By 11:00 am we were loaded up and headed out of town for a relaxing weekend in the mountains. Idyllwild has been a sight of tradition for HotDaddy and I for years. We met at 17 and celebrated our first anniversary as a couple by renting a cabin at Quiet Creek Inn on Strawberry Creek at the tender age of 18. Crazy, but I remember that trip like it was yesterday. However, it wasn’t yesterday. It was 12 years ago. We continued to rent a cabin in Idyllwild every year until 2010. The last time we visited was when I was pregnant with Firecracker. Since then we had moved to Orange County and we started to visit Big Bear more often. Although we have continued our annual trek to the mountains every February, it has morphed into a family vacation rather than a romantic getaway and this will be our first time back in Idyllwild in 5 years.
Needless to say, we are really excited for this winter retreat, but it is a bit bitter sweet. One of the main characters from our cast is noticeably missing from our red van of traveling fun. Sadly, Papa had to stay behind due to an illness. I was going to cancel the trip, but Papa insisted we continue with our plans. It still doesn’t feel right to travel without him, but here we go.
Once up the mountain, we are checked in to Fireside Inn. Our cabin is called the BlueBird. It is a darling blue and white cottage with a quaint porch and inviting red chairs. The inside is a bit dated, but that adds to the rustic charm. It smells of firewood and bacon, but as I sat on the porch, looking at the pine trees and sipping on my Gin Mule, I could feel the stress melt away from my body like the ice in my cocktail. It was time to relax until our dinner reservations at Gastronome.
Before dinner, we let the kids do some exploring around the property. It is fascinating to watch their little imaginations work. They picked up sticks, ran around the trees and dance across the bridge, deciding that they could fix homelessness with magic crystals. Nice. If only it were that simple.
We arrived into town a little early for dinner reservation, so we checked out the new town monument. It was new since the last time I had visited Idyllwild. Then we went to see if any new shops had been added in the last 5 years. Pleasantly, we discovered a new watering-hole cutely name Idyll-A-While. Haha. I took a peek inside and it’s really neat. Unfortunately, it was 21 and over. No Firecracker and Cuddle Bear allowed. In the short time it took me to check out the new bar and snap a few photos, my babies and already made a friend. They were happily playing soccer and Frisbee with a little boy and his parents in the grassy section between shops. Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. Yay!
Gastronome was as fantastic as I remembered. The fireplace was aglow, the atmosphere was cozy and the food was amazing. At first, the kids were kind of (okay, very) annoying. They were whiny, needy and loud. I had to take Cuddle Bear outside to “chat” and let him know what was up. Thankfully, it worked and the rest of the meal went smoothly. We started with a grilled artichoke, while the kids shoveled in bread and butter. I sipped on my glass of Malbec, trying to take in the beautiful surroundings, but also noticing the empty chair where Papa should have been sitting. The kids shared a pizza, but were too full on bread to eat it. They played nicely on their iPads, while Grams and I devoured our Filets. HotDaddy ordered a really yummy Asparagus and Portobello pasta. Honestly, I could have sat there longer with another glass of wine, but the kids were tired and we had to wrap it up.
A quick stop by the market and we were back at the BlueBird. Amazing how the kids were suddenly awake! With the fire roaring and jammies on, we decided to let the kids play with their Crayola Marker Maker. I knew it was going to be taxing, but the kids were dying to try it out. Seven markers and a pounding headache later, we all settled down on the sofa to bring it down a level. Cuddle Bear was the first to crash, but I wasn’t long after. The joys of tired mamas.