I had the pleasure of visiting Palm Springs several weeks ago, stealing a week away from my crazy schedule to try and re-charge and rest a bit. It was well worth it!
- Wellness: I spent the first five days with a girlfriend at her father’s place. We had both been working very hard lately and agreed it would be a peaceful, restful wellness trip. We had no expectations, no agenda, no real plans or goals. We took it easy, read by the pool, soaked up the sun and cooked healthy (and yummy) meals.
- Shopping: The design district, on the northern section of North Palm Canyon Drive is a wonderful design mecca. I targeted vintage clothing shops as I had a specific need for a 60’s outfit for a formal gala. I found many options and settled on a unique pant-suit of sorts: a sheer swing jacket and silver lame pants – apparently part of a performer’s complete wardrobe that the shop, Retro Etcetera, had acquired. We were wowed by other gorgeous stores such as Pelago (where I saw the cool orange ottoman with the amazing buttons) and Just Modern, for classic home-wares, books, gifts, jewelry.
- Hollywood History: as well as enjoying watching the Academy Awards on TV, I toured through the gorgeous neighbourhoods of Las Palmas and the Movie Colony and read about the celebrities who used to rent and own the houses in those areas. It must have been an amazing playground in the heyday of 40’s – 50’s – 60’s Hollywood.
- Architecture: Three words: Mid Century Modern. It was so amazing to see examples of these homes in plentitude. Stunning, spare, simple, elegant. Beautiful design that is not ostentatious, but elemental, clean. And landscape architecture too, such a change of scenery for this Vancouverite – loved the cacti, the xeriscaping.
- Art: Several people had recommended visiting the Palm Springs Art Museum. We had one rainy day and the timing was right! We spent the afternoon going through their collections: Native American art and baskets, glass art, old Hollywood photographs – both of celebrities and also of some of old movie sets. The outdoor sculpture garden was gorgeous even in the rain. The current exhibit was of Women Abstract Expressionists and the docents who hosted the tours were charming and so passionate about the art.
- The Good Life. I said goodbye to my long weekend buddy at the airport and for a few additional days hung out with some friends who are retired and winter in Palm Springs. I joined the fold, ran about their complex in a golf cart, picked incredibly sweet tangerines off the tree, joined their happy hour conversations, sat in the sun, swam in the pool, and had time to chat and get to know them much better. What a wonderful example of a relaxing life in the sun, after a long career of hard work. A lovely example of living the golden years. They return to the same location each year, as do many of their neighbours, and there was so much camaraderie among them.
What a great break, a breath of sunny fresh air, and a peek into one gorgeous corner of the Golden State. I’ll be back: to see my friends again, to explore the architecture more, to get a good dose of sunshine in the middle of the next Pacific Northwest winter…no question.