Go: Five Bears Cabin
I’ve got a SIMPLY SPECIAL for you!
Mention Simply Silicon Valley and you’ll receive:
Book 2 nights, 3rd night FREE for stays in October and November.
and a Reduced Cleaning Fee of $80 (usually $100).
Last week my family had the best time at Five Bears Cabin in Arnold, California. Our new school district, San Jose Unified, has vacation the first week of October, so my husband took some time off work and we escaped to the Sierra Nevadas for pine fresh mountain air, relaxation, and adventures. The whole setting of Five Bears Cabin exuded peace and calm, exactly what all Bay Areans could use a bit more of. I would go back in a heartbeat.
Arnold is the closest mountain town to Silicon Valley, clocking in at 2.5 hours. Pick your travel time wisely, otherwise 2.5 could turn into 5. Town center is 4,000 feet above sea level, this particular cabin is at an elevation of about 4,500 feet.
Five Bears sits at the end of a road, on the forest’s edge. I kept hoping I’d see a bear in the expanse of wilderness—it’s foraging season, bears are busy collecting food for hibernation. Well, all I saw the whole time were the five cute bear statues on the property (I thought they were real once or twice).
We felt so far away from everything, yet a large, fully-stocked grocery store was a quick 5-minute drive down the road. That’s how I like it!
The cabin itself is simple and has everything you need: wood burning stove, heating system, fully stocked kitchen with basic cooking ingredients, comfortable beds, laundry, two bathrooms (one with a tub), toilet paper and paper towels. You have to bring your own sheets and towels; this keeps the rental and cleaning expenses as low as possible. There is Wifi and TV, but if your goal is ultimate refreshment, consider going dark for your visit. This is a prime place to practice the art and self-discipline of unplugging.
The owners elevated their cabin to something very special by adding two small, shed-like structures and a deck that connects them to the house. They are detached, individual rooms. One is a game room stocked with puzzles and games; the other is an art studio with desks, chairs, and some art supplies. I spent every morning in the art studio with my cafe au lait, my Bible, and my journal, soaking in the slower pace. The two hammocks on the porch are a very nice touch.
The whole setting ushered my family into rest, connection, and play. My sons built an impressive fort out of branches and whittled weapons with their pocket knives. The night sky was pitch black, the stars were immeasurable, and I saw two shooting stars! The entrance to Calaveras Big Trees State Park is 5 minutes from the cabin; we explored the Giant Sequoias and the rushing Stanislaus River. Our time passed slowly and sweet memories were made.
I posted lots of footage on Instagram while there. Go to the Simply SV Instagram profile and click on the circle labeled “Arnold” to see videos and photos from our stay.
Whenever possible, make sure to book direct with rental home owners to avoid paying extra fees imposed by VRBO and Airbnb. This cabin has a comprehensive website, click here to check it out. The standard rate is $125 per night on weekdays, $145 per night on weekends, with a $100 cleaning fee per stay. Don’t forget about the Simply Special for October and November!
More resources to Book Direct and avoid extra fees:
Info on Arnold:
In closing, here are some astonishing facts about Giant Sequoias, all pulled from Wikipedia:
“The giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) is the world's most massive tree, and arguably the largest living organism on Earth.”
“Giant sequoias occur naturally in only one place on Earth—the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, on moist, unglaciated ridges and valleys at an altitude of 5,000 to 8,000 feet.”
“Because most of the neighboring trees are also quite large, it can be difficult to appreciate the size of an individual giant sequoia. The largest giant sequoias are as tall as a 26-story building, and the width of their bases can exceed that of a city street.”
These trees are in Arnold, 5 minutes from the cabin.