Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | November 11, 2011

The 29 Palms Inn

It’s so interesting how some of the most unlikely places just reach out and grab you unexpectedly when you are traveling.

Twentynine Palms, California, is one of those places for me.

When Keith and I were planning our recent whirlwind three-day trip to Kelso Dunes and back, I consulted with one of my daughters who is familiar with the area, regarding lodging options near the dunes, as it is fairly remote.

She recommended either Hotel Nipton, a quaint bed and breakfast located north of Kelso Dunes, or the 29 Palms Inn, an historic Inn and restaurant situated on a natural oasis at Joshua Tree National Park, in the desert town of Twentynine Palms.

It was a tough choice, but we ended up booking the “Bottle Room” at the 29 Palms Inn for two nights, as the surrounding area offered more amenities.

Believe me, the Inn was a welcome sight after an 11-hour drive from Truth or Consequences to California!

Our room was delightful. Aptly named for the multi-colored glass bottles laid into the wall separating the main room from the bath, and the array of paintings of bottles displayed on the walls.

After settling in, we walked over to the restaurant for a light supper.

We were greeted at the door by a host and hostess, and ushered to a cozy table. A young man playing Native American flute  provided a relaxing backdrop for our meal.

Keith ordered a beer and Green Chile Cheeseburger. I opted for a glass of Pinot Grigio and a Spinach Salad, as I was in the mood for something healthy after consuming “road food” all day.

The restaurant is known for serving fresh food from its own garden ~ healthy and tasty fare. Our meals stood up to the test.

Our server delivered a basket of warm breads baked on-site, to munch as our order was prepared.

My salad was to-die-for! It seems that it’s always the small details that make a big difference when it comes to food, and what impressed me the most about this salad, other than the fresh ingredients, was that there was exactly the right amount of the tomato, candied pecans, egg, mushrooms, bacon and blue cheese that accompanied the fresh spinach and delicate Oasis dressing, to last through the entire salad, and that is important to me 🙂

After an excellent meal, we headed back to the Bottle Room for a good night’s sleep before our trek to Kelso Dunes, which is documented in a previous post, “Ashes to Ashes ~ Dust to Dunes”.

On Monday morning, we awoke well-rested, and walked over to the restaurant for their complimentary breakfast spread of homemade sweetbreads, porridge, hard boiled eggs, toast, juice and fruit, accompanied by endless pots of coffee, and herbal teas.

We thoroughly enjoyed the porridge – a combination of oatmeal and barley (great texture combo) – as we sat and listened in while a group of young folks from Portugal and Britain were discussing the details of an upcoming film.

The Inn has the reputation of being a gathering place for film-makers, artists, writers and actors who have made an escape from the city.

The grounds are beautiful, and after breakfast, we took a short stroll over to the “Oasis of Mara”, the gorgeous (and stereotypical) desert oasis surrounded by tall palm trees, on the grounds at the Inn.

This oasis was instrumental in the development of the area, as it has provided water for weary travelers and settlers since long before the first recorded exploration of the area in 1855.

It stands today, as serene and beautiful as it ever was…

The 29 Palms Inn was developed as lodging in the early to mid 1920’s. At that time it was called the Gold Park Hotel, although it was simply a small group of cabins.

Today, the Inn is a compound of adobe bungalows and historic cabins scattered throughout the grounds, with plenty of room to sit and relax, to walk, or muse on the surrounding mountains and desert, and I understand why this has been a favorite rest stop for weary travelers through the years.

There is much more to tell about the desert oasis of Twentynine Palms, but it will be delivered in another day’s post.

Right now it is time to pick up the guitars and practice for our next show at Groovy Gritz in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, one week from tomorrow – November 19th – at 7 p.m……”Be there or be square!”

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