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One of the most delightful things about being retired is the ability to make a simple event, like eating lunch, into an excursion. My husband and I recently made a lunchtime journey to Balboa Island, a picturesque island nestled between Newport Peninsula and the city of Newport Beach. It’s a southern California location just about fifteen minutes from our home.

This bridge and the ferry are the only ways of entering Balboa Island.

As you can imagine, this charming place is a hot spot in the summer. The ferries that trek between the island and the peninsula are typically packed with cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians, all anxious to get onto the island or to the peninsula where The Balboa Fun Zone awaits. Yachts, sailboats, and  kayaks busily navigate the waters surrounding the island. Bicyclists, roller-bladers, and folks, just out for walk, fill the sidewalk, which runs the perimeter of the island, at the water’s edge. Marine Avenue, the island’s aptly named main street, is lined with small boutiques, coffee shops, and restaurants as well as a post office, fire department, and grocery store…all the necessities for those who call Balboa Island home. Despite all of the activity, being on this quaint island is peaceful and relaxing and provides, at least temporarily, an escape from the everyday routines of the real world.

But we weren’t having lunch on a summer day. Summer had been dismissed and a stroll around the island reminded us of that fact. A fall day on the island is a stark contrast to a typical summer day. The activity level has definitely dropped as the weather has cooled and the vacationers have gone home.

Sailing class enrollment is down.

A lone sailboat in the bay

A ride on the ferry minus the cars.

A somber Balboa Fun Zone typically bustling with activity.

The change of seasons provides a break from the challenging parking conditions and the crowded sidewalks as well as furnishing the residents with new decorating opportunities.

Pumpkins on a pier!

Battened down umbrellas and a pumpkin centerpiece add to this picturesque setting.

Fall means displaying your team spirit!

Flags fly year-round on the island. A beautiful sight even against the overcast skies.

We ended our visit with a walk down Marine Avenue.  Traffic remains on the only street on and off of the island as the local visitors continue to enjoy the island throughout the year. But we didn’t see a single person, that day, enjoying a frozen banana or a Balboa Bar. Final proof that summer is behind us.

No crowds at the candy store today.

There are even some available spaces to park your bicycle.

We hated to leave!

Our sentiments exactly...regardless of the season!