Friday, August 12, 2011

Lake Arrowhead - a short break

I'll always remember the next to last time I was in Lake Arrowhead. It was July 20th, 1969 and Apollo 11 landed on the moon. My girlfriend and I pulled off the road so we could listen to the historic broadcast on the radio. The place has changed a tad since then. In fact they burned the whole village down rebuilt it and now it looks ready for still another face lift.

As we drove up the mountain, we found the price of gas going up along with the elevation....
Right after we got out of the car at The Oaks, two cabs from the Santa Monica Cab company pulled up. Out jumped five guys speaking Arabic, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. They huddled around talking for a while ignoring the friendly remark from a local who asked, "Took a wrong turn did you?" They soon jumped back into the cabs and off they went.

Just after we met our friends and sat down to lunch, twenty-two County Sheriffs pulled up on motorcycles. They lined up on the side of the road and we thought perhaps a personage of importance was coming up. No -  turned out they wanted lunch. One of them came into the small restaurant and the hostess asked "How many?". "Twenty two", the sheriff answered without blinking an eye.

Shortly behind the sheriffs, a few beautiful antique cars starting pulling in. There's a car show in Big Bear over the weekend.

After all this excitement, a few hours sitting by the river at our friend's tiny cabin in Benton Flats was very relaxing.

The darling cabin
You can let your hair down here

We went on to the Resort at Arrowhead and checked into a comfortable room. The resort has been updated and looks pretty good. A couple of perplexing policies make you feel ripped off - the first is the compulsory resort charge of $19.00 per room which basically gives you access to the amenities??? the spa, services like dry does include valet parking (but you've still got to tip) and free Internet access (too complicated to set up). You must pay the resort charge - it's not included in the room charge. Seems like a stupid policy to me...just charge $19 more for each room and avoid the controversy of having a posted charge for the room and the extra charge for having common-place amenities available. It's only a matter of time before hotels start adding charges for items like upgraded sheets, pillows, towels, hair dryers. Once I stayed in a Red Lion Inn hotel where everything in the room was pointed out...."Extra large bathroom mirror!", "Super sucker commercial grade toilet!" "EZ Glide closet doors!". They assaulted the guest with senseless chest beating (does anyone care about the glides on the closet doors?) and exclamation marks.  I could hardly wait to get out of there!!

In the interest of protecting the environment they only serve bottled water - still or sparkling. And of course they charge you for it.
Hallway lighting
Birch room dividers
The bar with birch wall paper
Private dining at the Resort

The beach at the Resort

  On the way from Arrowhead to Twin Peaks for dinner, we passed a Jensen's market - a rare sight and we decided to stop and look for a favorite ice cream topping they carried years ago. Didn't find it but we did stumble on the Tabasco Seven Spice Chili Starter, a product I developed for them 20  25 years ago and haven't seen for a decade - they sell it in the company store or on their web site. I thought the packaging still looked good. 

Parking in Twin Peaks is like parking in Manhattan. Every available space is restricted for some reason or another. Sign after sign reminds you that towing might occur. We finally stashed the car in a business designated space hoping the dire warnings applied only during normal business hours.

Remarks on "yelp" about The Grill were very encouraging and the place was a surprise. The menu offerings were creative -  I can't rave about the food but it was definitely a cut above what we were expecting. Richard had the citrus and rosemary marinated chicken with truffled macaroni and cheese. The chicken was over-cooked but the truffled mac and cheese was excellent. I had lime tequila fettucine, a riff on the dish made famous by California Pizza Kitchens. It was satisfactory. We got there about 6:30 and the place was full at 8:00 when we left. Bar does a pretty decent business - biker types, young couples pouring down shooters and a few martini drinkers.

At the resort the next morning, we had breakfast on the patio overlooking the lake. Delightful experience - perfect weather and excellent service. A pleasant short break.
Hers: Bacon and Eggs

His: Poached eggs on spinach and sausage
Breakfast View

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