When you find yourself with a deep desire to head to the desert and see wildflowers, the first thing you do is look at the map. Oh. Yeah, it’s not close to Los Angeles. I mean, it’s not Tibet far, but it isn’t an easy place to day-trip, unless you are super excited about spending 8-9 hours in the car. This means you will need to find a hotel or other lodgings. What quickly becomes apparent was that as soon as the first pictures of blooms were posted on websites across the Internet, every hotel in and around Death Valley National Park was booked – I mean the hot springs hotels in Tecopa, the resort at Furnace Creek and the smaller cabin within 40 miles. Everything.
But never fear! We found a solution barely an hour from Death Valley National Park that may just be the answer you are also seeking.
What was it?
Wine Ridge RV Resort & Cottages in Pahrump, Nevada.
I know. I had never been to Pahrump, Nevada either. But given our limited options, we decided to take a risk (which, as you know, is often a choice that I’m not particularly good at embracing). The verdict? Wine Ridge RV Resort & Cottages is a clean, safe and comfortable choice. They are even attached to a winery with a charming restaurant that made my birthday dinner very special.
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Obviously, from the name, a significant part of the resort is dedicated to RVs (and from what we saw, big rigs were welcome). These spots can be had for daily, weekly and monthly rates, and it was clear that there was a sizable community of “snowbirds” there for the long haul. Along the other side of the park, are cottages. We chose a standard option that had one bedroom, full kitchen, bathroom and living room area. It even had a deck to enjoy the setting sun with some wine from the Pahrump Valley Winery (conveniently located about 10 steps away from the registration building), and it was very budget-friendly. Larger cottages are available, as are pet-friendly ones.
In my mind, I was expecting something a bit rustic (I’m not sure why), but in reality, the cottages seemed like new modular/mobile home units. They were very clean, had climate control and the bed was delightfully comfortable. And after a long day in the desert, the shower was given a big thumbs up. We took good advantage of the microwave when we reheated our chocolate cake post-dinner, and marveled at having a full-size refrigerator – clearly, this place is a spot that you could enjoy for much longer than a night or two.
Also, as a guest of the resort, you can take advantage of amenities like the pool, fire pit, BBQ area and fitness center. There is a heated spa and pickle ball courts. You can even get in a game of billiards between loads of laundry. Wi-Fi worked well for us, but we were also very close to the main registration/meeting building, so that may have worked to our advantage.
We were about an hour early for dinner (and they were packed!), so we decided to relax in the adjacent Pahrump Valley Winery tasting room. The wines we were intrigued by were all made in-house. Some of the grapes they buy from Northern California, while other grapes come straight from the old vines right outside the door. We explored the gift shop, relaxed in the intimate lounge, and decided that a shared wine tasting was in order. In the spirit of adventure (because with wine, you may just get me to make a leap or two), we chose a Nevada Ridge/Pahrump Valley tasting consisting of: 2013 Nevada Tempranillo, 2013 Nevada Barbera, 2013 Nevada Zinfandel, 2013 Nevada Silver State Red and the 2013 Symphony. Honestly, there wasn’t one I didn’t like to some degree. My favorite was a tie between the Tempranillo and the Zinfandel – which is odd given how different those wines were. Andy also really like the Zin, and we ended up ordering it dinner, as well.
Only steps away from our cottage and set against the old vine backdrop, is Symphony’s Restaurant. A clear favorite with the locals and the guests of the resort, this is an upscale establishment that offers a delicious meal in an intimate setting. While they are open for casual lunches, dinner service is a low-lighting, hushed affair – but not stuffy. The waiters were welcoming and friendly, and it was obvious that many of the people there on this particular Saturday night were regulars. From the New York Strip Steak to the Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes to the Cobb Salad, everything was cooked precisely to taste (and if you’ve seen my Instagram feed, you know that I take things like mashed potatoes very seriously). And, as it was my birthday, we did get a magical chocolate cake drizzled in (you guessed it) more chocolate with a side of ice cream to go. If you know you are going to be in the area, make a reservation for dinner or lunch and indulge! They also have a back room that is ideal for events (we caught a glimpse of a combination birthday party and St. Patrick’s Day celebration that looked like great fun).
Our schedule did not allow for a prolonged exploration of the town, but our impression of the Wine Ridge RV Resort & Cottages was so positive that I’m willing to bet we haven’t seen the last of Pahrump, Nevada.