“Water, water, water….There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount..”
-Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
The perfect transition from one surreal city to another ~ a surreal desert. When heading back to Los Angeles from a tradeshow in Las Vegas we took the long way around through breathtaking Death Valley. From classic hotels to otherworldly hikes, there is so much to experience in this iconic area.
First stop: Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the United States.
We stopped in at the Furnace Creek Resort General Store for provisions. Many years ago, my friend had ventured out into the Death Valley desert alone. There, in the most desolate of places, he came upon an artist named Carlo. Carlo invited him to stay the night, and my friend found himself thrown into a Fellini-esque world of wine and whimsy for the evening.
We went to visit Carlo, who has now opened his home for all to share in his world of art and stories. If you stay at Villa Anita on Airbnb, you’ll be welcomed like an old friend, share in food and laughter, end the evening with a warm bath and wake in the morning to rainbows of light peeking through your glass bottle bedroom. Must love dogs.
If you prefer a more traditional hotel experience, there are some fantastic options in the national park, such as the Inn at Death Valley.
You can also book a tour of Villa Anita to explore their labyrinth of sculptures and paintings. Before you know it you’ll be helping them lift a dangerously large object onto their roof using ropes, while fending off the affections of many sizes of dog.
(If you get along nicely, they may just give you directions to their secret hot springs haunt.)
A California desert excursion isn’t complete without a date shake. China Ranch Date Farm & Bakery is a family owned farm full of history. Hike to abandoned mines and enjoy fresh baked date nut bread in a hidden creekside oasis of cottonwood trees.
“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit” -Edward Abbey
What is the best road trip you’ve been on? Let me know in the comments below!