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On New Year’s Day, my boyfriend Daniel and I started making a list of things we wanted to do this year. Since I’m obsessed with lists and we both value adventures over everything else, doing this made sense. It also wasn’t a surprise that this list ballooned from around eight things to becoming our official “100 List”. This has taken us from Ojai to wander the outdoor bookshelves at Bart’s Bookstore, to biking from Venice to Manhattan Beach, to adding a new stamp in our passports when we visited Singapore and Bali. We finally crossed off another thing on our long list when we recently stayed at The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and hiked in Joshua Tree. Palm Springs and Joshua Tree make for the perfect short getaway from L.A. and we felt so much farther than the two hours it took cruising along the 10E to get there.

The Ace has been on my radar for a while as a hip spot for escaping the city and lounging poolside in the desert. Since it kept popping up on blogs and Instagram feeds that I follow, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. As it turns out, all that fuss was totally warranted. Every design detail is so thoughtful, the general bohemian vibe throughout is cool without being overdone, and there’s none of the sterility or sameness that one comes to expect in hotel stays. We spent the better part of an afternoon sipping delicious cocktails, catching up on our summer reading in comfy lounge chairs, and dipping into the pool whenever we needed a quick respite from the heat. Also, the vintage photo booth in the hotel reception area (could anything be more nostalgic?) is not to be missed! After getting our fill of the Ace’s poolside paradise, we headed into downtown Palm Springs for an evening stroll. There are a lot of restaurants to choose from downtown, but the Ace also has a fantastic diner, The King’s Highway, where we had the best meal of our weekend trip.

For our Joshua Tree adventure, we chose the 49 Palms Oasis trail. Even though we went right in the middle of summer, we were able to do this hike by getting there early and starting at 7 a.m.; honestly though, for the summer temperatures, that’s almost a late start!  There was a couple who finished the hike just as we were starting, and we couldn’t help feeling that they had the right idea. It’s a gorgeous hike that leads to a lovely little oasis of tall palms that provide some much-needed shade before you turn back. Some souls find beauty in the barrenness of the desert, and we are truly two such souls. If you plan on hiking in Joshua Tree, be sure to lather on the sunscreen, pack your hat and sunglasses, and bring more water than you think you’ll need. One rule to keep in mind is once half your water is gone, it’s time to turn around. And if you choose this particular trail, keep in mind that it involves ascending 300 feet on the way in and on the way back with no shade until you reach the oasis, so it’s not for the faint of heart! For a less strenuous 1 mile loop, I highly recommend the Hidden Valley Nature Walk which also has an abundance of the trees for which the area is named. Here is a list of day hikes according to the Joshua Tree National Park if you’re feeling adventurous!

Another must? Date shakes! There aren’t any photos of them on my camera because we drank them too quickly to possibly stop and take pictures. We indulged at the Palm Springs Fudge and Chocolate Shop, Tutti Frutti, and had one at King’s Highway. Each was a little different, so of course you should test taste all of them. The next time we head east, we’re going to stop by Hadley’s along the 10, because we now take our date shakes pretty seriously.

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Photos and article by Nicole Anderson of Sorella Muse Photography