I do feel like I have a responsibility to remind you that when you are traveling, always, but especially during this time, please be considerate of OTHERS. A lot of the places we have traveled in the last few months are small towns that could easily be taken down by the spread of the coronavirus (these towns have tiny hospitals, if there even is a hospital nearby), though they also run primarily on tourism. So if you’re considering a trip, only book if you’re being smart. If you feel sick, stay home. When you’re in public around others, WEAR A MASK, social distance and wash your hands often. Also, plan accordingly –– bring everything you could possibly need during your trip, so you don’t have to go into town often. It’s really not that hard and could save a whole lot of lives AND make it capable for us to continue to enjoy travel and one day travel internationally again!
On the way from LA
I thought my birthday this year was a perfect time to introduce Walter to Joshua Tree and Palm Springs. The weather in March is pretty ideal! Rona had other plans for the second half of our trip, but as we all know, life doesn’t always go as planned and sometimes that makes for the best memories.
On the drive to the desert, we decided to stop at In-n-out because Walter hadn’t had it before! There is one in Cabazon right before you get to the dinosaurs!
The Cabazon Dinosaurs are a 150-foot-long Brontosaurus and a 65-foot-tall Tyrannosaurus rex. You can see them while you’re driving on the 10 but they’re a super quick detour if you want to stop.
I’ve stayed in the Pioneertown area a couple times. Here my previous posts from those trips. The second one has photos taken at Rimrock Ranch in it, not a travel guide, but it gives you a good idea of that gorgeous property.
In Walter’s words, “When you are looking for a place to unwind from the stress and bad vibe of the city, Joshua Tree is the right place.
It was Corey’s birthday and we celebrated it in a spaghetti-western setting, just her and I. I have never heard such absolute silence as in that desert, where even the wind which blows refreshing the valley does it respecting the quiet of that place, giving you the peace necessary to find yourself.”
This property is pretty far out from town –– perfectly quiet, with little light pollution (if any)! I prefer staying in places that are a bit of a distance from any of the major highways. It’s cozy, quirky and retro. We woke up to the view of the sunrise each morning from bed. True peace.
The only downside, that I didn’t notice in the Airbnb listing is that there isn’t an actual oven or stovetop. We cooked all of the meals in a toaster oven and on a hotplate. HAHA. It was an unforeseen challenge, but almost everything still came out perfectly (minus my birthday cake lol). If I’m being completely honest, this experience helped me gain a ton of confidence in the kitchen.
We used the cute mint green table set for breakfast each morning and Walter enjoyed the afternoon sun in some of the other chairs dispersed on the property.
I’d been wanting to experience the Integratron for a few years. I booked a session back in 2018, but didn’t end up doing it then. When I was planning this trip, I knew we had to do it! Walter had no idea what to expect, but he’s pretty much down for anything, so off we went! The crazy thing is that this was their last session back in March before everything shutdown because of the pandemic. They spoke to us about how everything was sanitized, safe, etc. I highly recommend going; whether you’re spiritual or not, it’s brilliant. Definitely worth going for the good vibes, interesting back story and gorgeous construction of the building.
Walter offered the thought that “Pioneertown is the right compromise to gradually return to civilization with its sweet shops and locals.” It’s true! If you want a little taste of civilization, head to Pioneertown for a walk around, hit up Pappy + Harriets for a drink. They also serve BBQ (so I’ve heard, the one time I went all of the food was accounted for) and live music (when that’s allowed again).
I also love to walk down the main street in Yucca Valley to do a bit of thrifting whenever I am in the area.
Faves: Pioneer Antiques, Funky and Darn Near New, The End
What we ate
We went into this trip (and all of the other trips we have been on since the pandemic started) bringing everything we could possibly need for the week. We planned out a menu and brought all of the ingredients with us! I’m working on a post about the complete menu and tips on planning a menu –– coming soon.
W – “If someone had said to me six months ago -‘When you are in the desert, why don’t you try to cook ragù alla bolognese?’ – I would have replied that he was crazy; and instead we did it: there, in the beautiful nothing of an American desert, the scents of a ragù typical of Bologna, of my city, 10,000 kilometers away, spread all around (and for the record it came out really good!).”
That ragu was definitely the most rewarding and satisfying thing we made on that hot pot! I tasted Walter’s mom’s ragu back in Bologna, then asked him if he could get the recipe from her so I could make it for my family at Thanksgiving. It was a HIT! It was even more special to recreate it with Walter in the desert.
W – “The following morning Corey made me her delicious pancakes and made it dancing and singing. All of this is as close as it gets to the happiness a man can desire.”
When Walter visited America for the first time last June –– the first meal I took him to in LA was at a diner; he wanted to try American pancakes. He really loves his pancakes, so obviously I had to make some on this trip (and every other trip we went on).
As I mentioned before, this was my birthday trip for 2020. I would not have wanted to be anywhere else with anyone else. It was perfect; aside from the birthday cake I chose to make. Remember that aforementioned hot plate and toaster oven? Well I still can’t decide if it went south because that’s how we had to prepare it, or if the recipe also sucked. I definitely won’t be trying the recipe again to find out. I’d say this birthday cake was a little foreshadowing of the rest of 2020 LOL.
