Island tour

Sunday’s Balboa Island tour will feature 6 decorated homes and a fire station

The Balboa Island Improvement Association. will present its 21st annual walking tour of Balboa Island vacation homes from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, giving the public the chance to see a variety of decorated homes and, for the first time, Fire Station No. 4 from Newport Beach, a Balboa Island fixture at the corner of Marine and Park Avenues.

The six homes on the tour include Susie and Rudy Baron’s residence at 323 E. Bay Front on Little Balboa Island.

The Barons have owned the 1937 cottage for 50 years and raised their three children there.

“It’s a little Christmas house,” Susie Baron said as she stood in front of a Christmas tree adorned with ornaments, bows and lighting.

Gail Vasterling, who has lived on Balboa Island for 33 years and handles publicity for the tour, said she and the tour committee began asking the owners around the end of December if they would like showcase their accommodations for next year’s tour.

Baron said it was special for her to showcase her holiday treasures, which include a collection of Santa Claus, handmade seashells, festive paintings by local artist Timree Gold and a hand-painted nativity scene that she found in Morelia, Mexico.

The Barons bought their three-bedroom cottage from its original owners, who owned and operated orange groves and rented the house out during summers to actors Ray Milland and Dorothy Lamour.

The holiday home tour is the main annual fundraising event for the Balboa Island Improvement Assn., which funds holiday decorations on Marine Avenue and annual parades, Vasterling said.

Tour tickets can be purchased for $35 at Balboa Island stores Island Home, Persimmon Tree, Toss and Etc. etc Etc., all on Marine Avenue or online at


What: Balboa Island Vacation Home Walking Tour

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, departing from Balboa Island Museum, 331 Marine Ave.

Or: Seven stops

Admission: $35

Tickets and information: (714) 296-6196,

Twitter: @KathleenLuppi