Harmony Motel Restores Original Sign Made Famous by U2, Invites All to 29 Palms Sign Restoration Reception Thursday, February 17

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The city of Twentynine Palms, adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park, reclaims an historic image as the Harmony Motel restores its original roadside sign made famous by the rock band U2. Owner Ash Maharaj is holding a sign restoration reception and mixer at the Harmony Motel on February 17, 2011, with sign restoration being celebrated throughout President's Day weekend.

U2 at the Harmony Motel

Twentynine Palms is the kind of place where you can relax by a pool, soak up the sun, see art and wildlife, have climbing and hiking adventures to rival any place on earth, all with amazing local company who will leave a footprint on your heart forever.

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Harmony Motel of Twentynine Palms, CA announces a restoration of the historic motel sign made famous in a photograph with rock band U2 as well as a reception and celebration of the event on February 17, 2011. The event will include a slideshow presenting a history of the sign and its meaning to the community.

The first roadside sign as one enters Twentynine Palms from the west on California State Route 62 is for the Harmony Motel -- fittingly, as both the sign and the word itself have come to encompass the meaning of the city as a whole.

"To live in Harmony is to live in peace, something that Twentynine Palms has down to a science: from being home to the largest Marine Base to bringing the rights of cohabitant wildlife into city planning meetings, this city is all about finding that balance," says Ash Maharaj, owner of Harmony Motel. "This is a town that works hard to preserve vast and cherished natural desert habitat," she adds. It is also one that has, in the current economic climate, struggled to grow and find its audience as a desert getaway. The city and the motel are aiming to improve upon the delivery of their message.

About the Harmony Motel in Twentynine Palms
The Harmony Motel has 6 rooms and a cabin known as The Jack Kerouac Cabin. Its pool was a featured location in the 2001 Kirsten Dunst movie Crazy Beautiful, one of many celebrity stories the folks of Twentynine Palms recount when speaking of the Harmony Motel's famous faces.

"U2," says Ash, "is the reference we hear the most. Travelers from all over come here to stay where the band had their photo taken prior to the release of the Joshua Tree album."

Owner Maharaj, known familiarly as "Ash," is a South African immigrant who became owner of the Harmony Motel 7 years ago. Since acquiring the motel, she has set to restoring much of its original charm.

When Ash took over the Harmony Motel and began looking for ways to bring more people in, she immediately thought of restoring the original sign. People still stop by several times a week to take pictures in front of the new sign (which bears no resemblance to the old, original sign), and U2 is still using the photo they took in front of the sign on their world-wide tours. "Just last week a young couple from Australia booked their stay at the Harmony Motel just minutes after seeing the photo flash on the big screen at a sold-out U2 concert," Ash notes.

Visiting Twentynine Palms
The city of Twentynine Palms gets some of the draw of the Joshua Tree National Park, of which it hosts the main entrance, and it also gets attention for its many city murals, sculptures, art galleries, and people. Visitors who find themselves in Twentynine Palms will discover all of this as well as much in the way of recreation in the area.

Twentynine Palms: Living in Harmony
Mayor Jim Harris and neighbor Ken Tinquist visit with Ash in the kitchen of the Harmony Motel and wonder at the effort and time that has gone into the sign restoration. The move to restore the sign is a major investment by Ash in her business as well as in the city she's grown to call home.

"My feeling about living here in the desert can be summed up in this one word, Harmony," says Ash. Tinquist and Mayor Harris exchange stories about recent travels before responding to the question of living side-by-side with nature, with wild creatures and rare environmental features.

"Living in harmony with our surroundings?" Harris asks, clarifying. "That's what we do here, that's what people get to experience when they visit us here in Twentynine Palms. "

Harmony Motel Sign Restoration Celebration Event
The original sign goes up, surrounded by a celebration of the city's finest, on Thursday, February 17th.

For a full, first-person account of an initial trip to Twentynine Palms and the Harmony Motel, please visit the Harmony Traveler's Blog on the Harmony Motel website.


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