Get away for the weekend — to Lake Arrowhead

Everyday wanderer: Part 1 in a series

Get away for the weekend — to Lake ArrowheadBy JAYME KINARD, News Review Correspondent

Tucked away in the mountains of the San Bernadino National Forest is the small community of Lake Arrowhead. Coined the “Alps of California” and one of the “best kept secrets on the West Coast,” Lake Arrowhead lives up to its hype. Being only 25 miles from Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead has scenery that is similar in that it boasts gorgeous mountain views and lush vegetation, but the community offers a completely different atmosphere. Lake Arrowhead is free from ski resorts, which attract a different kind of tourist than its counterpart.

Traveling to Lake Arrowhead from Ridgecrest was a quick two-hour- and-15-minute drive, taking 395 to I-15 South before heading into the mountains. From the time we got off of the interstate and continued on our last 30 minutes of the drive into the foothills, the temperature dropped about 15 degrees. Driving through the historic town on our way to our rental cabin felt like we were on a movie set – the main street lined in small shops, antique stores and boutiques, with old pickup trucks parked out front. I could feel immediately that everyone was a bit more relaxed, and the clock seemed to tick a little slower.

When we arrived at our cabin, as soon as I got out of the car I could smell the pine trees and take in a refreshing breath of crisp air. No sooner than we’d put our bags inside the cabin and turned on the heat, we were off to the highly recommended Lake Arrowhead Village to explore and hopefully find something to eat. About 10 minutes later, we pulled into the Village where an enormous two-story holiday store and Christmas tree lot greeted us. The buildings resembled a classic Swiss village with white paint and brown wooden trim, with the shops backing right up to the lake, hence the nickname “the Alps of California.” The buildings and courtyard area were decorated for Christmas with signs pointing to Santa’s Village and the Reindeer Barn.

The village and shopping area were both family and pet-friendly. There was an outdoor stage area where family-friendly performances are put on, an arcade, a lakeside carousel and a go-cart track. Because we visited in the later months of the year it was cold outside, but the sun peeked through the clouds just enough to warm the ground, where dogs lay enjoying themselves. There was a coffee, tea and wine bar, and many restaurants with outdoor seating. Alongside the water was a walkway with a panoramic view of the lake. As the sun began to set, the water was still and shone blue, looking like glass. It was truly a special scene. We found a trendy restaurant on the water where I ate one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. The restaurants in the village offered cuisine from all around the world, plenty of indoor and outdoor activities and genuinely had something for everyone.

Over the next few days, my family and I spent the majority of our time at our cabin playing games and enjoying the views. It was wonderful to have the conveniences of the stores and activities nearby but still feel secluded for an incredible weekend getaway.

Pictured: A view of the rustic village surrounding Lake Arrowhead. — Photo by Jayme Kinard

Story First Published: 2017-12-08