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Named one of the 100 Best Small Art Towns in America by the popular book of the same name (by John Villani), Idyllwild proudly boasts more than 15 art galleries featuring works by local artists. Called the Art Alliance of Idyllwild, the group also holds art events throughout the year. Ask the innkeepers for a seasonal Visitors Guide or an Art Alliance brochure, which includes a map and a description of each gallery.
This world-renowned performing arts boarding school for high school students frequently offers theatrical productions, concerts, art exhibits, and creative educational programs by its faculty, students and guest artists. The Academy (951-659-2171) also presents summer art camps for children and adults.
Founded to promote public awareness of local history and preserve the stories of the native Americans, loggers, pioneers, and miners, the Idyllwild Area Historical Society and Museum (951-659-2717) features museum photos, furniture, and other memorabilia of the mountain communities encompassing Idyllwild, Garner Valley, Pine Cove, Pinewood, Stone Creek, and Mountain Center.
Located an hours drive away is the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens (760-346-5694) in Palm Desert. A unique place with fascinating exhibits, you'll see and learn about remarkable plants, animals, places and natural phenomena associated with deserts. Several animals and plants at The Living Desert are threatened or in danger of extinction. Many of them are reproducing under carefully managed programs.
Create your own functional art at Earth 'n Fire (951-659-4481). Design and paint your own pottery, dinnerware, and kitchen tiles in this beautiful, rustic studio. Trace a stencil, press a rubber stamp, or pat a sponge and take home art of your own.
Idyllwild is home to a marvelous jazz festival held annually in late summer. Artists such as Pianist David Benoit and guitarist Lee Ritenour often headline the festival. Held at three venues on the Idyllwild Arts campus: the main stage in the outdoor Holmes Amphitheatre, the Stephens Recital Hall, and the French Quarter Bistro — which serves drinks and welcomes dancers — the festival is widely considered one of the nation's finest jazz events. Local restaurants also feature year-round live music by talented local artists.
Try your luck at the slots or at the gaming tables in one of the local casinos. Intimate Cahuilla Creek (951-763-1200) is just minutes away in Anza. Down the hill in San Jacinto isSoboba (951-665-1000) featuring 2,000 slot machines, over 20 table games, three restaurants, a 12,000 seat entertainment pavilion and one huge sports lounge. A bit further afield are two larger resort casinos — Morongo (800-252-4499), 45 minutes away in Cabazon, and Pechanga(951-693-1819), an hour away in Temecula.
Wind your way along Scenic Highway 243 and enjoy the breathtaking views, or drive through Idyllwild neighborhoods to see charming mountain homes, from small log cabins to large hillside estates. Surrounded by National Forest land, Idyllwild is smack dab in the middle of some of the loveliest countryside to drive through in southern California.
From cabin comforts to snuggly boots and hats, from faux-finished décor items to Asian imports --all can be found in the unique village shops of Idyllwild. Take home antiques and decorative accessories, or locally produced honey, jams and jellies, candles or candy. For an even greater variety, take a 45-minute drive to the 100-plus stores of the Desert Hills Factory Outlets. Click here for a store listing.
Known for its many golf courses, Palm Springs is a nice day trip from Idyllwild, offering a number of interesting sights and sounds. Ascend 8,000 feet to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto in the world's largest rotating tramcars on the Palm Springs Tramway. See one of the world's largest collections of flying WWII airplanes at the Palm Springs Air Museum, or attend a three-hour, razzle-dazzle, song and dance vaudeville-style extravaganza at the Palm Springs Follies. Check out the Palm Springs website for more detailed information.
Located an hour away from the Bunkhouse, Temecula is California's only prominent American Viticultural Area south of Los Angeles. Just four short miles off of I-15, the beautiful Temecula Valley wine region is surrounded by gently rolling hills and dramatic mountain ranges. The region's tasting rooms and gift shops are open to visitors year-round, and most wineries offer tours. Read more about Temecula wines and wineries on theTemecula Winegrowers Association website. Be sure not to miss charming Old Town Temecula during your visit.