We headed over to Palm Springs after leaving Pioneertown! When ARRIVE reached out to ask me to check out their hotel (this stay was gifted), I was SO excited. It was the perfect opportunity to show Walter around Palm Springs. I’d been on property to their restaurants, but hadn’t stayed overnight before. The aesthetic of everything is so chic and cozy. From the comfiest bed, to House of Hiatus robes, to a fireplace on the patio –– we were truly in vacation mode. The cabanas by the pool are the perfect place to get some work done in the shade between swims. The ease of everything on property was so genius; whenever you need something, you text the front desk and they will come help out wherever you are on property. Most often we asked them to turn on/off our fireplace. You can also ask them questions about hours, random other things you think of.
Use this link for $50 off your stay!
W – “I understand why many stars choose Palm Springs as a vacation spot. Beyond being a trendy location (though that was never an important element when Corey and I chose a trip) Palm Springs immediately conveys a feeling of luxury, but affordable luxury. This, combined with the care that the city puts into aesthetics and cleanliness, makes you feel like a prince on vacation, and I also had the princess by my side. Unfortunately, our stay coincided with the beginning of the pandemic, therefore much of what we wanted to explore remains pending for next time (because there will certainly be a next time). However, we were able to enjoy the fantastic swimming pool of the hotel, day and night, complete with campfire and armchairs!”
Since all of the restaurants in town shut down our second day in town, we were grateful we still had snacks on hand –– yes we ate cookies and chips for breakfast. We almost had a crisis of NO COFFEE but my genius boyfriend figured out how to make coffee on top of our fireplace (don’t try this at home or at the hotel, lol desperate times).
Sadly I didn’t get to show Walter my favorite restaurants in the area, but as he said, that’s for next time! We did get to dine at Draughtsman (nextdoor to ARRIVE) and it was fantastic –– I won’t detail that meal here because unfortunately they have since shut down. Here is the page with ARRIVE’s Food & Drink offerings.
Also, if you’re looking for more details on Palm Springs, here’s a link to a few articles I wrote for Greater Palm Springs Visitors Bureau.
If you’re looking to stay in a house in Palm Springs, I highly suggest checking out ACME House Co. Here’s a fun article I did with them!
This trip was separate from the one above! We decided to go on another getaway to the desert and we were beyond excited to stay in my friend’s place, Echo Ranch House. It is so beautifully designed because the owners also own Circa Rentals, an event rentals / staging / design company!
Use code MISSFOODIE for a discount when booking through the link above!
I MEAN, COME ON! It’s like you’re transported into a retro boho desert oasis! I didn’t grab any photos of the bedrooms, but there are 2 & they’re equally as gorgeous as the rest of the house. Oh AND full kitchen included, thank goodness!
W – “I never thought that a desert could be a romantic place. Flamingo Heights made me change my mind. We stayed in an adorable house, fully equipped to allow a couple (but also a family) to break away from the wear and tear of the city and spend an excellent time together. There was also a record player –– so on the notes of the Lumineers, Fleetwood Mac, Sinatra and Armstrong we danced in the living room with a wooden floor and a view over the whole valley. Nature was just outside the door and you could often see jack rabbits, squirrels and quails a few meters from home, busy in their activities. In the evenings we had an aperitif in the garden, with the sun disappearing behind the hills leaving a pink tinge in the sky and on the sand. Ah, and at night, don’t forget to look up at the stars!”
There are a bunch of different outdoor areas to take in the scenery on the ERH property. We enjoyed breakfast outside daily, swung in the hammock, had an aperitif on the picnic table, and took in the sunrise & stars from various locations! I also fell in love with the sound of the wind chime on property. Wake up with the sun and ENJOY that soothing sound.
The house is on a bit of acreage and is also among a lot of easily walkable areas. We ventured out one of the evenings at sunset and discovered the desert equivalent of a Superbloom and my heart was happy!
Be sure to look down, you’ll surely spot some desert wildflowers & maybe even a ladybug!
I kept having writers block while putting this post together because I kept questioning what value I was bringing to you (the reader) –– since we “did” very little. I think the point of going out to the desert though, is that. Taking time to just do nothing; spend time with whomever you traveled with, if it’s a solo trip spend time with you.
Here’s what we did do among the not doing:
- Paint, sketch
- Observe the wildlife
- Look at the stars
- Play records and dance
- Cook & craft cocktails
- Read books
- Walter studied Japanese
What we ate
Here’s the post with all of the recipes linked!
I keep sending out so much gratitude for my personal experience during the last few months. Walter arrived just in time to get here safely and before things got super crazy back in Italy. We snuck in a trip to Northern CA right when he arrived, and a few little trips during quarantine. Walter had to extend his trip twice, so the gift of time was truly on our side. This “forced” time together could have been our downfall, but it was instead a gift. The time to get to know each other; our quirks, hobbies, annoyances, preferences. I will forever be grateful for that. Long distance has it’s challenges, but when you’re doing it with someone who gets you/your needs and cares so deeply for you, it’s worth it.
If you get to planning your trip to the desert and have more questions, you know where to find me –– most likely on Instagram!
Happy & Safe Travels,
Corey, Miss Foodie Problems