Worth the Drive: Furnace Creek Inn

Worth the Drive is NBCLA's twice weekly look at nearby getaways

Inn at Furnace Creek

Your job: Decide to get out of town and fast. Our job: Help you find where you're headed. This week, NBCLA's Worth the Drive takes us to...

Furnace Creek Inn: The landmark lodge of Death Valley National Park is just about to open for its season. If you're watching the 12-hour National Park series right now -- and it seems like everyone is -- you are in the mood to National Park it up. Like Ken Burns said, we own 'em. They're ours. Let's enjoy.

Words commonly said about Death Valley National Park: Hottest, driest, lowest, boraxiest, remotest, strangest. Also: Beautiful, enchanting, sigh-producing, reachable from LA in a day's drive (or less).

The Inn's 2009-2010 opening date: October 8th.

It's not open all summer? Well, no. Funky Furnace Creek Ranch down the road welcomes guests even through those famous Death Valley July afternoons, but the slightly frou-frou-ier Inn keeps an October through May schedule.

Feel: Casual comfort, but luxe. We like the always-staffed in-lobby bar and the rancho'd-out dining room that prettily adheres to its 1920s airs.

We like: Finding a seat near the bay window and watching the sun set behind the Panamint Mountains, iced tea or a hot toddy in hand, depending on temps.

Price: Rooms start at $305 per night.

Also of note: The spring-heated pool, with wood-burning fireplaces nearby for those crisp Death Valley days. And that Scotty's Castle is a short drive away. A bit further is the otherworldly Racetrack. How do those rock move on their own, anyway?

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