High on a hill overlooking Avalon, Terri Cooke and her husband, Eugene, just sat down to a memorable lunch at the Inn on Mt. Ada. It's a perfect Catalina Island kind of day: sunny skies, cobalt blue water and gentle breezes. Far below, the couple can see the red-roofed Catalina Casino, pleasure boats rocking in the harbor and two sets of parasailers soaring across the sky.
The Cookes, of Baton Rouge, LA, have come a long way to celebrate their anniversary. "Twenty years ago he asked me to marry him right here," says Terri, beaming as she recounted the story of her husband's proposal during a dinner party.
The Inn on Mt. Ada, one of the Island's iconic landmarks, offers a grand setting for special occasions such as the Cookes' anniversary. It's also an excellent place to spend a leisurely afternoon enjoying a glass of wine, great food and spectacular views.
The B&B, which recently opened to day-trippers for lunch, serves a variety of salads, sandwiches, seafood and other entrees. The $30 charge includes transportation to and from the mansion, non-alcoholic beverages, dessert and a tour.
Guests can dine outside on the wrap-around patio, which offers one of the Island's best views of Avalon, or inside in the dining room, which overlooks the sea.
If you'd can't tear yourself away from the panorama when you finish lunch, you're welcome to while away a couple of hours enjoying it from the terrace, sun porch or den.
Once the home of entrepreneur William Wrigley Jr. and his wife Ada, the inn was converted into a six-guestroom bed-and-breakfast in the 1980s. It recently underwent renovations.
Wrigley purchased the island in 1919 and built his hillside mansion in 1921 in a place that was "the first spot to receive the morning sun and the last of the afternoon sun as it dipped behind the mountains."
The year the house was finished was also the year Wrigley decided to have his baseball team, the Chicago Cubs, do their spring training on the Island. He often watched the team from the bleachers, but he could also watch them from his office in the mansion, or from the sun porch.
You can't watch the Cubs practice from Wrigley's mansion these days, but you can enjoy that same spectacular view -- and dine like the chewing gum king once did.
For lunch reservations, please call 48 hours in advance, 310.510.2030.