Palm Springs: A few things to see

Oct 28

Here is a bit more information about our beautiful desert. Palm Springs is a world-renowned city with the culture of a large city combined with the relaxing desert atmosphere and ambiance. It serves as a peaceful retreat to escape from the daily grind of working life elsewhere.

Located at the base of Mount San Jacinto, one of Southern California’s most magnificent mountains, it has retained the ‘30s,‘40s and ‘50s charm that established it as a recreational destination and Hollywood star hideaway.

Palm Springs is enjoying a renewed appreciation in classic mid-century modern style, with authentic new mid-century construction, and the restoration of mid-century structures from its heyday. The concentration of mid-century structures is not commonly seen elsewhere, and adds an air of contemporary sophistication to the Palm Springs landscape.

The city boasts a plethora of antique resale shops, as well as the Uptown Design District, which now serve as a destination to interior designers seeking authentic modern furnishings. A new generation of year-round residents, as well as an influx of weekend hipsters from LA, San Diego and as far away as Chicago and Denver are reveling in the desert resort lifestyle.
There are some great websites with additional information about what to see and do in Palm Springs. One site to check out is Palm Springs Area 360.com
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Elvis & Priscilla Presley Homes in Palm Springs

Oct 27

Palm Springs is famous around the world for many things. Our desert paradise has nearly perfect weather year round, winter temps around 70, Spring and Fall in the 80’s, and Summer in the 100’s. With activities like golf, tennis, swimming, hiking, and horseback riding, there is plenty to do here. It is a short driving distance from Los Angeles, which during the Golden Age of Hollywood attracted famous singers, movie stars, directors, movie studio moguls and various members of the Hollywood elite.

To this day, Palm Springs continues to see its share of Presidents, Royalty, and titans of the business industry vacation here in our lovely desert. It has been said “there are more stars in Palm Springs than stars in the sky” which is ridiculous of course, but it makes the point. Celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Elvis and Priscilla Presley to name a few are part of the celebrity lore that people still associate with Palm Springs. There are a few Celebrity tour groups that drive around the desert showing visitors the vacation get-away homes of the stars. Speaking of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, I thought I’d mention that there has been more excitement regarding their residences here in the past few years. There are two homes whose owners now promote as places Elvis and Priscilla spent time in Palm Springs. Both are accurate. It just depends on what type of experience you are seeking.

One is the Elvis and Priscilla Presley Honeymoon Hideaway home, where they spent time after they were married. The other is a home Elvis actually owned and lived in, called the Palm Springs Elvis Estate. Neither home is a grand palatial estate.

They look nothing like Elvis’ Graceland home; but nevertheless they are places where Elvis and Priscilla spent time here in Palm Springs. There are plenty of Elvis fans who want the chance to spend a vacation living in the very place where Elvis walked. Luckily for those folks, these two homes offer that experience. Let’s face it, you can’t do that at Graceland.

So Palm Springs is the next best option if you are a crazy Elvis fan.

The celebrities of today are very low-key when then visit Palm Springs. Some stay at private home of a friend, others stay at a spa resort and enjoy the healing hot mineral waters of our desert. But many rent homes here, seeking a secluded, casual experience of being in a home where they won’t be bothered by hotel staff or peering tourists.

A new generation of celebrities are coming to the desert more frequently- perhaps some day those homes they rented or stayed in will be promoted as destinations to rent. Perhaps one day people can stay in the place where George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Zac Efron or Matt Damon stayed. You never know.

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A Visit to San Jacinto Mountain

Oct 27

Soon, much of the US will be covered in snow, with cold, icy conditions. Rather than boasting about the weather here on the desert floor of Palm Springs, I thought I’d take you 10,000 feet above sea level, up to the top of the San Jacinto Mountain. A quick ride up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway brings one to another climate, just overlooking the desert floor. Welcome to Mount San Jacinto State Park.

Here, the temperatures are usually between 30 and 40 degrees cooler than the desert floor below. During the summer months when it is 100 degrees (or more) the tram offers an easy escape to cooler temperatures. During the winter months, the top of the mountain receives a healthy share of snow. Being an east-coaster by birth, at times I miss the snow, so its a real treat to walk in the snow even if just for a short while. Last week while up at the top of the tram, someone in my group (who is a native Southern Californian) had never seen or touched snow before. She was thrilled to make a snowball for the first time.

People don’t often associate snow with Palm Springs, but I assure you we have it- several feet in fact. Its just 10,000 feet above where I live everyday.

This photo at right is while up on top of Mount San Jacinto along the hiking trails. Nature offers such beautiful scenery, all we need to do is take the time to appreciate it. People often ask me what I like best about living in Palm Springs. My answer is always the same- the incredible beauty of nature. This is probably not the perspective of Palm Springs one might expect to see here on this blog, but it is very real. It is also my own little way of showing empathy for the rest of the country that will soon be dealing with the snow. And if you really can’t take it anymore and just need a break, come plan a trip to visit us in Palm Springs this winter, we love to welcome new friends. Stop by and see us as Memento Gift Shop too, we sell postcards!

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Gene Autry, America’s Favorite Singing Cowboy

Oct 26

Back in 2009, one of Palm Springs famous former residents, the late Gene Autry was honored with a beautiful bronze statue in Palm Springs in his honor. Gene Autry was known as “The Singing Cowboy” from a thirty year career in radio, television and movies in the heyday of Hollywood. In addition to being an entertainer, Autry had a number of major hobbies, including owning the MLB team the Anaheim Angels (of Los Angeles). In fact the Anaheim Angels held their Spring training right here in Palm Springs for the entire time he owned the team. He invested wisely and owned a television station, multiple radio stations and a few hotel properties as well.

 

Gene Autry bought his first home in Palm Springs in 1940 and was an active member of our community. He was first discovered by another famous Hollywood cowboy, Roy Rogers who also spent time here in Palm Springs. If you’re like me, you probably remember Gene Autry for his signature song “Back in the Saddle” or his legendary Christmas album with his classic versions of “Here Comes Santa Claus”, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman”. (Those are among my favorites, with Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song”).

Gene Autry was also known for creating the Cowboy Code, which according to Autry a cowboy must:

1. Never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.

2. Never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.

3. Always tell the truth.

4. Be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.

5. Not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.

6. Help people in distress.

7. Be a good worker.

8. Keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits.

9. Respect women, parents and his nation’s laws.

10. Be a patriot.

His “Cowboy Code” still seems to make sense to me, even all these years later, don’t you agree? When Gene Autry died in 1998, he was one of the 400 richest Americans, with a net worth of over $320 million. Today, his widow maintains the nonprofit Gene Autry Foundation, which has donated over $280 million to all sorts of charities here in the Coachella Valley and beyond. Gene Autry Trail is a major street here in Palm Springs, upon which I travel frequently. It is fitting that there is a beautiful bronze statue in his honor right on the street that also bears his name.

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