Shopping goes to new heights.

Shopping Malls are always looking for the next “thing” to one up other malls.  Stores do it to.  In the Newport Fashion Island Mall, you can buy a cellular phone from the Apple Store for as little as $299.  You can also walk over to Neiman Marcus and get a cellular phone that is made out of carbon fiber and has a concierge service for $25,000.

In this economy I have seen just about everything.  The low extreme is a shopping mall in Hartford Connecticut where all the stores are closed.  The only thing still open is a food court and two leather couches left over from taking pictures with Santa Claus.

At the extreme opposite end is the Fashion Island Mall at Newport California.  With fine dining such as Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion and Blue Ocean, the mall is an easy place to empty the average American’s wallet quickly, and still have that person leaving with a smile.

Santa House at Fashion Island Newport Coast
Nicest Santa House Ever?

This year I was in the Newport area and had a business meeting cancel, so I went shopping.   Normally I hang out at TruSpeed Motorsports but decided I needed a change of pace.  After perusing the Mercedes dealership, it was over to Newport Aston Martin to look at the Robb Report Edition Aston Martin, the new Jaguar XKR and the Land Rovers co-located at the dealership.  A high end collection to say the least. Eventually I ended up at the main section of the Fasion Island mall at Newport.  There I found one of the nicest Santa Clause setups I have ever seen.  This one gives Main Street USA at Disney a run for it’s money, maybe the same people built it?

While walking the Fashion Island Mall, my favorite part is usually getting to the west end where La Brea Bakery is and taking in the view of the Pacific.  This year at the east end where the new fountains are going sat the Icon and now maybe my new favorite spot.  I think this is the ultimate Southern California high end shopping experience.  What other mall can you walk up and buy a $139,000 (base price) amphibious airplane as a gift?  Talk about making the CoolToys requirements!  This is a Light Sport Aircraft so the licensing and medical requirements are significantly less strict.

ICON Light Sport Aircraft
Try and get this down the chimney
The Icon is a great looking little two seat sportster that is a winner in every book.  As the cover was removed a crowd quickly gathered at 9 am on a Monday.  The rest of the shopping center was bare, no line at Starbucks, yet it took 20 minutes to get these pictures without anyone in the background.

The interior of the Icon was well finished and the whole airplane looked like it belonged at the mall.  Only at Newport Fashion Island Mall can you walk up and buy an airplane.  Not just any airplane but the perfect little airplane for Southern California.  It can land on water or land, and only needs 750 feet to take off or land.  A quick trip to Mammoth? Take your plane out of the garage and off you go.  Oh yeah, the Icon has folding wings so you can trailer it around like a small ski boat.

What a concept.  Only in Southern California would you see this.  The areas of  of beach living always have the best stuff, and the Southern California Beaches have taken it to a whole new level.  Congratulations to the Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach and Icon for setting the bar at a whole new level, what will they think of next?

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