Go for a ramble in the woods, a swim, or just lounge in the hammock at our peaceful, architect-designed modern retreat, Ursa Major! We named it for the big bear medallion on the front and the fact that the night sky here is full of stars. Our art-filled home is a 10-minute walk from the Bear Valley Lodge (with a pool available to guests for a small fee) or beautiful, private Bear Lake, with its sandy beach, swimming platform, and rope swing.
Linens are provided, as are all basic necessities, lots of games (and lake gear), and DVDs. The house is well set up for families; there's a pac n'play (with sheets), a booster seat with tray, and a selection of kids' books ranging from picture books to beginning chapter books. NOTE FOR THE ALLERGIC: Our cat has visited here occasionally.
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PETS: Up to two well-behaved dogs allowed for additional $50 nonrefundable fee. Please check PETS when entering guest count.
Ursa Major is only 1,600 square feet but we think it feels bigger, thanks to an intelligent open design spread over three levels. (NOTE: both bathrooms are on second floor; the third-floor bedroom and bunk bed are reached by a spiral staircase) The kitchen is open to the living room and dining room, with large picture windows looking out on the trees. Our house was designed by architects Ehrlich, Heft & Rominger; Jack Rominger built his own design award–winning house here in Bear Valley and designed several other houses here as well. His subsequent firm Ehrlich Rominger became well-known for innovative buildings in Silicon Valley for Varian, Fairchild Semiconductor, etc.
In summer, Bear Valley ranges from 50 degrees at night to a comfortable, never too hot 85 degrees midday. If it's chilly at night, the woodstove in the living room easily heats the whole house, with the help of the 24-foot, three-story ceiling, but baseboard heaters are available to keep you from getting cold.
There are three small bedrooms total, plus extra beds on the open mezzanines.
Second floor (both bathrooms on second floor, one with stall shower and one with tub):
• Bedroom #1 has a king bed and room (barely) for a twin foam pad next to it if necessary (we have one that can tuck under king bed)
• Bedroom #2 has a full bed, a TV (with Internet-streaming-service DVD player), and no room except maybe for a dog bed or a pac 'n 'play (which we have) — this room can be closed off with its own bathroom for an en suite.
• Open mezzanine with full-size foldout couch and wooden privacy screen
3rd floor (up spiral staircase, no bathroom):
• Bedroom #3 has a full bed and no room for anything else
• Open mezzanine with bunk beds (twin over full), plus room for twin mattress on floor if upper bunk too scary (extra mattress is stored under bunkbed)
Bear Valley has no grocery store and only 2 restaurants, so we end up cooking a lot when we're there -- the kitchen is small but fully equipped and functional. Dining room seats 10.
The back yard is full of trees — we have a hammock you can lounge on amongst them in summer — and ends in a granite escarpment that kids love playing on in summer and sledding down in winter.
• Books (kids and adult fiction)
• Booster seat with removable tray
• Coffee maker, bean grinder, French press, pour over
• Games (both board and AppleTV video games)
• Kayak available for use at Bear Lake
• Linens & towels, including beach towels
• Pack n’ play (with mattress pad and sheets)
• Pots & pans
• Shampoo, soap, toiletries if you forget yours
• Sleds for borrowing
• TV (no cable, Internet services only plus lots of DVDs)
• Wood stove & firewood
We come up to Bear Valley at least once a month, so some of our personal items are stored there. You're welcome to use our kayak, life vests, beach chairs, and more.