Currently Jonathan, Pono and I reside in southern California. Temecula is a cute 100,000 person or so town about 1 hour north of San Diego and is home to “wine country” and a burgeoning foodie scene. As we have gotten settled here and have gotten jobs, are days off have been few and far between.
Our most recent stretch of days off demanded that we explore the beautiful terrain of California. We drove up to Big Bear Lake, the California ski town, for a day of walking around, lunch and overall unwinding.
Just a two hour drive from Temecula, the scenery along the way was magnificent. Our route had us follow many different highways until we started snaking up the mountains of the San Bernardino National Forest.
The elevation of this stretch of national forest ranges but tops out around 11,000. It’s been quite a while since I have been up in the mountains, and the winding roads left me a little car sick, but not sick enough to pose for a photo op with my pup:
A few beautiful vistas along the way included:
Once we arrived in Bear Lake, we cruised around the sleepy, resorty town in search of some grub. We passed a few parks that still had snow on the hills, the residual winter sports fanatics taking one last run down the slope. The lake was beautiful and expansive and is no doubt an oasis and playground in the summer months.
We parked in the downtown village area of Big Bear and enjoyed walking hand in hand past Indian trading posts, souvenir shops, antique boutiques, ice cream parlors, an arcade, home made jerky stands and a host of restaurants and bars. As you can imagine with any small town in California, or any ski town for the matter, the usual suspects hung around, strumming guitar for tips and coercing their fluffy dogs to stay out of the street. It was the type of place where dogs ran off leash, only to obey the commands of their owners. It felt nice and free.
We had lunch on the outdoor patio of Saucy Mama’s, clearly a good time to snap an appropriate and opportune photo. The food was good and I would recommend it to anyone. They also have 22 oz. drafts of some great Pale Ales and IPAs. I had to represent Chi-Town with a Goose Island Pale Ale.
After lunch the rain rolled in an it was time to make a swift exit. I wish we could have stayed longer to explore more of the terrain an the lake, but the weather made it nearly impossible. Big Bear is a great escape for any Californian looking for that rustic charm and slower pace of life.