While Lake Arrowhead has no official “town center,” its Village serves as the main shopping district, with 50 factory outlets, boutiques, restaurants and a supermarket. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger chose Lake Arrowhead Village as the backdrop for a news conference last fall, when he urged tourists to return to the fire-blackened communities. “Our business is doing well here. We’ve come back after the fires and just had a real surge of shoppers,” said Linda Griffith, spokeswoman for Lake Arrowhead Village. “The shopping experience here is nice because most of the business owners are local residents, and it’s a friendly environment.” The communities also have holiday events planned for December, including weekend visits with Santa and performances by the Dickens Carolers from Rim of the World High School. Ten minutes to the west of Lake Arrowhead lies Blue Jay Village, home to Betty’s General Store, the historic Royal Oak Restaurant and County Furniture, which specializes in mountain-theme furnishings. It’s also the location of Jensen’s Finest Foods, the oldest grocery store on the mountain with renowned baked goods including breads, tortillas, chips and pastries. “They have busloads of people come in for their baked goods,” Griffith said. “They have a Bavarian chocolate brownie that I love.” Holidays and especially chocolate are a big draw in the mountains. Big Bear Valley celebrates the delectable treat in a unique fashion that also showcases its bed and breakfasts. The Holiday Bed and Breakfast Chocolate Tour, held this year the first weekend in December, invites visitors to admire the beautifully decorated lodgings while sampling chocolate. In some places, visitors were encouraged to taste it, in others to make it and at one stop, the delicacy was served up as a decadent facial treatment.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Nestled among the snow-capped peaks and tall pine forests, the quaint hamlets and resort towns that dot the San Bernardino Mountains draw visitors yearning for slices of a simpler life. A stroll through Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear or Blue Jay Village can be like a trip back in time – back to the days of general stores and family cafes. “People come into our store to just get away from a busy life and to walk around and enjoy the environment,” said Jay Tait, owner of the 28-year-old Bear Mountain Trading Company in Big Bear Lake. “There’s a lot of nostalgia in the store.” Wander upstairs in Tait’s place and find a room stocked year-round with Christmas ornaments and decorations. An old-fashioned candy counter sells jawbreakers, licorice and assorted “penny” treats. The store also sells its own brand of jams, jellies and sauces, along with an array of wildlife d cor. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champIn neighboring Lake Arrowhead, Sondra’s/Tattle Tails is among the most popular stops for shoppers in search of women’s and children’s clothing. “If you buy an outfit there, you won’t find another person in another one of those outfits anywhere else,” said Leslie McLellan, director of marketing and tourism for the Lake Arrowhead Communities Chamber of Commerce. “It’s the quintessential women’s clothing store.” The same hospitable vibe can be felt at Woody’s Boathouse, a family-owned steak and seafood restaurant that has operated on the peninsula of Lake Arrowhead for 16 years. The walls are lined with dozens of vintage photographs of movie stars and of the early days of the village. The booths are crafted from the old wooden Chris Craft boats that used to travel the lake in bygone days. “Every seat has a great lake view,” said general manager Dee Dee Romack, whose father, Randy, owns the restaurant.