As I sit across Greg Davis, in his landscaping office in Los Angeles, his calm, gracious air alone puts me at such ease. How appropriate that Greg is the creator and designer of Joshua Desert Retreats. It comprises the 12 vacation homes in the Joshua Tree region that provide a unique getaway for those seeking respite from hectic city life within the absolute stillness of the Mojave Desert.
Each home has its unique style and décor. Each home provides a different wealth of experiences. Yet they all offer a profound opportunity to unwind, to get in touch with oneself once again and to resonate with the quiet elegance of nature.
As Greg surmises quite simply “ It’s amazing. You have the beautiful desert and the Joshua Tree mountains, the sun rises off the horizon and sets on the horizon. It’s definitely not city life. "
He shares his tale on how it all began, with beginnings that were quite unassuming.
Several years ago, a friend who was an artist was searching for a home in Joshua Tree. They travelled together to the desert in search of this home and found the ideal property at a very lucrative price. His friend had found the property of her dreams but was soon to confess that she was unable to afford it. And so Greg generously offered to step in as a financial partner, an offer that allowed her to successfully buy the home she so desired. The home was purchased and she moved into it quite happily. But that was not the end of this tale. During this time, Greg was a frequent visitor and the house across the street from hers began to draw his attention.
His next move ? He chose to buy the property across the street as well !
Two years flew by as he worked on this new property, thoroughly rebuilding and then redesigning it. With his gift and flair for interior design, he began to create a gorgeous, desert getaway that was to become his new home. Years passed and with time, his artist friend came to a decision to move out of the desert and sell her house. This would be a positive change for Greg as by this time, he was so enjoying his experiences in the quiet of desert that he chose to buy her home out completely. In his quest for peace and solitude, he chose to create the ideal environment where he could be completely free of neighbours.
His plan began to form. He would package the home as a vacation rental and have it rented out occasionally. It all appeared to happen seamlessly and he soon whipped together a website marketing his property. Shortly after, his first guest came to stay for the weekend. The stay was such a success and his guest enjoyed his experience so much, that he ended up staying for 3 years ! He was so amazed by the peace of the desert and all that it offered, that he made the prophetic statement , ‘ You know you ought to make a business out of this.’
Synchronistically, he began to receive calls from another guest who wanted a unique desert stay. However with his vacation property occupied, all Greg could offer was his own home! And so he moved out of his house that now became a second vacation rental property.
Lo and behold, Joshua Desert Retreats began to come to life.
Greg weaved his gift for both business and design, building a line of homes that would bring joy to many a visitor. With the bank’s assistance, he began buying property after property, remaking each one with a distinct character of it’s own. He titled each one with a significant name that matched it's ambience and began offering them as vacation homes for those desiring to be recharged and healed in the arms of Nature.
The ADOBE is for the creatively inclined and writers, artists, designers all come to get their creative juices flowing. The JACKALOPE with its glamorous feel is ideal for those who are not quite prepared for the austerity of desert life and need the comforts of home. Many a photoshoot have taken place here. Then there is GODWIN, a large property with a separate small, guesthome outside for the in laws, that frequently draws families with children.
The list goes on.
The homes are not only beautiful to live in with their charming rustic styles, they truly do offer an opportunity to rejuvenate. Each house is run on well water that is rich with minerals and free of the chemicals found in city water. Bathe in warm well water, and one’s skin becomes smooth and nourished. Making each home a literal spa.
Deeply encouraged by my conversation with Greg Davis, I chose to stay at the ADOBE. I wanted to experience all the creativity and inspiration that it had to offer! Lately, I had felt drawn to Joshua Tree. I felt a deep urge to escape from the city and to venture far enough and deep enough into the loving arms of Nature. I was in the midst of writing a book and I sought the quiet of the desert to call forth greater inspiration.
The next few days were so hectic, I buzzed around town , completing my errands in time for my sacred time in Joshua Tree. It was in the wee hours of the morning when we finally left Los Angeles and found myself on the road to Joshua Tree ! Thankfully, the late night offered streets that were fairly empty. That bode well as I had a long drive ahead of me. Two hours later, I had driven across stunning terrain alongst roads that seemed endless. Finally I saw the sign I had been waiting for! 29 Palms. I was getting close !
Now Joshua Desert Retreats are located deep in the heart of Joshua Tree in a region that has very few homes and buildings in general. It takes 30 mins from each home to even find a local store of any form. So prepare yourself for a lifestyle that may feel quite foreign at first. It takes another hour to enter a region that is filled with all the amenities you may need. So if you’re serious about a quiet getaway that’s away from it all and you’re prepared for the drive it takes to get there , then this is the place to be.
In the Heart of the Desert.
