All posts filed under: Travel

Summer Desert Retreat ~ Harmony Vista

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 …

Best of Fall Fun Hitlist

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl In Southern California, we don’t measure the change of seasons in terms of sun or snow. We measure it in light. Did you catch the subtle shift in sunlight this week—all that bright yellow of Summer fading into the hazy gold of Fall? If so, you may have been filled with a strange urge to stock-pile sweaters and buy everything with a pumpkin on it. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin toothpaste? Sure, throw it all in the cart! Amidst the first-week-of-Fall flurry, we here at Sirens & Scoundrels have been inundated with requests for our “Best of Fall” adventure recommendations. Lucky for you, we happen to be experts on the matter. So to get you prepped for the cozy months ahead, we present you with our “Best of Fall Fun Hitlist”…all the best of the best for getting out into the world and exploring the many gorgeous, off-the-beaten-path treasures that make Autumn in California feel so magical. So grab your list and check it twice…you won’t want to miss …

Happy Ours Ranch ~ Utah

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photography by Gina Cholick Halfway between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park lies a little secret gem tucked away amongst the rolling green fields of Glendale, UT. Winding your way off the main highway onto a sprawling expanse of ranch land, a small dirt trail slowly circles the grounds to finally reveal the sweetest home-away-from-home a cabin lover could ever dream of. Beautifully hand-built by the family who own and run the property, Happy Ours Ranch makes all your tiny cabin fantasies come true the moment you lay eyes upon it. Quaint and cozy, this wood and tin delight has enough charm to tempt you away from ever leaving the property…even with the astonishing draw of Zion and Bryce just a short car ride away. On the hunt for the perfect pied-à-terre to kick up our feet and rest our heads during our Summer Sirens Utah Roadtrip, we knew we hit the jackpot when we stumbled across Happy Ours Ranch on HomeAway.com. It was everything we could have …

Bryce Canyon ~ Utah

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photography by Gina Cholick Deep in the heart of Utah lies a surrealist dreamland sprung to life. If Salvador Dalí painted the Grand Canyon full of drippy peach candlestick mountains all melting in the desert sun while Indiana Jones hosted an archaeological dig for extraterrestrial life at the center of it all…that pretty much sums up what Bryce Canyon National Park feels like. At once awe-inspiring, mind-blowing and really pretty trippy. We took a one-day excursion out to Bryce in the middle of our Zion adventure week to take in some new scenery and hit some new trails. An easy 2-hour drive east of Zion, Bryce is definitely the wild child amongst its sleeker Utah and Arizona canyon cousins. If the Grand Canyon is Mozart, Bryce Canyon is Bowie. Nothing to see here but mind-bending intergalactic rock ‘n roll mountainsides incarnate in nature. Upon arrival, we decided to take in the lay of the land as our first endeavor. The road into Bryce is laid out in a loop where …

Zion National Park

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photography by Gina Cholick A couple years ago, I came across a photo of a giant bright peach of a mountainside towering over a meandering aqua river adorned with patches of bright green fluffy trees dozing under a hazy golden sunset. It seemed like something out of a dream. Or perhaps a distant memory from some other world where only peace, beauty and tranquility exist. A mythological fantasy planet that someone managed to come back to Earth with visual proof of. I recognized it somehow, though I had never seen it before. This intense feeling immediately rushed up from deep down inside my soul and commanded, “We must go to there!!” I could almost taste the gorgeous landscape on my tongue, hear it whispering in my ear. My eyes searched for the name of this biblical Eden incarnate until they landed on the word “Zion”. Of course…Zion. I had heard the tales many times from others who had made the epic journey before me but this was the first time …

Summer Road Trip Playlist!

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl  The dawn of May means one thing: road trip season is officially upon us! Time to make your plans and hop in the car with your nearest and dearest this summer to go explore the big wide wild open! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing highlights from our epic Sirens road trip to Utah’s stunning national parks. We took in the jaw-dropping majesty of Zion and Bryce Canyon and even stayed at the world’s sweetest tiny log-and-tin cabin, Happy Ours Ranch. We’re sharing our on-the-road playlist to set the mood and soothe your soul on all your summer adventures! Car packed, wheels down…go get those tires dirty with our “Dusty Trails” playlist! MAY 2017 ~ DUSTY TRAILS // ZION And stay tuned for this month’s adventures to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon!  Happy Trails!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels FOLLOW US ON SPOTIFY FOR EASY LISTENING FROM ANY DEVICE!~ https://play.spotify.com/user/sirensandscoundrels Be sure to subscribe to Sirens & Scoundrels for unique local, travel & food adventures delivered straight to you! Enter your email …

Wildflower Hunt ~ California Superbloom

Words by Christina Huntington  // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photograph by: Adam Grimes If you live in California, you have no doubt been inundated all spring with photos of your friends and every Instagram model under the sun frolicking in fields of orange poppies alongside the word “Superbloom!” with varying degrees of exclamation points. (PRO DECODER TIP: three “!!!” generally means a 10/10 experience.) While the neon blooms of the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve are certainly reminiscent of Dorothy’s intoxicating fields on her way to the merry old land of Oz, we honestly would not recommend this particular destination if you’re looking to get up close and personal with some California blossoms. Officially overrun with way too many visitors who were clearly never taught to “leave no trace”, you have a pretty fat chance of being able to peacefully commune with the beauty of nature at this ever-more-popular spot. But the good news is that due to our record rainfall this past winter, ALL of California is experiencing a Superbloom right now. Just walk outside …

Desert X ~ Coachella Valley

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photography by Megan MacEachern & Christina Huntington When was the last time you participated in a good old-fashioned treasure hunt? Aside from playing pirates as kids, the answer is probably “never”. Well lucky for you, your day has finally come! Combining three of our absolute favorite things in life—a treasure hunt, art and the wide-open spaces of the California desert—Desert X is the local adventurer’s dream come true! With some of our leading contemporary artists erecting 15 art installations spread throughout the Coachella Valley, discovered only by using coordinates on a map, “X” literally marks the spot in this limited-run exhibition. Grab a map and your most adventurous friends then keep your eyes peeled as you drive across Palm Desert and Palm Springs discovering each new artistic treasure! You can pick up a map, the official program containing all of the artists’ information and memorabilia from the Desert X Hub at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club Palm Springs. Maps can also be accessed on the Desert X website. With …

Travel Tales ~ Yosemite

Words & Photography by Alex M. Rice  //  Interview by Christina Huntington Known primarily as a popular summer camping destination, we’ve always been huge fans of Yosemite in winter. So when we heard that one of our favorite recent LA transplants, designer and photographer Alex Rice, was heading to our beloved National Park for a solo winter adventure, we convinced her to let us tag along…by sharing her travel tales with us! We love that Alex was inspired by our same mission to get out and make your life an adventure! So come along for the ride on our first Travel Tales ~ YOSEMITE!  HAPPY ADVENTURING!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels Instead of wearing a sparkly, uncomfortable party dress and hitting the city streets of LA for the New Year, I decided to immerse myself in nature. Although I was looking forward to the new year, 2016 had some incredible memories—living with my best friend in Washington D.C., working with talented artists and traveling with my mother to Montana. But after moving from Burke, VA (a place that was familiar …

Jackalope ~ Joshua Desert Retreats

As the year draws to a close, the air gets a little crisper and the longing for snowy log cabins starts to set in, something else begins to call our names over here at Sirens & Scoundrels…the desert. It might not seem like the obvious choice for a winter getaway but there is something about the deep stillness of our dusty wide-open spaces that seems to push our inner “reset” buttons whenever we answer that call. The desert brings the perfect opportunity to slow down, unplug and reconnect to some delicious peace that feels heaven-sent for this time of year when we all naturally start to turn inward. So in pursuit of some “quiet nights of quiet stars”, we set out for our beloved Joshua Tree. Most Californians know Palm Springs as the haven for any mid-century enthusiast. But here on the outskirts away from it all, we uncovered a secret vintage gem to make all your Mad-Men-in-the-Desert dreams come true! Allow us to introduce you to Jackalope, one of thirteen charming desert compounds owned …

