Saturday, September 29, 2012


The Mingei museum sponsored a visit to the historic home of the late Sam Maloof who is described by the Smithsonian Institution as “ American’s most renowned contemporary furniture craftsman."  He was the son of Lebanese parents.  

We took  a guided tour  through the 22 rooms that Maloof crafted over a period of four decades.  The home is filled with Maloof furniture as well as  an extensive collection fo Native American art and post-World War II arts and crafts that he and his wife Alfreda gathered over the years. 

Outside the book store.

Part of the woodcraft shop.

 Sam designed rocking chairs, tables and cradles that were highly sanded and polished to enhance the beauty of the wood from the 1950s into the 21st century.

 A tree shaded patio was a lovely place to enjoy our catered box lunches.  One can explore the garden that Sam's second wife Beverly developed with drought tolerant California native and Mediterranean plants.

Later in the afternoon a stop was made at the Ponte winery in Temecula Valley for  a tour of the winery and wine tasting from a list of  a good number of white and red wines including some Italian varietals like Sangiovese, Moscato and Primitive (which is Zinfandel in Calif.)  The 300 acre vineyard was started by the Ponte family from Italy and includes a large tasting room, a restaurant and most recently they added a boutique hotel.

   The tour started at an outdoor area with the fermenting tanks that are well insulated for all weather temperatures.  A stone building serves as a barrel room where a table is always set up for private parties. 

The vineyard and mountain views are visible from the gardens around the restaurant and tasting room.

Part of the inn is visible on the right.

This completed a very interesitng and pleasant day trip.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


            September is a good month to visit Balboa after the summer visitors have left and the weather is still pleasant.  
            We approached Balboa Island from Jamboree Road off Freeway 405 past the financial district and many company headquarters.
            Balboa Island was created in 1908  from sand dredged from Newport Bay. It is 1.7 miles around the perimeter.  These websites have some interesting background about Balboa Island.,_Newport_Beach

Marine Avenue is the main street on the island and is lined with shops and restaurants.

 I used to live on Opal Ave. The house was sold about 15 years ago to the next door neighbors. The new owners, Pam and Larry had the houses demolished and built anew 2 story one on the combined lots. Ed and I had a nice visit with  Pam and Larry and they took us on a tour of their lovely, well designed home.  These are neighboring houses in the photo.

A view of the Pavilion from Balboa Island

  It is easiest to park on Balboa Island for the day and take the ferry to go to Balboa. 

Ferry landing at Balboa

We took a scenic harbor cruise to see the magnificent homes on several islands facing the bay. So many homes face the water that a boat is an ideal way to see them. 

The harbor photo below right shows a large catamaran with a small submarine on top. Go to this web site for more information about the Virgin oceanic super catamaran.

 We chose to have lunch at the Harborside restaturant in the Balboa Pavilion with bay views where we were able to watch the pelicans on the dock and the passing boats.
The Balboa Inn is located near the Balboa pier. It was just  a short walk to see the Balboa pier and admire the nicely landscaped area around the approach.

We had time to visit a small nautical museum with an emphasis on
local history and an excellent collection of model ships.

A good display of mounted local fish.  It was quite a surprise while watching a short film on Newport history to see a shot of my mother holding a large fish. She was an avid sportsfisherwoman and won may trophies for her prize winning catches.

 The main beach in Corona del Mar with the adjacent jetty

 Then it was on to Laguna Beach to drive along Heisler Park overlooking the ocean

 Another view from Heisler Park.

 After diving through Dana Point it was back to the freeway to return to San Diego.  The day was topped off with dinner at Sammy's Woodfire Pizza for lobster bisque and pizza.