by Nick Anis
In the 1920's Big Bear
Lake's original damkeeper, Bill Knickerbocker, built a magnificent
three-story log mansion that now sits majestically on two and a half acres
of land above Big Bear Village. The
Knickerbocker estate backs up to the San Bernardino National Forest.
The property has a 360 degree view of the San Bernardino National
Forest, Big Bear village and lake, and the San Bernardino Mountains that's
very beautiful. This
"cabin" is quite unique. It's
not only an historic mansion, it's also the largest virtical pole log
cabin west of the Mississippi.
When Stan R. Miller and
Thomas Bicanic discovered this historic property was vacant and for sale,
they were elated. It took
quite a bit of imagination, talent and, of course, hard work and capitol
to restore the estate. They
were careful in preserving the mansion's rich history like the marks made
by a bullet creasing the doorway in the kitchen when Mr. Knickerbocker got
into a gun fight over a card game one evening.
For other glimpses into the past, there is a painting of Mr.
Knickerbocker seated in his favorite chair in the dining room back in the
1920's that now hangs about where he used to sit nearly 70 years ago.
Stan and Thomas are
hands-on owners but innkeeper Linda Ford is also an important part of the
team. Stan, Thomas, and Linda are gracious hosts who really know how to
make their guests feel comfortable. Proprietors and innkeepers with their
professionalism and pleasantness really make a difference when staying in
a B&B. You'll enjoy
meeting them as much as you will enjoy the comfortable and beautiful
furnishings, the delicious food, and the striking panoramic views.
Thomas is quite an
accomplished chef with culinary credentials that include stints as the
executive chef of gourmet restaurants in Beverly Hills and Europe.
Each morning you awake to
fresh bread, coffee and a gourmet breakfast served on the spacious outdoor
deck during the summer and the elegant dining room during spring and fall.
In the winter, the dining room has a roaring fire in the hearth.
The china, linen, ambiance, and cuisine make you feel like you are
at someplace like the Hearst Castle overlooking your empire while being
served breakfast by your private chef.
The main house is quite
large, well laid out, and comfortably adorned with period pieces and
antiques. There are four
spacious bedrooms with private baths, European style featherbeds with down
comforters, TV & VCRs, telephones, datajacks, original cedar paneling,
and beautiful views. The main
floor has a spacious living room with a large river rock fireplace, cozy
dining room, kitchen, and a wrap around deck with stunning views of the
national forest, village, and lake. The
Carriage House Suite is on the main floor of the adjacent building, aptly
named The Carriage House. This
suite has one enormous room with a sleeping nook, a huge private bath with
a Jacuzzi tub, separate shower, wood burning fireplace, large screen TV
and stereo, and a king size feather bed with down comforter.
The Knickerbocker Mansion
Country Inn is only 3 blocks away from Big Bear Village with its quaint
shops and variety of restaurants, but you find it difficult to leave the
Knickerbocker's comfortable furnishings, delicious food, and the beautiful
scenery. You can go for a
stroll through the nearby forest or just relax on the wrap around verandas
in a hammock.
If you get the urge to go
off exploring, Big Bear Lake has a variety of year-round recreational
activities. There are two
wonderful ski resorts, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain.
In the summer, Snow Summit has quite a few mountain bikers.
During the winter, the skiing can be quite good.
Both resorts have snowmaking and night skiing.
There are two movie theaters.
The town has hundreds of restaurants, including fast food, family
eateries, and elegant bistros. The
Big Bear Lake Discovery Center, which has a theater, interactive exhibits,
and naturalist guides, draws thousands of visitors from all over
California including may groups of school children.
There is an ice rink, two arcades in the center of town, a
year-round slide and fun center on the outskirts of town (with snow and
roller slides, go-carts, arcade, and snack bar).
You can take lake cruises or rent a variety of boats.
You can rent and pilot a boat yourself from your choice of four
marinas. You can go
antiquing, window shopping, hiking, swimming, skiing, etc. or just chill
out on one of those delightful hammocks with a fresh cup of coffee, or
tea, or soft drink served to guests throughout the day.
Between 5 and 5:30, guests are served fresh hors d'oerves or as Mr.
Knickerbocker would say, canapés.
The Knickerbocker Mansion
Country Inn is an ideal place for a romantic get-a-way, wedding, or
corporate retreat. The rates
range from $110 to $225. Holiday
and weekend rates are slightly higher.
Check out time is 11:00am. Check
in is between 3 and 9:00pm. Rates
include breakfast, light refreshments throughout the day, afternoon hors
d'oeurves, and free use of books, magazines, and videos from the library.
The estate is easy to find, just follow "Knickerbocker"
Road South for about 3 blocks from Big Bear Village until you see a
beautiful log cabin mansion on the left side of the road with a backdrop
of the San Bernardino National Forest.
The Knickerbocker Mansion Country Inn
P. O. Box 1907
869 Knickerbocker Road
Bear Bear Lake, CA 92315
For Big Bear Lake Information and central
reservations call 800-4-BIGBEAR or see http://ww.bearbear.com.
# # #
Nick Anis is a food, wine, and travel
and technology writer with over 24 books in print published by
McGraw-Hill, Random House, Bantam, Ziff-Davis, Tab, and others. Nick's
articles have appeared in The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, West Coast
Media, The Family Publications Group, The Weekly News, and Travel-Watch.
His beats include food, travel, snow and waters sports, entertainment,
family recreation, consumer electronics, home improvement, and automotive.
He is responsible for the Restaurant Row Ethnic Dining Guide, co-published
by the Long Beach Press Telegram. Nick is an
accomplished downhill skier, PADI certified SCUBA diver, and when he's not
sitting on his butt goofing off, enjoys a variety of active recreation
including tennis, riding motorcycles, ATVs, wave runners, snow machines,
horses, skeet and trap shooting he's also taken a stab at riding camels,
donkeys, elephants, ostriches, lamas, dolphins, Reindeer, bulls,
mechanical bulls, and buffalo. Nick is a member (A
Secretary/Treasurer) of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers
Association (IFWTWA), a member of the North American Snow Sports
Journalist Association (NASJA), Computer Press Association, The Writer's
Guild, and listed in Books in Print, Media Map, and Press Access.
You can reach Nick at Editor@Travel-Watch.com.