Little Getaways--Newport Beach, California

by Teri E. Popp, Tastemaker in Residence

What to do when dear friends decide to winter on a beach in California?  Why go and visit them, of course!!  From enjoying gorgeous sunsets on the ocean to shopping to boating to beach combing to more shopping, Newport Beach offers something for everyone.

Located only 20 minutes from John Wayne International Airport, Newport Beach is easy to access!  Once there, our friends took us down the coast to visit Crystal Cove State Park, where the movie "Beaches" was filmed.  Tiny, quaint cottages dot the beach and are available for rent to the general public.

We took advantage of our first night in Newport by eating at 21 Oceanfront Restaurant overlooking the surfers, sand and sunset! An eatery with a Frank Sinatra sense of decor, the food lived up to the view! We then sat on the patio of our friends beach home and enjoyed a fine glass of wine and a fire while watching the sun set into the sea!

We spent most of the next day out boating!  Sea lions can be viewed on rocks, dingys, and the back platform of any boat where they can perch!  We wandered the waterways surrounding Newport and ventured a short distance out into the ocean.  You can visit the coastal water area by renting a boat, as we did, or by booking a tour.

We truly enjoyed dinner our second day in Newport at Mastro's Ocean Club overlooking the vast expanse of the coast!

Our final day in Newport Beach, we took a ferry boat from Newport to have lunch and shop in Balboa Village.  Accessible by a VERY short ferry ride (think 5 minutes tops) or by bridge, Balboa is kitschy and a little like the New England coast in its ambiance.  We wandered the streets and little shops before stopping to dine.

We so enjoyed our stay, we strongly hinted we'd like to be invited back next year!!!!  And we recommend going to Newport Beach to anyone considering such a trip!!