Every year when summer hits the city, we start hearing the call of the desert. It might not seem like the obvious destination when the thermostat reaches 90° but for us here at Sirens & Scoundrels, summer and the deep desert have become our favorite pairing for a soul-filling and soul-fueling retreat with friends. We pack up all the fresh organic summer fruit we can find, plenty of iced beverages, pool floaties and board games and head out into the hot desert days to relax and unplug at our most beloved California summering spot—Joshua Tree.
Our favorite source for the perfect desert hacienda is Joshua Desert Retreats. With nine properties spread across the east desert, we have been slowly meandering our way through each one over the years. JDR properties are much like staying at the famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo where each room has its own unique theme and eventually you just want to try them all. The same goes for JDR, except here each entire house has its own theme. We have written about the Mad Men in the desert 1960’s vibe of Jackalope, the wood-paneled 1970’s vintage bohemian Wiki Up, the sweet 1940’s rambling ranch house Godwin and the adorably tiny New Mexico-style cabin Adobe. For our latest summer friend retreat, we stayed at Harmony Vista.
Most JDR properties have a vintage vibe that make you feel as if you have somehow traveled back in time and Harmony Vista is no exception. This property feels like stepping into an elevated desert version of the cult classic film “Dazed & Confused”–as if school’s out for summer in 1976 and the only thing to do is go visit your friend who just happens to have the best party house in town and his parents are conveniently away for the weekend. Waiting your turn at the billiards table on the leather stools looking out onto the hot tub, you can almost feel Matthew McConaughey smiling happily to himself right beside you, “Alright, alright, alriiiight…”
The sprawling Asian-décor themed Harmony Vista wraps around to a large game room area complete with a pool table, ping-pong table and indoor jacuzzi, making it the perfect spot for a large group of friends looking to unwind and rustle up some desert fun together. What better way to bond than by beating each other at your own personal Garage Games Olympics? The outdoor patio is stocked full of all the fixings–bbq, grill, outdoor fire pit and large farm table for family-style meals al fresco, where you can cool off or heat up between rounds, depending on how you’re playing.
Perhaps our favorite part of any desert trip is the opportunity for stillness and self-reflection even when traveling with a group, guaranteeing both quality friend time and quality you time. With computers left at home and cell phones silently tucked away, it feels like stepping back in time but also like time just stops completely. As if you are suddenly operating in some alternate time and space where nothing else exists but the quiet languid stillness and the desert’s warm embrace. Take some time for reflection and meditation. Read a book, write that story that’s been running through your head, allow yourself to dream up your next big creative endeavor or life adventure. After all, it’s only in stillness that you can hear the requests of your own heart and soul. So take some time to tune in and listen.
Desert sunsets are a living meditation unto themselves. Taking time to become present with the awe-inspiring beauty of Nature and her ever-evolving evening paintings in the sky quenches a thirst inside the soul that perhaps you weren’t even aware of—providing instant nourishment, grounding and healing to the deepest parts of you. Something inside reawakens, remembering: “Ah yes, THIS is who I am! THIS is what Life is meant to be…”
The hot desert days give way to deliciously warm desert nights—the perfect conditions for stargazing or UFO hunting into the wee hours of the dawn. With almost no light pollution, the infinite sea of billions of stars shines brightly in all its celestial glory. During the month of August, the annual Perseid meteor shower makes its big show in the night sky with 100+ meteors an hour. They move at lightning speed, so be sure to bring your binoculars or telescopes for best viewing. But the Perseids are also known for producing giant green fireballs that streak across the sky seemingly just overhead and can be seen clearly with the naked eye. The peak of the Perseid shower is taking place this week while Venus is at her brightest point in the sky for the year, so go see them while you can! BONUS: JDR has a 50% off promotion during weekdays for the duration of summer, so there has never been a better time to go. Grab your gang and head out for your own soul retreat to relish these final weeks of summer and reset yourself for the rest of the year ahead. Your heart, body, mind, soul and EVERYTHING will thank you for it!
Click PLAY on video below for a sneak peek at the meteor showers in Joshua Tree:
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Happy Summering!! xoxo Sirens & Scoundrels
Joshua Desert Retreats in Joshua Tree, CA. 50% off weekdays in summer. Book your stay: HERE.
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Additional Photography by Christina Huntington
Video by Christina Huntington
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