An hour past 29 palms and we had finally arrived at the ADOBE. Deep in the dark velvet cloak of the night I spied the wooden gate that opened to a cobbled path. The moon was out the stars came out to greet me and there was the beautiful desert home we would be staying in.
I had seen the pictures of the property on Joshua Desert Retreat's website but nothing quite compared to being there in person. This was a completely different experience ... I felt like I had travelled back in time to a place untouched, unseen by the prying eyes of the world. This would be my sanctuary, my sacred temple for the next few days and I knew that the inspiration here would flow generously.
A bottle of Cactus wine with wine glasses greeted us as we entered the ADOBE . It was delicious ! We were absolutely charmed by the rustic interiors before me. The wooden interior and Santa Fe style décor that made the home deliciously charming and inviting The fireplace and it’s unlimited supply of firewood was a plus in the cold, winter temperature. Browns, reds, oranges and beige were the rich desert shades that splashed throughout the home.
I found that various touches in the room such as the old, iron chandelier that hung above, seemed to be filled with character and a story of its own. The cold chill of the night pervaded and we snuggled into bed to get warm. And so began our first night in the desert.
I began to journal my days in the desert ...
The altitude here is around 3300 in elevation, the nights are cold but the days are mild and sometimes even sunny.The desert is so gorgeous ... Yellows, oranges, hazel browns and pale blue skies are all I see …
I am falling in love with the calm of the desert ... I feel like I live in a protected sanctuary with candles lit all around us ...
Our third night was surreal. After a delicious meal, we ran out into desert staring at the beauty of the night sky. It was mind-blowing ! There really is nothing quite as fulfilling as voluptuous dose of Nature :)
I feel the deep sense of peace that I have been yearning for has finally been fulfilled.
The ability to look out out of window and see NOTHING. No neighbors , no buildings … there is absolutely no one out here except the faint view of two other small houses from a distance, that sit in their own isolated plot of land.
That is so rare … and how many people actually live like this ? Nesting in the lap of quiet nature .
The view that I see is filled with sand and cacti and acres and acres of desert topography. The mountains are in plain sight, they offer their rock solid presence. Offering a sense of protection that I have never felt in the city of Los Angeles.
It was a 3 hr drive out here, and what a change of worlds !
I've experienced the ability to truly focus and get things accomplished FAST. Everything is so clear here, I have no distractions, no influences. It's been profound in terms of what I have been able to accomplish alone. I also find that I'm so much more creative here … maybe my soul needed to be at peace before it could dance in inspiration.
On our 4th day, we saw a full, double rainbow. It took over most of the sky. That was a sight, I have never witnessed before and we received it as a good omen.
Then there is the fact that there is a well on the property ! Bathing in hot well water has also had a profound effect on my skin. When exposed to water with temperatures of 107 degrees and up, the cell walls in the body open up and the minerals in the water are then able to travel into and feed the cell. My skin feels 'plumper' and so much healthier.
A word of caution though, because of the altitudes, we have had to hydrate and moisturize often as the air can be very drying. It's all part of the desert experience :)
I'm so glad that I am out here with an opportunity to truly rest, rejuvenate and focus before the turning of the year 2012. Who knew that I would be out in the desert at this significant time ? … I know I didn't plan it … I just felt an urge 2 weeks ago to head out to the desert.
And lo and behold, here we are !
Also I must thank Joshua Desert Retreats for providing a home at the ADOBE that is so very cosy and unique! I'm so grateful. Thank you, Greg, Ron, John, Jason, Grace and everyone else who has made this such a wonderful experience!
' The word adobe /əˈdoʊbiː/ has existed for around 4,000 years, with little change in either pronunciation or meaning. The word can be traced from the Middle Egyptian (c. 2000 BC) word dj-b-t "mud [i.e., sun-dried] brick." As Middle Egyptian evolved into Late Egyptian, Demotic, and finally Coptic (c. 600 BC), dj-b-t became tobe "[mud] brick." This evolved into Arabic al-tub (الطّوب al "the" + tub "brick") "[mud] brick," which was assimilated into Old Spanish as adobe [aˈdobe], still with the meaning "mud brick." English borrowed the word from Spanish in the early 18th century.
I wrote this passage just prior to embarking on my journey to the desert.
‘ There is much that wants to be Said ... my Heart wants to Speak ... and I will let it speak on Sacred Scrolls embossed with Gold…
I will delicately prepare this manuscript, tying it taut with violet ribbons of silk.
I am journeying into the desert for 11 nights , staying in a beautiful, rustic desert home ... this retreat that we will have to ourselves has its own well, an outdoor hot tub that looks upon the Stars, an outdoor fire , swimming pool and sits on 5 untouched acres of land.
In ELEVEN nights, kissed by Desert Stars, warmly embraced and abundantly provided for by Nature, I will finally complete the writing of my Book. ‘ www.mahiraamirkhan.com