Exploring Joshua Tree
By Victoria Banegas
Joshua Tree has been one of California’s most beloved attractions since its inception as a national park in 1936. Lately it has become popular amongst LA hipsters and artistic intellectuals causing one to wonder, what is causing this phenomenon of bohemia in the desert?
Besides being a beautiful place to find solace and venture the great outdoors, Joshua Tree has become a commune for artists and free spirits alike. With attractions as grand as the High Desert Test Sights (HDTS) and the Noah Purifoy Foundation outdoor museum, Joshua Tree is a go-to for creative folk to enjoy Mother Nature along with some conceptual modern art.
High Desert Test Sights is a communal art project where every artist is welcome to create an installation made specifically for the sight or test out an idea to determine its success. What HDTS strives to do is “challenge traditional conventions of ownership, property, and patronage.” All art constructed at this sight will either be taken away or left behind to become a part of the landscape or even another artist’s work. Like HDTS, Noah Purifoy Foundation outdoor museum, is a jewel full of beautiful collections of scrap materials ranging from woods, metals and cloth. There are series of installations all serving as sanctuaries for a kind of creative or spiritual awareness. Pieces like “Carousel” and “Aurora Borealis” are inviting and colorful, masterfully created collages of pure junk.
As another means of re-purposing “junk”, the Sky Village Swap meet is another destination to venture to on weekend mornings. This swap meet consists of a series of booths with artworks and second-hand clothing all for sale by Joshua Tree locals. This meet and a handful of other thrift shops in the area will definitely be places for you to find some really cool old items at a reasonable price.
After venturing the town and revamping your collection of nick-nacks or hand-me-down sweaters, there are some really cool places to grab food, even relax while the end of your day settles down. Crossroads Café is a Joshua Tree favorite among locals and tourists. Convenient and cozy, this place has a wide option of vegetarian choices as well as bacon breakfast plates and meaty burgers for carnivorous diners. With a rustic Wild West aesthetic and a thematically decorated interior, Crossroads Café is neat and attractive hot spot on the map. Along with Crossroads, Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneer Town Palace is another unique dining experience. Being an old movie set for a cowboy western, Pappy & Harriet’s is a colorful place to hang out and have a few beers while enjoying a fulfilling dinner. Like Crossroads Café, Pappy & Harriet’s has a great selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food items, making your meal convenient and enjoyable while visiting this small town.
While this is only the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to doing alternative activities in Joshua Tree, High Desert Test Sights has a very great directory for various other attractions like the Resonant Tabernacle and Energy Machine, Integratron and the beautiful Gubler Orchids, on their website. Whether you’re planning a trip to Joshua Tree for camping or participating in one of its yoga festivals, there are tons of fun and exciting things to keep you busy during your down time.