Hearts light from a good night’s sleep. Breakfast walked off with a hike along the crater, we found ourselves in the industrial area on the northern road out of Mitzpe Ramon, for a last glance before heading home.

The industrial area is undergoing a renaissance, buoyed by local efforts to boost tourism. The Rova Derech HaBasamim (The Perfume Route Quarter)  was enticing enough to get us out our air conditioned car and into that dry heat of the kind we dream about come August in Tel Aviv.

The quarter includes a couple of intriguing accommodation options.

Chez Eugene – hip decor, interesting menu (seared baramundi fillet with cauliflower cream and portobello, hand made merguez sausage with a scoop of mustard ice cream). 

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And iBike – a cute and comfy boutique guest house of the type that hints at good conversation over a late night beer or the communal breakfast table. And not only for cyclists.

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And if you’re hungry from that crater hike,  HaKatseh (The Edge) provides home style food (couscous, meatballs, goulash), and Lasha bakes gorgeous bread (and picnic baskets by arrangement)

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Hadasa’ar is a cool space functioning as a coffee house, grocery, and gift shop. You’ll find local cheese products from the Negev, crafts and jewellery from the area, organic groceries and beauty products.

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For more unique gifts –  including soaps, cosmetics, pottery, jewellery, and clothing, amble around the local Faran factory, Mifgash HaOmanim, and a couple of vintage stores all located within a stone’s throw of each other.

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Together with the Adama dance center, the Quarter has a hip vibe that stands out in a town that feels like the center of the country 30 years ago. It’s always cool to see grass root efforts springing up, and its especially so when you find store owners so enthusiastic and passionate about their desert community.

And because leaving empty handed would simply have been bad manners, we headed out of town with a nutty whole wheat loaf under one arm, and a handmade pottery bowl under the other. Plus a goat cheese tucked away for the weekend, bringing home a taste of the Negev to the Galilee hills.