Picture it: in the dark, wet days of winter I plan a sunny SoCal family getaway 3,800 kilometres from our chilly, rainforest home. The goal: a few days spent staying in a stylish, bright boho disco Airbnb while we explore the increasingly not-so-hidden gems north of Joshua Tree National Park.
In my head: we’re heading to the slower-paced yet ever-so-funky Yucca Valley to stay to soak in some California sun. According to my research (and advertising by local tourism marketers) the average temperature in February is 24C. Balmy. Warm. Pool-friendly. Full of Joshua tree-filled hikes, visits to outrageously thrift stores, stars gazing events under sparkly, black skies. But the universe had other plans.
February 2, we arrive. And it just so happens to be a polar vortex and the worst rainstorm this hilly, desert oasis has experienced in two decades. As in: the windshield wipers can’t wipe fast enough. Rain so hard it’s turning the dips of the highway into raging rivers that are thigh deep. It was a pluvial outburst that made me instantly regret renting a VW Beetle to relive my erstwhile youth and save gas dollars instead of driving off in a sensible Toyota Tacoma that the rental agent offered as an upgrade at the Palm Springs airport. Ugh.
But then we drive up to the Starship Landing: Aurora. It’s dark and the rain has stopped by the time we get there after exploring Joshua Tree for a bit. The rain has subsided and the sandy road is soft. We’re deep in a spread out suburb – if Yucca Valley, a town of 29,000, can have suburbs – called Flamingo Heights. Wending my way through the streets lined with mojave yucca and sage, my little rental car slips and slides in the wet, cornmeal sand. And you know what we see shining bright white, red and orange in the night? The best dang AirBnB I’ve ever stayed in.
The Starship Landing is a property with two houses: the Luna and the Aurora and is owned by a couple from coastal California who wanted their own space while exploring Joshua Tree. The property name is related to local legends of alien encounters and energy vortexes. While the name of the Aurora may be leaning on metaphysical, the vibe at the colourful Airbnb is 100 per cent mid-century with boho touches and disco flare. Basically the owners built a boho disco house of my dreams. Thanks guys!
The Aurora leaves no boho need left unfulfilled: tarot decks, numerous succulents and Mexican blankets abound. A circle of banana coloured hammocks wave gently in the desert breeze to encourage impromptu jam sessions or sundowners. Bombastic colours dominate each room with the emphasis on magenta, orange and gold. The vista out back is full of bird song in the morning as the property abuts with the Sand to Snow National Monument: Black Lava Butte and Flat Top Mesa protected area.
Even cooking is a dream in the mid-century walk through kitchen. Muffins and instant oatmeal were offered as breakfast grub. And all the coffee/team accoutrements are on hand including a shiny, electric orange kettle and a French press. The basement has an Apple TV, a projector arcade game, pool table and of course, a shag carpet. The master bedroom was equipped with an essential oil diffuser and and it’s own wicker hanging chair and Juliet balcony. My son loved the outside games and the hot tub in the backyard, both were on rotation daily during our three day, two night stay. And of course there were disco balls, one directly under the giant bean bag chair in the main living room and one in the That 70’s show-approved man cave below.
Luckily on day two of our stay the sun came out but the wind did not have a poolside manner. Which made our multiple hot tub soaks each day, all the more invigorating.
I could see myself returning to this space-named mecca yearly if I had my druthers. The skies might have been overcast at night because of the crazy rain. While we may not have been able to stargaze, we did do some serious exploring of the area nonetheless. Read my Family Fun Canada story for weird, wacky and wonderful recommendations in the area.
Despite the chilly weather in the Yucca Valley we were cozy, comfy and had oodles to do, inside and outside during our sweet little stay at the Starship Landing: Aurora. We played beanbags toss, danced to Beck, the Beastie Boys and Donna Summer over and over again courtesy of the sweet little record player. And we soaked in the hot tub a few times a day. If this is what boho disco dreams are made of, I hope we can return again one day, rain or shine.