Last Tuesday I decided to go down to Joshua Tree. It was my first time going there believe it or not, after spending over eight years in LA! I had always heard about its beauty but frankly, having grown up in Las Vegas, a city full of beautiful desert landscapes and pretty sunsets, I wasn’t too keen on driving an two hours to essentially see what was already familiar. Having heard my friend Luke had booked an Airbnb already, I decided that my best friend, Madison and I would go. To make the most of it I thought I would photograph some of the spring/festival inspired clothes I had just gotten on op of exploring!
On our drive down we passed the hundreds of windmills you see going towards Palms Springs and it was as if it was a sign we were there. For some reason I always associate those windmills with the desert, horror movies and festivals. So once I saw those I suddenly got excited. We got to the small little town famished, only to strike out at three different spots before we finally found Jon’s Place open and we all devoured mass quantities of food for a very reasonable price I might add. We also made a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up the necessities (chocolate, milk, cereal, beer) and headed to our Airbnb. Driving up, it seemed like any regular house but going through the door I found a very charming little house with very unique and quirky accents in evert room. It was extremely spacious with multiple outdoor areas and we all even had our own rooms.
That night we set out to find a place to grab dinner, being a little on edge since we found out Tuesdays and Wednesdays are down days for restaurants in the area and most are even closed. We did end up at the “happenin place” for the night though and for that we were all grateful. I’m not quite sure if it was the cool spot to be and it just so happened that we ended up there by mistake or were the circumstances of having every other place in town closed that night that MADE it the place to be for the evening?? We will never know…
The next day, i was pleasantly surprised to wake up to a full breakfast spread courtesy of Luke’s brother Mark and may I add that it was quite tasty! Im used to always being the “mom” of the bunch and feeding everyone, so being able to relax and enjoy a meal right after I woke up was refreshing. After breakfast we packed up and headed out to Joshua Tree National park about 15 minutes away from the house. I must say it was quite beautiful and unlike any other landscape I’ve seen. Yucca shrubs everywhere and large rock formations dotted by rock-climbers slowly making their way up some with ropes and climbing gear and some more impressively free hand. We wondered around quite a bit, took some pictures (see my festival vibes post fro earlier) and explored a couple campsites before we took off in search of food once again. We ended up at Crossroads Cafe this time and even made a stop at a local bakery next door called Natural Sisters. Our next stop was the local liquor store not to buy booze but marshmallows and gram crackers for our impeding s’mores later on. Then we went back to Joshua Tree Saloon for the second night in a row only to find that it was karaoke night! After three singers and some grub we went back to the house to end our last night there with some s’mores and country music.
Meal at Crossroads: Polenta and eggs
Thursday, on our way back to LA we decided to make a pit stop at Pappy & Harriet’s where Luke finally got his rack of ribs and we got to see a historic place that has seen some of the most amazing music acts perform there!! I’ll let them tell you the story of its beginning but it’s something like this:
How it all began…
The legendary Pappy&Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has been delighting locals and travelers alike since 1982, with its mesquite barbeque, live music, dancing and friendly service. There is also a long history here. In 1946, Pioneertown was founded by a group of Hollywood investors with dreams of creating a living movie set — an 1870’s frontier town with facades for filming and interiors open to the public.
On the outside were stables, saloons, and jails, and on the inside, were ice cream parlors, bowling alleys, and motels. Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Russell Hayden, and the Sons of the Pioneers (for whom the town was named) were some of the original investors and personalities who helped build and invent Pioneertown. More than 50 films and several television shows were filmed in Pioneertown throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s.
In 1946, where Pappy&Harriet’s stands today, was a facade used as a “cantina” set for numerous western films well into the 1950s. In 1972, Harriet’s mother, Francis Aleba, and her husband, John, purchased the building and opened “The Cantina”, an outlaw biker burrito bar. The Cantina rollicked for 10 years, and when it closed, Francis and John made sure the building stayed in the family.
In 1982, Harriet and her husband, Claude “Pappy” Allen, opened “Pappy&Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace”. While the bikers still hung around, Pappy&Harriet’s presence created more of a family atmosphere. With family style Tex-Mex cuisine and live music featuring Pappy, Harriet and their granddaughter Kristina, P&H quickly became a local favorite with all walks of life getting along under one roof!
Pappy died in 1994 and his friends and fans flew from all over the world to be at P&H for a celebration of his life.. Victoria Williams, a good friend of Pappy and touring partner wrote the song “Happy To Have Known Pappy” off her critically acclaimed record “Loose”, that talks about that day. Harriet sold the bar to a family friend who gave it up after a few years. Enter Robyn Celia and Linda Krantz, two New Yorkers who loved P&H and wanted to see it returned to it’s glory days. The girls bought the club in 2003 and have done just that. Musicians from Robert Plant to Vampire Weekend to Leon Russell to Sean Lennon and many more have graced the P&H stage. The legendary bar has become an indie rock favorite with a vibe that can’t be matched. Pappy&Harriet’s continues the tradition of live music, great barbeque, and good times in memory of Pappy and all those who came before him.
I’m so glad to not have missed this place because it was truly a site to see! I definitely recommend it as a must see if you are in the area.
Now if you want the video version of our little two day trip to Joshua Tree here it is: