Labor Day Getaways | National Peach Month | The Ultimate Guide to Dining | Resources For Electric Cars | Best Beaches in Orange County

Image: Flickr

Last Minute Labor Day Getaways From Avalon Baker Ranch

Summer is slowly slipping away and Labor Day is just days away – in fact, it officially arrives on Monday, Sept. 1. The kids will be returning to school, the days will grow darker more quickly, and the temperatures will also begin to get cooler. As the summer season ends, it’s possible though for a few last hurrahs before all the above kicks into high gear.

There are a number of ways to celebrate the unofficial end of summer if you haven’t already made Labor Day holiday weekend plans. There is much to do, especially if you live around the area or in places like Avalon Baker Ranch or other nearby SoCal cities.

Where to Go

Laguna Beach

Nearby Laguna Beach is always a great place to visit, since there are all sorts of things to do, from quaint stores to browse in to beaches beckoning to dip your toes at their edges. Many of the restaurants in the town have specials and some of the shops are offering late summer deals on T-shirts and/or other trinkets.

Newport Beach

Up in Newport Beach you can take the family, a friend, or significant other to visit Crystal Cove State Park. Enjoy the beautiful surf, build a sandcastle, go boogie boarding, or explore the revamped cottages from yesteryear that are now rentals. The park also offers meandering trails and places to explore for a nominal fee.

Irvine Spectrum Center

You can also visit the Irvine Spectrum Center where all sorts of activities take place to keep you busy and say goodbye to summer. Shop the many retail outlets from big box department stores to the more unique boutiques; dine at any of the restaurants from casual fare to the more unique. Ride the Ferris wheel, or play a video game or two while exploring; or even see a show at the Irvine Improv.

Picnic Basket for Labor Day

Image: Wikipedia

Outdoor Fun

Lake Time

In Lake Forest, you can visit the lake where something is always happening or take a trip to Lake Mission Viejo, where you can see a concert, rent a kayak, boat or other small water craft and enjoy the last days of summer.

Pack a Picnic Basket

Another way to enjoy Labor Day is gather a big picnic basket and fill it up with goodies from any of the local eateries in the area like The Bagel Shack and Tommy’s Original Burgers. Grab someone you want to spend time with and enjoy good food, friends and surroundings before the sunsets on the dog days of summer.

Good-bye Summer

Before you know it, the Halloween and Christmas decorations will be on store shelves and summer will be just a mere memory – but hopefully a happy one. Make the most of Labor Day and enjoy your beautiful Orange County surroundings!

Go Back to the Top

Image: Wikipedia

Celebrate National Peach Month in Orange County, California

The days are getting a little cooler, the sun is setting earlier… as much as we hate to admit it, summer is slowly slipping away. However, before you pack your swimsuits up for the winter, there is one last hurrah in which you might want to partake.

August is National Peach Month, so what better way to send off summer than with a juicy peach, a yummy recipe utilizing the fruits , or throwing a final summer party at your pad in Avalon Baker Ranch with some peach cocktails?

Luckily, the upscale community is located close enough to a variety of farmers markets where fresh peaches are waiting for you and much more. You can visit one or as many as you like and pick up peaches, apples, grapes, cherries, and other kinds of seasonal produce as well as fruits.

Many of these events are certified farmers market sponsored by the Orange County Farm Bureau. They are places where actual farmers sell fruits, nuts and vegetables directly to the public. Every farmer who sells at a certified market is inspected by the county agricultural commissioner to make sure he/she actually grows the commodity being sold. Here are some of the more popular locations and markets:

Farmers Markets to Visit During National Peach Month


  • Laguna Niguel CFM, 27241 La Paz Road, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., call, 714-573-0374.
  • Local Harvest Garden Grove CFM, Main and Garden Grove Boulevard, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., call 562-498-6048.
  • Irvine Crossroads CFM, 3750 Barranca Pkwy., 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., call, 818-591-8161.
  • San Clemente Village CFM, Avenida Del Mar and Seville, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., call 949-492-6000.
  • Irvine Square CFM, 17901 MacArthur Blvd., 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., call 818-591-8161.


Kaiser Permanente Irvine CFM, 6670 Alton Pkwy and Sand Canyon Ave., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., call 714-329-6755.


