The Interesting History of Balboa Island You May Not Have Known

Close to Newport California, Balboa Island is part of the interesting and dynamic history of the region. During the later decades of the 19th century, Newport Bay was a hub for exports, and the area soon developed a reputation for its thriving commercial trade and shipping businesses.


By the early 1900s, some of the small waterfront communities that sprung up in the area were divided up, and real estate promoters traveled around to tout the sports in the area.


Many plots were sold to residents in Pasadena, and as a result, many longtime residents of Balboa Island have considerable connections with people in Pasadena today.


At this point, Balboa Island was still just a sandbar, but William Collins gave birth to the modern-day Balboa Island after using his dredge to cut up a channel and piling the sand on a mud flat between 1908-1909.


Another man, Joe Beek, spent much of his lifetime dedicated to the island, and secured a ferry contract in 1919 to shuttle cars between the island and Balboa Peninsula. Beek later served as Secretary of the Senate of California.


Here are a few interesting historical facts about Balboa Island as is grew into what it’s known as today.


The First Lots Sold for Cheap: Collins originally sold lots on the island for just $25.00. A sale came with a promise that utilities and ferry services would soon start up on the island. At this point, the island was just a summer vacation spot since there was no gasoline or electricity.


Development Grew in the 1910s: Balboa Island became part of the City of Newport Beach in 1916, while the Balboa Island Improvement Association started up in 1918. The Association was a powerful tool in the process to get utilities and other amenities, like streetlights and paved roads, on the island.


Many Movies Were Filmed on the island: During the 1920s and 1930s, a number of films were shot on the island, and the Coast Guard even used the spot during World War Two.


A Number of Bridges Have Served Residents: One of the original bridges to the island, during the 1920s, was two lanes of wood. In 1929, a concrete bridge was constructed that served residents for a little more than 50 years. By 1981, the concrete bridge was replaced with a modern structure that also had walkways.


The Boy Scouts Had an International Event in the Area: In 1953, the Boy Scout’s International Jamboree was conducted where Newport Center and Fashion Island rest today. A number of tents were pitched near Palisades Road, which was later changed to Jamboree Road in homage to the Boy Scouts.


Balboa Island is Thriving Today: Jamboree Road is now a major road that runs through Newport Beach and finishes on the Island. Over the past few decades, Balboa Island has rapidly grown into a destination spot that’s also home to families, retirees, students, and even a few celebrities.


Now, some of the lots on the island sell for millions of dollars. Big City Feel…Small Town Charm: Despite the massive growth, Balboa Island still has a small town feel despite the massive changes in the island’s infrastructure. Many visitors come to the Island to enjoy the scenery and weather, while also taking in the sights and sounds of a tranquil beachside community.


Are you thinking of buying a home near Balboa Island? Click here to contact the Stavros Group today!


Courtesy of Cuselleration

10 Family Fun Activities in Laguna Beach

With lots of sun, nice weather, and a relaxing atmosphere, Laguna Beach is a great way to experience Orange County. It’s also a very family-friendly destination since it features a variety of interesting attractions, tasty restaurants, and beautiful accommodation options.


Here’s a list of 10 fun activities for families in Laguna Beach.


1) Ride on the Trolley: Get a good feel of Laguna Beach by hopping on the trolley on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the spring. At this time, the ride is free and gives you a great way to see some of the area’s hot spots. Plus, it’s a good way to shuttle your family to some of the best destinations in town.


2) Try Local a Dessert: Laguna Beach is well-known for its tasty gelato and ice cream, and there are a multitude of shops selling both near the beach. Get some sweet treats and stroll around the beach while taking in the warm weather. Or grab some ice cream and a meal to have all the ingredients for a picnic out on the beach.


3) Visit Some Cute Sea Lions: Laguna Beach is home to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, a rehabilitation facility that is specifically designed for seals and sea lions. Visiting this attraction is a good activity for all members of the family since you have a chance to see some of the animals up close and learn more about conservation efforts in the area.


4) Go Hiking And See the Scenery: California’s inviting climate makes hiking and walking a great activity for the family. Aside from great beaches, Laguna Beach is also home to some great inland wilderness. There are a number of kid-friendly trails to explore, like the Dartmoor Boat Canyon Trail, that also presents plenty of opportunities for great photos.


5) Explore the Local Sea Life: The shoreline around the beaches in the area feature different tide pools that host a plethora of local sea life, like snails, starfish, and anemones. Let your kids explore in and around these pools to learn more about these (harmless) examples of sea life. Just be sure not to take anything since the pools are protected habitats.


Click here to check out Laguna’s best beaches!


