A few weeks back I took advantage of a 3 day weekend to drive out to Joshua Tree National Park and explored the area around the park as well, which I have never really done prior. While I kept my adventures to Yucca Valley and Pioneertown, next time I have to stop in Twenty Nine Palms for the newly opened The Station, a truly meticulous and charming shop converted out of an old gas station along with “Big Josh,” a giant statue of a cowboy wearing a bright yellow shirt you can see from the highway. See, the Joshua Tree area is a funny mix of “rednecks” and hippies. It’s full of people who have never been to LA and creative types who have moved there from LA seeking affordable land and desert vibes. I love places like this-where there are as many crystal shops as dirty old bars and they somehow fit in together.
My first stop was the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum, an assemblage of art pieces made of materials found in and around Joshua Tree over many years when Purifoy moved from LA to live here. It’s really fun to wander around to come up with your own meanings for the esoteric giant structures.
Afterward I went to a nearby vintage store in Yucca Valley called The End, owned by Kime Buzzelli, an artist and costume designer who used to own Showpony in Echo Park, one of the first stores that propelled it into hipsterdom and similarly marks the beginning of “gypset” chic out here in the desert.
From here I went to Pioneertown, where I was sleeping for the night, which is a town started by old Hollywood icons like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers as a faux-wild West town that is fake but cute as hell just the same. It’s very up-and-coming in the sense that it’s full of chic Airbnb and HipCamp residences purchased by LA expats who are going to soon drive prices of homeownership up, though nothing near LA or even Palm Springs. I stayed at the Pioneertown Motel, a really beautiful and simple but refined place to enjoy the quiet of the desert and a short stumble from Pappy & Harriet’s, a well known restaurant/bar with frequent live entertainment. I enjoyed reading with no TV (and I had forgotten my phone charger, a secret blessing) and sitting outside on the wooden benches watching the stars in the black night sky.