Side Door Bistro–Mammoth Lakes California

SIDE_DOOR_HANGING largeOne of my favorite spots in Mammoth Lakes is the Side Door located in The Village at Mammoth.  Before I list all the reasons why I love this place, I must confess that my friends (Kathy & Shields Richardson) are the owners.  That being said, I highly recommend visiting next time you are in town.

Shields and General Manager, Stephanie Jury, have done an amazing job of creating a welcoming environment for breakfast, lunch or dinner.   The back and front are so different it is almost like being in two different places.  The front of the restaurant and outdoor seating offers table service or to-go options. The back of the space offers an extensive wine bar in a relaxing and warm environment.    The menu offers numerous options with focus on crepes, panini’s, salads and fondue.  My favorite meals include the Caprese Panini, Cheese Fondue and Spinach Chicken Salad.  My husband, John, loves the Hangman’s Crepe and Pastrami Panini.  For lunch we enjoy sitting on the covered outdoor patio (heated in the winter) at the wine barrel tables with comfy large chairs.  In the evening, we prefer sitting in the wine bar where we enjoy our dinner, cocktails and play dominos.

Speaking of cocktails, while I am not a big wine drinker, John loves to try a glass of whatever merlot or cabernet that is being served by the glass (the options change regularly).  Depending on my mood, I enjoy one of their specialty martinis, a skinny margarita or the homemade sangria.

I almost forgot the best part…..DESSERT!   The sweet crepes are a scrumptous end to a delicious meal.  The Roadrunner (butter and cinnamon sugar) is my all time favorite!

This is a place to relax and unwind – if you are in a hurry come back when you have more time.  Enjoy!


McLeod Lake Hike–Mammoth Lakes California

2013-08-25 01.33.38Last week I only had an hour but desperately needed some fresh air and perspective.  The quick hike to McLeod Lake did not disappoint.

This is one of the shortest hikes in the area with the trailhead easily accessible from the Horseshoe Lake parking lot.  The starting elevation is 9000’ so if you drive straight to the trailhead, I highly recommend relaxing near the trailhead before starting the hike as it will help get you adjusted to the altitude.  If you just hike to the lake and back it is approximately 1.1 miles.  I prefer to walk around the lake which brings the round trip to approximately 1.76 miles.

Depending on the day or the week and time of day you could find yourself alone on this trail or see dozens of people and dogs.  Either way, your reward will be a beautiful lake in a pristine setting.  Enjoy!


2013-08-25 01.59.59             2013-08-25 01.29.07                            2013-08-25 01.42.25

How to get there:  If driving, take Lake Mary Road until it ends (almost 5 miles from downtown).  The trailhead is near the public restrooms and area signage.  If you decide to take the free town shuttle, catch the Lakes Basin Trolley from The Village (near the gondola on Canyon Blvd) and take the shuttle to stop #104, Horseshoe Lake.

What is Fractional Ownership?

fractionalAs a result of the recent announcement of the sealed bid auction at 80|50 Mammoth Private Residence Club, I thought it would a good idea to revisit fractional ownership.

Fractional ownership offers individuals the opportunity to buy partial ownership of generally high-end properties in resort areas (golf course, ski area or beach communities).  Usually the fractional ownerships are divided into fourths, sixths or eighths, with each owner having an equal number of days a year to use the unit.  Often the term “Private Residence Club” is used in place of the word fractional.

At first glance it looks and sounds like a time share.  The main distinction between timeshare and fractional ownership is with a timeshare you buy the right to use a certain period of time (not usually flexible), but with fractional ownership you are buying real estate with more usage available and increased flexibility on scheduling.   You get a deeded piece of luxury real estate which you can sell, transfer or trade like regular real estate.    That being said, the cost of fractional ownership is higher than that of typical timeshare, though still much less expensive than whole ownership of a luxury home in the same location.

Depending on the property, most fractional developments provide the amenities of a first-class hotel such as concierge, housekeeping, ground transportation and grocery shopping services.  Fractional properties may be hotel suites, cabins, town houses or detached homes.    By only paying for a fraction of a luxury property, fractional ownership can be a much more cost-effective way to stay in desirable properties and locations.