Sierra Fall Colors ~ June Lake Loop, CA

October in Southern California. That exciting time of year when pumpkin patch corn mazes start popping up around town, the smell of autumn candles wafts through the air, thoughts of warm apple pies baking in the oven fill your mind and the internet explodes with #pumpkinspice mania. A deep primal need to pull on a sweater, snuggle by a fire and see trees bursting with fall colors begins to take over. Until you realize it’s 90° outside and we’re still stuck between our two seasons of green and greener, warm and insanely hot. Growing up in LA, we only got to experience “real fall” by hopping on a plane to visit our family on the East Coast once in a while. New England always seemed to hold the title for Best Fall Colors in the country. Clearly the Charles Wysocki puzzles I diligently put together fireside on my sunny-and-clear 75° holidays would back that up. I would place each little puzzle piece of bright orange, red and yellow trees next to mini Americana homes with …

Ghost Town ~ Bodie State Historic Park, CA

A couple years ago, I started seeing photos pop up around Instagram that literally haunted me. Images of antique rooms covered in thick layers of dust, wrought iron beds with beautifully decomposing mattresses and dainty wallpaper peeling away in long layers, hats left dangling from chairs awaiting owners who will never return. Perfectly preserved decay, simultaneously frozen in time and ravaged by it. It seemed like a strange fever dream, no way it could exist in reality. Surely these were just film sets, all Hollywood smoke and mirrors built for some weird music video shoot. But as I researched, I discovered that not only was it 100% real, it was right here in our own backyard. Never able to resist a good ghost story, the Sirens packed into the Prius and headed out to investigate the truth behind one of the largest gold rush ghost towns in California and the U.S.…Bodie State Historic Park. Located off the 395 about an hour northeast of Mammoth, things start to feel strange early on as the paved road …

The Grand Canyon ~ Arizona

If you were a kid growing up on the West Coast, pretty much everyone has a story about being packed up into the car between siblings, Mom and Dad popping in a John Denver cassette tape on repeat and making the long desert drive out to see the Grand Canyon, where you took a bunch of photos that got tucked away in an album, never to be seen again. As a native Angeleno, I somehow made it into my third decade without ever seeing our great Canyon—a strange and shocking fact to most people, including myself. I was equally shocked when last year out of nowhere, I suddenly had a burning urge to see it. It just hit deep in my soul one day, like a command. As a meditation teacher, I’ve learned to listen to these Soul Calls, even if they don’t seem to make sense. So with one adventurous friend in tow, I headed out to see what this whole Grand Canyon thing was all about—knowing it’d probably be a very different experience seeing …

My Tokyo Denim Tour ~ Tokyo, Japan

Words & Photography by James R. Petix   I’ve always had a magical love for Japan. Ever since I was a kid, all my favorite things seemed to come from there—Transformers, Godzilla, Nintendo. I was lucky enough to take two years of Japanese in high school when they first offered it. I was even president of the Japanese Club! My first trip was to visit a friend there in 1998. I went back two years later to film my senior film thesis—a 22 minute short about the underground indie rock scene called Tokyo Below. I went again to see the Sakura cherry blossoms bloom in 2012. This Spring, I returned for the Sakura but I had something else I wanted to explore while I was there…Japanese Denim. You may have heard before that Japanese go nuts for American blue jeans. This is kinda true and there are amazingly curated vintage stores all over Tokyo that do sell old Levi’s. But the real story is that, like a lot of other borrowed culture, the Japanese have …

Joshua Tree Escape ~ Godwin Ranch

Last week, we spotlighted our trip out to Pioneertown to see Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires perform live at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace—two of our favorite things colliding in one magical place! There is something about Joshua Tree that just inevitably brings about these kinds of other-worldly experiences—and not in the Burning Man kind of way. We’re talking real-deal straight-to-your-core magic that comes from just being still with the people you love and hearing your own soul speak to you of all its dreams and longings. One thing is guaranteed: when you make that drive out to the desert…you always get your Question answered. Even if you didn’t know you have one. After experiencing The Screaming Eagle of Soul in all his soul-shakedown love-revolution glory, we packed it in for a weekend friend retreat in Joshua Tree. Whenever we head out to the desert, we love to stay with Joshua Desert Retreats. Their thirteen quaint and charming desert properties range in occupancy from 2-14 guests and are surprisingly very affordable. We love that they …

