Newport Harbor Holiday Boat Parade

The small wooden boat was moored in a little inlet nestled next to the Iconic Pavilion and close to a fueling dock in Newport Harbor.  Other boats and dinghies also called this place home and were  peacefully floating in the water on this early Saturday morning.   A slight fog rolled gently across the bay and you could hear the fog horns in the distance.

Under the watchful eye of a small girl, a gray haired fisherman was pulling the bright yellow vessel to shore to attach the outboard motor and to fill it with all of his fishing gear.  The child was anxiously waiting for her turn to get lifted in the boat to begin a full day of trolling around the bay in search for the best fishing spot.  With an undersized spinning reel and rod in hand, she knew it wasn’t just about the fishing; for her, it was being with her Dad and spending the day in the harbor.

That little girl was me and so started my love for the wonderful world of the Newport Harbor. I love this place and even more so during the holidays.

Newport Harbor
Thanks for bearing with me on my trip down memory lane because I can’t help myself.  Every time I go to the holiday boat parade I think of the many times the little yellow craft motored around the bay in search of the catch of the day.

Exploring deeper in the harbor you will find channels, small canals, islands, and some of the nicest bay front homes in California.   During the holiday season, many of the homes deck out in holiday décor and tons of lights.   Along with the annual boat parade, some of the homes compete in the annual, “Ring of Lights” contest where awards are given in various categories.

Last year we rented a duffy to see the home fronts, this year we came to watch the parade.

The parade this year ran early from the 13th to the 17th.  So the next time you will see it is in 2018.  All I can say is put it on your calendar because it is a good one.

This is one of the most premier boat parades in California.

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Canterbury Gardens and Gifts

Staycationer JoJo described it best as she passed through the double doors at Canterbury Gardens in Escondido, California, she said, “it made her smile.”

As you walk in, there is room after room of displays or vignettes of classical, new age, and specialty Christmas decorations and ornaments.   You will find nutcrackers, villages, trees, lights, and all sorts of Christmas items.  In very corner there are trees with themes such as the cool beach themed tree with surfboards, mermaids, starfish, etc.

An ornament on the beach themed tree

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Lawrence Welk Village Resort, Escondido

I guess the first question has to be, “Who is Lawrence Welk and why does he have a bunch of resorts named after him?”

Well, here is the answer.

Lawrence Welk was actually a very famous bandleader who is best known for his variety show that was launched in 1955 and lasted 16 years plus many seasons in syndication.  This popular TV show included music, comedy routines, guest musicians, and singers.

Even though his roots were in the entertainment industry, Lawrence Welk stumbled into the resort business in 1964. The story goes that he was driving in the north county of San Diego to potentially invest in an orange grove but instead purchased a motel and a nine-hole golf course.  He later staged one of his shows there and it became an instant hotspot especially for the multitude of Welk fans.

Today there are five resorts including the original in Escondido, California which we are featuring in this story.  Situated just off of the Interstate 15 freeway, this location has two golf courses, a theater, shops, vacation homes, and timeshares.  The other resorts are in Lake Tahoe, Cabo San Lucas,  Palm Springs, Branson, Mo.,  and are ranked among the top resorts in the world by  All are still owned by the Welk family and managed by the grandson.

The resort
The Escondido resort

I have had the pleasure of visiting the Palm Springs resort and was very impressed by the grounds, rooms, and especially the pool. Although I have never stayed at the resort in Escondido, I have been there many times for either a round of golf or to the theater for one of their high caliber musicals.

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