Trevor Morrow is a travel writer and blogger based in Los Angeles, California. With a specialty in adventure and luxury travel, Trevor’s travel insights are regularly published across the web and on his travel blog, Trevor Morrow Travel. When he’s not globetrotting, Trevor can be found exploring Southern California.
Last week I was craving a change of scenery. Specifically, someplace quieter and colder where it might actually feel like fall — a season that evades Los Angeles.
For inspiration, I pulled up Google Maps and clicked around Southern California, looking for places within driving distance that would satisfy my criteria. Within a few minutes, I’d zoomed in on San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County’s neighbor to the east. Home to the Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree and pine tree-laden mountain forests, it’s full of adventure and far-away-feeling places that aren’t actually too far.
I decided the county’s rugged San Bernardino Mountains, specifically the area surrounding Lake Arrowhead, would be the perfect choice.
But a perfect mountain escape first and foremost requires a perfect cabin to stay in. Luckily, I’d heard of a place called Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins, a collection of storybook-worthy cabins nestled at 5,800 feet elevation in the tiny town of Twin Peaks (just 10 minutes up the mountain from Lake Arrowhead). So, I booked cabin #9 (a.k.a. The Eagle’s Nest) and informed my girlfriend that we’d be going on an adventure!
Our cabin at Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins
Since we’d be gone for just 24 hours, I packed light, bringing only one pair of shoes — my Rockport Boat Builders D-Ring Plaintoe Boots. Comfortable, sturdy and stylish, these boots can go from light hikes in the woods, to providing sure footing while carrying firewood, to walking around town, to a mountain dinner. On top of all that, I just felt good wearing them.
When we arrived in the early evening, after a two-hour drive from LA, the temperature had dropped to a refreshing 45 degrees, and the air was sweet with the smell of smoke from nearby chimneys. A more ideal welcome to the mountains couldn’t have been possible.
That night, I picked up a bundle of wood from Pine Rose’s lobby and built a fire in our fireplace. Nothing could beat the cozy ambiance of our cabin, so we stayed in and whipped up some soup and grilled cheese in our compact full kitchen.
The next morning, we woke up late (thanks to the comfortable king bed we didn’t want to leave) and hungry.
When it comes to places to grab breakfast in these parts, there aren’t many options — but there doesn’t need to be when there’s Hungry Bear Deli.
A ten-minute drive along roller coaster roads from our cabin, Hungry Bear Deli in the mini-town of Skyforest is the place to grab a breakfast sandwich. Follow my lead and order the bacon, egg and cheese on a toasted everything bagel, along with a Volcano, a cappuccino so sweet and creamy it’s almost like a hot milkshake.
Back outside, the late morning air smelled of pine trees and changing leaves, and it looked and felt like fall. I breathed it all in and smiled, happy to have found exactly what I was looking for.
From Skyforest we drove 10 minutes down a winding road to Lake Arrowhead Village, a bustling Bavarian-styled collection of shops and restaurants set along the lake. It’s worth a visit, but if you arrive full (if hungry try Belgian Waffle Works or The Lakefront Tap Room), aren’t in the mood to shop or don’t have kids (there’s a playground and an old merry-go-round) you won’t need to visit for longer than an hour.
Post stroll, we drove back up the mountain to Skyforest to peruse the two antique shops, At The Cabin (located next door to Hungry Bear) and Bella’s Antiques (located across the street from Hungry Bear). Surprisingly, both were packed with incredible, one-of-a-kind finds. And although we wanted to spend hundreds of dollars, we showed restraint, leaving with only a framed Outdoorsman magazine cover from 1946, bought for me by my girlfriend as a thank you for the getaway.
By now we were hungry again, so we walked across the street to Lou Eddie’s, a pizza place and microbrewery recommended by every local I spoke with. The ambiance was warm and inviting, the staff was incredibly friendly and most importantly, the pizza was delicious (and not delicious for a little restaurant up in the mountains, delicious for anywhere). As an added bonus, our bus boy said he really liked my boots and asked me who made them!
Nearing the end of our trip, we made one final stop — the Strawberry Peak fire lookout. Manned by United States Forest Service volunteers, the fire lookout tower is used to spot forest fires in the surrounding mountains and the volunteers are more than happy to welcome visitors inside and tell them all about their job, the history of the tower and the sights seen from it. Personally, I know few better ways to end a trip than by taking in a breathtaking view.
After an on-the-go day, we swung by our cabin to gather our belongings and hit the road back to Los Angeles.
As we descended thousands of feet, from high up the mountain to back down into the hustle, bustle and palm trees that Southern California is known for, we knew it wouldn’t be long before we’d be heading back up that mountain, ready to do it all over again.
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This Port71 guest blogger received compensation in exchange for his post. All opinions are the blogger’s own.