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When we first started our search for a place in California with clean air, affordable housing, and a good place to raise a kid, I didn’t exactly expect to find it. It was 2015, and we had already been priced out of the housing market in most of California.
The rent prices had also skyrocketed since we had signed our lease for our big one-bedroom apartment in Highland Park, Los Angeles. By the time we started looking for a home, we had a two-year-old. We were drowning in toys in that same LA apartment which had once seemed so spacious to us as newlyweds.
My husband works in the music industry, so we knew we wanted to stay within a certain radius of Los Angeles. Both of us Northern California kids had fallen in love with the sunshine and friendly people here on the southern end of the state.
Even before we had money to buy a house, I would visit Zillow and dream about owning romantic little cottages that I hoped we might be able to afford someday. When we did finally have a down payment on a house, I hopped on Zillow, and Redfin, and every real estate site and started searching for houses we could afford within 100 miles of LA.
That is how I stumbled across Crestline, CA. All the Crestline real estate listings seemed to show cute cabins in a forest. Could they really be that wonderful? I wondered.
So, my husband, son, and I packed a picnic and made the hour-long drive out of the city and up the mountain to Crestline. We parked along the south shore of Lake Gregory, ate our lunch, and decided that we were going to move to the mountain.
I have to admit, we did get pretty lucky. We made such a hasty decision to
The first two years we were here on the mountain were pretty quiet. We didn’t really know how to meet people. Around that time, some energetic folks became more involved in the community and
Suddenly we had weekly farmers markets and live music during the warm weather months and a re-launch of the monthly beer and wine tasting event. All of this in addition to the family-friendly events that were already thriving here have helped foster a real sense of community.
You will talk to folks who will tell you that Lake Arrowhead and Running Springs are the fancier, better places to live. I would argue that if you are someone who likes to be part of a growing, energetic, and creative community then Crestline might be a better choice for you. Crestline is in the process of realizing its potential and the excitement here is contagious.
I’m sure you’ve come across neighborhoods like Echo Park in Los Angeles or Temescal in Oakland and thought – Man, I wish I had been here before this place got so popular.
Yeah. Right now, that up-and-coming, affordable place is Crestline.
Many of the people who move up here from Los Angeles are creative folks. Some people relocate to Crestline for the peaceful forest, clean air, and hiking trails. There are also a lot of families with young kids on the mountain and the incoming kindergarten classes at the elementary school are getting bigger every year.
Prior to purchasing our house, I searched “is Crestline a good place to live” on Google, half a hundred times. During that search, I came across a few specific questions people seemed to have about life in Crestline. Let me help you out if you, too, have similar questions…
There are times in Crestline and the surrounding communities when the clouds slam into the mountain and turn into a beautiful fog that rolls through our canyons and streets.
Does it make it more difficult to drive? A little. It might even be somewhat intimidating if you don’t have experience driving in fog. As long as you take it slow and drive safely, you shouldn’t have any problems. I promise you will get used to it!
Crestline, in my humble opinion, has the best grocery store on the mountain. Goodwin’s resembles a city grocery store in that you can get your organic produce and kombucha, along with all of your grocery staples. They have a great butcher, a soda fountain, and a coffee bar where you can come in between snow storms to talk to locals and soothe your cabin fever. Goodwin’s is a large, well-stocked, and very clean store – definitely not your typical mountain grocery store.
We have a very interesting mix of animals here on the mountain. Squirrels, foxes, and lizards regularly dash around our property. We do get the more intimidating wild animals as well.
We live on the outskirts of Crestline in a community called Cedarpines Park. It’s quieter out here so we tend to have bears come by at night and raid our trash can, but as soon as they hear a noise, they leave. For the most part, the animals up here don’t want anything to do with people.
I know plenty of people in Crestline proper who have never even seen a bear.
To avoid having bears come around, you can build a locked bear box for your trash cans or buy a sturdy plastic one at Costco. I, of course, have yet to take my own advice, so we are a regular on the neighborhood bear’s trash can crawl!
