Created and run by Honda, one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world, the Rider Education Center imparts riders of all ages with the skills and education needed to wrangle the handlebars of ATVs, dirt bikes, and motorcycles. MSF-certified instructors guide students through a hands-on curriculum that bestows riding fundamentals, safety techniques, and certifications. At the Colton ranch, the first Rider Education Center ever built, the sound of revving engines dissipates into the adjoining Environmental Learning Center, where 2 acres of traversable trails showcase five ecosystems—from woodlands to desert terrain to ramps made of clouds—featuring more than 2,500 plant species.
Named in homage to Riverside, California's turn-of-the-century citrus packinghouses, this microbrewery handcrafts four year-round beers. The easy-drinking Sunburst Blonde pairs perfectly with a summer day, and the malty Black Beauty Cream Stout brims with scent of roasted barley. The Heritage Pale Ale and the Riley's Red Ale round out the year-round offerings. Besides the core four, the brewery creates an ever-expanding series of IPAs, as well as several specialty and seasonal libations. Inside Packinghouse's tasting room, bartenders pour pints of each day's available brews, which are also available to take home by the bottle and growler.
From the glowing pendant lamps to the delicate European pastries lined up inside glass cases, Dolce Bistro & Bakery is the living, breathing vision of Alice Lee. Growing up in restaurants, Lee knew she wanted to start something of her own—but she wanted it to be unique. At Dolce, classic American gastropub cuisine is served alongside a variety of craft beers. Diners can enjoy sit-down service during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In 1992, Phil Dietro's younger brother Stu became enamored with his friend's paraplane, prompting him to learn how to pilot the motor-powered parachute. In an old fashion bout of sibling rivalry, Phil too wanted to master the strange flying contraption, traveling with Stu to Santa Ynez Airport for his first flight. As gusts of wind rearranged his hair, and impressed birds beckoned him over for high-fives, Phil became hooked, later seeking further training from the paraplane's inventor, Steve Snyder.
A year after his first flight, Phil's newfound hobby inspired him to establish Inland Paraflite, where he currently schools fledgling aviators in an airborne classroom high above the Apple Valley desert. His exhilarating flight courses instill cloud-curious students with the knowledge to man a dual-controlled Powrachute Pegasus, which reaches speeds of up to 32 miles per hour—the same speed at which the sound of soft rock travels.
Along the northern edge of Big Bear Lake sits Fawnskin Harbor, a tranquil respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Captain John's Fawn Harbor & Marina calls this serene alcove home, housing boats and doling out rental watercraft. From the harbor's docks and moorings, visitors launch pontoons, speedboats, canoes, and kayaks toward Grout Bay, a bald-eagle nesting site that also teems with great blue herons, osprey, and beavers. The wildlife sanctuary can also be infiltrated via standup paddleboard, a Hawaii-born craft that delivers a challenging core workout. Tours on an electric boat cruise the boulder- and tree-ringed bay area while passengers explore the lake, learn local history, and glimpse the lake's namesake surreptitiously brushing his coat.
From this high up, the world seems small and compact, framing the ocean, mountains, and desert in the same field of vision. Though Mt. Baldy's soaring peaks seem to shrink the globe to the size of a globe, they also grant access to nature's majesty throughout the year. Four chairlifts gently propel skiers through the San Gabriel Mountains over the trails and 800 acres of skiable earth ranging from gentle slopes to natural quarter pipes. In the warmer months, hiking trails blaze through mountainsides, affording glimpses of historical mining facilities and natural wonders, such as canyons, fauna such as bighorn sheep, and Mother Nature's secret collection of acre-long coffee spoons.