get out on the dance floor.  Dancers from The Greek at the Harbor perform, and the gorgeous Aris Mikelatos’ will perform his famous table dance (ladies, you won’t want to miss this!).

Related: Take the Scenic Route to the VC Greek Festival – Malibu Drive

Another great feature of this festival is that it’s intimate, there’s plenty of free parking and it’s easy to stop by to enjoy a delicious meal, music, perhaps a little dancing, and be on your way.  The weather in Camarillo is perfect year round, it’s cooler than Los Angeles, and sunnier than Ventura. Admission is $3, or print free admission tickets on their website.  The Ventura County Greek Festival kicks off Friday night and runs through the weekend (June 22-24). Click here for festival hours and the event schedule.

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Camarillo is located off the 101 (Ventura) freeway,  30 minutes north of the San Fernando Valley and 20 minutes south of Ventura.  So, if you’re heading up from Los Angeles, you could stop by the VC Greek Festival, then head up to the Ventura Harbor or Ventura Pier to enjoy the rest of your day.

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Related: Along the way, stop by Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks


Driving to Disney’s New Cars Land is a Bumper-to-Bumper Adventure

Driving to Disney's New Cars Land is a Bumper to Bumper Adventure

The opening of Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim, will make the nearby 5 freeway a busy commute for So Cal drivers.

The grand opening of Disney’s “Cars Land” in Anaheim promises real life gridlock on the nearby Santa Ana (5) freeway in the coming weeks.  Thousands of Disney fans and families will be vacationing in Anaheim this summer to be among the first to explore Disney’s newest attraction.

Based on the popular Disney-Pixar films, Cars Land is the crowning jewel of a $1 billion overhaul of Disney’s California Adventure theme park, located across the entrance to Disneyland.  A tribute to the glory days of Route 66 is also featured in the remodel, which demonstrates our long love affair with driving cars.  Disney officials are hoping that Cars Land will drive traffic to Disneyland’s sister park.  California Adventure hasn’t thrilled visitors much since it opened in 2001.

  • Downtown Fillmore – You might recognize this downtown district, this vintage street scene has been the backdrop of many TV shows and films.  Fillmore’s downtown area is home to unique shops and restaurants.
    • Roadside Fruit Stands:  This area bills itself as ‘the citrus capitol of the world,’ so be sure to taste some locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey and other goodies.  There are several produce stands along route 126.  Most of them can be found on the stretch of road between Fillmore and Valencia.

    Check Real Time Traffic Conditions in Los Angeles & Ventura County

    Happy driving!!!


    Gardens of the World, Conejo Valley

    Experience a free oasis of floral & botanical beauty located off the 101 freeway in Thousand Oaks, just a 30 minute drive from the San Fernando Valley.

    Gardens of the World

    Gardens of the World is tucked away along the main road that connects Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks, just across from the Performing Arts Center. The goal of this beautiful place, which is free to visitors, is to ‘bring the beauty of the world to the Conejo Valley.’  But, it’s easy to miss while driving down Thousand Oaks Boulevard, so be sure to bring the address with you when you come.  Gardens of the World is such a hidden treasure, that even some locals don’t even know it’s here.

    A stunning, multi-level cascading fountain greets you at the entrance, and sets the tone for a peaceful experience.  Stroll through English and rose gardens, then follow a winding sidewalk lined with Japanese cherry blossom trees past the bandstand to the top of the gardens.  A shady picnic area overlooks the French Garden.   Here’s a map.

    Relax on a bench next to the pink flowers on the Japanese cherry blossom trees at Gardens of the World

    There’s also a Japanese pagoda and pond filled with coy fish anxious to greet visitors, perhaps in hopes that they might be treated to a snack.

    The Mission Courtyard pays tribute to California’s early history.  There’s a bronze statue of Father Junipero Serra, the priest who founded many of the area’s missions, on the lawn out front of the adobe walls. Inside, you’ll find murals of California’s missions.

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