The natives are getting restless. You can see it in the streets, as traffic picks up, you can see at restaurants, as longer lines form, and you can see it on your social calendar, as invites to small gatherings start cropping up.
After a few months cooped up in our homes, a change of scenery could do your psyche some good. And while flying sounds like a death trap, a local getaway — especially to a location that encourages social distancing — is acceptable and encouraged.
Airbnb has instituted some deep-cleaning practices, and the word we’ve heard from folks who’ve already tested the waters is that the policies are working pretty well. That being said, should you decide to get out there, do so safely. Bring your own food. Do your own cleaning. And tip the cleaners well, because that’s yeoman’s work.
Here are six locations from Laguna to Big Sur that’ll provide you with a change of scenery complete with lots of fresh air and stunning views of mountains or the ocean or both. All come with a nice bed, too.
In an austere way, this modern home blends into the hills that rise above Pfeiffer Beach. It’s probably a little more stylish than the zen mountain hopping the Beats envisioned when they popularized Big Sur, but it’s simple and understated with an eye towards quality that allows you to focus on the raw beauty around you. Note the clawfoot tub, which has wrap-around windows so you can luxuriate while watching the sun set. It’s available for up to seven people.
The sweeping views from this four-bedroom home can be enjoyed from the open-air living room and dining room, both of which are constructed with reclaimed wood for a soft, rich feel. It’s at the top of a hill, which means you will have to drive to the beach, but it’s also closer to the sandstone-peaked hiking trails above Laguna. There’s a gourmet kitchen, which is critical seeing as you’ll be dining in most of the time.
This classic A-frame was built in the 1960s but recently upgraded to include bamboo floors, eco-friendly paint and new, comfy furniture. If you’re looking to be in the woods but not actually on the ground, this is where you glamp. They have a turntable as well as an AppleTV for streaming, but this is Big Bear, and the best show is outside. It can sleep up to four, and it’s walking distance to the town.
Listening to the waves crash on the beach is made all the better when it’s from your bed. That you can roll out and onto the beach the following day makes this one-bedroom apartment all the more romantic. Its clean white feel, accented by brown wood and pillowy furniture, is a very soothing environment. The marble bathroom comes with a rain shower, and the pad at large is simple and commodious, with plenty of room on the deck for a nice nap.
Palm Springs appears to be loosening its reins in July, which is when The Desert Wave, a historic home, originally built by Walter S. White’s for Miles C. Bates in 1955, hopes to reopen. It was remodeled recently and intended for events, but will now allow a limited number of guests — there’s only one bedroom, but two beds. It’s a stunning property, with floor-to-ceiling windows in the bedroom and bathroom that provide some stellar views of the mountains. It comes with coffee, and they offer a grocery pick-up so the place is stocked when you get there.
It may not be possible to out-California the vibe that Whisper Rock Ranch is throwing down. There are some Native American patterned rugs, a little mid-century modern furniture, an open-air floor-to-ceiling living room, guitars hanging on walls, a telescope that’s definitely more than decorative … this place has it going on. It sleeps four, though we recommend it as a romantic getaway, party of two. There’s a big outdoor grill, pool and jacuzzi, and you’re a short drive to Joshua Tree, which is currently in the very early stages of reopening.
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