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This is my first time navigating through "Tales of Balboa"..what a
great site. I, like a lot of others, have spent years vacationing
in Newport Beach. My experience started around 1972. My parents
and I began staying at what was called the Sail Inn, now the Little
Inn, which is basically located across from Jack's at 27th and
Newport Blvd. Today I'm celibrating 25 years of marriage, and
since getting married and having children, we've carried on the
tradition of vacationing 2-weeks a year in Newport. My children
love it just as much as I do, and are destined to carry on the
tradition. We've stayed at a beautiful beach house owned by Joan
and Joe Tallman for the past 14 years, which is located on 27th,
just down from the main drag of McFadden Square. We've enjoyed so
many memories which include: hanging out at the beach between 27th
and 24th, breakfasts at Charlies Chili, late night snacks at the 24
hour donut shop next to the old Scotties Shrimp, spending Friday
and Saturday nights at the Fun Zone, watching the Bird-Man of
Newport (I think his real name is Ski Meinschein), trying to avoid
death while body surfing the Wedge, fishing off the main pier when
there was a bait-shop at the end of the pier, running face to face
into Brooke Shields by the Ferris Wheel as a 16 yr old boy and
almost fainting, going on the Harbor Cruise a couple hundred times,
and never getting bored, and just like others I could go on and
on...I'll be looking at the web-cams every day...and it will help
to pass the time between our visits...we will be experiencing
Newport on 4th of July for the first time this coming year.
Jim, I think when I was in the other day to Great Mex they have
extended the $1.00 Taco Day to Friday.
Thanks to whoever was responsible for getting the Main Street web
cam lens cleaned. It looks much better now...not as clear as some
of the other cams but a lot better..
I had a random question for you. I was told several actors who
played Munchkins in "The Wizard of Oz" bought homes in Newport
together, I'm not even sure which street. I was trying to dig up
some research about it. do you have any factual backup to support
this story? If so, is it also in your book?
Hi Jim!!! Miss you all. Been traveling and
celebrating my birthday month!!!!! Hope all is well. Drop me a
line when you can!!!!! Say "hello" to everybody. Will be home
All my love, hugs and kisses.
We purchased some of your prints before you closed up the shop. We
love them and want to add some more to the house. Are any still for
Jim, Thanks for the great site. I check the
webcams every day, it almost makes me feel as though I am there.
I've been vacationing on Balboa Island since I was a young child.
I now take my 15 year old boy there for 2 wonderful weeks every
year. I have learned so much history looking through your back
issues. We are coming this year for the boat parade, can hardly
wait. There are two different dates listed on your website, the
ones on your homepage and when you click on the official boat
parade site. We want to make sure we are there at the right time.
You may want to check this. Keep up the great work.
We grew up spending the summers on Balboa Island
from the time I was born (1928) until our parents sold the little
house on the corner of Topaz and S. Bay Front in the 1950's Once we
did the daily required chores of raking the bay beach and sweeping
the wide sidwalk along the shore we were free to wander until
dinner time, sailing our little El Toro dinghy and the somewhat
larger "Doris"-- a racing catboat which was one of the first boats
on the bay (since 1917, when my grandfather was one of the founders
of the two yacht clubs in town. ) Later we spent time further down
the peninsula in a house our father found a little more "civilized"
-- meaning that we actually had hot water and an inside shower. But
my heart still belongs to that simple little house where we could
fall asleep listening to the music from the merry-go-round in the
fun zone across the bay.
Doris (Ellliott) Pettersen
Newport Harbor High School Class of '61
My classmates from Newport Harbor High school have been indulging
ourselves in yearly get togethers. We're 64 going on medicare and
we're worrying if we'll still be loved.
Each Fall, as we prepare for for our 50th reunion in 2011, some of
us get together in our high school home town to assure ourselves
we are 1) still here, 2) we've done okay with our lives, (we only
know of one of us, specifically, who has been in jail,) 3) we are
still appealing in terms of our capacity for friendship and
camaraderie. I don't think anyone is particularly concerned about
the appeal we fretted over back when we were seventeen.