Foothill Ranch CFM, 26612 Towne Centre Dr., parking lot, food festival, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. , call 949-887-8623.


  • Laguna Hills CFM, El Toro Road and Avenida De La Carlota, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., call 714-573-0374.
  • The New Dana Point CFM, Pacific Coast Hwy. and Golden Lantern, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. call, 909-229-3329.
  • Laguna Hills Mall parking lot, the 5 Freeway and El Toro Road, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (rain or shine).


  • Laguna Beach, Lumberyard parking lot next to the City Hall, 8 a.m. to noon (rain or shine).
  • Irvine University Center on the corner of Bridge and Campus (across from UCI), 8 a.m. to noon (rain or shine).

Entertaining with Peaches

Once you get all you need at the markets you decide to visit, bring it all back home to Avalon Baker Ranch and get ready to use the goodies like the peaches in various summer recipes.

You can use peaches in all kinds of dishes ranging from peach cobbler to peach crisps, syrups, peach upside down cakes, and even peach cocktails for a way to unwind after a long day.

Gather your friends and family, and enjoy National Peach Month in August before summer is gone and things go back to the norm.

Go Back to the Top

Image: Flickr

The Ultimate Guide to Dining in Orange County

Eating out can be an adventure, especially when you are looking to whet your palate with something other than a burger and fries. In Orange County there are other options and then some to satisfy your food cravings. Some of the most diversified fare for foodies can be found near the Avalon Baker Ranch community in Lake Forest. Rev up your appetites and let’s get to it!

Your Handy Guide to Dining in Orange County, California


For some of the best Southern BBQ and Soul food around try Lucille’s Smoke House BBQ in Lake Forest known for its ribs, chicken, deep-friend shrimp, pulled pork and other barbecued favorites. Side dishes abound here too, like cornbread and some of the best before-dinner muffins you’ve ever tasted served with sweet honey butter. Kid-friendly, live music, gluten-free items, open for lunch and dinner takes reservations, serves alcohol, open daily.


Café Rio has Mexican fare to make you stand up and scream Olé! Also located in Lake Forest, the venue offers chips and salsa, fresh guacamole, Chile Con Queso, Café Rio Salad, Café Rios famous tortilla soup, and more. Family-friendly, fun vibe, open seven days, buy 10 meals, get the next free.


Chopaan Kabob offers Afghan cuisine in Lake Forest. Vegan-friendly, happy hour, kid- friendly, delivery, late night, live music, outdoor seating, private parties, takes reservations, serves alcohol. Lots of great dishes to try here from kabobs of course to lamb chops, salads, eggplant, rice, and Mashawa, a special Afghani soup, prepared with green lentil, tiny spicy meatballs, garbanzo beans, yogurt, dill and spices. Also popular the potato bolani, large grilled, fresh pastry sheet filled with potato, green onions, cilantro and flavorful spices, grilled. Served with yogurt and green and red chutneys.


Long time favorite Scarantino’s Italian Inn offers Italian fare, pizzas, and wine bar. Located in Lake Forest, the restaurant has been around for years and has the old standby favorites like lasagna, pizzas and more. Kid-friendly, open seven days.

Pineapple Bacon Cheeseburger

Image: Wikipedia


There are a lot of burger places to get your fix – and your fixins – near Avalon Baker Ranch. Residents can choose from The Habit Burger Grill, Tommy’s Original Hamburgers, In-N-Out near the Laguna Hills Mall, and Fuddruckers. All are kid-friendly; some have late night hours, call before.

Upscale Dining

King’s Fish House in Laguna Hills has some of the freshest seafood in the county. Dine inside, or outside and enjoy superb food, as well as service. Seasonal items depending on the month. Salmon, shrimp, scallops, sushi, scampi and wild dishes, too. Reservations recommended on weekends, and for larger parties.

Brü Grill & Market American and gastropub offerings in Lake Forest, also, gluten-free. Happy hour, kid friendly, free Wi-Fi, outdoor seating, takes reservations, serves alcohol. Everything from mac and cheese with lobster to prime rib, salads, flatbreads, vegetarian, vegan menu available. Mostly known for its many seafood creations, the place is busy in the weekends.

