When we moved up here to Lake Arrowhead (just over four years ago now), I finally felt “at home”… but it took me a few years to actually settle in.
I knew I was finally in the right place, I just couldn’t get the LA mindset out of my brain… and didn’t really even realize how ingrained it was until I escaped from it.
Growing up in Los Angeles (or probably any bigger city) keeps a certain kind of energy fizzing inside of you. And as much as I am a high energy person, the added electricity of the city was overwhelming after so many years living there. I love LA, don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful, and most of my family is still there, but there’s nothing like really living in a forest, on top of a mountain, high up in the sky, surrounded by nature and so much beauty.
There’s a different kind of energy here, a peaceful kind, and a different kind of strength that comes from communicating with nature, experiencing seasons, and living in a much slower-paced environment. For me, it changed everything.
But even though I knew I was “home”, it still took a few years to really settle in. I constantly felt a pull back to LA, I was overworking myself, still had anxiety, I got vertigo the first summer we were here, and suffered insomnia for almost a year. Meditation literally cured much of my mental dis-ease, but without kids to raise and “mom” on my resume, I still constantly wondered “What is next for me?” I also couldn’t grasp how I felt so at home in a place and so wonderful, yet still wasn’t truly at peace. I knew I was where I was supposed to be, but I was also searching for more.
I love blogging, I truly adore this career I’ve created and the online community I’ve gotten to be a part of and grow with. I love that I’ve made true friends through the internet and social media, and that I’ve gotten to watch some of your kids grow up from a distance over the last ten years. That’s incredible really, and I never want to stop blogging, I love it… But I still found that I was searching for more. I wanted a life outside of my house. I wanted to be social in real life again. I wanted to live and feel alive again and feel that passion about a new project that I felt in my early years of blogging.
Do you know that feeling? When you’re working so hard at something, you put your everything into it because you know it’s going to be a success. All of your focus goes there and you enjoy the process and the work and the dedication it takes to get there… So much so, that you miss the fire you had to “make it something” once you’re finally “there”.
Four years later, and I still love living in Lake Arrowhead. The moment I saw this little town and all the surrounding towns (Cedar Glenn, Blue Jay, Twin Peaks, etc.) I knew there was major potential here that wasn’t being realized. I wondered why more people didn’t know about it. I wondered why I DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IT?! I mean, I knew about it, in a way that I vacationed here when I was a kid, but I didn’t know it could be a reality to live here. In fact, when I was young and would drive through little towns like this, I’d literally exclaim, “PEOPLE LIVE HERE?! IT LOOKS LIKE A MOVIE SET… BUT PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIVE HERE!” Not just this town, any small town we’d drive through to get to wherever we were going. Growing up in LA, I always wondered how people could ever survive in such a small town? What did they do? Where did they go?
And I am first to say, that it is absolutely amazing.
And maybe it’s because I grew up in complete opposition… because I know that kids who grow up in small towns often long to get to a big city. So both, I’d say are far from unique. I just didn’t know it was a possibility until I did it.
From the first day I was here though, I wanted to be part of the community. In a way, you almost already feel like you’re part of the community in a small town… Everyone is friendly. No one is in a hurry. There is no traffic. Keeping the mountain and lake and towns thriving is a common topic and priority for everyone. Most people are in a great mood -all the time. And being a resort town, people who come to vacation are in a fantastic mood as well, because they’re on vacation! The energy is pretty amazing up here, consistently, and I love it.
But I still wanted more. I wanted to be entrenched in it. I wanted to be part of it in a different way. I wanted to open a business up here – from day one.
There’s this adorable A-frame building next to my favorite nursery in Cedar Glen, about two minutes from my house, that had a “for lease” sign on it, and for years I would peek in the windows and snoop around whenever I stopped by the nursery. I wanted so badly to do something with the space, but I didn’t know what I could do there. A few years ago, the cutest shop opened there called Road Trip, and I’m so happy to see the space used for such greatness. It also brought new energy and new people up to this mountain, who are fantastic, making it even better.
With the handful of other new businesses that have popped up around town, along with the reopening of Santa’s Village, I finally feel like it’s expanding in a way that I envisioned it should be and coming to life in a new and exciting time.
Late last summer, I finally found my “what’s next”.
If I refer to it as an accident, I’d be lying, because I don’t really believe in accidents, and believe that nothing is truly a coincidence… so when opportunity presented itself to me, I LITERALLY POUNCED ON IT.
A friend shared with me that he was looking at a building/space to open a bar… NOW, before I continue, I have to say that this is an idea that my now ex-husband and I had talked about since moving up here. There is a dire need for more and better nightlife options and I wanted to be part of making that happen. I must also admit that this same friend randomly talked to me about wanting to open his own place months prior to that, and it planted a seed in my brain. So when it was looking like more of a realistic option, I couldn’t help but beg to be a part of it.
By the end of last summer and the beginning of fall 2016, along with two amazing partners, we headed down a new and adventurous path and started working on making our dream a reality… and we are SO EXCITED ABOUT IT!!!
Coming soon to Blue Jay, California (just minutes from Lake Arrowhead) is our new and exciting bar/restaurant, Dogwood Tavern. And I couldn’t be more thrilled to get to be a part of something that is so fun and fantastic and make it all come to life.
Soon I’ll be sharing a bit of the renovation process here and take you on a tour through the amazing space that used to be called The Royal Oak, which was an iconic restaurant up here for over 35 years… but until then, you can follow along @Dogwood_Tavern on Instagram.
…and when we open, I hope you will take a little trip up to see us 🙂
Above: pink Dogwood flowers in bloom last spring