Mariners Mile: The New Haute District
The iconic stretch of Pacific Coast Highway known as Mariners Mile, aptly named for its distinction as a luxury boating and yachting destination, has evolved into a happening Newport Beach “village” — complete with trendy restaurants, high-end shops and other popular places of interest. Located between Newport Boulevard and Dover Street, this seaside strip boasting harbor and marina access has become a prime location for locals (and neighboring residents) who enjoy having a commercial district in their backyard. And with so many fresh businesses springing up, there’s never a shortage of things to do. Here, we reveal a few of our favorites so you can vacation like a local.
Dock and Dine
Whether you desire to dine alongside the water — or upon the harbor on your boat — Mariners Mile features some of the finest culinary options in Orange County. At the nautical-themed Bluewater Grill, you can walk in from PCH or motor up to the dock to feast on sustainably caught seafood with a “modern twist.” At Balboa Bay Resort, enjoy an espresso with a waterfront view at Blend, or choose from two delicious eateries: Waterline Newport Beach (savor a variety of surf or turf with a glass of Sauvignon) or A&O Kitchen + Bar (this rustic gastropub serves up creative cocktails and shared dishes with a scenic view of the harbor). If gourmet pizza and pasta tickles your palate, try Pizza Nova: The warm ambiance is matched by such warm, comforting dishes as Seared Salmon and Risotto and Gorgonzola Pear pie, wood-fired to perfection. Cruising along this part of Coast Highway, the renowned Rusty Pelican beckons patrons with its worn, wooden façade and waterside location. A Mariners Mile staple, this is the hot spot for happy hour and supper, complete with signature cocktails and rotating seasonal dishes.
If your idea of a souvenir is a stylish new frock or framed artwork for your home, then Mariners Mile is the shopping mecca for you. At A’maree’s, high fashion and art come together: Discover some of the chicest European collections for men and women here, along with an array of other luxury finds like jewelry, handbags and home décor items. Shop for one-of-a-kind home furnishings including rugs, lamps and art at Lido Consignment Gallery. The expansive space features decorating solutions for any California abode, and if you’re local, they also offer expert “staging” for homes on the Real Estate market. Spoil yourself from a trove of sea-inspired treasures at MerMade Designs, from coral-printed fashion accessories to marine wall art to coastal-themed throws and pillows for the home. When vacationing in Newport Beach, there are two wardrobe musts for women: a swimsuit and something chic to wear about town. Lady Lux can help you with both. From a sophisticated black two-piece to a sleek LBD, this designer shop will have you covered. Some of Newport’s most stylish are those with four paws. Charlie and Me — “a boutique for the hip dog” — carries everything from haute harnesses and holiday-wear to luxury shampoos and paw soothers.
While the Mile now stretches far beyond the boat-centric business district it was named after (and historically zoned for), the nautical lifestyle is still very much apart of this special place. Those looking to buy their own vessel will find the best boat and yacht retailers right here (the same goes for top-of-the-line autos like McLaren and Ferrari), but if you’re simply seeking a day at the helm or as a passenger at sea, the area also features sailing schools, rentals and cruises. At Duffy Electric Boat Co., rent your own boat by the hour for up to 11 of your closest friends. It’s a great opportunity to dock and dine, but you can also bring your own picnic aboard. Each boat comes with a full canopy, windows and an iPod hookup so you can cruise to your own beat. Offering private charters as well as themed excursions to the public, Hornblower Yacht Cruises is the go-to for a luxury yachting experience. Climb aboard for a brunch, cocktail or dinner cruise, or enjoy the ocean at dusk on a full-moon adventure. Featuring a fleet of yachts of different sizes, Hornblower is also the perfect host for such private parties as weddings and corporate events. Want to learn to sail? Sign up for a series of private or semi-private lessons at Newport Beach Sailing School. All instructors are ASA-trained and since their sailboats were all made since 2005, you’ll learn about the latest designs and instrumentation.