The restlessness stirs inside and the feeling of roaming in wide-open spaces is overwhelming – start up the convertible- the desert is calling.
Just over a two-hour drive outside of Los Angeles awaits a hidden gem and very hipster-friendly getaway in the California Desert towns of Twentynine Palms and Pioneertown U.S.A., located near the awe-inspiring Joshua Tree National Park. Recently my wife and I ventured outside of the L.A. bubble and took a 24-hour road trip to this mystical and authentically Americana part the Golden State, which has inspired such bands as U2, Queens of the Stone Age and the Foo Fighters to write and record in this transcendent backdrop.
An epic road trip like this needed a shot of Steve McQueen cool – throw the top down, crank up the iPod and hit the open desert highways. To get our motor running, the wife and I rented an icon of muscle cars, a Ford Mustang for the day – a perfect beastmobile for this great metropolis escape.
Once you blow past the Highway 10 exit to Palm Springs, the vast desert vistas open up, and you find unique relaxing vibes all along the way to the friendly confines of Twentynine Palms and the majestic western frontier adventure discovery of Pioneertown.
JT Village Park Experience is a steal of a deal for an Air B&B special at the footsteps of Joshua Tree National Park. This 1940’s remodeled home is walking distance to the historic Joshua Tree Saloon and comes with a stylish cowboy pool in the rustic backyard. A little gem that has everything needed for desert dwellers escape. How can you not pass up a cowboy pool? The JT Village Park Experience starts around $115. www.airbnb.com
Wild Wild West
Get your giddy up on in the hoof steps of the heroic TV cowboys of the Cisco Kid, Gene Autry and much more at Coyote Ridge Stables. One way that a city slicker can take in the openness that the desert offers is by horseback. The folks at Coyote Ridge Stables have a private 2-hour riding tour with just you, your riding guide and the serene desert wildlife. The Lizard Rock private tour will run you $150 www.coyoteridgestable.com
Farm to Fork to Belly
Farm-to-table is all the rage in the world of gastronomy, however at the 29 Palms Inn Restaurant, it is a way of life with their own Faultline Farms providing the freshest ingredients. It does not get much fresher than housemade breads, soups, dressings and desserts, along with a bountiful crop of fresh from the garden fruits and vegetables. Dinner at the poolside alfresco bistro under a blanket of stars start around $50-100 for two.
Rocking in the Free World
Right in the heart of the dusty sidewalks of Pioneertown, the legendary family run eclectic desert haven, Pappy & Harriets Pioneer Palace have been packing in rock crowds for decades now. On a given night, music lovers can catch such chart-topping acts as Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, Lucinda Williams, and Hall of Famer Robert Plant once stunned the Sunday night crowd by sitting in with the house band of the evening. This hollowed palace should be at the top of any groupies music bucket list. Big name acts can run $35, however, most of the shows at Pappy’s start at the low, low price of free!
Stars Go Blue
The desert sky is already lit up with a stargazer’s buffet of celestial delights, so why not get up and personal with the heavenly body. A 2-hour private star tour with Coyote Telescopes Tours is one of coolest ways to see a galaxy far, far away. The 2-hour guided tour for six or fewer people is $175.