Big Bear Getaway, Part 1

Hanna Flat, Fawnskin & Big Bear Lake

This weekend, my grad school friends Julie, Emily, Virginia and I packed up the truck and headed southeast to Big Bear Lake. Big Bear is an awesome little alpine escape that’s a quick 2 hour drive from Los Angeles, yet feels like it’s a world away. We stayed at the charming Hanna Flat campground and had an amazing time listening to the howling wolves and staring up at the towering redwoods touching the star-studded sky.

Julie and Alyssa tackle the tent

After a two hour drive and a lunch of greek yogurt and funyuns (hey – the gas stati0n had nothing else and we tried four different exits to find food!), we arrived at our campsite and tackled challenge #1: the tent. I don’t know if there’s some of man code in my family that makes them believe that women can’t assemble tents, but both my husband and father chuckled when we described how we’d be staying in Emily’s suave six person tent. “Oh,” they said. “Have you ever assembled a tent?”. Well, no, I hadn’t, but I can make a fierce grilled cheese… so I’m pretty sure i can do anything. (Confidence. I has it.) Here’s photographic proof that I helped assemble the tent – and no tents, tools or woodland creatures were harmed in the process. And yes, it was a pain to assemble but – totally bearable. Kind of like getting a tattoo. Annoyance < Awesomeness.

Boulder Bay, Big Bear Lake

Once the tent was properly set up, we donned our bathing suits and headed over to the gorgeous Boulder Bay. Boulder bay is surrounded by multi-million dollar cabins with huge bay windows overlooking the mountains and lake. It’s pretty much paradise. Emily and Virginia bravely swam in the cold water while Julie and I skipped rocks, chatted and soaked up the sun.


Log Cabin Restaurant has so many good eats!

After a couple hours swimming, we headed to my favorite Big Bear establishment, the Log Cabin restaurant. After sharing our ghost photo from last time with the management (much to their delight) we ordered a delicious dinner and headed back to our campsite. Stay tuned for the next post to read about my big bear tummy, and why I didn’t get this blog posted today. (Let’s just say that after the 10,786th time this has happened, I might finally be realizing that eating clean for a long time and then eating junk is a recipe for disaster.) Did you have a good weekend too? What’d ya do?

Hocus Pocus – Our Ghostly Encounter

If you haven’t already noticed, I have a pretty vivid imagination. I’m one of those people easily influenced by the power of suggestion. If you say I should get a mole checked out on my arm, I’ll immediately think, “OMG, I HAVE CANCER” and will spend the next thirty minutes of my life plotting out my will. (Matt gets everything.) My wild imagination isn’t always a curse, and in fact, it’s responsible for helping launch my career in creative copywriting. But sometimes… like this last weekend… I wish I could just turn that imagination off, and be ‘Betty Bland N’ Plain’, with no tall tales swirling around in my brain.

We stayed in the top left room.

Matt and I spent the weekend in Big Bear Lake at a historic Mansion. We were staying in the Carriage House, an old building used for…. yep, you guessed it, housing carriages. This house was built in 1917, and the main lodge was built in 1879. Our room was pretty small and dusty, but there wasn’t anything particularly ooky-spooky about it. A little dated, a little country clutter, but it’s not like I found blood stains on the mattress – and the only dead body that I could see was the taxidermy trout perched above the bed. I even proclaimed that the room definitely wasn’t haunted – cuz you know, I’m like an expert on that stuff. We checked in, put our stuff down, and headed out pretty quickly to grab dinner since our tummies were rumbling.

Matt smiles, unaware of ghostly Emily lurking in the background. Look carefully at the sink.

We came back to a slightly eerie surprise – classical music was softly playing in the room. Our first guess was the radio – but nope, the alarm clock wasn’t on. We finally realized it was the phone that had some sort of hold button that played classical music. BUT WHO TURNED IT ON?! Matt and I were busy nomming on Cabin Cuisine, far away from the hotel room and creepy classical-music playing phone. Whatever – we moved on, a little spooked but just assuming it was on a timer or something (we talked to other guests who also experienced this – so maybe it was on a hotel wide timer?)

The corpse in our room. Anybody want fish sticks?

We ended up seeing Crazy Stupid Love that night (it was cute!), and when we came home at 11:30, the whole carriage house was dark, our neighbors all peacefully snoring in their tiny, creaky beds. We crept into bed, and with the light flicked off, I regressed to my five year old self and started to imagine cold fingers on my neck and monsters under the bed. I finally drifted off to sleep, but Matt and I were both startled awake around 3 AM from a large crash. You know when you’re woken up suddenly, and your heart pounds, and your eyes are frantically trying to catch up to the lack of light in the room? We both had that, and suddenly, my ‘spidey sense’ was tingling even more, crazed with anticipation of some axe-wielding, gold-panning demon ready to harvest my soul.