6) Go Kayaking: The ocean near Laguna Beach is a great spot for kayakers of all ages (and skill levels). There are a number of rental agencies to choose from, and many of them have tandem options as well. This makes it easy for you to paddle while your kids sit safely in the middle seats.


7) Listen To Live Music: Laguna Beach’s Bluebird Park is a hotspot for local music on Sundays in the summer. Bands come and play as part of the city’s Music in the Park event, and it’s a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Otherwise, come check out the park to play frisbee, soccer, or just enjoy the expansive green spaces.


8) Learn About the Area’s History: A trip to the Laguna Beach Historical Society is a good opportunity for you and the family to understand the area’s history. The Murphy Smith Bungalow is an authentic dwelling that was built in 1923, and visitors can literally see the humble beginnings of Laguna Beach up close.


9) Check Out the Art Scene: Laguna Beach has a number of art festivals, galleries, and museums that also offer kid’s workshops and classes, along with gallery tours and open studios.


10) Check Out Diver’s Cove: Nestled right alongside the south end of Picnic Beach, Diver’s Cove is home to a variety of sea life and safe beaches for younger children to explore. The surrounding area is also replete with unique natural rock formations.


Once your family is ready to go to Laguna Beach, keep these exciting destinations and activities in mind to make your trip a fun one!


Are you thinking of buying a home in the Laguna Beach area? Click here to contact the Stavros Group today!


Courtesy of Cuselleration

Spring Happenings in Newport Beach

Catch the Whales While You Can

Step outside of Newport Bay and you are stepping into one of the largest marine protected areas in southern California. Forward thinkers wanted to protect this rich ecosystem for future generations of marine life.


April is wrapping up the most spectacular of the sights along this 15-mile stretch of marine sanctuary. This area allows whales and dolphins to migrate freely, and it means spectacular views for the mammals on two legs who want to see them.


The most spectacular is the Gray Whale, which makes the longest migration of any marine mammal. Literally tens of thousands of gray whale are migrating right now along the Newport Beach coastline. During the summer they are feeding up north in the Bering Sea, but as the weather turns colder there, they begin their long journey and delightfully pass through Newport Beach on their way to the lagoons of Baja California. If you are out on the water, you can sometimes glimpse 4 or 5 whales cruising their way south. But it’s not only the gray whales making a traveling statement: other whales take part of the journey along with them, including finback whales, humpback whales, minke whales, along with several species of dolphin. So it’s the perfect time to see one of nature’s most spectacular sights in the water, and enjoy the most beautiful coastline in southern California.


Just Cruisin’

There are a number of companies who will take you out on the water to watch the whales, or enjoy a magnificent Pacific sunset, and April is a great month to get out on the water. Here’s a thought: no one enjoys Tax Day, April 15th, so the Royal Princess Yacht is offering two Caribbean Party cruises that day to make you forget your troubles. There is a daytime and evening cruise with a Caribbean theme, including buffet and dancing. The rum may make you forget all about those pesky tax returns!


Breathe Deeply: Private Gardens Tour

The next Saturday, April 21st, just a daffodil’s throw away in Corona del Mar is the 22nd annual Private Gardens Tour. You can mingle with artists and musicians as you make your way through several glorious private gardens. The tour includes a light lunch at the Sherman Library and Gardens. All the proceeds from the tour are going toward the PCH Frontage and Entrance Redesign Project. Plans for the conceptual design have been drawn up, in keeping with the history and style of the Library and Gardens. Once the official fundraising campaign is launched the plans will be unveiled. The private garden tours start on April 21st start at 11:00am and end at 4:00pm.


Newport Beach Film Festival



The ending of April will signal the beginning of the Newport Beach Film Festival.  It is one of the leading film festivals in the United States, and bring to Orange County the finest classic and contemporary films from around the world. The film festival spans 8 days, and will show a variety of studio and independent films, as well as a Family Film Series suitable for all. You might even get the chance to see what may become next year’s Oscar contenders and tomorrow’s classic films before anyone else has had the chance to see them.


All Aboard!

“A Sailor is an Artist Whose Medium is the Wind” — Webb Chiles


Also at the end of April: the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race. This 125 mile overnight race is a perfect mix of good times, fun and adventure. Everyone is looking to take home the silver! Some racers may head offshore for stronger winds; others will sail the rhumb line to finish first. There are more than 50 trophy categories and numerous classes. If you sail a monohull, multihull or cruiser, this race is for you! You will find first time racers and those experiences sailors who don’t mind teaching you a thing or two. It starts Friday morning at 11:00am.


“May your anchor be tight,

Your cork be loose,

Your rum be spiced,

And your compass be true!”


As you can tell, The Stavros Group loves this part of the world, and we want to share it with you! There is so much to do here in Orange County, and we’ll love to call you neighbor! Contact us if we can connect you with the home of your dreams.!