Catalina from A to Z: Questionable quirks

Hello, and welcome to the Blogging A to Z Challenge! This year my theme is Catalina from A to Z, featuring posts about the Southern California island of Catalina. With a focus on the island’s romantic side, I’ll be sharing info about where to go, what to see and do, plus a few sneak peeks from my novel in progress, Wife For A Weekend, which is set on the island!

Catalina Island has a few quirky features that seem notable to me as a novelist interested in using this particular island as the setting for my book.

Golf carts galore

The main way that folks get around on the island (if they need something motorized) isn’t by car but by golf cart. The island considers them “autoettes,” since they’re both smaller and more environmentally friendly than a traditional car. Visitors can rent golf carts for the day, and some of the rental properties on the island include them with your stay. (The waiting list for residents who really really REALLY want to import their cars to the island? 20 years!)

Zero traffic lights

Another interesting feature of life on Catalina Island is the complete lack of traffic lights. Related to the “no cars” quirk, since most traffic is moving much more slowly than a speeding car, there’s also no need to post traffic lights at the intersections – which are, themselves, few and far between. Most folks meander around Avalon on foot, or hop on a bike or into a golf cart if they need to get somewhere faster. You can also hire a cab (rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft don’t exist on the island, due to the lack of private cars) or grab the trolley to get where you need to go. Bright lights, big city it’s not!

A post office that doesn’t deliver

A post office that doesn’t deliver? What’s next? A Casino with no gambling?!

The Catalina Island post office doesn’t do door-to-door delivery (again, related to the “no cars” rule), but instead all residents have their own post office box (P.O. box), and head down to the post office at 118 Metropole Street to pick up their packages.

Casino with no gambling

As mentioned, the Catalina Casino uses the word “casino” in the sense of the Italian word for “gathering place,” so there’s no gambling to be found on the island – not even in the Casino!

And a hospital that doesn’t deliver, either!

Another oddity on this small island is that doctors from the local hospital actively encourage expectant mothers NOT to deliver their babies on Catalina. According to The Catalina Islander, “Catalina Island Medical Center staff and providers strongly encourage local pregnant women to spend their final four weeks of pregnancy on the mainland.”

According to the same article, doctors at the hospital haven’t delivered any babies in decades, and since the island is so remote, it’s considered an unnecessary danger for women to attempt delivery there. Instead, pregnant Catalina Islanders typically give birth in LA hospitals, and return home once their babies have been born off-island.

I guess, technically, that means anyone who says they were “born and raised” on Catalina isn’t quite telling the truth – but that’s just another one of Catalina’s charming quirks!

Eager to learn more about Catalina?

Join my mailing list to get each day’s posts delivered straight to your inbox in a single update, sent every Sunday!