Field Notes: Joshua Tree, California

12/11/2015 § Leave a comment

Quite Continental: Joshua Tree

Currently, New York is turning to fall, complete with fiery foliage, dipping temperatures and rain showers.  If I’m completely honest, it’s my third favorite season here — firmly ranked only slightly above winter (and spring only gets the slightest of advantages because it means summer is next).  You can definitely blame my formative years, spent in the terminal sunshine of Los Angeles.  So while I am coping with this seasonal shift, my mind has been traveling back in time to a trip I recently took to the High Desert of California, and Joshua Tree in particular.

Less than a three hour drive from LA, Joshua Tree and its Low Desert sibling, Palm Springs, have become something of a destination with the popularity of concerts like Coachella and interest in what I’m going to loosely call as “desert vibes.”  While Palm Springs has always been the more built up of the two destinations, and is now home to some really great resorts, I’d recommend passing on all that for a quieter experience a bit to the north.

I wanted heat, quiet, stars and colors.  I got all that AND dinosaurs.  AND a ghost town.  Who could ask for more?

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You’re going to need sustenance.

Fun fact: I’ve never actually had an In-N-Out burger.  What you see above is my grilled cheese on the right.  I suppose I’m some sort of bad Californian, but I’ll definitely still defend it against all challengers to the “best burger in the universe” crown.

Quite Continental: Joshua Tree

This is the “cracked iPhone screen” filter.
Kinda like those glamour shots at the mall, no?

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Recognize these two?  No?  Are you sure?
(Skip to 4:50…or watch the whole thing like I just did. Again. TEQUILA!)

The Cabazon Dinosaurs are a famous roadside attraction on your way into the desert on Interstate 10, and worth a brief stop.  Dinny, the Brontosaurus, was built over a period of eleven years, beginning in 1964; and Mr. Rex followed in 1981.  Funnily enough, since the passing of the original owner and sculptor Claude K. Bell, the property has fallen into the hands of a bunch of creationist supporters, so inside Dinny — a larger-than-life dinosaur containing original Bell frescoes of the Cro-Magnon Man  — you can find a museum and gift shop dedicated to the idea that dinosaurs appeared the same day Adam and Eve did.  Hilars.

Sidenote: I was going to link you to the dinosaurs’ site until I noticed the current feature article is on Ben Carson, the “The Pediatric Neurosurgeon with Gifted Hands.”  So, yeah.  No.  I’d still recommend checking them out for kitsch value, though!  Just avoid the nonsense museum and take pictures sitting on the huge dino feet.

Cabazon Dinosaurs
50800 Seminole Drive
(immediately north of Interstate 10)
Cabazon, CA 92230

Quite Continental: Joshua Tree

Your best bet for lodgings in Joshua Tree is Airbnb.  I found this darling cabin for a song.  With cozy spaces to relax and a remarkable outdoor soaking tub, it’s heaven on deserty-earth.

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Soaking. Tub.

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Ok, so you’re all settled in to your cozy desert home.  What next?

Go to the Joshua Tree Saloon for beers, burgers and live music.

Take a sound bath at the Integratron in nearby Landers.

Go to Pioneertown in Yucca Valley, an Old West set that was created in the 1940s as a place for actors and crew to live while filming television shows like The Cisco Kid.  It’s still somewhat lived in and super weird – a ghost town with living ghosts.  While you’re there, hit up Pappy + Harriet’s for…okay, also for beers, burgers and live music, but the live music here is a ticketed sort of thing.

Hike, camp or drive through Joshua Tree National Park, a unique ecosystem where the Mojave and the Colorado deserts meet.  It looks a little like space to me…like if Dr. Seuss designed space.

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On the way home, bask in the chill desert vibes and listen to a lot of Fleetwood Mac.

At least, that’s what I did.

Tell me, did I miss anything??

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Postcards from Los Angeles

04/09/2012 § 1 Comment

Wanted to share a few of my Los Angeles moments before I head back to NYC,
as filtered through Instagram (quitecontinental).

Summer in Southern California

21/08/2012 § 1 Comment

For a perfect summer in Southern California, you’ll need golden light, a ton of palm trees, broad white beaches, a polka dot bikini, a beach shanty, some zinc oxide and a group of your closest surfing friends.  Add a dash of PCH, a little Malibu rum, some ice and blend it all on high.  Serve in a tiki mug from Trader Vic’s.

For the second half of August, I’ve decided to turn my sights back to the coast I know best — the west.  While I may currently live on the east coast, and have quite an admiration for all things Northeast, summer will always mean very specific things to this California girl.  These photos taken along the So Cal coastline, from Malibu to San Onofre State Beach in Oceanside, were just the ticket.

See also:
Summer on the Cape
Summer on Long Island

Related:
Gidget in Malibu

Taken by Allan Grant in 1961 for Life Magazine, via the Life Archives.

