Shop and Sip
Wrightwood also has diversions for folks who simply enjoy seeing snow, but have no desire to jump in it. As with many small towns, the walkable main street, Park Drive, and other nearby roadways are lined with cute shops. Visitors can finish their holiday shopping and, when they get tired or cold, enjoy a hot coffee or cocoa, or a warm bowl of soup. “We don’t have a McDonald’s or Starbucks, but we have Old World charm,” says local Michelle Kraeknek, who serves on the Chamber of Commerce.
In 2017, Kraeknek spearheaded an effort to raise funds to professionally light the town tree, a 50-foot Jeffrey pine in Veterans Memorial Park in the center of town (just off Park Drive). The town holds an annual tree-lighting ceremony on the day after Thanksgiving, complete with caroling, hot cocoa, and hot cider.
Here are a few places recommended by Wrightwood residents:
Where to eat
Grizzly Café. A favorite for families, this eatery serves hearty, home-style cooking in a country-style setting. “Breakfast and lunch are my favorite here,” says Mary Sypkens, innkeeper at the Applewood Inn, who favors the Napa Valley Chicken Salad. The lobby doubles as a gift shop, where you can snag stocking stuffers. 1445 State Highway 2. 760-249-6733; grizzlycafe.com.
Village Grind. This hangout is a coffee shop by day and a wine bar by night. On certain evenings you can enjoy live music on the deck. 6020 Park Drive. 760-249-5501; facebook.com/village-grind.
Where to shop
GA Mercantile. Located next door to Grizzly Café, this eclectic shop sells everything you might expect in a country store, from houseware to clothing to seasonal decor. 1443 State Highway 2. 760-249-6713.
Applewood Court. In this old-timey general store, candy is displayed in glass jars and other items fill wooden barrels. You’ll also find freshly made fudge and ice cream (it’s never too cold out for ice cream), as well as an array of tree ornaments and other seasonal decor to put you in a holiday mood. 1309 Evergreen Road. 760-249-6490; applewood-court.business.site.
Alice’s Vintage Cottage. Browsing the beautiful collectibles here is a like a treasure hunt for a one-of-a-kind gift for that special aunt, sister, or friend. 1255 Apple Avenue. 909-800-1687.
Mountain Hardware. This is the go-to store in Wrightwood, especially if you need to gear up with hats, gloves, boots, sleds, or other winter toys. “It’s like a mini Bass Pro Shop,” says Kraeknek. It also sells tire chains if you need a set for the trip back home. 1390 State Highway 2. 760-249-3653; mtnhardware.com.
Where to stay
For many Southern Californians, Wrightwood is a viable day trip due to its proximity to SoCal cities and the easy drive up the mountain. However, if you decide you want to breathe in the mountain air a little longer, here are some lodging options:
Applewood Inn. Formerly an assisted living facility, this lovely modern house has a full kitchen, a large living room with a piano and a fireplace, and multiple bedrooms, which are ideal for multiple families or friends vacationing together. You can rent one room or the entire inn. 997 Rivera Drive. Rates start at $109 per night. 760-780-1137; applewoodinnlodging.com.
Mountain High Cabins. Located just minutes from Mountain High Resort, these stylishly rustic little (and big) cabins in the woods can accommodate anywhere from one to eight guests. Rates start at $135 per night. Locations vary. stayinwrightwood.com.
Rhinestone Rose Inn and Wellness Center. This inn oozes charm, from the antiques decor to the enchanting themed rooms such as “The Angel’s Suite” and “The Hide Out.” At the inn’s spa area, guests can indulge in a sauna or a couples’ massage. Innkeeper Loretta Thompson is also happy to whip up a vegan meal upon request. Three rooms and two cabins available. Rates start at $149 per night. 5194 Lone Pine Canyon Road. 760-912-3838; therhinestonerose.com.