10 Things We Love About Fall
There’s so much to enjoy about fall in Newport Beach. The population increases during the peak seasons, but after Labor Day, the crowds disappear and it’s the perfect time to experience the beautiful beaches and town away from the masses. Here are some of the best things about having the town all to yourself.
1. It’s Less Crowded. That means the streets are not as packed with cars, parking is a breeze, and it’s much easier to make reservations for the area’s many hotels and restaurants, many of which have delectable fall-inspired menu specials. Think Chef Marc Johnson’s Roasted Heirloom Carrot & Prosciutto Salad, with black figs, golden date relish and Burrata cheese, at Island Hotel’s Oak Grill. It “echoes the colors, thoughts, feelings and tastes of autumn” — complete with fall-based flavors including orange from the carrots, the redness and bold colors of the root vegetables and green of the lettuces. To top it all off, Chef Johnson composed the salad to look like fallen leaves strewn across the plate. And, at The Resort at Pelican Hill, you can partake in seasonal pumpkin-laced delights from risotto to cheesecake at the Coliseum Pool & Grill. Still need a pumpkin fix? There’s always the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks.
2. Wide-Open Beaches. There’s no better time to visit the beach than in the fall, when the weather’s still great, the waves are epic and there’s more than enough room to enjoy a quiet stroll along the shore. A couple of the most popular area beaches here are Crystal Cove, which offers more than 3 miles of bluff-lined beaches in its historic district, and Corona del Mar, the ideal spot for catching our stunning sunsets from Lookout and Inspiration points.
3. Activities Galore. Our fabulous fall temps also make it a great time for getting outdoors and enjoying all of the fun activities we have to offer. Rent bikes and take the path from Newport to Huntington Beach; walk through one of the area’s many parks and neighborhoods, like Balboa Island’s charming, tree-lined Marine Avenue filled with numerous shops, restaurants and art galleries; or strike out on a hike to popular spots including El Moro Canyon’s 2,000-plus acres of undeveloped woodland and the 135-acre Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve. You can also hit the links, go fishing, and be sure to try your hand at surfing or standup paddle boarding while you’re at it.
4. Plenty of Attractions to Experience. Stop at the Balboa Village Fun Zone and check out the amusement area’s Ferris wheel and arcade. Or head to the family fun zone at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort for a day of pedal boating, kayaking and swimming, as well as other entertaining activities such as the Thanksgiving Buffet Nov. 27 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and Lighting of the Bay holiday celebration Nov 29 from 1-8 p.m.
5. History and Culture Abound. There’s plenty of interesting subject matter to be had at the Orange County Museum of Art (ocma.net), with “The Avant-Garde Collection” exhibition on view through Jan. 4 tracing the modern/contemporary museum’s acquisitions highlights across five decades). You might also want to visit the Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society, which preserves the island’s historic photographs and artifacts, and ExplorOcean, which offers an up-close look at maritime history.
6. Fun Flicks. While in town, don’t forget to relax and take in a film or show at unique movie houses like The New Port Theater and Lido Theater, featuring Missing Persons with Dale Bozzio Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. For a more traditional multiplex experience, you’ll want to head to the Fashion Island area to the Regal Cinema’s The Edwards Big Newport 6.
7. Cool Nights. That means it’s the ideal excuse to shop for boots and sweaters. Check out Fashion Island, an open-air destination accented by gardens, fountains and ocean views and filled with more than 125 of the world’s most popular shops for men, women, children (and even pets) including the newly opened shops Frau Verona, Le Tarte and Traditional Jewelers. (Of special note: Neiman Marcus and will host a fine art show highlighting the private collection of Russian-born artist Marina Romanova-Arnott Nov. 20.) Other pleasurable shopping opportunities are to be had at Mariner’s Mile/Westcliff; Corona del Mar Plaza; Corona del Mar Village; Cannery Village; Balboa Village and Crystal Cove Shopping Center. And you bargain hunters will want to try out consignment shops like Best Kept Secret (tucked away in the rear of a small shopping center on Westcliff Road), where you can find great deals on gently-used contemporary and designer clothing and accessories.
8. Gardens Galore. It’s a beautiful time to walk through the Roger’s Gardens home and garden retail store and the horticultural retreat Sherman Library & Gardens to see how they change for the seasons. Both sites offer an array of educational programming for free or for a nominal charge. Some upcoming topic highlights at Sherman’s Wednesday gardener series include “Thanksgiving Floral,” Nov. 26 at 9 a.m., with tips for creating a beautiful centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table using warm fall floral colors, vegetables and fruits, while Roger’s Gardens offers weekly educational workshops and lectures (as well as online how-to videos and blogs) that cover everything from edible gardens to holiday wreath and centerpieces.
9. A Great Time to Set Sail. Anyone can enjoy one of Newport Beach’s favorite pastimes of boating, especially since it’s so much easier to get a rental and a great time to be out on the water for a cruise. You’re also sure to find a Groupon deal. Captain your own electric Duffy boat; board a luxurious yacht; try a beginner’s sailboat course; or enjoy some of the best whale-watching and sport-fishing excursions in SoCal. For a touch of romance, treat someone special to a private ride on a gondola imported from Italy, and sign up for Hornblower’s Thanksgiving Cruise Nov. 27 from 4:30-7 p.m., complete with a traditional Thanksgiving buffet, boarding glass of champagne and live entertainment.
10. Fall Decorations. When fall rolls around, the residents and city tend to get a little festive. Don’t miss the iconic dolphin topiaries that grace the median on East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, which are always donning new costumes for seasonal celebrations. And the 18th annual Balboa Island Holiday Home Walking Tour Dec. 14, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., also offers the chance to see some of the Island’s beautiful beach homes and cottages decorated for the holidays.