Worth the Drive: Mountain-Nice Tree Lightings

Worth the Drive is NBCLA's twice weekly look at nearby getaways

Your job: Decide to get out of town and fast. Our job: Help you find where you're headed. This week, NBCLA's Worth the Drive takes us to...

Mountain town tree lightings: We've gotten a few trees glowing down here LA-way already, but the LA-close mountain towns are all taking their turn at the "3-2-1-ing" lighting festivities over the Thanksgiving 2009 weekend.

And by mountain town tree lightings we mean... Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, Julian and Idyllwild.

What to expect: Oh, you'll probably see some Santa-ing. Kids in stocking hats. Choirs choiring. Possibly hot chocolate for sale. We don't mean to be ho-hum about it all. Truly, it makes us go a bit twinkly inside.

The dates: Lake Arrowhead lights it up on Friday, November 27th at 7PM; Big Bear's fa-la-la-ing starts at 4:30PM on Friday, November 27th; the tree goes blinkly in Idyllwild starting around 4PM on Saturday, November 28th; Julian's Country Christmas has its hoedown from 4-6PM on Saturday, November 28th.

Would we try and spend the night if we attended one of these parties? We would.

Drive times: Oh, anywhere in the neck of two-and-a-half-ish to four hours, depending on the community you choose. Do the map thing before heading out, to determine if this is a thing you can do.

Why we're sweet on fir-close festivities: Lake Arrowhead kind of looks like it could double for Santa's village, with its little chalets and cozy restaurants; the other villages have their picturesque charms. Arrowhead's tree lighting, and the holiday to-dos that follow throughout the Thanksgiving weekend, really ups the whole "did we drive to the mountains or straight to the North Pole?" thing. We're not saying a reindeer will whisk you out over the lake on a magical flight, but the tree, the cookies and the carols makes the entire affair tres festive.

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