It’s only an hour by ferry from Lengthy Seashore, however the “ruggedly lovely” island of Santa Catalina is a world aside from that traffic-choked megalopolis, says Jonathan Thompson in The Occasions.

Santa Catalina grew to become a well-liked vacation vacation spot after it was acquired by the chewing gum millionaire William Wrigley Jr. in 1919 and, within the Nineteen Thirties and Forties, a few of Hollywood’s largest names got here right here to see and be seen.

Lately, it has loved one thing of an “A-list renaissance”, with stars together with Taylor Swift and Katy Perry holidaying right here. But it surely retains its wild appeal, and nonetheless has one actual city, fairly little Avalon. Deer and bison roam its mountainous inside, and its waters supply a few of the greatest diving and snorkelling within the area.

Wanting Santa Catalina to be a “playground for all”, Wrigley constructed roads and the 12-storey Catalina On line casino in Avalon, whose huge ballroom continues to be in use as an arts venue. Perched on a bluff with an excellent view over the city, his personal mansion, Mt. Ada, is now a classy boutique resort.

One other survival from these early days is Lloyd’s, a candy store the place you should purchase “old-time favourites” resembling saltwater taffy, and the place Marilyn Monroe – earlier than she even grew to become Marilyn Monroe – labored shifts in 1943 and 1944. An aspiring mannequin on the time, she lived right here together with her first husband, James Dougherty, for a 12 months that her biographers agree was one of many happiest of her troubled life.

Avalon is “paying homage to the Côte d’Azur”, with its vibrant homes tumbling down a steep hillside to a “excellent”, crescent-shaped harbour. It has some good eating places, and a peaceable air: most residents get about in electrical golf carts because of strict limits on automotive numbers. Automobile excursions can be found even so, and on them you possibly can look out for the herd of bison, initially introduced over to movie The Vanishing American in 1925, that now roam the island’s 75 sq. miles. 

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