We were a fortunate group: from where we grew up, to where we
landed. We grew up near the Pacific ocean when we could still have
fires on the beach, sleep on the sand if our parents would let us,
dance at the Rendezvous, ride the Balboa ferry to the fun zone,
ski at Mammoth, body surf the Wedge and even hang out, fairly
effortlessly, at Disneyland up in Anaheim. There were no groins
sticking out in the ocean, heck, we didn't erode in those days. We
did think there was traffic and smog, but nothing like what the
area is treated to today. Instead, those who had cars, and there
were some wealthy families among us, sped around southern Cal with
tans on faces, sand wedged between toes, hair flying in the Pacific
breeze with dreams focused on the height of the surf, the blue of
the sky and the parties coming up.
Being southern Californians, we lacked snow and change of seasons.
We lacked rain, sleet and other eastern phenomenon. We were the
children of bouganvilla, frangipani, mock orange, salt air, birds
of paradise, frozen bananas, ferries across the bay, the bumper
cars, little Corona, Arrowhead, the Jolly Roger and Bob's Big Boy
on the Island, and Catalina off the coast.
We talked about where to meet at the beach, who was having a party
and, when we were feeling very serious, where we were going to
college. Something like 90% of our graduating class went on to
university, but I have to confess we were also of the demographic
that were pushed toward higher education. Our parents had high
expectations for us. Many of my friend's parents were
entrepreneurial, some were children of producers, directors and
actors. After all John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Sterling Hayden, Claire
Trevor lived in our neighborhoods. My father used to talk about
seeing Frank Sinatra and his entourage at Berkshires a restaurant
near the Arches and owned by one of our classmates' father. And for
those of you in the know, our most famous NHHS (a few years after
us) was Dirk Pitt.
I remember spending the night with a girlfriend down on the
peninsula who was tended by maids since her parents were traveling
abroad. She lived in a mansion where the foyer and living room were
decorated with stuffed grizzlies, polar bears, and African exotics;
at that age I didn't know what they were, but I knew they were
once huge, dangerous and impressive before (and after) they were
mounted. Her father was a big game hunter, obviously, but I had no
clue what he did that afforded him that luxury. All I knew was
that we had a whole wing of her house to ourselves. The differences
between some of us from "goat hill" and the shores of Newport may
have been impressive, but this was America in the 60's and we
didn't care about social differences, we just enjoyed the variety
of our friendships. In "our day" there was but one high school,
later there were five as the population blossomed. If we thought
homes were expensive then, we were clueless what this area would
It's not that often we dip our toes back into the magic of our
youth, after all, we are sophisticated adults now, but we took such
joy in reminiscing, reconnecting, hearing one another's stories.
Life goes by so very fast.
Look away for a moment and there it went, we realized. We missed
our youthful wit that we produced in one another, our cleverness,
the light that gave us magic and the fire that still promises to
ignite us 47 years later. Those of us who have moved away take
scent inspired nostalgia from the breeze of the Pacific and the
eucalyptus on the shore.
How can I obtain information regarding the chili
cook-off on Oct. 4th??
How do I enter the cook-off?
What are the rules?
Is there a website?
Dear Jim - bought your book some years back when
we moved to Balboa. I remember the section about Balboa's ghost
because I live in one of the 2 houses that would have been the
parking lot of Ann's Dollhouse. Can you give me any more info on
the 'ghost'? What year was he murdered in the parking lot? Any
name? Or description of how he appears or looks like? Any newspaper
articles on the murder? etc. Appreciate any help you might lend me,
I'll explain more in a later email. thanks! steve xenos
Yes, the new Pavilion cam is MUCH better than
the previous one was. The new one is higher resolution with a much
wider angle and you can now actually see detail after dark. Thanks,
it's GREAT! Now we need to get the Main Street cam lens
cleaned...I'll volunteer and climb the Pavilion roof!
Love the new cam of the Pavillion!! What a nice
Since you have closed the gallery, how can I
view your photographs for sale? I have bought 2 or 3 every summer
and was sad to see the gallery closed. Is there a website or
I have been renting with my family summers since the mid 50's. I
usually rent within 5 blocks of the ferry. Do you know if there
are any dog friendly rental available? Please let me know if you
have the time.
