Hibernate away at the Strawberry Creek Inn
We can think of no better way to pass the dark days and long, cold nights of the winter months than by doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. And of all the places in the IE where one can do absolutely nothing and get away with, we can think of nowhere as deliciously comfortable as the Strawberry Creek Inn in Idyllwild.
A bed-and-breakfast located a full mile up in the San Jacinto Mountains, the Strawberry Creek Inn made its reputation by expounding on the term “warm and cozy.” Most of the Inn’s nine guest rooms feature a wood-burning fireplace to take the chill out the weary traveler’s bones. In every room, a heavenly-soft bed awaits, bedecked with big fluffy pillows and quilted comforters. The best of the best here are the San Jacinto and Evergreen rooms, which, along with fireplaces, come with private patios; and the Cottage, a two-floor wonder set apart from the main lodge and featuring an enclosed patio and two-person whirlpool bath.
But the décor alone is enough to make the Inn worth visiting. The place is filled to the rafters with little reminders of just how far you are from vulgar civilization. Decorative snowshoes, wooden plates and other assorted mountain curios and knick-knacks adorn the walls and mantels, dark wood paneling and stonework grace every corner. The entire look is Thomas Kinkade meets Bag End—enough rustic charm to make the discerning hobbit in everyone feel at home.
And then there are the breakfasts, served promptly at 9AM every day. The Inn specializes in wholesome, environmentally-conscious cuisine, dishing up heaping mounds of fresh fruit, omelets, warm croissants and homemade muffins, all washed down with steaming cups of of organic teas and fair-trade-certified coffee. The best dish, arguably, is the Inn’s corn strata casserole, a deliciously golden creation flavored with herbs, scallions and two kinds of sharp cheeses. Here’s a weekend itinerary for you: Sleep ’til 9, eat yourself into a happy state of drowsiness, then return to your room and go back to sleep. Can you think of a better way to pass a long winter weekend?
OK, maybe you’re one of those fit and fussy types who like to recreate for rest. Don’t sweat it—the Inn is less than 15 minutes away from some of the best winter recreation Southern California has to offer. This season’s snows allow for skiing and snowshoeing pursuits, while the pine forests that surround Idyllwild provide for great trail hiking—including the 7.5-mile trek to San Jacinto Mountain Peak. (David Silva)
The Strawberry Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast, 26370 Highway 243, Idyllwild, (951) 659-3202. Rooms range from $139–$209 per night; romantic in-room specials such as chocolate-and-champagne and flower-and-chocolate baskets can be had for an additional $25 to $55