What's so great about Palm Springs, anyway?
and a palm tree more! Palm Springs is the perfect combination
of weather, food and great shopping mixed with gorgeous scenery hugged
by breathtaking mountains. For five days, I walked around looking
up at the mountains so much, it's a wonder I didn't walk face first
into a pole! The beauty is always there; warm dry sunny days, followed
by the starlit desert nights. The cool mornings are wonderful for
jogging and again, you can stare at the mountains whilst you take
your morning constitution.
stayed at the charming Tuscany Manor,
located at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains in the area known
as Little Tuscany, an exclusive neighborhood
named after the Italian town. Conveniently located just minutes from
downtown, Tuscany Manor bills itself as a "self-catering resort"
and offers 23 one and two bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens,
designer furniture, ceiling fans, and Spanish tiles.
about a little background music?
for a quiet little desert town, Palm Springs has quite the juicy past.
For over 60 years this has been a vacation spot for the migrating
L.A. celluloid set. Back in the 30's, 40's and 50's lots of stars
vacationed here to get away from the stress of Hollywood. Making tons
of money in motion pictures can certainly take its toll, and Palm
Springs was a haven for the likes of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh,
Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Hedy Lamarr, George Montgomery, Lena Horne,
and of course Dinah Shore whom the Dinah Shore golf tournament is
named after, a huge draw in Le Palm. Charles Farrell, actor turned
Palm Springs host de extraordinaire, worked hard to get his Palm Springs
Racquet club the "place to be seen" back in the 1930's.
Mr. Farrell has a street named after him here as do many other luminaries
like Gene Autry, Jack Benny and Frank Sinatra. This is the place where
many affairs, parties and debauchery took place, lots of it done poolside
of course, martini in hand.
On one of our morning runs, Babs said to me, "Look how cute! A piano shaped mailbox!" We both looked at each other: Liberace! Yep, it was the maestro's house all right, complete with two nude male Greek statues flanking either side of the door way and an ornate fountain displaying frolicking cupids. I walked up to the front entrance and noticed a vestibule behind the wrought iron outer door. Inside was a shrine to "Lee" as he was called by friends. Displayed was a photo of Mr. L, a ceramic poodle and various collectibles in honor of his memory.
Actually, nearly every house in Palm Springs has some sort of famous past. Besides the movie colony that migrated from L.A., this was also the residence of famous inventors, artists, politicians, industrialists and gangsters.
The Area in a Nutshell (or Martini glass)
The main strip in Palm Springs is Palm Canyon Drive. The street is lined with shops, restaurants, art galleries and the famous Plaza Theatre where Jack Benny and Bob Hope once graced the stage. A feeling of easy living permeates the town and even type "A" personalities will find it hard not to relax.
Nine Little Neighborhoods in Le Palm
Palm Springs is such an interesting place to visit, it's worth the time to explore each of it's charming neighborhoods. I learned there were nine areas each with their own unique background.
Racquet Club Area: Located in north Palm Springs, it runs west toward the mountains, east off Palm Canyon Drive and south toward downtown from San Rafael Road to Vista Chino. This area is named after The Racquet Club that premiered in 1934 and for 25 years showed more stars than a planetarium. Stars who live(d) here: Greta Garbo, Steve McQueen, Jane Wyman and Lana Turner's infamous daughter who who stabbed her mother's lover to death with a kitchen knife.
Las Palmas: West of Palm Canyon Drive and south from Vista Chino to Alejo Road. It was developed during the 1920's and has to date, the largest number of celebrity homes. This is the Kingdom of Hollywood Royalty in Palm Springs. Architecture here is eclectic ranging from simplistic early desert to low horizontal homes with lots of glass. Stars who live(d) here: Jack Benny, Barry Manilow, Howard Hawks and Nat King Cole.
South Ridge: This is a very exclusive tiny gated community of about 12 homes and it's high on the side of Smoke Tree Mountain where armed security guards keep watch 24 hours a day. Probably the most notable home here is Bob Hope's massive 25,000 square foot glass and concrete creation, nicknamed "The Flying Saucer" or "The LAX Terminal" because of it's appearance. It is said the home was built for Bob by the Chrysler Corporation, who advertised on his TV show for years and now sponsors his PGA golf tournament. The house cost Chrysler over $3.5 million to build in 1979, today it's estimated worth is $20 million. Stars who live(d) here: Bob Hope, Steve McQueen, Ali Mac Graw, William Holden, John Johnson.
Tennis Club: This downtown area extends several blocks west of Palm Canyon Drive at the intersection of Taquitz Canyon Way and then south to Ramon Road. The Tennis Club itself was established in 1938. There's mostly small hotels here and a smattering of modest homes. Stars who live(d) here: Robert Stack, Chris O'Donnell and Elisabeth Shue.
Deep Well: Beginning at Mesquite Avenue and continues south along Sunrise Way. This area is named after the private Deep Well Ranch on East Palm Canyon Drive. The homes are a mixture of Spanish, California modern and ranch-style. Stars who live(d) here: Della Reese, Carmen Miranda, Jack Webb and Hugh Hefner.
Palm Canyon Mesa: This area lies along Palm Canyon Drive South, Ridge Road and El Camino Way. Most of the homes here were built in the 1930's and 40's. Sonny Bono's former home was on El Camino Way. Stars who live(d) here: Debbie Reynolds, Eddie Fisher, Ray Bradbury and Jack Warner.
South Palm Springs: This is the southern most portion of Palm Springs to the Indian Canyons. Included here is the exclusive Smoke Tree Ranch and Canyon Country Club. Stars who live(d) here: Ray Bradbury, Debbie Reynolds, Walt Disney and Richard Thorpe.
Movie Colony: Located east of Indian Canyon Drive and spreads from Tamarisk Road south to Alejo Road and east to Sunrise Way. Most homes here were built in the 1930's; white-stuccoed or terra-cotta-tiled Spanish designs. The area is going through a renovation as residents attempt to restore the neighborhood to its former luster. Stars who live(d) here: Louis Prima, Eddie Cantor, Howard Hughes, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. click for more