by Wendy Purdy
The PurdyCool gang recently visited Big Bear Lake, Calif., in conjunction with several members of our church family from Ocean View Baptist Church in San Pedro, Calif. While the girls "roughed it" with their fellow junior high students at the Serrano Campground, Stephen and I chose to pursue separate accommodations and dining experiences while joining the group for a few activities.
Several adults and junior high students trekked to the top of local landmark "Castle Rock." Though not a particularly long hike, the rapid altitude increase provided a sufficient challenge. I was certainly glad we made the attempt before the heat of the day arrived. If you decide to make this hike, I suggest wearing shoes with extremely good traction and packing plenty of water.
Around the Lake
Big Bear Lake seems to be shrinking; I can only assume due to the drought conditions in this area of California. Even though we've never visited before, it was clear the lake has receded drastically (the houses with unintentional "dry docks" gave us one clue). However, plenty of opportunities still exist for fun in the water. We joined our church family on the "beach" next to the Carol Morrison Public Launch Ramp. Taylor and Holly swam and paddled around in a kayak while Stephen and I relaxed in the shade and watched. The next day, Stephen and I walked down a trail next to the Serrano Campground and found ourselves in an obvious dried-up area of lake bed. We noted some unusual finds: lost tennis shoes, fishing equipment and fish skeletons (which brought back fond memories of the first instance we really spent time together).
Big Bear Village contains a few square blocks of shops, restaurants and entertainment establishments. Stephen and I spent a couple of hours wandering the area on our own and returned later with the church group. You could spend quite a bit of money, or...you COULD just catch a whole lot of Pokemon....the place is lousy with PokeStops and people seemed to constantly place lures on them.
Stephen and I visited four restaurants for breakfast and dinner during the course of our stay. We enjoyed the food at each, but the two breakfast places definitely took top honors. If you would like to watch an in-depth report on these establishments, please click and watch the YouTube review video. Featured restaurants are Grizzly Manor, The Pines, North Shore Cafe and Big Bear Lake Brewing Company.
As mentioned earlier, Stephen and I chose to forego sleeping on the ground and opted for a tad more comfortable situation. We decided to stay in one of "Cathy's Cottages." Our particular room featured a king-size bed, jetted bathtub, a fireplace and plenty of space. Just a note of warning: The rooms do not include air conditioning. With the cool mountain air, the window and ceiling fans were more than sufficient for our needs.
Overall, we enjoyed our trip and wouldn't mind visiting again if the opportunity arises. Winter sports enthusiasts might want to look into the activities available during the colder part of the year. I imagine we will restrict any future visits to those times we know the winding mountain road leading to the lake will be passable.