Big Bear Travel Guide and Gold Mountain Manor Review

Big Bear Travel Guide and Gold Mountain Manor Review

Big Bear Travel Guide and Gold Mountain Manor Review

Exploring Big Bear Mountain Village with my apple cider hot toddy in hand. My coat is by Rachel Parcell from her collection last year. I found it on ebay for half the price. She has another white style available this year here.

Big Bear Travel Guide and Gold Mountain Manor Review

Our full order of baby back ribs at Santana & Mavericks Bar &  Grill complete with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. 

Big Bear Travel Guide and Gold Mountain Manor Review

A look inside the Village Sweet Shoppe

Big Bear Travel Guide and Gold Mountain Manor Review

Lunch at Maggio’s. We ordered the carbonara with gluten-free pasta and the Original Sub.

Big Bear Travel Guide and Gold Mountain Manor Review

Last week I went on a quick two day, one-night stay to Big Bear. A ski city just 2 hours outside of Los Angeles. We stayed at the historic Gold Mountain Manor hotel, a cozy bed and breakfast.

Driving to Big Bear

We took a car with a 4-wheel drive just in case. Plus, the SUV gave us plenty of room for our bags and ski gear. The roads were clear with no need for snow chains for tires. But just make sure before you make the drive up there as those mountain roads can be treacherous if you’re not prepared. (You can pick up snow chains at a few places in Big Bear, but you may need them before you get there. Walmart, Pep Boys , and Autozone carry them.)

Our Hotel

We were able t check in early to our bed and breakfast- the historic Gold Mountain Manor. Built in 1928 for an LA film investor and his beloved wife. The manor offers lots of charm, and history and is extra cozy. The Christmas decorations had been left up so it felt like I got to celebrate Christmas all over again. We stayed in the “Bessie Room.” Each of the 6 rooms has its own fireplace and a few of the suites have their own jacuzzi tube. The downstairs offers lots of games, a beautiful patio to sit outside, and a cozy wood fireplace to cozy up next to. Just to note, when you book this hotel, try to book it straight through their website. They are a small business and have to give up 20% to third-party booking sites.

There is a national forest just a block over from the manor with some light trails. We went in search of sledding hills and when we could not find any we opted to build a snowwoman instead.

Thrift Shopping in Big Bear

We took a drive into Big Bear Lake Village and stopped at the Dove Thrift Shop on the way. They offer a lot of great items in all kinds of categories from home items, clothes, crafts, vintage books, and ski clothes at excellent prices.

Lunch in Big Bear at Maggio’s Pizza

About a mile or two from the shop we had lunch at Maggio’s Pizza and were thankful for indoor seating. Maggio’s does offer some gluten-free options on their menu. Next, we headed to the Village where we grabbed an apple cider hot toddy to-go from Peppercorn restaurant and walked around town stopping at the North Pole candy factory to grab sweets and a caramel apple (my personal favorite.) We stopped at The Whiskey Bar for a fireball shot before proceeding to yet another sweet shop called the Village Sweet Shoppe.

Renting Ski Gear

After touring around the Village a bit we stopped at Get Boards to rent our ski gear for the next day. We figured we would rather get it the night before and have it to head to the mountain early the next morning. The Big Bear and Snow Summit ski resorts charge about $50-60 per adult for a full set of ski gear (boots, ski poles, and skis.) But most of the rental shops only charge $25-$30 per person. (Plus $8 for a helmet.) And they’ll let you pick up the equipment the day before either in the later afternoon until close (9 pm or so depending on the day of the week.)

Dinner in Big Bear Lake

Most of the restaurants close between 8-9 pm depending on how busy they are. Most offer outdoor seating with heat lamps. The only place people didn’t seem bundled up and cold eating outside right in the village was Saucy Mama’s Pizzeria. But since we had already had Italian for lunch at Maggioss we decided to eat at Santana & Mavericks Bar & Grill just a short drive up the street. They had a little of every kind of cuisine including Italian, American, Thai, and BBQ. We shared the full rack of pork ribs and a Cesar salad. Honestly, the half-rack would have been plenty. I was thankful they offered indoor dining as it was just too cold outside and our food would have been cold by the time we got back to the manor 15 minutes away. This restaurant would be great for lunch as well since they have a view of the lake during the day.

After dinner, we cuddled by the fire downstairs to enjoy our sweets before heading upstairs. I also wanted to add that the Manor is a dog-friendly hotel with a $40 pet fee. But we decided to leave Lady at home this time around.

Bed & Breakfast

The next morning we got to sit out on the patio and enjoy a homemade breakfast of coffee, fresh orange juice, fruit and yogurt parfait, and an eggs benedict croissant. They have heaters and indoor dining options as well.

Parking at Snow Summit Ski Resort

Parking at the Snow Summit ski resort was a bit tricky. The parking lot fills up pretty early on so you’ll have to in a different lot and get shuttled back up to the entrance. I recommend dropping off one person with all the gear and having them wait so everyone coming from the lot doesn’t have to worry about carrying up all their gear and losing anything.

He forgot to clip his goggles onto his helmet. Luckily he found them in the lost and found bucket later on. You don’t want to forget some kind of eye protection because the wind and glare from the snow can make visibility difficult.

Learning to Ski

I have only skied a handful of times so we had watched a few “how to ski” YouTube videos the night before. Then started out on the bunny hill to get our bearings before moving on to the next easiest slopes. Patience really is a virtue before learning to ski. Yes, falling can be scary, but as long as you start slow and learn how to fall when you do you’ll be better off. I took my time and watched better skiers for some tips. Lunch on top of the mountain was pretty special. Just a simple hot dog and a bloody mary. But holding that warm food in your hand and looking out over the hill is quite an experience.

We dropped off our gear on the way home and picked up Chic-fil-A on the way home. I would have loved to have stayed one more night at the manor and made use of the chessboard, but I had a flight to Palm Beach to catch. Overall it was a great mini getaway and I look forward to going again soon. We are thinking about renting a house and getting a group of friends together.

Check out my Big Bear Lake packing list my recommendations for ski clothes:

  • Winter coat, preferably one with a weatherproof outer layer
  • Goggles (not sunglasses! I wore this pair and did not have any issues with fit or fog.)
  • Long underwear
  • Waterproof mittens or gloves. Once your hands get wet they’ll freeze.
  • A good pair of snow pants. It may seem warm when you first arrive at the mountain, but trust me the wind on the ski lifts can get quite cold so keep your jacket on!
  • A mask. The ski resorts require masks but this is fine since the masks help keep your face warm
  • Hand and foot warmers are always a great option if it’s extra cold outside.
  • invest in a good pair of ski pants

What to wear walking around the Village:

  • A cozy jacket, long underwear
  • Hat
  • Scarf
  • Gloves
  • hand a+ feet warmers if you plan to eat outdoors
  • Mask



I hope you enjoyed by Big Bear Travel Guide and Gold Mountain Manor Review! Feel free to leave me any questions in the comments below. I’ll update this guide as a take more trips to Big Bear.

Check out more of my California travel guides here!

If you are looking for more winter getaways I also highly suggest Aspen, Colorado. Check out my travel guide and review of the St. Regis Aspen Here!


  1. It was a pleasure hosting both you and Omeed at the Gold Mountain Manor. Thank you so much for the lovely review. We look forward to your next visit ❤️~ Darrin and Amy Odell

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