It’s National Park Week!

Hello fellow travelers and campers!

Gourmet Girl on the Go here. While Denise is in the Loire Valley with jackhammer in hand, tearing down plaster from the walls of her new house, I’ve been on a two-and-a-half week road trip to Austin, Texas, and back. My sole reason for driving was to visit Marfa, Texas (I’ll cover this highlight in detail in a future blog post). In the meantime, I covered a lot of territory. I started out in L.A. and drove to Phoenix, then on to Las Cruces, New Mexico, before heading into Texas Hill Country (Fort Davis and Fredericksburg) and finally to Austin where I participated as an expert in IBPA’s Publishing University.

The return trip took me basically on the same route, only this time, instead of L.A., I stayed in 29 Palms outside of Joshua Tree National Park. National Park Week started on Saturday, April 21st and will end this coming Sunday the 29th. This year’s theme is “Park Stars,” celebrating everything from starry skies to superstar volunteers, park features, and resources. I had never been to Joshua Tree, and although I didn’t camp in the park this time around, I saw amazing stars from my cozy cottage at the 29 Palms Inn.

It was high season for Joshua Tree and the drive between the West and North Entrances of the Park was phenomenal. There were the boulder fields, the Cholla Cactus Garden and Ocotillo Patch, and beautiful vistas.

I will definitely be returning to Joshua Tree, an area slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island, in the fall or next spring. I imagine summer would be brutal! As the folkloric story goes, the name Joshua tree was given by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The tree’s unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer. If you search the Internet, you’ll find quite a bit of debate about this!

Back to the 29 Palms Inn, which has its own long history. You can read about it here. Fascinating! Suffice to say, it’s an eclectic inn that has a great restaurant and its own garden.

There’s a swimming pool, art workshop, hammocks strung up in trees, and plenty more to explore on their 70-acre property looking up toward Joshua Tree National Park.

Do you have a favorite National Park? Care to tell us about it? Leave a comment at We’d love to hear from you!

Gail, Denise and Lindsey


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