Background: Among my many hats as a summer intern, I served as a travel blogger, content editor, social media manager, and adventure extraordinaire. I experienced everything this amazing island offers, and shared my story for their millions of annual guests to see.
Best Moments: Weekly swims in Avalon Bay, went to the first official Catalina Wine Mixer, 22 mile outback hike, took 2nd place in the 4th of July Parade.
The ask: Contribute 60+ original blog posts to the only online travel guide known to a vacation destination with over one million annual visitors.
Read through my featured blogs, or take a look at the entire collection.
Town Historian Serves as Catalina Island's Personal Google*
*this article was published in the Avalon Bay News on July 2nd, 2015.
"Welcome to Catalina, if you have any questions or needs, I'd be happy to help you." Chances are you've heard lifelong local Chuck Liddell's signature greeting if you've stepped off any boat at Catalina's Cabrillo Mole any time in the past year. He hasn't been standing at dock 5 next to the visitor information sign for long, but since March of 2014 Chuck has assisted nearly 29,000 Island guests with every type of question and request imaginable. That means if one out of every ten people he greets asks him a question, Chuck has smiled his friendly smile to almost 290,000 visitors since last year. For many, this interaction is one of a kind, and one of the most memorable at that.
Think about it, what other city in the entire United States has a personal community greeter who can literally tell you anything you could ask about the town? That goes for every type of question as well, from something as simple as "Where can I rent a golf cart" to as operational as "Where do you get your power?" There are even the far fetched questions, for example, "Is the Island surrounded by water" (derp, aren't they all?). But no matter how complex or how straight forward the answer, Chuck addresses every one the same: with a smile, a helpful response, and a point in the right direction.
Chuck truly cares about more than just providing visitor information. He is so attentive to the people he interacts with, one time he even provided an extremely busy woman from Utah with a detailed map to help her finish all her tasks in time for her to take her socks off and enjoy the ocean water for the first time. Chuck nearly teared up at the reminiscence of that day.
The best part about what Chuck does for the community is that nobody really makes him do what he does. He is simply a considerate local who wants to help the community as much as the visitors it welcomes. He doesn't do it for the credit, or the money, or for the spotlight, he purely does it just to show that somebody cares. From your very first step onto the brick pathway into town, he lets you know someone is there to help you have the most enjoyable stay possible, no matter how long or short your vacation may be. He allows local businesses to focus on their business, and keeps visitors from having to ask all around town just to find their hotel or the best activity for their respective groups. Whether you've past Chuck on your walk to town or have yet to take your first step onto the Mole, he is there to assist you, and to always help you "have a great stay in Catalina."
Mini Golf, Mini Cousins, Massive Catalina Fun
A quick getaway to Catalina Island can always be packed with activities and memories for every age. It is a small town with a large potential for fun, and that fun doesn’t stop short in a small golf course either. Golf Gardens in Avalon has remained my most favorable miniature golf course since the day I putt my first ever hole-in-one as a kid on hole seventeen. Fifteen years later, I now create new mini golf memories with my little cousins, meanwhile I still golf like I did as a toddler. My skill level hasn’t changed, but neither has my love for the most creative mini golf course I’ve ever played. Each hole is as tricky and as cleverly placed as the last. The obstacles are all extremely genuine and present a new twist with every turn. All eighteen holes are a blast to attempt a triumphant conquering of your peers and family members. And let’s not forget, an ultimate chance for bragging rights.
For me, and for most I’ve seen, the toughest, most entertaining hole has got to be number 7. The twisted maze of green deceives the eyes of all ages, because everyone knows exactly where they should aim, though the ball rarely nails the sweet spot on the angled cement. More often than not, and when I say more often I am referring to the adults who think they’ve got it in the bag, the ball will miss the angle, hit the curb and roll right back to the start. Then, my snarky little cousins get up there and whack away without a single step of strategy, and hit that same sweet spot which their mother and I cannot hit for the life of us. Now, don’t be fooled by my frustration, I am just a tad competitive (yes just a tad now get off my back). Anyway, don’t be fooled because I have just about mastered the other seventeen clever greens at Golf Gardens, I’m sure of it. Although there was that time my girlfriend beat me over Fourth of July weekend, but that’s beside the point.
The miniature golf course at Golf Gardens provides the ultimate activity for family fun, competitive friends or even a relaxing date night. When it comes to Golf Gardens, age really is just a number, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve mastered Pebble Beach or are just taking your first swing at it. I say give it a try for your first, fifth, or even twentieth time; I just went for my twenty-second time and I still get as big of a thrill out of it as that first hole-in-one. Try it out and you could hit your first hole-in-one too! Now I can’t guarantee that, but I will guarantee a wonderful experience and memories for all.
The ask: Resurrect the voice of an aging booking site by revamping the product description pages and adding a wider range of options for rentals, activities, and overnight packages.
View the improved website, or click to enlarge the pictures.