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Jolene goes to Joshua Tree 2023

As per usual, I am insanely behind with my trip blogs. However, I am not allowing myself to be too harsh, as I've had quite an insanely difficult year. I know many of you who follow along with my social media at least have a clue.

This past April, I went on a girls trip to Joshua Tree for a wonderful, low key weekend. A couple years ago I realized that nowadays, young adults "having fun" is a very specific type of fun - it usually involves a lot of alcohol and/or substances, very revealing clothes, and generally pretty crass behavior. No judgement, but that kind of "fun" isn't for me, and unfortunately it is marketed as the assumed type of "fun." I'm happy to say I've made some incredible connections with people who like to have my kind of fun. I knew I wanted our Joshua Tree weekend to be that kind of weekend.

Friday, April 7

My friends Joleena and Laura met me at my house on a Friday morning, and I drove us to Joshua Tree. We left around 10AM so there was no traffic. Our drive passed quickly and we arrived at our first stop just in time to satiate our rumbling tummies. If anyone is interested, here is a playlist I made for our drive.

La Copine, while a little outside of Joshua Tree, is still a restaurant I actively think about. When I was planning my trip, I knew several places and activities I wanted to revisit, but also wanted to try some new things. Only one blog mentioned this restaurant, and I am so very grateful it did!

We made our reservation via text (information is on their website). We still had to wait about 20 minutes but enjoyed the areas around the restaurant, played cornhole and took a peek at the airstream shop.

Not long after being seated, we excitedly ordered our food and made a toast to the weekend with our Mexican cokes. I ordered the Galette Complète with added mushrooms and it was absolutely heavenly. I'm not sure how to properly articulate just how spectacular our meal was.

Joleena ordered my first choice for dessert, but once we had arrived the warm weather made me want to go with my second choice - the rice pudding with coconut-orange anglaise and pepitas. It doesn't sound like much but it's one of the best desserts I have ever had.

We were full and happy, ready to explore Joshua Tree National Park... but not before a little pit stop. On our way back from the restaurant, we happened to pass a couple of places that were on our itinerary for another day. Since we had the time, we decided to stop by the Sun Alley Shops. I highly recommend visiting this part of Joshua Tree for its cute aesthetic and wonderful locally-produced products.

Behind the Sun Alley shops, you'll also find the World Famous Crochet Museum and some really, really fun art.

My only plan for the National Park was to take the girls to Keys View to watch the sunset. Otherwise, we just drove and pulled over at random spots we thought looked nice. We climbed rocks, filmed funny videos and took photos. I don't consider myself an outdoorsy person, but being in Joshua Tree National Park during golden hour was something very special.

Unfortunately we weren't the only ones who had the sunset idea. The parking lot was overflowing, but we got very lucky and snagged a spot as someone was leaving. We trekked up the hill and joined the crowd that had assembled to watch one of nature's ever popular performances.

When we got back to our absolutely stunning Airbnb, we finally had room in our bellies to eat, so I made dinner from scratch while we played records and started winding down for the night. Some of you may be thinking, this doesn't sound like my kind of vacation. Who wants to work on vacation? A few years ago I came to Joshua Tree for the first time, and I made the same dish. I'm not sure how to explain it, but cooking dinner for my friends really brought me a lot of joy.

Saturday, April 8

We started our day with brunch at Crossroads Cafe, a Joshua Tree staple. Of course, there was a wait, but to our pleasant surprise there was a farmer's market across the street. We happily put our name on the list and went shopping while we waited.

Our meal was hearty, preparing us for another warm day in the park. Since none of us are particularly into hiking, I chose one of the easier loops that I was familiar with - Hidden Valley. We'd had a full day before and had already seen some gorgeous areas of the park, so we didn't feel rushed or overwhelmed with the idea of having to see much more.

By the end of the loop, we decided not to do another one, as it was quite hot and we had a couple things planned in the evening. We grabbed some coffee at the Joshua Tree Coffee Company before heading back to the Airbnb to freshen up before our sound bath.

Yes, you read that right - a sound bath. I did one back in 2016 at the Integratron and deeply desired to do another one when I had the chance. A sound bath is essentially a meditative session where a sound therapist plays particular tones and those tones interact with you both physically and even emotionally. I know what you might be thinking; Jolene, this is weird. Your blog has some weird stuff but this really takes the cake.

Well, regardless of what you may believe in, there is actual science involved in a sound bath, which was explained to us at the beginning of our session. Once we got started, I had yet another inexplicably interesting experience. The last time, I literally had no recollection of the 45 minutes; I did not fall asleep but I remember "coming to" when the tones stopped. This time, I had a little more awareness but definitely started crying part way through (which our therapist said was a normal reaction).

We finished our evening with pizza, homemade s'mores that we roasted over our Airbnb's fire pit (I brought homemade graham crackers and homemade marshmallows) and a concert at Pappy & Harriet's. Despite our late night, I felt quite relaxed and fulfilled from the weekend.

Sunday, April 9

We spent our last day in Joshua Tree tired, but happy. We had a wonderful breakfast at Country Kitchen and the vibes were immaculate. The food was great, there was live music and we loved our experience.

We ordered pretty standard breakfast items, but I'd be doing all of you a disservice if I did not mention the most heavenly cinnamon toast I have ever had the privilege of eating. I didn't know what to expect, but it was something I'd literally go back to Joshua Tree to eat.

After breakfast, we said our last goodbyes to the area before heading to our last stop, Pioneertown. I'd never been before, but the area is generally recommended by travel bloggers, so I thought it was worth a stop.

Being in Pioneertown was like stepping into a classic Western. Suddenly I understood why so many things had been filmed here.

One of my favorite Pioneertown surprises was being able to hold baby goats!

Of course, we stopped at the famous Cabazon Dinosaurs on the way home, too!

Overall, we had a wonderfully packed but relaxing weekend in Joshua Tree - we stayed in the most perfect Airbnb, ate great food and had some really unique experiences. Joshua Tree has even more to offer depending on your interests, but I'm really happy we were able to make the trip our own.

Have you been to Joshua Tree?

Until next time,

Happy wandering!


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