It’s a generally accepted rule that as long as you avoid hiking at night, just after sunrise, and just before sunset, you will do a pretty darn good job at avoiding most of these animals. We have a few motion sensor lights that let us know if there are animals on our property. It’s a great way to avoid a surprise visit by the neighborhood bear!
The winters on the mountain have varied since we first got here in 2015. This last winter was by far the snowiest, stormiest one yet. Each day felt like an adventure. In other years, winters have been more warm and dry. If there is a rhyme or reason to the winters on this mountain, I haven’t figured it out yet.
Overall, Crestline gets just the right amount of winter weather to give us a good excuse to keep a fire burning in our fireplace, but not too much to where we are snowed in. The communities further up the mountain such as Lake Arrowhead and Running Springs, get more snow.
It’s a good idea to keep a shovel handy, just in case you have to move some snow to get your car out of
If you long for defined seasons while still living in Southern California, Crestline is a great place to get’em. We have winter weather, daffodils in the spring, mild, warm summers, and fall colors as the oak and dogwood leaves get ready to drop. And, if you want to head to the beach or desert in the dead of winter, both are just a short drive away!
The United States Postal Service doesn’t offer home delivery on the mountain. When you buy or rent a home on the mountain, USPS will allow you to have a free PO Box at one of the local post offices. You just have to provide a utility bill to prove you live here.
There are post offices in Crestline, Cedarpines Park, and Valley of Enchantment. We live very close to the Cedarpines Park post office, but our box is in Crestline. I personally love to have a reason to make the short drive into town. The post office is a great place to run into friends.
Sometimes, the greatest drama of the day is deciding who will hold the door of the post office open for others – and that’s the way I like it!
If, like us, you prefer to order things from Amazon to avoid sitting in Southern California traffic on the way to the store, there is a solution for you. If you sign up for Amazon Prime, the shipments come via UPS and they WILL deliver to your home. You just have to make sure you buy items that are eligible for Prime shipping.
Things to Do
A while back, I wrote a post to let visitors to Crestline know what to do here in our mountain town. There are some things I’d like to add to that list that
are specifically for those who live here, rather than those who are just visiting.
The local Crestline library surprised me. I did not expect to find a mountain library housed in a nice, modern building. It’s not huge, but you can order any book in the San Bernardino County Library system to check out. And, every Monday and Wednesday they have a free yoga class at noon.
If your family includes small humans, there are a few weekly events at the library dedicated to the younger age groups including Kids on the Move for kids under five, Storytime for the family, and Tiny Hoppers for the littlest ones in your family. It is great to get the kids to the library and it’s also a wonderful place to meet parents for future playdates!
Every year on Fourth of July, the town celebrates for the entire weekend with events including the Fourth of July Parade and a block party. It’s a charming, small-town celebration and is totally family-friendly.
Farmers Market & Live Music
Also during the warm weather months, there is now a wonderful farmers market and live music on Friday nights. It takes place on the North shore of Lake Gregory in the parking lot and stage areas. You can get good pizza, tri-tip, and other foodie offerings for dinner, and afterwards enjoy drinks and live music overlooking the lake. The shore of the lake is open for the kids to run around and watch the ducks.
Lake Gregory is a great place to go for some peace and exercise. The path that encircles the lake is the perfect walking trail. During the summer months, a water park springs up on the south shore. For a fee, you can enjoy the park and beach.
I may be a little biased since my husband and I are the resident vintage vinyl DJs at this event, but this is my favorite thing to do in Crestline. Corks’n’Hops is a monthly beer and wine tasting event during the warm weather months. Attendees include locals and out-of-towners alike. You can enjoy beer and wine in both the Top Town and Lake Gregory parts of town and take a free shuttle between the two. If you stop by Top Town, you’ll get a nice dose of vintage rock and roll courtesy of my husband and
Rim Bowling is not your typical, high tech bowling alley. It is a charming bowling alley with vintage flair. I recently went with my family and we had a wonderful time. They have pizza and an attached Subway for food and a full bar for adult fun. Oh, and be sure to check out the vintage arcade in back!
If you have more questions about life in this wonderful little mountain town, be sure to comment below! Also, check out the other post I wrote about things to do while visiting Crestline.
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