One Fine Day: Joshua Tree

One Fine Day: Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree is a destination near and dear to my heart. Domenic and I married up in Pioneertown. It is always our first stop on the Coachella Valley tour when we are hosting out of town guests.


There are so many things to love about JT. First and foremost, ease of getting there! I am not a big road trip fan (too many long car drives as a kid), so I love that you feel like you are in another world having spent less than a half hour in the car.

From the low desert, take the 10 west and get on the 62 to wind through the mountain pass. Along the way we always have a contest for the first person to see a Joshua Tree. We tell our visitors "you will know when you see one!" 

Once you reach the National Park you are at 2,700 feet elevation and Joshua Trees (or Yucca Brevifolia) thrive above 2,000 feet so you start seeing them as you cruise through the Morongo Valley. The other amazing thing about the climb in elevation: the corresponding drop in temperatures! You can enjoy 10-20 degrees cooler than the low desert. This means you can even have a white Christmas!

Make sure to stop by the Cactus Mart in Morongo Valley to scope the best collection of native desert plants. We learned from experience that the key to a thriving garden is getting plants that thrive in the desert. The Cactus Mart is THE place since the 1960s. You can even dig your own cacti for the advertised $0.59! Say hello to the owner Nicole who has a wealth of knowledge on all things desert.

Food is usually our guiding force so our first stop for brunch is La Copine. To get there head North on Old Woman Springs Road to Flamingo Heights, CA. The first time we drove by on our way to Vegas I had NO IDEA that they serves espresso crusted beignets behind those humble doors. Domenic (who HATES back tracking) promptly made a Uturn when I read the menu.

Make sure to check the hours of operation before going as they are not the norm. Over the years they added a wine bar in the front to accomodate long waits. Believe me it is worth the wait!

Next stop was Pioneertown. Flanked by Pappy & Harriet's on one end and Red Dog Saloon on the other, Pioneertown has a quant strip of tiny boutiques worth a visit. The town itself was where old Westerns were filmed back in the day, so there is a definite vibe that harkens back to another time.

Both P&H and Red Dog are amazing for eats. Lines can be long at P&H so having Red Dog as a spillover restraunt has been wonderful. Now we make a beeline there as the tacos are amazing and there is usually a DJ creating amazing ambiance. The music scene in Pioneertown is WORLD CLASS. Like Paul McCartney popped in to play a set between Coachella weekends a few years back. Get on their mailing list and see a show!

The big adventure this time around was to have a Sound Bath at the Integratron. This had been on my bucket list for over a decade but I was never able to get a reservation last minute. Definitely plan in advance as the experience is otherworldly.

The Integratron has a rich history in the desert that you will learn as a part of your bath. The structure itself is stunning. It is made of solid wood with zero nails or screws. You enjoy the sound bath as a group, everyone gets their own mat to lie on while sound bowls are played. 

Sound baths have been used medicinally and you can feel the vibrations to your core. The affects are palatable as you feel like you are floating as you descend the stairs to leave.

My ulterior motive for this particular adventure was to pick up an order of our Ritual Candles which are hand poured by Rose Cefalu right outside the entrance to the National Park.

Upon leaving Rose's workshop I happened upon this tall fellow (aka Big Josh). There are so many weird and wacky things along 62. Big Josh is the spokesperson for The Station where JT related souvenirs are the specialty. Please take your time and stop to meander. 

Our last stop was The Copper Room in the old Yucca Valley Airport. The owners are the same as The Red Dog Saloon in Pioneertown, so the food is AMAZING. EVERY TIME! What I particularly love are all the vegan and zero proof options.

The ambiance is also magical in that it feels like you have entered a time warp. There is a playful nostaglia that delights every time.

This was just one of many adventures we have had in the high desert, but these places are our favorite. I live to discover something new every time. Report back when you find a fabulous place for us to check out!

Cheers! Stella

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