I HATE being hot. When presented with the lesser of the two evils, I’ll choose cold over hot any day. With cold, I feel like you can always put on more clothes, but with heat, you can only take off so much before you hit indecent exposure status. Anyway, I write all this to say that Palm Springs was never an enticing locale for me. Located a mere hour and a 1/2 from my home, it didn’t seem like much of a get away . . . the drive wasn’t far enough from home to feel like I was really “getting away”, and the idea of chilling in the desert just didn’t appeal, if you catch my drift. Besides, the only experience I had with Palm Springs was a summer girl’s trip with my best friends in college. It went a little something like this . . . pile into a tiny car and drive for 3 hours into extreme 110 degree heat, check into tiny, nondescript hotel, decide to go hiking (I was outnumbered on this vote- the supposed pay off was that we would be hiking to some . . . get this . . . HOT springs . . .?!!?) Well, we ended up having a good time because that’s what you do in college on vacay, but the unbearable heat and desert brownness of it all just didn’t float that boat I would have rather been on. And sadly, other than the hike, I don’t recall venturing too far from our seedy hotel. Flash forward about 20 something years and well, the feeling has changed . . . big time. I think Im in love.
Two weeks ago Rob’s job sent him to Palm Springs for a three day conference and I got to tag along. I used the opportunity to get some work done from the hotel while he was “conferencing” . . . But this visit was soooo different from my last! I loved the feel of the place, retro cool with tons of mid century modern architecture thrown in . . . basically it was like a little slice of heaven in the desert! Plus, the Gods were obviously smiling on me, as the weather was absolutely perfect, between 82 and 85 degrees during the day, with nice breezes . . . and I don’t mean the hot breath type of breeze that deserts usually supply you with, these breezes had a nice coolness to them. Apart from the architecture, one of the things I noticed was the landscaping. I typically like A LOT OF GREENERY; TREES, BUSHES, GRASS + FLOWERS, however, this is the desert, so I wasn’t expecting a lot of that. But strangely enough, I wasn’t disappointed either! Bougainvillea, one of my favorite plants, played a starring role in a lot of the local landscapery (yes, I modified the word landscape to fit my needs . . . that’s what a good writer does, in case you didn’t know). It brought just the right amount of color pop to the green + brown. I even have a greater appreciation for cacti. Never one of my fav plants, the cacti and pebble ground covers that I noticed dotting many landscapes, was modern and inviting. I think what I loved most about Palm Springs is that it was almost like stepping into a marvelous time warp. There were so many well preserved midcentury modern homes, furniture and vintage cars. The music in a lot of the shops and even by the pool at our hotel was from the early to mid 40’s . . . Sinatra, Nat King Cole + Ella, but mixed in with that was a lot of modern electronica.
We stayed at the retro-glamourous Riviera Palm Springs. This hotel totally made the Palm Springs experience that much more enchanting. The decor was a perfect mix of glam and retro Hollywood . . .
I spent the days working from the hotel room until about 2pm while Rob attended seminars and then we ventured out together in the afternoons/evenings. Once I realized we were in Mid Century Modern Heaven I had to get up close and personal with some of the surrounding exteriors. Which brings me to the first item on my list of . . .
3 THINGS TO DO IN PALM SPRINGS
1. Mid Century Modern Driving Tour If you visit the Palm Springs Visitor’s Center located in the former Tramway Gas Station, (a mid century modern landmark in it’s own right) you can purchase a $5 map of Modern Palm Springs homes and buildings and do your own driving tour, or purchase the Palm Springs Modern Tours app ($4.99) on itunes or google play. There were a few celebrity homes on the list such as Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore + Steve McQueen. We didn’t do the whole tour, but don’t expect to get all up close and personal with these homes. For instance, Sinatra’s home is located behind a gate and you can’t see much from the street, but it’s fun to imagine him + the rest of the Rat Pack driving up to this humble abode and proceeding to party the night away . . .
We found this baby (above) on the market for a mere $1,875,000. Located in the Little Tuscany area of Palm Springs, It has 3,224 square feet of living space on a 15,682 sf hill top lot. Built in 1952 and updated most recently in 2013, it boasts 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths + a den/office/media room with direct pool access, vaulted exposed beam ceilings, glass walls, custom lighting and an open concept chef’s kitchen, among other amenities . . . if you’re thinking it’s time to relocate, contact Scott Lyle Realtors for more info.
It’s fun to take in the distinctions + nuances of places you travel to. One of the things I always notice is the signage + typography that is used around me. Typography is such an important part of design, it can really convey a message or feeling . . .
And if driving yourself around sounds more like a job than a treat, check out Palm Springs Modern Tours (www.palmspringsmoderntours.com) and sign up for a guided tour from the comfort of a mini van driven by Robert Imber, the knowledgeable guide, founder + owner of PSMT.
2. Villagefest Street Fair. If you are in Palm Springs on a Thursday night you are in luck. It just so happens that every Thursday evening from 7-10pm, Palm Canyon Drive (between Amado + Barista roads) is closed off to vehicles and becomes the Villagefest Street Fair. You’ll find musicians, arts + crafts vendors, food vendors and a farmer’s market to stroll through. We found THE BEST watermelon licorice vendor at the farmer’s market, and proceeded to OD on watermelon licorice for the next 2 days. I would give anything for a piece of that licorice right now . . . it was mouthwateringly yummy. You can visit www.villagefest.org for more information.
3. Uptown Design District. If you love design + architecture as much as I do, you will love the fact that Palm Springs has it’s own design district. Head over to North Palm Canyon Drive, and you will find yourself in the middle of a solid concentration of contemporary + mid century modern design. Vintage furniture lovers, interior decorators and home stagers will have a ball discovering furniture pieces, and even some vintage clothing stores along this strip.
Palm Springs is a great little get-away with lots to discover, if you are interested in visiting, check out VisitPalmSprings.com for more of what this city has to offer.