Life · Travel

Montecito in the snow

Have I told you guys recently about Montecito Sequoia Lodge? I’m pretty sure I probably mentioned this place in a previous post; it holds such a special spot in our heart and is such a gem, it bears mentioning again.

My husband happened to stumble upon Montecito Sequoia Lodge nine years ago when he was looking for different options and places to stay during our visit to Sequoia National Park. We love to camp and we’ll do anything from tenting, to RV, or staying at a lodge. Our first visit there was the summer of 2012, before Celeste turned 1. What caught my husband’s eye was that it was (is) an all inclusive lodge, so breakfast, lunch, dinner is included and they have snacks in the kitchen that you can help yourself to throughout the day, and water, coffee, tea etc.

Little did we know on that first time visit how much we would fall in love with the place. I remember my husband saying to me “let’s come here every year until the day we die.” Agreed! That pretty much sums up our experience.

Now, granted Covid-19 has changed the way activities and food are handled currently at the lodge, but I am SO happy they’ve been able to stay open despite this awful pandemic. So if you happen to pay them a visit, give them some grace and be understanding of the hard circumstances they’re continuing to stay open in and do business in. I think we could all benefit from having some compassion rather than simply criticizing every little setback, especially when we keep in mind the stress Covid puts on businesses attempting to stay open and doing their best to keep their employees and guests safe.

So like I said, we have been visiting every summer (which we have booked for August this year), and a couple weeks ago we decided to do something completely different and were blessed with being able to book a couple nights stay there on Valentine’s weekend. That meant SNOW!

That also meant shopping for gear because the girls and I had absolutely nothing for snow weather.

If you live in or near Orange County, CA I highly recommend you visit P.F. McMullin Co. located in Santa Ana for your snow gear. You will not be disappointed. We showed up there on a weekday night with our girls and ended up spending 2 hours there. The staff was so helpful and so nice and the best part is they were so patient and understanding of having our two kids with us. Granted our girls behaved fairly well, but they are kids and kids in a store can always have the potential of being a little crazy. One thing I will say, before heading to the store make sure you have a checklist of all the items you’re going to need so you can check them off as you go.

The girls and I were so excited for the trip, and to drive into Montecito and see it for the first time ever surrounded by snow was visually stunning. We don’t go to the snow often, I think it had been about 5 years the last time we went to Big Bear, so that’s why I describe it with such awe.

As soon as we checked in and got the card to our room the girls quickly put on their snow gear and ran outside to play. The whole weekend turned out to be such a great experience. Granted, there were a couple hiccups here and there but nothing that prevented us from being able to enjoy the time with our girls.

One of the reasons I love this place is because thanks to the all inclusive food and non alcoholic drinks, it truly feels like a vacation to me because I don’t have to cook any meal or clean any dishes. Their food is really good, granted Covid does make it hard for them because their staff and guest capacity can be affected if someone feels Covid related symptoms.

We love that this place promotes such a communal environment, so pre-Covid you would be able to eat at the main lodge or any of the outside tables and meet and talk with people from all over the U.S. and world. There’s so many activities for the kids to do on the grounds or to go and explore at just a short drive or hike away.

The girls loved seeing the lake completely covered in snow and to just play and have fun. Elysse gave snowboarding a shot and Celeste had a blast sledding.

I think we found ourselves a new tradition to visit Montecito Lodge during the winter too. They have snowboarding and ski lessons and also depending on amount of stands available they also have activities for the kids like painting snow.

I hope one day you can check this place out and if you do, feel free to ask me any questions.

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