Chinese and Thai

Everybody loves a good Chinese meal every now and then, be it an egg roll, orange chicken or beef and broccoli. Luckily, there are some good choices in the area that offer big portions and even kiddie menu items. Try Pei Wei Asian Diner that recently added sushi to its menu along with other favorites like wok-seared chicken entrees and seafood dishes. There are also many gluten-free items for those who have special diets. Open seven days. For Thai try King & I Thai Cuisine in Lake Forest for such delicacies as fried wonton (10 pieces), King and I Thai egg rolls (two), shrimp tempura, Mee Krob, Sa-Te beef or chicken, wing or angel, fried tofu and more. Open for lunch and dinner, kid-friendly.

Casual Fare

Many options abound in the area for a quick bite with friends like BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse, California Pizza Kitchen, Daphne’s Greek and the Corner Bakery, all in the vicinity.

There are even the standard fast-food places like Quiznos, Subway, McDonald’s, Golden Spoon and Yogurtland for desserts.

Pink and Yellow Cupcakes

Image: Flickr


Speaking of desserts if you have a sweet tooth and can’t have sugar, try Bye, Bye Sugar Bakery in Lake Forest that offers yummy cakes, cookies and other bakery items minus the sugar. Check hours before calling. Good for an afternoon delight, after-school events, after dinner, lunch or really anytime.

Bon appétit!

With hundreds of restaurants to choose from in the area, it’s possible you could dine someplace new for months. From burgers to fish and pasta to pizzas, you can never get bored or go hungry living in the vicinity where so many options are available to those who enjoy good eats.

Go Back to the Top

The Best Resources For Electric Cars in SoCal Near Avalon Baker Ranch.

With gas prices well over the $4 mark in Southern California, those who drive an electric or hybrid vehicle are celebrating. Not only do they get the benefits of low gas card bills and driving in the HOV lanes, they also can find recharging stations in places they never thought possible.

These days even upscale apartments in Orange County with electric car charging stations can be found for residents and their guests.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Image: Wikipedia

Electric Stations Nearby

Because SoCal is considered to be one of the most heavily saturated markets for electric cars in the country, it has gotten easier to find charging stations, and even dealerships who sell the cars.

For instance, there are electric car stations at the Irvine Spectrum Center at Enterprise Drive and the Irvine Marketplace.

Should you be out and about shopping and need a quick charge, you can find stations at Costco in Irvine at 115 Technology W. Drive at Barranca. You can even get a charge at the Saddleback Memorial Medical Center at 24451 Health Center Drive, Laguna Hills.

Headed out of town and forgot to charge before you go? No problem, Orange County (John Wayne) Airport at 18601 Airport Way in Santa Ana has charging stations.

Shopping Malls

Even the big shopping centers have gotten into the act offering electric charging stations for their customers. For example, Simon, a member of the retail real estate industry, and NRG eVgo (ee-vee-go), a subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc., have recently installed new electric car fast-charging Freedom Station sites that can recharge shoppers’ vehicles in 30 minutes or less at four Orange County Simon shopping centers: The Shops at Mission Viejo, Brea Mall, and The Outlets at Orange.

  • The Shops at Mission Viejo’s Freedom Station is located in the parking lot between Forever 21 and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro.
  • Brea Mall’s Freedom Station is located in the parking lot near California Pizza Kitchen, on the south side of the newly renovated center.
  • The Freedom Station at Westminster Mall is located in the parking lot near DSW, between Sears and JCPenney, on the northeast side of the mall.
  • The Outlets at Orange’s Freedom Station is located in the parking lot near Neiman Marcus Last Call and Burke William’s Day Spa.

The eVgo Freedom Station sites support current and future charging technology, by serving Southern California EV drivers’ on-the-go charging needs regardless of what kind of electric vehicle they drive. The stations currently support CHAdeMO direct current (DC) fast charging, as well as standard alternating current (AC) J1772 Level 2 EV charging and can be upgraded with an SAE Combo charger as more EVs with that charging standard become available, according to the companies.

Where to Look

Additionally, electric car stations are being added almost daily, so be sure to check a location by calling before you leave the house. There are also some online resources that offer great advice on everything about owning, taking care of and buying an electric cat or hybrid model.

