By Antoinette Berthelotte
You’ll see many signs in the Idyllwild area that say, “If you’re lucky enough to live in the mountains, you’re lucky enough! “ That couldn’t be any truer than in the month of November.
This is the month of family, friends, fireplaces, and fun. By October we have put our gardens to bed, ensured a good supply of firewood, and have done those chores needed to be sure our homes are winterized. Now we can relax and contemplate what we have accomplished. We have leisure time for our hobbies and to start making plans. Those plans, of course, include Thanksgiving. Some residents will leave the hill to go to the homes of others. However, the majority prefer to be the hosts, even if that means finding extra room for everyone and getting out the good dinnerware. When you live here, it’s difficult to leave during one of the most beautiful months of the year, the month that epitomizes the very reason for choosing Idyllwild.
This is such a great season for us and visitors. Our oak trees are dressed in their fall finery of oranges, reds and yellows, our stores are being stocked with unique gifts and holiday decorations that put one in the spirit, without the pressure one feels in December. The numerous inns and short-term rentals offer delightful places to stay for visitors, or overflow of family. Whether one is looking for cozy or stunning, the early birds will find just what they need.
Thanksgiving is also a perfect holiday. It is all about sharing. Each guest brings their special dish, everybody pitches in to help. Wonderful homemade food is passed around as stories are told and all are brought up to date on happenings with family and friends. After dinner, comfortable places are found near the fireplace, games are played to a background of soft snores as the adults enjoy a post-prandial nap. Then before the pie and coffee, there is time to take a lovely walk in the brisk, clear, and aromatic air.
The piece de resistance is a special treat offered on the Saturday right after Thanksgiving. It is our ever-popular Tree Lighting Ceremony that rings in the December festivities. Downtown is crowded with booths and events, including caroling, some by locals dressed in Victorian Garb, the reading of the Night Before Christmas, a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus, so much more, and of course the countdown to the lighting of the majestic pine tree in the town center park. Hot cider, treats, and all the shops lit up in their best decorations turns the town into a wonderland that must be seen at least once.