In Mammoth Lakes there are two luxury fractional opportunities.  80|50 offers 1/8th fractional ownership in one, two or three bedroom elegant condos with Gondola access, while Tallus offers 1/6th fractional ownership in 5000 sq foot luxury homes located on Sierra Star Golf Course.

Fractional ownership is not right for everyone.  The family that wants to come to Mammoth every other weekend or an entire month in the summer should consider full ownership properties.  However, the family looking for 4-8 weeks per year in a high-end property offering both onsite and offsite amenities should consider fractional.

If you are interested in learning more about the upcoming auction, contact me at 661.979.9000 or

For previous articles visit:

Where am I? One Guess: Saddlebag Lake

There are so many beautiful places I want to share in my beautiful home of Mammoth Lakes. Every week I will post a photo for “Where Am I Wednesday?” and you can give your best guess as to my location. The first person to correctly guess my location will receive a Starbucks gift card!

Any guesses where I took this this photo? Hint: All photos will be within 10 miles of Mammoth Lakes unless otherwise specified. Happy guessing!

Where am I

Mammoth Lakes Real Estate Market Today

real estate marketThere are several different data points to review when evaluating the current real estate market including median price, days on market and total inventory sold.   Below is a snapshot of the last two years closed transaction in Mammoth Lakes and 2013 so far.


2013 (as of 8/27)



Median   Price




Median   Days on Market




Total Condos SOLD




Single   Family Homes

2013 (as of 8/27)



Median   Price




Median   Days on Market




Total SF Homes SOLD





While this information is useful in observing trends, the current inventory must also be considered.  Below is a snapshot of the available properties available today:



Single Family Homes

Median   Price



Median   Days on Market



Total   Available Today 8/27


up from 106 in May


up from 46 in May


In summary, both condos and single family homes are selling more quickly than 2012 and at a higher price than in the previous two years.   Inventory  levels  are finally increasing after very low levels during the first half of 2013.   Based on actual closed sales so far this year,  the trend indicates there will be more condos sold this year than last.   The increased inventory appears to support this trend.

What does this mean to you?  Prices are trending up.  People interested in buying should increase their search and identify a property before prices go higher.    Sellers can expect to get more than they would have last year at this time.    Of course, there is no crystal ball.  Mammoth Lakes has historically followed Orange County and San Diego by 6-8 months.  These areas are still in a upward cycle.   Will the upward trend continue?  Time will tell.  My advice, if you find something you love, then now is the time to make that offer.

Being Honest With Your Agent

honestyHonesty is the best policy, right? I absolutely agree but not everyone lives by this mantra. I cannot seem to shake my frustration over a situation that happened over 7 days ago – maybe if I vent (I mean blog) I will gain a little perspective and feel better.

Last week I received a phone call from a prospective buyer. He was very interested in purchasing a second home in Mammoth Lakes and had done his homework on the internet. After a lengthy conversation, we clarified how much he wanted to spend, where he wanted to buy and the size of the condo that would meet his needs. The search was narrowed down to four properties and plans were made to view them the next day. As always, I confirmed he was not working with another agent. He planned on making the trip in one-day (6 hours each way) and would meet me in my office at 2 PM. After the phone call, I called the listing agents, prepared all supporting documents for the tour and picked up keys. The next morning I received a phone call from the prospective buyer indicating he would be one hour late since he did not leave home as early as expected. No problem.

An hour prior to his arrival I visited all four properties to confirm the keys worked, turn on the lights and open the drapes/blinds. When I arrived at the first property, the listing agent was actually showing it to two gentlemen. She offered to leave everything open and ready for my showing in the next hour. After staging the other three properties I returned to the office to wait for my new client. Two men walked in to my office and I immediately recognized them as the people viewing the first property with the other agent. I introduced myself and acknowledged I had just seen them at one of the listings. The client immediately clarified he had only viewed the last property because he had contacted the listing agent. He said it was the only property he had viewed with her and it was not the property for him.

As I reviewed our agenda for the tour, I explained there was no need to visit the first property since he had already been there. We proceeded on the tour and were able to identify his top property. He had some additional questions that required me to research and we agreed to speak the next day. As our meeting ended, I summarized each of our follow up actions and clarified again he was not working with another agent.

