¬†Wrightwood, California. ¬†A mountain community that dates back to 1919. ¬†In its day, it was one of the most popular winter getaway destinations in Southern California. ¬†Today, it is more of a year-round community where people still wave as you drive past; where a neighborhood cat will eagerly engage you; where a brave coyote might still dash up Elm Street mid-morning. ¬†Sure, Wrightwood could be bigger, more prosperous, more well-known. ¬†But then it wouldn’t be Wrightwood, anymore, and those who live there know exactly what I am talking about.
– JE Sved, Publisher.
By Anna Wilding, Contributing Editor
WRIGHTWOOD, CA (Herald de Paris) — ¬†Are you living in or visiting California? ¬†If so, drive up to the mountains and visit the historic Wrightwood. ¬†Nestled among ski slopes, a zip line, and snow tubing, this is an ideal respite any time of the year. ¬†Wrightwood has a year round population of 4525. ¬†Many of the homes are log cabins. ¬†If you have never stayed in a log cabin, this is the way to do it. ¬†We found the best one to stay in, with an outstanding host, Janet Prince, whose family have been in the village since its inception, in 1919.
Bear With Us, a historically listed, authentic, and lovingly restored log cabin, is located in the heart of charming Wrightwood, an easy 90 minute drive from the beaches of Los Angeles. ¬†In the early days of the town, there were three master craftsmen known for their log cabins Clinkscales, Frank Michaels, and George Scribner. ¬†Any one of these is a sight to see and experience for those new to log cabins and for those with knowledge of them.
Bear With Us comprises three double bedrooms over two floors, a cozy living room, full working kitchen, indoor bathroom, and a detached game room complete with a bar and billiard table (That flips over to reveal air hockey and table tennis). ¬† Back in the main house, an open stone fireplace beckons, as do the quilted bedspreads, the comfortable chairs and the cheerful breakfast nook. ¬†Oozing with authentic and rustic charm (Supplemented by contemporary heating), this delightful log cabin will give you an authentic experience and the perfect place to use as a base to explore the area.
We loved staying in the Bear With Us cabin, especially with all the attention to detail Janet Prince provides, as host. ¬†Game boards,books, WiFi, pretty much everything you could want, and more. ¬† Ask Janet especially nicely, and she may show you the Bear With Us Wine Cellar. ¬†It is no wonder that hikers love staying here as they walk the stunning Pacific Crest Trail(4,265km), from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. Janet is a keen supporter of the hike and is openly welcoming and generous to hikers.
An overnight or week-long trip to Wrightwood is a great discovery, and is truly getting away from it all. ¬† Visiting Wrightwood is visiting America how it used to be, how it was depicted on televisions in days of yore. ¬†The village has no pretension whatsoever, and is full of socially progressive smart thinking and friendly people.
Driving up Lone Pine Canyon Road we met Gary, who lives as a caretaker, without electricity, on one of the oldest apple ranches just outside of town, in the gorgeous Pine Canyon, ¬†a place where Wyatt Earp built a cottage that you can still see in the distance, nestled in a green field between brightly limbed trees.
You won’t find a single brand billboard here. The gas station quietly just announces, ‚ÄúGas,‚ÄĚ the supermarket, ‚ÄĚJensens Fine Foods.‚ÄĚ ¬†In fact, there’s no branding anywhere in sight. ¬†Jensens excused as they only have stores in mountain villages. ¬†The rest of the world melts away in Wirghtwood. ¬†It doesn’t matter what you wear, who you know, where you live, or what you drive. ¬†What matters is being friendly, kind, surviving together, and understanding that perhaps there is a better more wholesome way of living than the fast cut and thrust pace of city life. ¬†Pines and tall cactus thrive together on dusty sandy mountains, coyotes howl, the air bites with freshness, and as of April onwards, springtime warmth. We were here in April. Tall wild lilacs bloomed providing busts of pretty color to an otherwise mountain desert landscape. ¬†Every now and then a tall isolated cherry blossom reaches for the sky and proves it can bloom just ever so much.
Wrightwood’s recorded history goes back to 1776. ¬†The first known people were the Serrano Indians, a sub group of the Shoshone Nation. ¬†Of stone age culture they lived off the mountain acorns, berries and wild game. ¬†The Spanish discovered the Indians and in 1819 as Assistencie was established in San Bernadino, and instructed the Indians in agriculture. However, rebellious Indians took over the Assistencee. ¬†Then, in 1820 Californians demand for land was so great and in the 1830s the mission was given to the sons of Don Antonion Mario Lujo and the Indians were thrown back on their own resources. The Lujo holdings were eventually sold to the Mormons, however, the Mormons ended up going to Salt Lake City. ¬†In 1883, a rancher Alms Clyde filed patent on the area and his family is still here to this day.
Gary, the caretaker mentioned previously, maintains one of the Clyde family ranches. Various homesteaders such as Wright, Heath, and Buford worked with Clyde and occupied various parts of the valleys and ranches. The region became the Los Angeles National Forest in 1925. ¬†In 1926 the Smithsonian Institute opened a facility at Table Mountain to conduct research into the sun and its effects on the planets in our solar system. The facility was then re-opened by ¬†NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
People from all walks of life live in Wrightwood, both young and old, and families with children. There is little shortage of things to do in Wrightwood, but this is a village where the passage of time is not measured by the hands of a clock, but in human terms. We spent a few days in the area and it is no wonder visitors come and return to buy a cabin for weekend getaways or, in many cases, move here permanently.
Put simply what is not to like? ¬†Wrightwood is what it is, and that is hard to find these days.
Bear With Us cabin is a wonderful place to stay, the best in Wrightwood, and you can find no finer host than Janet Prince. ¬†We recommend a delicious creative dinner from Mile High Pizza as the best,easiest friendliest and most convenient way to keep warm at night and your belly content. ¬†If you want a great coffee in the morning or lunch midday, try the Village Grind just around the corner from Mile High Pizza.
Enjoy your stay. We did.