and Shine !
I am a
reluctant riser, but breakfast is my favorite meal, and the
prospect of having breakfast with our mountain neighbors, Claudia and Jeff,
who live in the charming red cabin across the way, got me bouncing
out of the comfort of our warm, snug bed.
hoped to get together with them last
Saturday, but Jeff was at a food show in Las Vegas. So a week
later, our birthday celebration continues.
Oh my, it's been one week
that we've been 50, DD and I. Combined, we've got a 100 years of
life experience. Wow.
rose, we shone, and by 9:00, we were at Stillwells Restaurant at the
Resort and Conference Center.
is a rustic, yet elegant restaurant with the ambience of a cozy
mountain lodge. The furniture is rough hewn; the decor, distinctly
mountain chic. Outside the restaurant is a large pond and a little
amphitheatre. The original plan was that the pond would
serve as an ice rink in winter. I hope this picturesque idea
materializes this winter.
menu has a fascinating history of this restaurant, as
well as this stated goal:
"It is our goal at Stillwells of Northwoods Resort to earn a fine reputation, and
establish traditions and memories that will remain with our guests for many, many
years to come, as did the original Stillwells.
Enjoy your meal with us and drift back into Big Bear's history!"
favorite breakfast, as mine, is Corned
Beef and Hash. Excited that it was on the menu, our taste buds
were busily psyching up for our favorite. Oh, what a letdown when our
waitress, Robyn, regretfully informed us that it was not
available. We were not disappointed for long.
psyched up for a cholesterol-laden breakfast, I easily shifted my choice
to the Rib Eye Steak & Eggs with an English muffin, which was DD's as
well. Jeff opted for the buffet; Claudia, the Seafood Lover's
omelet. We may have knocked off a few minutes of our life
expectancies, but we thoroughly enjoyed our breakfasts and living this
morning as though it were our last.
They are, like us, weekenders who are smitten by mountain living. In
the next few years, they too would like to make this island in the sky, their full-time
residence. We regularly commiserate how the weekends fly much too quickly, and how we
reluctantly leave our mountain cabins to return to our suburban homes, "down the hill'.
the human equivalent of Rimadyl, Claudia is a new person.
Pain-free, she has booted the debilitating effects of arthritis out of
her life. Her energy level has shot through the roof. For
the first time in the years we've known them, Claudia's puttering around
in the garden with the rest of us, even contemplating a community garden
on their empty lot. I'm backing that idea, 100%! Nothing like
communing in the dirt, seeing plants grow, and enjoying the fruit of
As for Jeff,
he is a love of a man. Multi-talented and -skilled, he is handy and
resourceful. He's a trained, now semi-retired commercial artist.
No starving artist, he's made a good living off his talent.
About a year ago, we found a
cushion with a perfect one-liner that describes them: Here Lives A Fisherman & The Catch of His Life.
It now proudly graces their sofa. A catch-and-release fisherman,
Jeff goes out ostensibly to
fish, but in actuality, it is time for Jeff to be with himself, while
Claudia has her alone time on the swing on their front porch. Both
respect the other's time
for meditation and introspection.
Jeff's said that he's been
out on the lake in his boat these last few mornings, and he described
Thursday morning's lake as placid with nary a ripple.
quiet that the flutter of birds' wings overhead can be heard. Ahhh, my kind of
I hadn't realized how long we had sat and
visited until I saw that the next table was ordering lunch.
On this day,
Stillwells achieved its goal of creating "memories that will remain with our guests for many, many
years to come." We'll be back, as this journal entry assures
that we'll remember to do so. Next
time we'll be sure to try their crabcakes
and "spinach salad ($3.50), with fresh leaves that look like they were
individually plucked and arranged on the plate with julienne prosciutto and feta
cheese, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette."
A clear visualization
drifted down like a bubble from the sky and alighted in my
A quiet Duffy
electric boat. Floating
in the the old ski beach at Kidd Cove on the southwestern end of Big Bear Lake.
The towering pines along the south shore. Castle
Rock as a backdrop.
And the peace, oh the
History of Stillwells
from their now defunct website
"On April 19, 1919, Carl and Mamie Stillwell and their young son, Charley, were
exploring a pine and juniper covered point on the lake northeast of Pine Knot.
Mamie was far more intrigued with the beauty of the forest and the lake than
where she was walking at the water's edge. She suddenly stopped and desperately
called "help me, Carl! I've lost my boot in the mud!" And this is why Mamie was
in her stocking feet the day the site was selected for the most popular ballroom in
They owned and operated, with other family members, Stillwells Cafeteria in the
Los Angeles area, and decided to build a ballroom, restaurant, and later an entire
resort here in Big Bear. Many of the then Hollywood celebrities frequented
"Stillwells Resort" located on the property where today one finds the "Blue
The inaugural dance was held in the new ballroom on July 1, 1921. In those early
years, Stillwells was a focal point for valley activities. Stillwells was more than
generous to public fund-raising programs, weddings were common, and many
high school graduates received their diplomas in this rustic hall.
During the depression, on cold Saturday nights, when a roaring fire was blazing in
the great Gold Mountain rock fireplace, the music came from records on a
colorful Wirlitzer juke box. For 10 cents, couples could enjoy an evening away
from the difficult economics of the real world, thanks again to the Stillwell
In 1928 the structure burned, and the replacement had a new foundation made
from Gold Mountain rock. The second ballroom burned in 1945, and the present
restaurant is built on this same colorful base."
just tuned in the ABC News with Peter Jennings: the bombing
has started. America's fighting back, hitting military targets
and terrorist training camps in Kabul, Afghanistan.
humanitarian efforts are being made. Vegetarian ready-to-go
meals are being dropped over Afghanistan.
being emphasized: this is not against Afghanistan, not against
Muslims. This is retaliation against terrorism.
for justice, and I pray for the least amount of collateral --
civilian -- damage.
Family, keep the innocents safe.
I took a break from the breaking news and I 'Net-traveled for a bit to France.
I reeled myself back to The Present, and savored the beauty of this day in the mountains.
definitely arrived. It's time for fall wear, and I am wearing
a thick sweatshirt over soft grey leggings over socks. I've
pulled out a light jacket and covered leather shoes, but I
didn't need them, as we supped on a hearty chicken-vegetable
soup on the front porch.
doesn't know fall has arrived. It is as green, cool and
inviting, as in mid-summer. Across the road, the vacant
lot is donning shades of brown, gold, and tan.
Elsewhere, the red
maple trees are in full color; the poplars, turning into
vibrant yellow-gold candlesticks. The deep red chrysanthemums are in bloom.
is kinder, and the evening will come earlier. We allow the silence and serenity of
this afternoon in the mountains envelop us, cocoon us.
"Life is a Gift."
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