Shopping in Big Bear Lake Village Offers Something for Everyone

Vacationing with Bluegreen Resorts at Big Bear Lake in Southern California’s San Bernardino National Forest is an ideal way to enjoy majestic natural wonders and a wide range of winter and summer outdoor activities. However, the resort town is also known for the variety of fine specialty shops that keep locals and visitors alike coming back time after time. As you plan your trip, keep in mind a few of the shops in Big Bear Lake Village that you might want to explore.

Cyclists will be interested in Bear Valley Bikes, which sells and rents a wide range of bike models. The shop also offers bike repair, as well as replacement parts and gear. Rental stock includes fatbikes capable of negotiating snow, mud, and desert sand. In addition, the store rents equipment for snowshoeing—another great way to see the sparkling mountain trails in winter.

Since the 1920s, Brown Bear Gift Shop has offered high-quality souvenirs. Browse the recently remodeled store to find T-shirts, sweatshirts, toys, books, greeting cards, and more.

Visit Gold Rush Mining Adventures to relive the excitement that early pioneers might have experienced while panning for precious metals. Rain or shine, and even during snowy conditions, visitors of all ages will have fun searching for their own “Eureka!” moments at the dry-sifting station, the mining sluice, or the water flume. You can crack open a geode, buy a souvenir panning kit to take home, or enjoy the many attractions of the Gold Mine Gift Emporium: rocks and minerals, paleontological artifacts, one-of-a-kind jewelry, and more. When your shopping is done, you can relax with some fudge or a vintage-style soda.

Music lovers should stop in at Village Music to explore new and used musical instruments and supplies, as well as a variety of vintage recordings on vinyl. The store also sells collectibles and memorabilia.

Fashionistas will appreciate Belladonna Clothing Company’s wide range of boots, handbags, denim, floaty dresses, and warm winter coats and jackets. The store also carries a selection of handcrafted jewelry.

Cabin Fever Gifts & Decor offers rustic furniture and lodge accessories such as lamps, bedding, candles, and a variety of items incorporating wildlife motifs. Home accents created from natural materials, including stone, twigs, and bark, lend a feeling of warmth to any room.

Your stroll through Big Bear Lake Village will also take you past more than a few fine restaurants and casual dining establishments. Be sure to sample at least one of these tasty options. Finally, don’t forget that the Village offers regularly scheduled concerts, entertainment events, and nightlife at The Cave.

Big Bear Lake’s Renaissance Faire – A Fun Time Travel Adventure

Bluegreen Resorts’ The Club at Big Bear Village in Big Bear Lake, California, offers comfortable, home-like accommodations for your vacation needs, set in the midst of the pine forests of the San Bernardino Mountains. You can go horseback riding or take your kayak or water skis out on the lake. Ziplining and helicopter tours are also among the idyllic resort town’s many activities. However, when you’re planning your trip, don’t forget that you can book your visit for the first part of August and take in the town’s Renaissance Faire, too.

The Big Bear Valley Renaissance Society, Inc., hosts the Faire over the first three weekends of August, in the lakeside town of Fawnskin, just minutes from Big Bear. The Faire recreates the days of William Shakespeare’s England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The whole family can enjoy streets filled with costumed characters, jousting performances and pirate battles, crafts, games, food, maypole dancing, and more. Several stages offer continuous theatrical performances, and vendors offer a variety of beautifully crafted, handmade items for sale as souvenirs.

For many, the best part of the Faire is the realistic historical re-enactments on the part of costumed characters. The jousting tournaments, for example, feature “knights” on horseback clad in more than 100 pounds of steel armor and rushing toward one another wielding real lances made of solid hemlock.

The Society’s goal is to offer exciting events that educate the public about the richly colorful history and culture of Renaissance times. Parents who have attended previous faires have remarked on the quality of the activities, such as historical scavenger hunts, designed to engage younger children. In addition, the nonprofit Society devotes proceeds from the annual faires to scholarships and aid for teachers.

The Faire’s location on the site of the historic Pedersen Saw Mill, in operation from the 1920s to the mid-1960s, adds a flavor of California history to the Faire.

A Shopping Stroll Down New Orleans’ Magazine Street

Magazine Street in New Orleans is 6 miles long, so plan for a leisurely day trip if you’re in the mood to explore its many distinctive and engaging shops and stores. When you visit the Crescent City and stay at Bluegreen Resorts’ Bluegreen Club La Pension on the edge of the historic French Quarter, you’re only a short walk and a streetcar ride away from the Garden District and the delights of Magazine Street, with its dozens of restaurants, art galleries, and specialty boutiques selling everything from books and fine paper to clothing, toys, and home decor.

Before you set out, you might want to obtain a free guide from the Magazine Street Merchants Association, or browse the group’s website at Plan to start at one of the shops that especially interests you, and take a cab or the Magazine Street bus from one part to another, stopping at a café or coffee shop for a break.

The Bead Shop offers experienced beaders and novices alike a wealth of beautiful beads, supplies, and classes. Gold-dipped leaves, jewelry with fleur-de-lys motifs, and distinctively New Orleanian silver charms abound in the shop’s charming rooms.