Real Property Lust: West Hollywood home by Schuyler Samperton

16/07/2012 § 1 Comment

Quite taken by this West Hollywood home by California interior designer Schuyler Samperton.  The eclectic mix of the old with the new, the feminine and the masculine, the west with the east, strikes a stately balance that seems arty, intelligent and worldly.  Some of my favorite bits include the inlaid box above, and the zebra skin rug and bamboo bookshelf below — lovely touches, indeed.  And that library!

For more of Ms. Samperton’s portfolio, visit her site and her blog.

All images via Schuyler Samperton Interior Design.

Desired Destination: Yosemite National Park

27/01/2012 § 3 Comments

Too amazing not to share.  Definitely watch this full screen!
Via Project Yosemite.

Would you believe I was born and raised in California and have yet to visit Yosemite National Park?  After viewing this, our very first national park (technically, as it was created in 1864, ahead of Yellowstone in 1872) has made a massive jump on my shortlist of Desired Destinations.

Have you been?  Should I camp?*

*Please note that I have never once in my life been camping.**
**My Mother would beg to differ on this point (please see below).   I shall respond by saying that spending a weekend in a massive RV with a microwave and cable television is not really camping.

Real Property Lust: Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…

26/10/2011 § Leave a comment

There were plenty of things to love about this Spanish-style California ranch home belonging to supermodel Tatjana Patitz: the endless light, the double high living room ceiling (Patitz actually knocked out a floor to make way for it), dark wood and white walls, gleaming concrete floors, the horse stables that are on the two acres of land that surround the house, the ocean views, the jumble of mismatched furnishings…

What sealed the deal was the bedroom.

This is a place to disappear for hours.  For days.
In. Love.

All images via House to Home.

Field Notes: Big Sur. Big Paradise.

18/10/2011 § 10 Comments

Big Sur was pristine, remote and breathtakingly beautiful.
If you haven’t yet made the trip along PCH, move it to the top of your list.
Immediately...

Redwood morning.

Big Sur is the California that men dreamed of years ago, this is the Pacific that Balboa looked at from the Peak of Darien, this is the face of the earth as the Creator intended it to look.
Henry Miller

The blue sky adds “Dont call me eternity, call me God if you like, all of you talkers are in paradise: the leaf is paradise, the tree stump is paradise, the paper bag is paradise, the man is paradise, the fog is paradise”
Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

Breakfast at Big Sur Bakery.

Partington Cove.

The sea swirls up but seems subdued — It’s not like being alone down in the vast hell writing the sounds of the sea.
Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

Pacific fury flashing on rocks that rise like gloomy sea shroud towers out of the cove, the bingbang cove with its seas booming inside caves and slapping out, the cities of seaweed floating up and down you can even see their dark leer in the phosphorescent seabeach nightlight
Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Bixby Bridge, built in 1932.

A few Allagash Whites at Post Ranch Inn.

Sleep at Deetjens, the original Big Sur roadhouse.  Built in the 1930s.

Reading List || LIFE Magazine July 6, 1959: Big Sur, California Story

18/10/2011 § Leave a comment

Henry Miller, second from left, in Big Sur in 1959.

I was pleased to discover that in 1959, LIFE Magazine sent J. R. Eyerman to capture a portrait of the creative colony that called Big Sur home at the time.  Shooting in color, Eyerman returned with sun-bleached moments of artists, yogis, writers, families and local businessmen living in the picturesque California mountainside town.  And after spending a few days there last week, I am happy to confirm that Big Sur definitely retains some of this same arty, offbeat and bohemian personality.

To read this lovely article, head here.

All images via the LIFE Archive.

Fotos: PCH ~ Los Angeles to Big Sur

14/10/2011 § Leave a comment

Santa Monica palms.

As I mentioned, I’ve been travelling this week along the California coast on the Pacific Coast Highway.  I’ve got a million pictures — is this boring? are these like boring vacation slides your great uncle made you look at? — and here are some of my favorite moments from the drive north from Los Angeles to Big Sur.

La Super-Rica Taqueria
622 N Milpas St
Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Amazing Mexican food.
If you are in Santa Barbara, you must make a point to stop at La Super-Rica.

Have we discussed my horchata addiction?  It’s ridiculous.

Old Mission Santa Barbara
2201 Laguna St
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

The Santa Barbara Mission was the tenth of the California Missions to be founded by the Spanish Franciscans. It was established on the Feast of St. Barbara, December 4, 1786.

Morro Bay.

Elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas rookery.

Sunset near Big Sur.

Afield: California

10/10/2011 § 2 Comments

I hadn’t mentioned on here that I would be in California this week because I was hoping to surprise my Dad and he happens to read this thing.  I’m happy to report that he was completely surprised.  I’m very excited that this week will find me in Los Angeles, Big Sur, San Francisco, and a few additional stops along the way.  I’ll be visiting new places, old favorites and meeting friends old and new, so things will be a little quieter around here.

In the meantime, you can find me:
In realtime on Twitter
Tumblr || Svpply || Pinterest
Instagram: quitecontinental

And if you have any suggestions about things I must see or do,
please do send them along!
contact@quitecontinental.net

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