Stargazing at La Casa del Zorro

Summer, you, and the night sky? A desert resort wants to make it happen.


BLANKET OF STARS: The night sky is not literally a blanket, it is true, but that doesn't stop writers and artists from imagining it as such. In fact, pick up most any poem or essay dealing with the beauty of the big bowl above us and you're likely to read the words "blanket of" just before reaching the word "stars." We're not quibbling -- it is a beautiful description, though not especially an apt or accurate one if you're gazing at the heavens from the middle of a bright and bustling city. And because the stars above us lack dials, meaning they can't turn up their brightness to appease we humans, we humans can turn down the brightness around us. Or, rather, leave it for a night or two, the better to enjoy that ever-poetical, deliciously descriptive "blanket of stars."

DARKER SKIES: The desert is very often stop one for Californians clustered closer to the Pacific, and a number of hotels and stay-over spots within the desert frequently host astronomy nights. La Casa del Zorro of Borrego Springs will be doing just that over a few nights to come, and for different skyward reasons. Night one? It's Friday, May 23 and, wait for it, there's a meteor storm a-brewin'. And, yep, there's a Summer Stargazing Package to boot, which involves a deluxe room and entrance to the late-night stargazing fun.

MORE STARGAZING TO COME: If you can't do the start of Memorial Day Weekend, there's the Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower on July 28 and 29 and the Perseids Meteor Shower on Aug. 12 and 13. A "special late-night stargazing party" shall go down on each of those nights, meaning "entertainment, drinks, music, a talk from a professional astronomer, and outdoor mats for comfortable viewing" are all part of the celestial scene. But will it be dark? Very. Borrego Springs is a Dark Sky Community, "one of just six in the world." And if you don't want to jump into a full-on meteor watching, but just want to toodle out to the desert to enjoy the star-blanket effect, you can. It's not like someone turns the lights off on the Big Blanket when a meteor shower is not going down, and thank goodness. It's a show to be enjoyed on any clear night of the year from any deliciusly dark location, such as Borrego Springs.

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