Big Bear, CA

by Stephanie Casher on September 5, 2007

So James had a birthday recently, and to celebrate, we headed to the mountains for a romantic weekend in Big Bear. I’d never been there before, but Big Bear is basically Southern California’s version of Lake Tahoe. The quaint little town wraps around the edges of a gorgeous mountain lake, about two hours east of Los Angeles. In the winter, Big Bear is where Angelinos go to hit the slopes and get their ski/snowboard on, while in the summer, people head up to the lake for boating and hiking. If you’re a fan of outdoor recreation, Big Bear definitely has something for everyone.

We stayed in a jacuzzi cabin at the Pine Knot Guest Ranch, which I highly recommend. The accommodations were spacious, clean, affordable, centrally located, with fantastic amenities. I loved our little cabin, which had a full kitchen so we could shop and do our own cooking. Direct TV, VCR, DVD Player, skylights, jacuzzi. Not to mention the cabin was in the middle of the forest, so we could hear no noise but the sounds of nature. A little slice of heaven.

Thanks to the excellent recommendations from Gloria at the front desk, we ate some really incredible food while in Big Bear. Birthday dinner was at the Peppercorn Grille, which was one of the best meals I’ve had in a loooong time. I highly recommend it. We also ate at Jasper’s Smokehouse, which served up BBQ, soul food, and burgers with huge portions (yum!). And breakfast at the local haunt, the Grizzly Manor Cafe, where the portions, once again, were HUGE. I just love good food!

We also took two really awesome hikes while in Big Bear. The Alpine Pedal path is a very easy hike along the lake, about 3.5 miles long. We hiked it after breakfast one morning, and it was lovely. Then later that afternoon we tackled the more strenuous Cougar Crest trail, which was about 7 miles round trip, to the top of Bertha’s Peak, which provided a breathtaking 360 degree panaromic view of the lake and surrounding areas. Man, what a hike. There were definitely moments where I was breathless and winded and wondering if I was gonna make it, but when we finally got to the top, it was so worth it. I just love being out in nature…

All in all, Big Bear provides the perfect mountain escape for those who want to get out of the city, and for romance, it just can’t be beat. :-) If you’re looking for something to do in SoCal to appease your inner nature-lover, this is the spot. I can’t wait to experience Big Bear in the wintertime!

More pictures on Flickr!

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