Jezebel’s is the perfect place to find intriguing vintage costume jewelry and accessories. The shop will dazzle you with its variety of finely crafted pieces made of turquoise, amber, and silver. Jezebel’s specializes in pieces by well-known designers from the first half of the 20th century. It also offers rare, collectible Mardi Gras beads, and a selection of antique furnishings and textiles.

At Scriptura, you’ll find beautiful imported stationery products, as well as unusual desk accessories, fine paper, greeting cards, and invitations. The shop is modeled on European papeteries.

Magic Box Toys is a supplier of high-quality playthings to please kids of all ages. Your child will treasure the hand-painted figurines depicting characters from story and legend. There are also a wide variety of dolls, science exploration kits, plush toys, and more to choose from.

The Magazine Antique Mall will afford you endless hours of browsing and buying pleasure, whether you’re looking for antiques, Oriental rugs, books, art, or souvenir memorabilia.

You can also enjoy a break at Sucré, one of New Orleans’ best candy shops. The shop’s chocolatiers and pastry chefs make their delicious French macaroons, cupcakes, and gelato by hand. You can sit and relax with your sweet snack and a coffee or espresso.

A Tour of St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans

If you visit New Orleans, be sure to stay with Bluegreen Resorts in its comfortable and architecturally beautiful Bluegreen Club La Pension. The newly remodeled vacation property, which sits just outside of the historic French Quarter, is your gateway to all the liveliness and fun that the city has to offer. New Orleans is a city where taking a trip to the past is as easy as taking a walk: Join any of the numerous guided walking tours that will acquaint you with the elegant historic homes and public buildings, gardens, ghosts, and legends that make the Crescent City one of America’s most fascinating.

Take a tour of St. Louis Cemetery #1, and you’re likely to learn about famous New Orleans residents buried there, such as “Voodoo Queen” Marie Laveau; Benjamin Latrobe, architect of the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C.; 19th century chess master Paul Charles Morphy; and Homer Plessy, the plaintiff in the 1896 Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson that gave rise to the unfortunate landmark “separate but equal” doctrine of racial segregation. The cemetery is also home to numerous Louisiana political figures and notable families, including the relatives of French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas.

The distinctive and ornately wrought tombs in this, the city’s most famous permanent resting place, offer plenty to interest architectural enthusiasts. Since the water table in New Orleans is so high, early settlers found that graves in its “cities of the dead” often flooded. In order to protect the remains of their ancestors, New Orleans residents constructed distinctive above-ground tombs and marble mausoleums. Many members of the same family may be buried together in a single tomb. A body is often laid on the top level of its tomb, and heat and humidity result in natural cremation. After the traditional waiting period of a year and a day, the remains may be moved to another part of the tomb (the coffin having meanwhile disintegrated or been destroyed) in order to make room for another family member.

Visitors and locals alike are especially attracted to the tomb of Marie Laveau who, according to legend, has the ability to grant wishes to the living. Her tomb is distinguished by the number of “X” marks etched into the masonry. Tradition has it that by marking an “X,” turning around three times, knocking on the tomb, and calling out a wish, one can contact the priestess’ spirit.

Located on Basin Street within walking distance of the French Quarter, St. Louis Cemetery #1 is one of New Orleans’ oldest monuments. Its many close-set tombs and mausoleums, and its twisting turns, can make it dangerous to visit alone at night. Stay safe from would-be thieves by going with a group.

How to Really Relax on Your Next Vacation

The reason many people take vacations is to relax, recharge, and reconnect with the people that matter most in life: our family and friends. However, in our hectic world, travel can present multiple sources of stress. A little preparation, and some knowledge of basic stress-relieving techniques, can increase your sense of calm as you set off on your trip.

Whether you’re driving, taking the train, or flying to your destination, plan your route and itinerary in advance to minimize the likelihood of getting snarled in traffic or missing your departure time. Check weather and traffic reports to select the best time to be on the road.

If you’re traveling by air, pack your valuables, important documents, undeveloped film, and prescription medication in your carry-on luggage and keep a checklist of these items with you. Buy Transportation Security Administration-approved cases for your electronic devices, so that you will not need to remove them for the security scan. Dress yourself for a quick scan by not wearing jewelry, heavy footwear, and clothing with metal fastenings. If you know you’ll need to take your computer from its case or remove boots and outerwear, start doing this before you reach the X-ray conveyer belt.

Keep in mind that you can waste up to three days of your vacation getting your strength and energy back if you’ve been sleep-deprived. Plan to get proper rest in the days leading up to your trip. If you’re driving, naps along the way can be especially important. In addition, avoid jitteriness by limiting your intake of caffeine.

Set work boundaries for your vacation. Bring important projects to an adequate stopping point before you leave, so that you can turn off your email and cell phone during your time away.

Keep up your exercise regimen and your healthy eating habits before and during your vacation. Bring a book you’ve always wanted to read, or music that will relax you en route. Perhaps most importantly, stay open to the many possibilities for new adventures that will be yours each day you spend outside your usual routine.