Here is where my frustration lies. Why didn’t he tell me he was meeting with another agent when I asked if he was working with anyone else? Did he really get a late start or was he an hour late because he was meeting with the other agent? Would he have said anything to me if I would not have actually seen him viewing the property with the other agent? Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe in other parts of the country buyers meet with multiple agents. In my small town, we have a professional courtesy. If a client mentions he is working with another agent, it is customary to find out why they contacted me. If they do not want to work with the other agent for a specific reason, no problem. But if they are just “shopping” then I refer them back to their agent. It is just good business.   My time is valuable as is that of the other agent and client.

Okay, I feel better now. I should not let this one experience cause me to question the integrity of other clients. I have been fortunate to deal with nice, honest people and need to focus on those positive experiences. If you are a prospective buyer, remember being honest with your agent sets the tone for the entire relationship and transaction.  This holds true for both agent and client.

Footnote: As promised, I did follow up with the prospective buyer and will hopefully be making an offer on a property this week.  I’m sure it was all a big misunderstanding:-)

2013 Mammoth Mud Run

We went to support a few friends who were participating in the 3rd Annual 2013 Mammoth Mud Run on August 25 and I couldn’t resist taking photos of all the participants – I think I had as much fun as they did! This 5k race has tons of obstacles and even included a gondola ride!

More information about the event is on the official website at

USAF C-130 Aircraft in Mammoth Lakes

A rare sighting in Mammoth Lakes. On the last mile of my bike ride yesterday a large airplane flew over me on Benton Crossing Road. As I approached Highway 395 I noticed there were actually two planes. This is something I have never seen before at our small airport. Other cyclists mentioned these were C-130 planes — I don’t know my airplanes but it was a pretty awesome sight up close.

Underground Lounge

Underground Lounge Mammoth LakesQuite honestly I was not excited about trying Underground Lounge for dinner. I thought it was a night club that was trying to generate revenue before the nightlife began by serving “bar food” for dinner. Boy was I wrong! I am so glad I tried it — one of the best dinners I have had in Mammoth Lakes.

A little history to help understand my apprehension. The restaurant is located in The Village at Mammoth and was previously The Auld Dubliner. After closing two years ago the property was empty with the few windows covered until it opened earlier this year as Underground Lounge. The initial buzz around town was Underground was a hot nightclub with a lounge-like bar, huge dance floor and social seating areas. The windows stayed covered and I imagined a dark space with little ambiance.  In my mind since it came alive at night with the pounding music and lights how could it possibly be a welcoming dinner environment. Makes sense why I couldn’t image it serving great food. My assumptions were not fair since I never took the time to look at the menu or even walk in to see what it was like inside.

When my friend and I were planning on meeting for dinner we both wanted to try something new. Not easy to do in our small mountain community but after a brief conversation we realized neither one of us had been to Underground Lounge. We met at 6 PM on a Wednesday and although the walls were black, the feel of the place was inviting. There were quite a few diners both inside and outside but we were immediately seated.

I had my mind set on sticking with my low-carb choices and planned on saying no to the bread. So glad my willpower waned when the fresh bread was delivered.  OH MY GOSH….the bread was light and fresh and so scrumptious with the European butter.   We at the entire basket.  My friend and I both ordered the 8 ounce Black Angus ribeye steak and it was DELICIOUS! I had mine with the roasted garlic buerre blanc sauce and my friend had the bearnaise…both fantastic. Both came with seasonal vegetables that were fresh and cooked to perfection. Seriously, we both ate every bite – not even a crumb left. We were too full to consider dessert but definitely next time.

Executive Chef Frederic Pierrel stopped by to see if we were enjoying our meal and we slowed down long enough to tell him our meals were outstanding. Internet sources indicated classically trained in Gerardmer, France, Chef Frederic Pierrel graduated with honors from Lycée Hôtelier et Culinairer. He now combines traditional French cooking techniques with American tavern favorites like steaks and burgers. I had enjoyed his amazing culinary creations in the past at Tamarack Lodge. If I would have paid attention to the press when Underground Lounge first opened I would have realized if Chef Federic Pierrel was involved this would not be typical “bar food.”

I have no idea what Underground is like during the late night scene but I highly recommend making plans for dinner. For hours of operation, phone number, menu and more visit