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The Crowd: Lido Isle greets clubhouse in new form

The Lido Isle crowd converged on their handsome renovated and redecorated club Nov. 2 to formally welcome the new facility to the island.

Following months of construction in several phases, the iconic Newport family beach and sailing hub has an elegant yet comfortable “beach” look in keeping with classic East Coast Hamptons style.

Architects Steve Kroh and Roy Martinez worked closely with interior designers of note Karen Butera and Richard King and contractors Matt White, Bob Fernandez and Aaron Schmidt in creating the space that will serve Newport families for another century of generations.

In addition to its well-regarded sailing program for youth, the Lido Community Assn. Clubhouse is home to civic, holiday and family milestone events throughout the year, including the decades-long tradition of the Summer Friday night barbecue.


The grand-opening celebration featured a formal ribbon-cutting at the front door officiated by Newport Beach Mayor Mike Henn joining City Manager Dave Kiff and staffers from the city of Newport Beach Building Department. Super-dedicated Lido Isle resident project managers Pete Manno and Obie Rambeau stood side by side with the city officials at the ready to cut the red ribbon and welcome some 100 Lido Islanders for the formal first look.

Manno welcomed guests who were toasting champagne and sampling hors d’oeuvres of chilled jumbo shrimp and assorted artisan cheeses. They marveled at the new harbor vantage point through floor-to-ceiling glass windows on the main channel that replaced smaller panels of glass. Manno stood at the podium fronting a grand fireplace surrounded by a classic white painted wooden mantel and thanked the many locals who donated time, talent and financial support to the project.

Deserving praise were present and past LICA Board presidents, including Neil McFarland, Patrick Sanders, Jim Aust, Leo Young and Fred Barnes. LICA staff on hand were Paul Kotas, Sherry Champion and Lindsey Vaughn.

Special thanks were offered to the dedicated design committee women who worked diligently to create the exceptionally tasteful environment. Accepting kudos were Sharon Grimes, Betsy Dougherty, Barbara Wall, Kim Morris, Nancy Helm and Linda Kinninger. Finally, sincere appreciation was paid to the Crook family representing Quick Crete for the generous donation of tables and large cement planters helping to complete the project.


Spotted in the upbeat crowd were some longtime Lido Islanders, including the fashionable Marion Pickens with her daughter Alison McCormick and son-in-law James (Kimo) McCormick. The gorgeous mother-daughter duo of Sharon and Jamie McKinnon were also front and center for the ribbon-cutting, along with the lovely Diane Aust, Mary Manno and Lori Rambeau.

The social significance of the midweek gathering is rooted not in the success of the project, not in the champagne toasts to all who made it possible, but rather in the passing of an invisible family torch. On Lido Isle, for near the better part of four generations dating back to the days before the dawn of World War II (when the island still had mostly vacant lots), that stood for a quality of life that has vanished in so many quarters of the broad American landscape.

It’s a quality of life that stands for community, for a clean and safe environment for children, for sportsmanship, for goodwill, and the robust enjoyment of neighbors one and all in a special Pacific Coast locale on a spit of manmade land in a legendary harbor.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.