Pappy & Harriet’s presents Charles Bradley ~ Pioneertown, CA

If you’re looking for the hands-down coolest adult playground this side of the Sierra Nevadas, then today’s your lucky day. There are some places on this Earth that are so special, they literally warm your whole heart just thinking about them. There are some people you encounter who are such gorgeous souls, they practically bring tears to your eyes just talking about them. Recently, we were lucky enough to experience both of these things together over one incredible weekend…and our hearts almost exploded with joy. So gather in real close now, because we’re about to let you in on some of the absolute nearest and dearest of all our local hidden gems. Just promise to keep it between us, okay? Tucked just beyond the main highway in Yucca Valley on the way out to Joshua Tree, Pioneertown is everything your adventure-seeking heart could desire…and more. Winding through the rocky mountain pillars on Pioneertown Road feels a lot like you’ve hitched a ride onto Big Thunder Mountain, suddenly finding yourself on “the wildest ride in the …

Eastern Sierras, CA

When we met up with Daniel Mansfield of The Adventure Project for our San Bernardino National Forest mountain hike last month, we arrived with one burning question in mind. Our common mission is to get people out and exploring all the amazingness the West has to offer. But Daniel’s mission is, more specifically, to get people out into the mountains. So the one thing we needed to know was…if he could choose just one place in all of California to take someone to experience the Best of the West, where would it be? Without missing a beat, his answer: The Eastern Sierras. We were a bit surprised by this, having never heard particularly much about them ourselves. Everyone knows and loves the Sequoias, Yosemite, Mammoth, Big Bear—all our resident beauties. But “Eastern Sierras” wasn’t readily rolling off the tongues of our hike-loving friends. We had to know: what was it about THESE mountains that made them stand out so far above the rest? There was only one way to answer that question. Road trip. Three weeks later, …

The Adventure Project

The forecast called for rain. Not just a chance of sprinkles here and there…full-on El Niño rain blasting with possible freezing temps and snow. After a winter of nothing but broken promises, it seemed our elusive stormy friend was finally arriving to unleash its downpour fury on Southern California. When iPhone declares 100% chance of showers every hour, you know it must be true. In LA, people cancel dinner plans just ten minutes away because they’d rather not “deal with the rain.” But now we were asking our friends to drive two hours outside the city in possible El Niño storms to meet a guy we’d never met and go to an undisclosed location to have an unknown experience—only knowing he was “taking us to the mountains.” I’m pretty sure these are all the things our parents warned us never to do. But, hey, we get to make our own rules now. And after all, we said we wanted an Adventure… We meet at a gas station at the base of the mountains on the way …

Poppy Hunt ~ Lancaster, CA

Every spring in California, the magic moment happens. We’d heard the legend for years. Fields of neon orange flowers suddenly exploding into full Technicolor glory in every direction as far as the eye can see. Mountains, hills and every surface ablaze with fiery petals. Enough California poppies to make Dorothy forget about heading to Oz. We knew this generally happens in springtime, though we had never experienced it ourselves. With spotty reports from the park service, but a few promising Instagram updates from friends, we decided to set off on our very own poppy hunt to witness Mama Nature’s majestic springtime pageant. We packed a picnic and off we went…visions of poppy fields dancing in our heads. The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster was our destination, about an hour and half up off the 5 Fwy N. We threw on some good tunes, passed the wild Martian mountains of Vasquez Rocks Park and enjoyed the wind in our hair, the sun on our skin and that thrill of freedom and adventure that always comes …

California’s French Riviera ~ Sausalito & Marin, CA

One of the greatest joys of living in California is that you can hop in your car at a moment’s notice and create the instant epic road trip of your dreams. Snow, surf, forest, mountains, desert—whatever your heart desires, it’s right here for the taking. And if you’re like us and dream of wearing stripes while sipping rosé by the waterfront in Nice, then it’s time to head up to Northern California for a taste of the French Riviera in our own backyard! We feel the call of Northern California quite often. Big fans of a road trip, we answer that call by piling our gang into our (eco-friendly) cars and making the drive up the coast. It’s the perfect time to get in some 80’s-power-ballad sing-alongs, have some deep and meaningfuls, explore sleepy unknown towns and their many dried fruit & nut options, and of course—catch up on Serial and backlogged This American Life episodes. On our last trip up, even though we were seeing Hall & Oates play The Greek in Berkeley, we …

