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  • Mary Magness

"The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see!"

I am so thankful that I live in Southern California. We’ve got everything here: oceans with beautiful beaches, large metropolitan areas, theme parks, deserts, and mountains! I hadn’t been up to the mountains in 15 years. In the last few weeks I’ve had the opportunity a couple of times, for business and pleasure. I’m hooked. After living in SoCal for the majority of my life it STILL amazes me that if I had the desire, I could go skiing in the morning and surfing in the afternoon. I go to the beach regularly with my family, but recently the mountains have been calling my name. It’s beautiful up there. Every season is magical in it’s own way. The air and water are crisp, clean and it feels like time slows down and I’m in another “state” entirely.


I’ve decided that the mountains are THE place to relax, even more so than the coast. We all have our regular day-to-day lives down here, but as soon as I start up that winding road and look out and see clouds—with birds soaring in the open air and pine trees on sloping rock walls—I automatically disconnect from everything down below. It’s the same feeling I get when I’m standing on a sandy beach with my feet in the water, but I can’t sleep overnight with my feet in the sand like I can in a cosy cabin in the woods. It’s a longer peaceful feeling that is literally a breath of fresh air.

Sunset on Big Bear Lake

We don’t really get much of a fall or winter in Los Angeles county. I call it our “not summer” season. Which in and of itself is very nice. I’ve lived in “seasons” before and it’s much different than visiting them. But even in SoCal up at 6,700 feet it’s a real holiday feeling in the not summer. Lincoln Log looking cabins covered in snow are just adorable. There are slops for sleds, toboggans, and inner tubs in and around the towns. Skiing and snowboarding are just up the hill. And a bushel of people in trucks, wearing flannels and boots.

Cabin in the snow

Friends of mine own a home on Lake Arrowhead and another friend is looking to buy a cabin in Big Bear. I got the chance to stay with my friends and also help another looking for a new place. It’s the hottest part of summer as I write this and we’re in a triple degree heatwave that has already lasted a week. The hottest it reached up in Big Bear was maybe 80 degrees and the lake water in Lake Arrowhead was perfect. I floated around behind my friend’s boat during the day, we grilled on their porch in the evening, and we took the dogs for a hike the next morning. The whole time there was always that wood-fire, fresh pine, and apple pie smell that permeated the air. We strolled through the village and got the kids (and parents) ice cream. Later we went out for dinner then as we sat in the local brewery we talked with all the regulars—those who come on the weekends, seasonally, or who live there year round—to get a little more information. ;) As we chatted they waved to the others that drove or walked by and always said hello to everyone with a friendly smile. I don’t think they want me writing this blog… the whole thing feels like it’s a best kept secret.

Lak Arrowhead

I did find out that the large majority of homes in both neighborhoods are rentals. People who will come up and use their cabins for their families and friends, then when they aren’t using them they rent them out through either AirBnB or one of the local rental property management companies. Apparently it’s a great source of year-round income! I also noticed that there are a good many properties for sale at present. Most of which look to be very inviting for renters. All of this within two hours of LA—far enough away to feel like I’m a world away, but close enough that I can decide to go up on a whim.

Cabin on Big Bear Lake

All of this got me thinking: Maybe I should invest up here? I’m intrigued by the prospect of owning in the mountains not only for my own relaxation and personal get away but from a potential investment property income point of view. I’ll definitely be going back up the mountain to Big Bear to see what I can see.

To learn more about Big Bear and see what's going on there take a look here

Big Bear in the snow

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