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by Maryann Virack
I love the ocean. Growing up in NJ, my parents had a summer home on Long Beach Island and every summer, weekend, and holiday was spent at “the shore”. With dad in California again for the summer, I am always looking for new destinations. This year we decided on an adventure to the mountains – a far cry from the beaches on the Atlantic Ocean.
Lake Arrowhead, at 5100’, is within an hour’s drive; (90 miles east of Los Angeles) but I had always thought of it as a winter destination for skiing, snowboarding and a visit to the snow without the shovel. So, a trip to Lake Arrowhead in July was an unusual treat. Rt.18, the curvy, mountain road to the lake is quite scenic; but can cause some concern for wary drivers (or passengers). Dad couldn’t wait to get on flat ground.
We chose the newly remodeled Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa directly on the lake. It is a no-smoking facility and offers a wonderful re-connect with nature and rustic America. Surrounded by lush pines, maple trees and native plants, it smells like the country. There is a wide distinction between the air, smells and sounds of the mountains and the beach. The mountains just feel closer to the earth. Being an East-coaster, it was a delight seeing the Blue Jays and red Cardinals and hearing the chirp of the crickets that I so miss in southern California.
We arrived at noon on a Tuesday and were welcomed by the warm and friendly staff at the front desk in the massive wood and leather lobby. The entire resort is only three stories high and all amenities are accessible by elevator. The 173 rooms are large and spacious. Our room had six large windows overlooking the pool, spa and lake. Ask for a room with a balcony. I would have preferred to sleep with the fresh mountain air. The Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa offered the most luxurious Anachini linens that we have encountered at comparably priced hotels - huge leather head boards, high, comfortable pillow-top mattresses; dark brown suede duvet covers on thick, fluffy down comforters, and several down pillows. The bathroom was designed to resemble a spa with granite countertops, open shelving, high quality tile and oversized towels. Our stay was indeed inviting, peaceful and almost luxurious.
The resort also boasts the state of the art, Spa of the Pines, private chartered boat rides, BIN189, the highly acclaimed restaurant, a lounge with fireplace and high backed library chairs, coffee shop and meeting rooms.
A large pool area and two Jacuzzis surrounded by lounges and small tables and chairs, overlook the lake and open to a trail down to the water’s edge. A small lakefront beach had lounge chairs, umbrellas and large bonfire area. The trail is “ramped” and has railings. Benches dot the landscape for leisurely rests along the way.
Near the parking lot of the resort is the walking trail to Lake Arrowhead Village, a unique shopping area right on the lake offering specialty shops, restaurants, a kiddy amusement area and the dock for The Lake Arrowhead Queen, an historic paddle boat. Don’t miss The Queen – a one hour tour of the lake with Captain Bill is $16.
Lake Arrowhead was called Little Bear Lake 100 years ago and since that time has been home to many celebrities including Liberace, Charlie Chaplin, The Hiltons (before Paris), Cary Grant, Doris Day and more recently Frankie Avalon, Mike Connors, Michelle Kwan and Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber. Set in the middle of the San Bernardino National Forest and far from the “madding crowd”, Lake Arrowhead is reclaiming its place on the list of premier destinations in California; and with its recent 20 million dollar renovation, the Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa is the #1 place to stay. The hike back to the resort from the Village is somewhat steep for those with locomotion disabilities. One of the nicest services provided by the resort is a golf cart ride to the Village…with a quick phone call, they’ll come get you.
Our trip to Lake Arrowhead was the perfect escape from the triple digit heat and a delightful opportunity to once again be one with nature.