29 Palms Inn, Twentynine Palms
By Jeremy Zachary
Why You Must Go: 29 Palms Inn sits nestled just outside of Joshua Tree National Park. Since it opened in 1928, the same family has run this hidden gem in the desert, and they’ve managed to keep the look and feel constant to its original state. The Inn is made up of several adobe bungalows and wood-frame cabins (and a couple Airstream trailers) surrounding a natural oasis, which is created by the Pinto Mountain Fault. Throughout the decades this little retreat in the desert has played host to many Hollywood celebs who were looking to duck paparazzi and do-away with fanatical autograph seekers. The staff at 29 Palms Inn are definitely not name droppers, but after some coaxing a short list started to develop—Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Mitzi Gaynor, Marjorie Main, James Cagney, Lauren Hutton, Drew Barrymore, Kirsten Dunst and Nicolas Cage, to name a few—have all enjoyed the beauty and solitude of the Inn.
29 Palms Inn, 73950 Inn Avenue, Twentynine Palms, (760) 367-3505. Rates from $90 per night. For specific rates and reservations, visit www.29palmsinn.com
Where to eat:29 Palms Inn has its own restaurant on premise, which honestly serves up the finest eats in the region. Most of the vegetables and spices used in the restaurant’s signature dishes are fresh—as in grown right there in their two-acre organic garden. A great place to pack a picnic for your Joshua Tree hike is the nearby Ranch Market; fresh cheeses and meats allow you to create your own masterpiece. Another great bite down the road is the Crossroads Café & Tavern, which serves up fresh sandwiches, smoothies and other sugary treats.
What else to check out: One of the coolest drive-in theaters in existence is by far Smith Ranch Drive-In, located just down the road from the Inn. Anyone in town can give you directions—and for $5 a head for a double feature, you just can’t go wrong. Did we mention this drive-in is a dirt lot? Smith Ranch preserves its feel, presumably in keeping with how it was in 1952. Down the road a bit you’ll find Pioneertown, an old set used in the heyday of Westerns. Pappy & Harriet’s Palace is a must when in Pioneertown, you’ll know why when you smell the barbecue. Joshua Tree offers some scenic hiking (take plenty of water) and beautiful scenery. For the adventurous, head on out to Amboy crater for some Mars-scape like surroundings. (Tip: Walk the road, lava rock isn’t forgiving on tires and the service station is a long, long ways away).