Anniversary Adventures: Balboa Island

One of our favorite parts of our weekend in Newport Beach was Balboa Island. It’s just off the mainland and accessible by ferry or by bridge. Parking is very tight on the island, so we left the car in Newport Beach and walked over. It was a gloriously sunny day, and the island was so lovely.

The island itself is pretty tiny, but it does have one main street with shops and restaurants and a canal or two, where boats are docked. So charming. I loved the little post office.

We followed people with bags of goodies to the candy store along the main drag. We didn’t end up buying any, but we had fun looking at all the pretty displays.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that part of the charm of Balboa Island is that one of my favorite shows of all time was set here. That’s right, the inimitable Arrested Development. Although it was filmed mostly in Marina Del Rey and Culver City, the show  is very rooted in this setting, and I understood that so much better after this weekend. All of the jokes just became much funnier! The first time I saw a person on a Segway at the beach, I thought it was a fluke, but then…there were dozens more of them. GOB Bluth, you’re in good company. I didn’t know that we’d find such a close sibling to the Bluth’s famous banana stand (“There’s always money in the banana stand!”), but lo and behold, frozen bananas are the true Balboa Island treat! The sign looks so much like the Bluth one that I was pinching myself.

What’s even funnier is that there is a rival banana stand, also claiming to be the original, just two doors down. The competing banana stand episode in real life! It seemed fairly obvious to me that Sugar N Spice was the real deal, so that’s the one we chose.

Alas, I cannot report that we had frozen bananas. Because…they also had these dipped ice cream bars that were too good to pass up. They’re called Balboa bars. Not as funny as frozen bananas, but…bigger! My topping was Heath bar, and Eric had “Everything.” He said it mostly tasted like Oreos, but he wasn’t complaining.

After eating those, we were happy to walk around a bit! This grand canal is really kind of tiny, but lined with houses painted in bright and beautiful colors. So pretty.

We walked back over the bridge and started heading home, bringing the memories of a happy Sunday stroll with us. And now that I have ascertained exactly where Arrested Development was filmed, we may have to take a field trip there too! Who else is holding their breath for the movie and the extra episodes? Fingers crossed!

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