Winter Solstice, Funeral Inn

I don't know about you, but I've been getting a ton of email blasts from Finley Hotels, talking about Christmas Eve dinners at San Francisco's Oppositery and a week of balls at The Yuletidery in California's Wine Country and New Year's Eve at The Wilfair (that's the hotel in Los Angeles, I think).

Should I click unsubscribe? That family can aggressively pursue a potential guest, that's for sure. And, no, seriously, they need to stop with the promotions. I don't want to enter for a getaway for two at Hotel Everywhere. I wouldn't know where I'd end up for the night!

Finleys.

Though there is a destination intriguing me this week, I'll admit: Funeral Inn. The Finleys' Death Valley property, all spooky turrets and shadowy nooks and red-glow lanterns, isn't all up in Christmas's business but rather marks Winter Solstice with a silent walk into the dunes.

Anyone can join, if they're staying at the hotel, but A) you have to bundle up, because it is dry and very cold (at least that's what the email said). B? You have to prepare yourself for feeling as if you've landed on another planet, which can freak some guests out. C? A friend to snuggle with is recommended, because see A). And D? The walk is followed by a bonfire and marshmallows.

But E) is the best part, though: It's truly a silent walk, where no one speaks for a full hour, the better to enjoy the sunset and full moon and the fully on-display Milky Way, which is Death Valley's nightly blanket.

I know a group of friends who would like to join The Funeral Inn's Winter Solstice silent walk, but they probably should not, because the laughing would start exactly two minutes in, and the inability to control the laughing, and then they'd get in trouble and possibly be barred from marshmallow-roasting.

Which means they'd have to find their own post-walk diversion, like finding scorpions by blacklight or cartwheeling in basins that held ancient seas or staring out the sky.

Winter Solstice Death Valley

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