I've visited the cozy little mountain town of Idyllwild more that a few times - it's one of my favorite places to camp, or snuggle up in a cabin with a fireplace. The downtown area is just adorable, with an old-fashioned candy shop, a few places to grab a coffee or a muffin, and of course a sprinkling of tourist trinket shops here and there. Wander your way to the outside of town and it's highly likely you'll find yourself at the beginning of a hiking trail that, if followed, will meander through large pines and through silent patches of forest, interrupted only by twittering birds. It's a fabulous place to spend a weekend away from the city.
But it's not the scenery or the mountain air that makes Idyllwild my favorite destination just outside of Los Angeles. It's not the outdoor eateries or the homemade beef jerky, either. It's the mayor.
The mayor of Idyllwild is a golden retriever. His name is Max. And if you don't happen to catch Mayor Max making a public appearance, you can call his chief of staff to arrange a meeting with him. During your meeting, you can discuss matters of local economics, or perhaps the status of funding for the annual holiday tree lighting. Or you could, ya know, just give him some belly rubs and share some vanilla ice cream.
Since the city of Idyllwild is not technically incorporated, there was no mayor for years. But in 2012, voting was held for the position - and for one dollar per vote, residents and visitors alike could vote for the candidate of their choice. All funds were donated to the local animal shelter. Mayor Max I was elected to his position on July 1, 2012, but unfortunately died in office before the end of his term. But the transition of power was made seamlessly to Mayor Max II, who has held office ever since.
In the name of democracy and head scratches, I encourage everyone to visit Idyllwild and arrange a meeting with Mayor Max. Shake some paws, take some photos (he knows how to take a selfie), and post-meeting spend your days hiking, sipping a hot mocha, or cozy-ing up next to a cabin fireplace. What more do you need?