I managed to fall back asleep and awoke the next morning to find my makeup bag spilled inside of the sink with a few things on the floor. Big deal, right? Stuff falls all the time. However, look at the picture of Matt above. See the vanity counter? It’s tiny. And I made sure to push the bag all the way against the backsplash, purposely so it wouldn’t fall – cuz I use Lancome foundation, and that shiz is expensive, and I’ve broken the glass bottle before. So I kinda tried to make sure it couldn’t fall – no matter what. Weird – for sure. IT GETS WEIRDER!

No Up-Skirt shots here - this aint TMZ! Me in the haunted mansion

The next day, Sunday, I was shopping at one of the local stores when I started talking with the shop owner. I mentioned where we were staying, and she asked how I liked it. I explained that it had been a little creepy at night, and she laughed and said “Oh yes! My daughter worked there in high school as a maid – she eventually quit because of the ghost of a little girl who died there. She just got too creeped out.. they never hurt her or anything, but it just got weird!”

Little girl? The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Little girls love playing with makeup. Suddenly and randomly, a name popped up in my mind – EMILY. Emily was playing with my makeup. I don’t what kind of koolaid I’d been drinking, but in my mind, it suddenly made sense – it was the little ghost girl, Emily, playing with my makeup. Needless to say, Sunday night was a rough night for sleep – I kept one eye open, convinced a transparent little girl would pop up in front of my eyes, giggling, asking me to play with her. She never did pop up, thankfully. That was the end of the spookiness, but I left Big Bear with a great story – and an appreciation for my seemingly un-haunted house, where the only spirits are stowed high up in the liquor cabinet.

Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had a ghostly experience? Do you find your imagination prods you to believe in things that just might not be there?

**Note – A few yelp reviews pointed out a “weird feeling” in the room we were staying in – one person even said they felt a “demonic” presence. Luckily, nothing felt harmful – just a little creepy crawly!

This is not from where we stayed, but a "haunted" restaurant we ate at. The waitress described women in long blue aprons floating through the tables. We didn't notice the weird, gray thing in this shot until last night - and there was nobody there, but there is a guy standing off to the right. HOCUS POCUS?

Weekend Get-Away: Big Bear Lake

Hello, Double Chinners! Sorry things were quiet around here for a few days. My hubby and I were in Big Bear Lake celebrating our one year anniversary of our wedding!

Score! We're Married!

While I’m not proud of it, I didn’t track a single thing through out the weekend. This was not wise, as it lead to copious indulging in things like creme brulee and NY strips… BUT… it was my first wedding anniversary, I splurged, and I had a great time! (Happy to report: back on the WW tracking train today!) It’s not really related to weight loss, but pix are fun – so let’s take a little pictorial recap of Big Bear, shall we?

Here we are at Juniper Point:

Exploring Big Bear Lake

And here’s Matt in our creepy haunted B&B (I’ll save that for another post… but let’s just say – 5 year old little girl ghosts? SCARY)

Matt looks for Casper

Here’s an amazing hand-made marshmallow from a great cafe called the Copper-Q where we had hand squeezed lemonades and iced coffees after sunny afternoons outside:

Stay-Puft, you got nothin' on this!

Here I am eating an awesome turkey sandwich on squaw bread from the “Big Bear Belly Deli”. It was a really tasty sandwich but almost had too much cheese. Or maybe I’m just not a fan of cheddar with turkey. *shrug*

I <3 sprouts

Here I am at a really haunted restaurant we ate at called The Log Cabin. (Over 100 years old – the waitress said apparitions of women in blue aprons (which was part of the original uniform) walk back and forth throughout the kitchen) I had some AMAZING biscuits and gravy with fried eggs. I should have had a heart attack on the spot from all the fat and salt, but they were incredible and brought back major memories of my grandma’s southern soul food cooking.

Is there a ghost behind me?!

Here we are at the Moonridge Zoo, which was full of rehabilitated animals. Their three grizzlies were there after raiding a campground three times too many. Can you see the big bear in back of our heads? It was fun hearing these guys snort and huff and puff as they lumbered around their enclosure. We also got to make the coyotes howl. That was cool.

Da Bears

Then, we had a fancy dinner at a place called the Peppercorn Grill. I had a NY Strip and Matt had the porterhouse. It was good – but couldn’t top their Artichokes Romano appetizer. It was baked artichoke hearts covered in balsamic vinegar, garlic, and parmesan bread crumbs. The creme brulee we shared for dessert was perfect – a nice crispy shell and cool, sweet custard underneath. So good. So, so good. So worth the few pounds I probably puffed up.

Before we pigged out at the Peppercorn

We drove home yesterday morning and had to pull over to capture some of the sheer scenic gorgeousness. Big Bear is absolutely stunning and a super friendly little town – and it only took two hours to get there from Los Angeles. We’ll definitely be going back!