There’s no better way to see Palm Springs than by bike, and several boutique hotels in the city offer complimentary use of cruisers during the day.

Just off of North Indian Canyon Drive, The Avanti Hotel is a short ride away from the shops, restaurants, and nightlife in downtown Palm Springs. Hop on and hit such hotspots as Copa, Tropicale, and Jake’s. The Avanti Hotel, 354 E. Stevens Road, Palm Springs. 760-327-3866

Don’t feel like peddling all by yourself? The Desert Riviera has retro-style cruiser bikes available in single or tandem. Take a ride around the neighborhood to check out the different architectural styles, or even bike to a nearby hiking trail. The Desert Riviera, 610 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-327-5314

The Movie Colony Hotel is undergoing a major renovation, but one thing remains the same — guests can borrow touring bikes to take in the sites on two wheels. Adjacent to the Design District, the Movie Colony Hotel is just a quick bike ride away from museums, art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques. If you don’t mind going on a five-mile trek, ride over to the famous Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Movie Colony Hotel, 726 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-320-6340

Amin Casa embodies the quiet sophistication of Palm Springs, with a twist of old Hollywood glamour.

Once the residence of actress Gloria Swanson, Amin Casa made its debut in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood in November 2016, following several months of major renovations both inside and out. “Amin” means “ours” in Tagalog, while “casa” is Spanish for “home,” and owners Ramon Bautista and Nelson Cooley want it to feel like “your home away from home.” 

“On property, guests will find the relaxing, club-like ambiance and genuine, heartfelt hospitality they have come to treasure,” Ramon said. 

The compound dates back to the 1920s, and when fully occupied, the property only accommodates 14 guests, adults only. The bungalows come with living rooms, kitchens complete with microwaves, coffeemakers, blenders, and dishes, eco-friendly toiletries, and bathrobes and slippers, plus the Swanson residence with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace, and the property’s largest kitchen. There are stunning gardens, fountains, a swimming pool, cabanas, and an outdoor dining area with a grilling station.

Above all else, Ramon and Nelson, who have experience at some of the finest hotels in the world, strive to give the patrons of Amin Casa one thing: “Intuitive, gracious service provided by a staff passionate about pleasing our guests.”

Not only does Palm Springs beckon one to come to visit for its countless sunshine days, but there is also a new reason to plan your vacation to this increasingly hip town. At least once a week, contemporary public art is being unveiled.

Palm Springs is quiet and has crispness in the air as one ventures out to get a cup of coffee on Palm Canyon at our downtown Starbucks. Clamoring for your attention is the PS I Love Letters, with its brilliant red color glistens in the filtered sunlight through the palm trees. It’s the perfect place to take an Instagramable photo.

Nona Watson, CEO of Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, conceived the artwork. She enlisted the design talents of Maru Palmersheim, and Palm Spring Canyon Print and Grit Development provided the space.

(This particular morning, a family of three was standing near the sign. The little girl was having fun frolicking around the sign, so we thought she would be the perfect model. The mother later sent us an email requesting a copy of the photo. She is pianist Jeewon Park.)

Unity, a mural with Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman’s portrait, graces one of the “art pit” walls at the corner of Belardo Road and Museum Way.  This temporary art installation will be there through December 2021.

MisterAlex, a Los Angeles-based artist, depicted Amanda surrounded by butterflies. “During my research of Amanda, I discovered she overcame a speech impediment. In addition, during her young life, she dedicated her many hours of hard work to bring people together; thus, I chose Unity for the theme.”

The Fault Line Meditation

Curator and artist, Jevpic considers himself a fortunate man. During the pandemic, he received his largest commission ever. While digging in the “art pit” to create this art installation, many local people supported him. They picked up shovels and helped him develop his vision, which looks entirely different during the day than it does at night.

In Jevpic words, “The path in the shape of the San Andres Fault is a metaphor for the faults we encounter in our life. Faults have existed before us and will be after us. Just learn, grow and move on.”

Guadalajara Artist Gonzalo Lebrija‘s temporary creation, History of Suspended, is directly in front of the Palm Springs Art Museum. The Palm Springs Art Commission worked with the museum to prepare the space and erect the art installation referred to as “A Moment for the Impossible.”

Lebrija wants to encourage thought “suspension of the passage of time – focusing on the precise moment of stillness and impact. This installation encourages one to walk around and even visit at different times of the day. The reflection in the pool also calls one to reflect on the time and space around them.

MIDABI, a Palm Springs artist who has his art in front of the Desert Center Art Center, now came up with another relevant sign. WOW on Indian Canyon Drive, near Andreas, cannot help but make you smile.  When is the last time you saw art that says, “Wow?”

His metal, esoteric sculptures are created using his thought process:  a. Always be a student b. Have a heart of a child and c. Remember you are a human being first and foremost before any other identity.

