Category Archives: Newport Beach

Down by the Bay (Upper Newport Bay, California)

When your hotel is situated on the edge of a nature preserve, it’s bound to get interesting. When there’s ten miles of trails winding through it? Even better. I spent a lot of time on the trails of Upper Newport Bay Preserve and Ecological Reserve a few years ago, both strolling with my camera and running without it. There’s nothing like fresh scenery to add a little spring to your step and pull some time off your mile.

Upper Newport Bay Map and Visitor Information

Upper Newport Bay is dedicated wetlands. Without intervention and education, it would eventually fill with sediment and evolve into meadowland. Home to half a dozen rare or endangered bird species, the estuary hosts over 30,000 birds a day during winter migration. Birds are only part of the story though; fish, native plants and assorted critters and mammals share the space in an intricate food web sustained by the unique conditions of a wetlands habitat. Some thirty to forty percent of California’s halibut catch is said to originate from spawning beds in the Bay. A flood control project in the late 60’s has impacted the Bay to the point that regular dredging is necessary to maintain its natural state. Fortunately, many believe the estuary to be worth the effort.The serene liquid landscape teems with life; mollusks, fish and snails emerged along the waterline as well as assorted shorebirds that fluttered away at our approach. We searched in vain for a California trapdoor spider, but a sleek long-tailed weasel caught my eye as it slipped across a narrow channel.

The Muth Interpretive Center was an unexpected find, tucked away beneath a curve of the trail. The paths of an outdoor garden led us down to fascinating displays on the Bay’s ecosystem. We arrived with questions and the employees were more than happy to share information and point us to helpful exhibits. Muth Center guides also helped us identify a couple of plants that intrigued us, including the coyote gourd or coyote melon plant.

The trailing vines of this flowering plant were expansive, invading the territories of all surrounding vegetation and even creeping out onto the horse trail that runs alongside the biking and running path. Jumping the vines daily as I ran the bayside path seemed reason enough for an introduction…


Updated from July 29, 2009.

Newport Beach Things To Do

Upper Newport Bay Map and Visitor Information

1000 acres of preserved wetland with 10 miles of hiking/biking/running trails. Kayaking, fishing, birdwatching...

Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center: Exhibits and information

Directions/Phone: 2301 University Drive; Newport Beach, CA 92660(949) 923 2290    Website

Newport Aquatic Center: Kayak and pontoon boat tours

Directions/Phone: 1 Whitecliffs Drive; Newport Beach, CA 92660(949) 646-7725   Website

View Upper Newport Bay Preserve and Ecological Reserve in a larger map


Bluewater Grill in Newport Beach

Bluewater Grill sign

Autumn is fading into its last crunches underfoot. The temperature is on a steady downward swing and all too soon we’ll be factoring in wind chill as a whistling wind pushes through trees bared of buffering foliage. And I’m having a California moment -a longing to turn my face to the sun and breathe in a breeze. Newport Beach was the launching point for last summer’s California trip. There is nothing like an ocean breeze to spin away extraneous thoughts and pare down life to its most lovely essentials.

Bluewater Grill

Dockside seating at the Bluewater Grill gave us a front row view to some impressive vessels. The guest dock also allows for fresh fish deliveries and on-site rentals. Our leisurely lunch included an excellent Manhattan clam chowder, a seared ahi tuna caesar salad and beer battered fish and chips. The latter was mediocre; more batter than fish, but my salad (with wasabi on the side) and our chowders were definitely repeat order items.


The Bluefish Grill has three California locations and is popular with the locals. Valet parking -unless you arrive by sea!

Newport Beach Things To Do
View Upper Newport Bay Preserve and Ecological Reserve in a larger map

UPDATE:  My passport (renewal) is “in process”. So far, I’m resisting the urge to do more than a daily check on its progress.


Hummingbirds Choose the Marriott Bayview

Hummingbird and flower

Marriott Bayview

The Marriott Bayview in Newport Beach holds all the expected perks and comforts of this hotel brand enhanced by a front row seat to Nature.

Situated on the edge of the Upper Newport Bay Reserve and Ecological Preserve, it offers the traveler easy access to miles of recreational trails. Its on-site hummingbirdfitness center is small but adequate, containing weight and cardio machines as well as free weights. A nicely sized outdoor pool stretches from the upper patio to beneath a shaded overhang. The lower garden area features cushioned Adirondack chairs (perfect for morning coffee), a gazebo and a rock waterfall that attracts large numbers of hummingbirds. An attentive staff facilitated our smooth and enjoyable three night stay. I’m not a fan of hotel parking fees; the additional $18 per day charge was my only significant negative.


Breakfast at the Marriott Bayview is a treat, due mainly to the smiling Javier. Javier cooks from the heart, and the savory results are splendid.


His custom omelets are jammed with flavor, and in my case, jalapenos. He disarmingly insisted on presenting his creations tableside and surprised me one morning with an additional handcrafted pancake. It was one of those flourishing touches that makes the Marriott Bayview a pleasant stay in the Newport Beach area.

Newport Beach Hotel Review

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