Repairs for Your Electric Car

Should something go wrong with your electric car there are repair shops located throughout the area and close to Lake Forest to assist. For example, the Irvine Auto Mall has car dealerships of almost all brands who manufacture electric cars like Nissan, KIA, General Motors and Ford, to name a few.

If you’re thinking of purchasing an electric car or a hybrid these dealerships also have plenty to choose from.

Electric cars and hybrids are no longer just a dream for drivers and thanks to all of the charging stations around the county — be it at upscale apartment properties, shopping malls and warehouse centers– it’s easier to own and drive one in Southern California. To secure your place in one of these gorgeous communities that offer electric and hybrid car services, contact us at Avalon Baker Ranch today.

Go Back to the Top

Discover the Best Beaches in Orange County, California

You don’t have to be a surfer or play beach volleyball to enjoy the many beaches in and around Orange County. You already know there are tons of things to do in the OC in the summertime, but going to the beach is one most people’s favorite pastimes.

Up and down what is known as the Gold Coast—Orange County—has a beach for just about everyone to enjoy from families to those looking for some simple solace. If you live in the upscale community of Avalon Baker Ranch in Lake Forest, you’re already close to some of the best sandy beaches the county (and country!) has to offer. Here are some of the best beaches in Orange County to enjoy this summer.

Laguna Beach - one of the best beaches in Orange County, California

Image: Wikipedia

Best Local Beaches

Just a few miles off of El Toro Road or a short hop onto the 133 from Avalon, you will find some of the most beautiful places to kick up your heels and relax. Nearby Laguna Beach is home to arts, shops, museums, great people watching and more, and it has some pretty great beaches, too. If you like to people watch or you yourself like to be seen, you will want to plant your beach blanket at Main Beach. Watch a volleyball game or partake in one yourself, sun bathe, snorkel, or just bask in the sun here since it is one of the most popular beach locales around.

Other popular beaches to visit while in scenic Laguna Beach include Boat Canyon, where its cove is about 400 feet long, and easily accessible thanks to a stairway access near the Diver’s Cove condominiums. It is a smaller beach and is not busy during the week days. Be forewarned though as the beach bottom here is rocky, and it drops off about 5 feet out from the shore. The area known as the Splash Rock is popular with divers, but swimmers may want to stay clear.

Even More in Laguna

Crescent Bay Beach is a large cove where Cliff Drive intercepts North Coast Highway. The beach is a sandy stretch with rocky areas at the north and south ends. Off the north point there is a large rock about 120 yards off shore called Seal Rock because of the many seals and sea lions that can often be seen hanging out.

Don’t forget Aliso Creek County Beach at 31131 Coast Highway in South Laguna where parking spaces fill up fast, so get there early or you might miss out. Aliso Beach Park is family-friendly with large sandy beaches and lots of wildlife perched on beautiful rock formations to observe. Swimming, skim boarding, surfing, skin diving and paddle boarding are also common activities. A concession building offers food and beverages with restrooms nearby. Parking is $1/hour year around. This is a county beach and pets are not allowed.

Perhaps one of the most beautiful spots around is Crystal Cove State Park. Crystal Cove is a stretch of coastal cliffs and a beach front cove between Pacific Coast Highway and the Pacific Ocean just north of Laguna Beach. It offers a state park with paved beach parking and a return to yesteryear as there are restored homes now available for rent to checkout into or just check out.

Down in Dana Point

A few miles away in South Orange County, you will find Dana Point where boats and people watching are a commonplace activity daily. At Salt Creek Beach enjoy the sandy beach popular for surfing. Both upland and beach facilities can be reached from Ritz Carlton Dr. off Pacific Coast Highway. Parking and wheelchair-accessible restrooms are available at a large metered parking lot, open 6 a.m. to midnight, on Ritz Carlton Drive.

There is also Doheny State Beach next to Dana Point Harbor with restaurants, Dana Point Marine Life Refuge, swim beach and tide pools. At Dana Harbor, Pacific Coast Highway and Doheny Park Road.

Wherever you decide to catch the rays this summer, know there is always a glorious, sandy beach just waiting for you to plop down and enjoy the day.

Go Back to the Top