We are snowbirds staying in Indio for the winter. Last week our local TV station ran a story about how bad things are in Idyllwild, with regard to tourist visits, because of the road closures.
Having never been to Idyllwild, we decided to drive up yesterday to support your community with a visit. Our plan was to walk around, shop and have lunch at an Idyllwild restaurant before driving back to the desert.
After a long drive, our first stop was to be a visit to public restrooms, but we were shocked to find that no one in the businesses where we asked were aware of any.
Idyllwild looks, after our cursory observations, to be a beautiful place to visit from the desert, and certainly a welcome respite from the heat. We consider ourselves to be well-traveled (multiple visits to all continents except for Antarctica), and have never before visited a “tourist” town without public restrooms.
As a dour older worker in the hardware store told us, Idyllwild doesn’t want public facilities because people would abuse them. (He did allow me to use the toilet in the back of the hardware store, but certainly was not happy about it).
This sounds ridiculous to me, not particularly welcoming since most visitors drive a fair distance to get to your town. It is this, in my opinion, that might be a greater contributor to reduced tourist numbers than your town might be willing to admit.
Vanda Blok