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Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Roughley Manor
Roughley Manor (in Jan., 2012)

One place I MUST include on this trip to Twentynine Palms, California and Joshua Tree National Park is Roughley Manor, a Bed & Breakfast in which we did not stay but which is so beautiful, it fills me with longing to stay there—Roughley Manor.

We learned of Roughley Manor at the Twentynine Palms Visitor Center where a young Marine wife spoke of it enthusiastically.  As Roughley Manor is close to Joshua Tree’s Oasis Visitor Center, we decided to visit there first.  Down a macadam road we drove, nothing but scrub brush and sand alongside.  We are at the edge of the Mojave Desert. We turned right onto a packed sand road, and followed that for a bit until a left hand turn led us down to an unbelievable sight.  In front of us, so out of place at this cusp of desert, behind a stone and wrought iron fence and a stand of enormous and stately Washingtonia Palms stood a stately stone mansion in a setting stolen from a romance movie.  Here was oasis personified, and it was too inviting for us not to go in to take a closer look at this desert wonder.
Roughley Manor

I rather shyly (as we were not guests) took some photos from the outside of the building and marveled at the setting, but Beth, as is her manner, strode right in and struck up a friendship with former Marine and innkeeper Gary Peters who not only gave us (by then Rob had joined us inside) the history of this place but also took us on a tour.

Roughley Manor’s history reads like a fairy tale.

World War I veteran Bill Campbell came home with lungs significantly damaged by mustard gas.  While still in the East, he married Elizabeth, a rich young woman whose family disowned her because of their marriage, and together they came out to the desert and camped at Mara Oasis for three months in the hope that Bill’s lungs would heal.  Making progress but not completely cured, Bill and Elizabeth began to build a more permanent dwelling as homesteaders.  They carried enough the rocks to make a one room cabin that is now the reception room of the manor. 

Reception at Roughley Manor
Original home, original fireplace--now the reception room of the Inn

Bill was treated, by the way, by Dr. Luckie, whose mural I shared with you in the previous post.  (this is a fascinating link, an article about Dr. Luckie that will illustrates what a great man he was and contains an interesting anecdote about his relationship with Bill Campbell)

The Campbells stayed in Twentynine Palms as ranchers, extending their homestead to 160 acres and building the beautiful stone home we visited.  It took them five years to build the mansion.  They had to carry the stones from the desert.  This was truly a labor of love. 

Come one—that’s one romantic story.  It creates atmosphere! Elizabeth Campbell eventually chronicled their life in her book entitled Desert Was Home, a copy of which we saw in that same reception room that at one time was her entire home.

Eventually, Gary and Jan Peters bought the home and 25 acres, and transformed it into the beautiful Roughley Manor (Jan’s maiden name) for us to enjoy.  They’ve taken a romantic history and offered it to us.  Visit their lovely website which includes receipes from Jan's kitchen.  When you view the rooms, you just want to stay.

Each room or suite has its own character, uniquely and beautifully decorated. We couldn’t help noticing the meticulous attention to detail in the cut glass crystal in the bedrooms beside the bottled waters as well as in other personal touches.  The dining room and other public rooms are charming and warm, and there are fireplaces and plush, comfortable sofas beckoning. 
Roughley Manor
The grounds are beautiful as well, and if you check the website, not only will you “tour” the rooms but also you will see some “in season” shots including some interesting members of nature that make this their home too.

driveway at Roughley ManorThe Roughley Manor is a hidden treasure—in more ways than one.  Think of spending the day in Joshua Tree National Park doing whatever makes you feel good and then coming back to this sanctuary for beauty and relaxation.   Tempting, isn’t it?

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