The Desert Dawg Blawg

All things California desert: Travel, politics, environment, adventure, offbeat experiences, local hotspots, insider's tips, people and commentary about life in Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley and the California desert region.

Click on the Article Header to read the whole story!

Head to Idyllwild for A Unique Mountain Arts & Culinary Getaway

Posted by Morgan Miles Craft On 5:33 PM
by Morgan Craft
One of the reasons we desert dwellers extol the virtue of living in our arid environment are the many choices we have to get away from it. Idyllwild has always fit the bill, and it’s only getting better.

With its many art galleries and the Idyllwild Arts Center (www.idyllwildarts.org), this funky mountain hamlet has been named as one of the top 100 small art towns in America. The town hosts regular art and musical events like Jazz in the Pines, numerous Art Walks and festivals, and Idyllwild's Adult Arts Center attracts adult students, drawn by its diverse offerings in contemporary arts, theatre, and creative writing.
Park in the small town square, and most of the town’s offerings are within walking distance. Idyllwild tried for decades to cash in on a Swiss Village theme, and much of the downtown architecture reflects this. And while there’s a dearth of touristy knickknacks and high-calorie temptation, a new generation of hip, enlightened businesses has taken root. The community now offers yoga, pilates, an organic market, watsu (floating) massage, spiritual and meditation retreats, and of course, thousands of acres of contemplative wilderness. (Click to read on...)

Art and artists play a big part in the uniqueness of Idyllwild. While the town boasts well over a hundred resident artists, there are about a dozen galleries that show their collective work. Painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, carving, mixed media – you name it, and there is an artist in town creating it. A good listing of galleries and artists can be found at the Art Alliance of Idyllwild website (www.artinidyllwild.com). A favorite is the work of photographer Frank Bryunbroek (www.omdphotos.com), whose portraits of rescued dogs are regal, heart-wrenching and captivating. He has his own space, the Oh My Dog Gallery, at 54425 North Circle Drive.
Two Babes in the Woods at 55750 South Circle Drive is a gallery and working art studio of an artist collective that features an array of original landscapes, wildlife and figurative paintings in oil and acrylic, and also features rare books and antiques.
For other-than-art shopping the serene Merkaba (www.merkabaonline.com), at 54245 North Circle Drive #C-3, has an amazing collection of hand-crafted organic teas and herb blends, candles, chimes and prayer flags. They’ll make a personal blend from the 59 various teas on the shelves, as well as natural, organic and kosher herbs.
Himalayan Treasures is a tiny space with amazing photography, jewelry, and trinkets of Nepal at 54200 N Circle Drive, and on the other side of the town square at Everitt's Minerals & Gallery, lapidary artists and metal smiths Larry and Janet Everitt meld together nature's gems and minerals into beautiful jewelry, and their collection of raw and polished minerals is fascinating.
Once your appetite awakens, the best place for lunch is the funky local favorite, CafĂ© Aroma (www.cafearoma.org), just half a mile up the hill from town at 54750 North Circle Drive. They host regular artists and live music, in addition to a surprisingly good menu and wine list. The wonderful, recently-opened Mountain Restaurant at 26290 Highway 243 (www.themountainrestaurant.com) is the absolute “must-go” dinner pick. With a Cordon-bleu trained chef, and locally-sourced organic, gourmet food, it’s been getting rave reviews.
If nature is your calling, the Ernie Maxwell Trail is a perfect setting for a leisurely family hike, even in the snow. The trail descends very gently from Humber Park, Idyllwild’s gateway to Mt. San Jacinto Wilderness, passing through a wonderful dense forest of pines. There are great views of both Tahquitz and Suicide rocks from the trail.
For the chanting and meditation crowd (which includes me), the Idyllwild Dharma Center is a lovely, sparse oasis in the woods just outside town. They host regular retreats, workshops and dharma talks (www.rinpoche.com/centers/kml.html). And the Yokoji Zen Mountain Center a little farther south does the same (www.zmc.org). They’re both great-energy places worth a visit.
Idyllwild has a multitude of motels, inns, B&B’s, small retreats, and vacation rentals, with many accessible online. A couple of regular favorites are Silver Pines Lodge (www.silverpineslodge.com), Lodge at Pine Cove (www.thelodgeatpinecove.com), and Quiet Creek Inn (www.quietcreekinn.com). Go on up, stay a night, and enjoy why you live in the desert.

1 Response to "Head to Idyllwild for A Unique Mountain Arts & Culinary Getaway"

  1. John Said,

    Yeah,idyllwild will be very beautiful. The travellors who visit this place will take rest in idyllwild Inn which is a very famous in that place.