I lived on Balboa Island from l943 till l948 at l08 Topaz, just
across the alley from Seymour Beek. He let me shoot hoops, and the
neighborhood kids would put on melodramas in a little shed in his
backyard using lots of katsup for blood. Seymour's two older
brothers were off in the war. His Dad would often stop by the
gaggle of neighborhood kids and tell us how Mrs. Beek was putting
salt on his wounds all the time. Once Mr. Beek took all the kids
out for a ride on his yacht in the bay. My best friend was Barbara
Black. We used to roam the alleys for interesting trash. We went
to grade school in quanset huts on Little Island. My cousin Dorothy
Nadorff Pier lived on Garnet. Fond, fond memories of Balboa
Anita Greene Ferman
Jim, Great site you have. And like many have
told you, brings back great memories. One question. Is the Balboa
Island Sculling and Punting Society still around? Can they be
contacted? Thanks for the time.
I was so happy to find this on my computer. In
the early 1960's, my sister in law and I and her two little girls
often spent a week or two in the top floor apartment of Mrs.
Jackson's house on Balboa Bay in the month of June. Those were
such great days. The Bay was so gorgeous, especially at twilight
when the water turned to silver. Thank you, thank you, thank you
for bringing it all back.
I saw the same question posted, regarding Balboa Gallery. My
husband I honeymooned there last year and saw a photograph in the
gallery, we both really wanted. I planned on giving it to him as
anniversary gift, but obviously didn't plan on the gallery being
closed! Is there anyway to still order a photograph from the
gallery? Thank you and I look forward to your reply.
Jim, now that the Balboa Gallery is closed where
can I find your photographs? I have several and I wanted to buy a
few for family in North Carolina. Thanks for your help.
Went looking for the Prison of Socrates today
with my son. It was easy to find, even if it is BJ's Pizza. I saw
Big Mama Thornton there about 40 years ago. I was about 16 years
old. Man, what a show. Big Mama stood outside by the wall talking
with my friends an I for about 20 minutes after the show. I'll
never forget it.
Can you give me the name of a hotel or motel on
Balboa Island? I'm looking for something that is clean but not too
expensive. Also, I was curious if there was a place to stay on the
One more thing, I was hoping to stay somewhere where there is
access to "public" beach/sand
I'm hoping you can help me with a little research for my current
I recall that the homes in the section of Newport Beach called "Sin
City" were built on leased land, owned by, I believe, the Southern
Pacific Railroad. That's why the houses were never sold or
upgraded, and became mostly student rentals, because no one knew
what would happen when the lease expired.
My questions: 1) When were the homes built? 2) What's the
expiration year for the lease? 3) If the lease already expired,
what happened to the home owners?
I figured if anyone knew who to ask, it would be you!
Like someone else mentioned here, the Main
Street webcam =really= needs to be cleaned...it's like looking
through smog-colored glasses. :(
I moved there just in time for Mr. Lilly's 5th grade class at
Newport Heights until I graduated in '65 from NHHS. My family
stayed until the 80's but now they are all gone from the area. Now
I am in Eugene, OR, but we got together with a bunch who had spent
much time in the Balboa area and we started in on the "bests": you
know, best burger was the original Bob's Big Boy on Marine Ave on
the Island. Richards was best grocery store, the Port was the best
theater only due to the balcony. Best breakfast was at the
Lighthouse off of lower Bayside Drive. Best bodysurfing was a draw
between the Wedge and 56th Street. Best date dinner was the Five
Crowns. Best beer was at Blackies but Best dive bar was Sid's Blue
Beet, right down the pier from the old Fish & Chips place, for
which none of us could remember the name. My parents, when they
took us there, just called it "the dirty fish place", but the fish
was great, better than the Crab Shack. Remember the name? Somebody
thought it might have been "Charlies", but it will always be "the
dirty fish place" to me.
"Scotty's"!!!! Of course! Thanks for filling
that in for me, Jim. We rarely got to go there, unfortunately - too
disreputable - but Scotty was a classic Newport character. Since we
lived in the Heights with five kids, it was usually off to Freddies
on 17th, across from HiTime Liquor Store and LaCave. My sister was
a waitress at the first Snack Shop in CdM, so we would go there,
too, and then he opened the Coco's where Freddies was, so that was
where we always went - for a "Nui-Nui Burger". When I was little, a
big-time night out was to Christian's Hut. They used to give kids
ice cream with real creme de menthe on it. My favorite meal as a
teenager, though, was a plate of fries and a lime rickie at the
counter of the Jolly Roger on the Island. You should run a
"best" section for us old Newporters - I'd love to hear other
people's takes on these things. Thanks for a great site.
Grew up down on the Point. NH class of '69. I
check the cams regularly. The Main St. camera is always a little
fuzzy. Any chance of a cleaning in the near future?