Why: If you're in Idyllwild, you've probably just finished a hike in the San Jacinto mountains, or you're about to start one, or there's a snow-frolic or rock-climbing excursion afoot, or maybe you've got a kid going to the Idyllwild Arts Academy or one of the many camps in the woods around town. In any of those cases, this is a great place to relax before or after a pickup or drop-off.
What: This easygoing eatery sits in the heart of downtown, if loose-knit Idyllwild (population about 3,900) can be said to have one. Cafe Aroma often has live (but gentle) music, with local artists' work inside. Sometimes there's a belly dancer or an author reading her work. Since a 2016 renovation/expansion, the tables on the deck have a roof overhead, so the patio works in more kinds of weather. And if you have a kid in tow, consider a later visit to the nearby Candy Cupboard, a tiny, tasty shop that's been offering taffy, chocolate, shaved ice and such for more than 35 years.
Where: 54750 N Circle Dr, Idyllwild, 109 miles east of downtown L.A.