03 Aug Rediscovering Big Bear Lake
After graduating from UCLA, JIll traveled the world looking for unique destinations. She’s been writing about her travels for almost 30 years in various publications.
She writes a weekly restaurant review for the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News. It’s inserted into the Los Angeles Times every Thursday and delivered to subscribers from Hancock Park to Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills to the Wilshire Corridor.
Rediscovering Big Bear Lake
BY JILL WEINLEIN
Summer is one of the best seasons to drive up to the alpine mountain town Big Bear. With the pandemic keeping many at home, the drive from Los Angeles is less than two hours.
Instead of staying at a hotel and eating in restaurants, we discovered the WorldMark Resort, located two blocks from Big Bear Lake. You don’t have to be a timeshare member to reserve a unit, and it’s an ideal “Covid-cation”, as each unit has a full kitchen, laundry, outdoor patio or balcony with a barbecue grill. Units have forest views and some have a peek of the lake.
Despite potential quarantines and visitor restrictions at many vacation destinations, the WorldMark Resort has prepared for local “staycation” getaways since May 26, 2020. They have a cleaning and sanitizing protocol developed by ECOLAB, a global leader in water, hygiene and infection prevention.
Last month we packed the car with food and drove up to 7,000 feet above sea level to escape the heat and breathe clear mountain air. Our spacious two bedroom condo-style unit comfortably sleeps four to six guests. Since the resort has no elevators, we accessed our unit by walking up the 13-step staircase to the second floor.
We had a private bedroom with one king bed and ensuite bathroom. Two bedroom units also have a queen or two twin beds in the second bedroom, and a queen Murphy bed to pull down in the living area.
Traveling with our two daughters, we all appreciated the privacy of separate bedrooms. Since we brought our own food and beverages, we found the fully equipped kitchen convenient for meals. Noticing a barbecue grill on the private balcony, we made one trip to the grocery store two blocks away to purchase salmon and corn on the cob to grill while watching the sun set.
This resort does not have air conditioning, however the family room and bedrooms have overhead fans. At sunset we opened the windows to allow the cool mountain air inside to sleep comfortably. Daily housekeeping is not included and may be added for an additional fee.
Centered near the sparkling waters of Big Bear Lake, there are plenty of fresh air activities among blue skies, sunshine and crisp mountain air. Some of the on-site activities at the resort are open such as the large outdoor swimming pool however others are closed due to CDC requirements. The play areas for children, ping-pong and arcade areas are closed. Outdoor covered hot tubs, horseshoe pit and tennis and basketball courts are also closed due to CDC requirements.
Within walking distance is Big Bear Lake, shopping and the Stanfield Marsh nature trail. The 1.6 mile out and back trail runs parallel to Big Bear Blvd., and features an array of wildlife and birds living next to a lake. The trail is easy to walk along a wooden boardwalk.
One day we cooled off on the lake at Captain John’s Marina in Fawn Harbor kayaking, and paddle boarding. John, the owner, sets up a fun day on the lake for visitors. He also has boats and canoes available to rent. On the lake beach is a food stand and John offers live music on the weekends. There is plenty of parking, a hammock for napping, a boat dock and launch ramp, and plenty of areas to set up your chairs at the lake’s edge.
We also took a SkyLine View lift ride to the top of Snow Summit to enjoy lunch at the top of the hill. When you get off the lift, you will find the staff cooking up burgers, sausages and vegan options served with coleslaw or potato salad. Beverages include soda, seltzers, ciders and beer.
Before leaving the following day, we walked along the 5.4 Alpine Pedal Path in the north shore area. The paved path begins across the street from Stanfield Marsh Cutoff near the lake on a paved path towards the Big Bear Solar Observatory. It is easily accessible for walkers, skaters, joggers, strollers and wheelchairs.
With 23 miles of lake-shoreline among majestic trees in the San Bernardino National Forest, Big Bear Lake is so close, yet you feel like you are so far away.