Mountain Escape ~ Idyllwild, CA

After many years of patiently waiting, winter has finally decided to grace us with her presence in Southern California. The recent rainstorms have brought fresh snow throughout our local mountain ranges…just in time for everyone to go back to work. For those of you suffering from Mountain Fever and looking for a quick and easy weekend getaway, we’ve got just the thing for you. But here’s the catch: you have to promise to keep this between us, okay? Purposely kept extremely hush-hush within the mountaining crowd, Idyllwild is a quaint and charming artists’ colony located just two hours east of LA in the San Jacinto Mountains above Palm Springs. It’s such a hidden gem that we debated even writing about it. But since we are sworn to provide you with the inside scoop on all things off-the-beaten-path-awesome in California, our sense of duty won out in the end. So without further ado, may we present: Idyllwild, the place to make all your mountain dreams come true. The first thing you should know is Idyllwild is …

Stargazing ~ Joshua Tree, CA

Looking for a fun, easy, affordable excursion to entertain your out-of-town visitors this Holiday season? Jump in the car and head out to Joshua Tree for a night of midwinter stargazing! Less than two hours away, Joshua Tree is one of our favorite places to get away from it all and get in touch with that deep desert stillness that always stirs the soul. In these winter months, the best way to camp out is in a little desert hacienda—so you can be sure to stay toasty and warm when it comes time for sleeping. Joshua Desert Retreats has become our go-to purveyor of desert retreat houses. With twelve adorable, well-appointed and very affordable rental properties ranging in occupancy from 2 to 14 people, they have every kind of getaway home to fit your needs. All houses come with fully stocked kitchens, so you never have to leave the property unless you want to. So cooking and sharing meals together becomes a part of the fun. Most houses also include an outdoor fireplace, pool and …

Apple Picking Season ~ Oak Glen, CA

Every Fall I go apple picking. And each time I come back with my bags of apples and Mile-High Apple Pie in tow, everyone asks, “WAIT!—You can go apple picking in LA?” YES. Yes you can. Meet Oak Glen, CA. Nestled up in the mountains about an hour & a half east of Los Angeles, the folks in Oak Glen have been growing apples since 1867. If you imagine Autumn-in-Vermont Pioneer Village meets 1950’s Frozen-in-Time Americana, you’ve got Oak Glen. It’s a magic combo that makes you feel like you’ve just stepped inside a Charles Wysocki puzzle. Located a mile up the mountain, this 5-mile loop of sweet old-fashioned apple orchards actually experiences all four seasons beyond just “warm and warmer”. Official apple picking season runs September to November, when the trees explode with ripe juicy apples of every flavor and the surrounding landscape bursts into an impressive show of bright yellows, reds and oranges. The best time for apple picking is the start of the season. But if you wait until later, there is …

Integratron ~ Landers, CA

Do you feel like your life is really missing an alien-designed-cell-regenerating-perfect-acoustic-chamber-and-possible-time-machine-in-the-middle-of-the-desert? If so, we’ve got you covered. The Integratron—that afore-mentioned chamber—is kinda unlike any other experience you’ll have on Planet Earth. People throw around words like “magical” and “mystical”. We’d say it’s insanely cool and relaxing. A huge white dome in an empty stretch of desert in Landers, CA just outside of Joshua Tree, you could easily believe this thing is ready for lift-off at any moment. The folklore is definitely other-worldly. It goes something like this: in 1953, George Van Tassel supposedly got instructions from an alien race from Venus declaring that humans were the most annoying species in the galaxy because we spend our entire lives being ignorant and destructive and by the time we finally learn what life is really all about, we die. What a waste! Their plan was to help us humans live longer, so we could actually do some good in the world and evolve human consciousness beyond being the bratty teenagers of the galaxy. Tassel’s idea was to …