Popsicles is a temporary art installation near Townie Bagels on Sunny Dunes by Salina, California artist John Cerney. John is known as the “cutout artist” for his larger-than-life creations along California and Midwest highways. This a great place to capture selfies for your social media.

John started as a portrait artist, then began drawing. He noticed barren walls and old barns with expansive walls and convinced owners murals would enhance their spaces. The next step was designing a way for more people to see his figures. At first, he made the life size, but they realized they were not big enough for people to see as they whizzed by on the highways. Thus, these plywood cutouts are now bigger than life.

Besides a vibrate art scene, retail shops are thriving, and new restaurants are popping up everywhere. If you haven’t been to Palm Springs, you are sure to see lots of changes, including constructing the 1.5 acres of new City Park being built steps away from the Palm Springs Art Museum.

So find your stay, maybe even take advantage of a summer special and make your reservation today.

Wanderlust must be in my DNA. There are times when my innate desire to travel and explore wells up like hot lava that’s about to burst from a volcano, and I have no choice but to hit the road. Traveling via airplane fills the need, too, but there’s something about being on the open road that feels the most liberating—plus, I can pack as many pairs of shoes and hats as I want without paying extra baggage fees.

How to Travel Safely by Car

Not since the days of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez’ road trip to California and when the Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe traveled to Palm Springs have road trips been so popular. This is the time to nostalgically take a road trip and reflect on those bygone days.

Pack your car and head to Palm Springs to enjoy one of the elegantly restored boutique mid-century hotels in the group known as the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels. With almost 80 hotels from which to choose, you can be revitalized a poolside environment and snuggle in a cozy bungalow.

Before you head out, though, there are some safety precautions you should know during these times of Covid-19.

What to Bring in the Car

Even if you are traveling a short distance, bring all your travel documents—your auto insurance card, your driver’s license, auto registration, and your health insurance card.

Try to bring as much as possible of what you may need to be self-sufficient and cut down on trips to stores once you arrive. Bring water, snacks, lunch (to eat on the way or once you reach your destination), disinfectant wipes, masks, gloves, phone chargers, medications, and Ziploc bags. If you want to have some wine and spirits, pack those bottles under the car seat so you don’t have to journey to a liquor store.

Stopping for Gas and a Restroom

Like it or not, that gas stop and restroom is sometimes necessary. When you are pumping gas, disposable gloves are a great idea. Once you have finished pumping, use sanitizing wipes on anything you have touched– door handle, steering wheel, knobs for air conditioning or the radio, and your credit card.

As far as public toilets at gas stations, prepare for the worst. Bring toilet paper and soap. Make sure you really scrub your hands for at least those 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose before washing. Grab a clean paper towel to grab that door handle.

Staying at a Hotel

Here comes the beauty of staying at a Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel. With all hotels being less than 50 rooms, your room will be on the ground level or one flight upstairs. There will be no elevator rides or long hallways to negotiate. That’s because most of the small hotels were designed to face open-air courtyards.

While all of the Palm Springs Preferred Hotels have undergone deep cleaning and as a group have in place a set of baseline of safety sanitation standards, it is still a good idea to practice safety cleaning of your room. Once you are inside, use sanitary wipes to clean areas where people touch like door knobs, tables, faucets, toilets, sinks, light switches, phones, remotes, and curtain handles. Wipe down anywhere you will rest your belongings.

Eating and Drinking During Your Stay

Palm Springs is currently not open to indoor dining. But the wonderful part about visiting Palm Springs is that the weather is conducive to dining outdoors, a much safer option. Many of the finer restaurants provide food and cocktail delivery so that you can just sit back and dine comfortably in your room or by the pool. A list of some of those options are: The Tropicale, Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge, El Mirasol Restaurant, Jakes’ Palm Springs, and 533 Viet Fusion.

Note that the City of Palm Springs mandates the use of face masks in public, whether you are indoors or out.

So, grab your swimsuit and a slice of nostalgia on a well-deserved road trip to Palm Springs where unsurpassed blissfulness, hospitality, and tranquility await.

Tamanrasset is an installation of large-scale abstract paintings and light by Vivian Suter. Photo Lance Gerber.

There are plenty of us who love getting out to see the desert close up and personal. Especially this time of year, the cacti are starting to bloom, and wild desert flowers are peeking their fragile heads out of the desert soil. Breathing the fresh desert air is sure to revive a tired soul. Now, there is another way to explore and appreciate the desert… by exploring Desert X, which is happening now through May 16, 2021.  Book a romantic getaway with your sweetheart or take the kids to a family-friendly small hotel. Either way, prepare yourself for the creative desert adventure known as Desert X .

What is Desert X?

Desert X is an exhibition of 13 contemporary artwork installations, created by artists from eight countries, that are designed and built on site-specific locations through the 40 miles of Coachella Valley. The exhibition is  organized by the Desert Biennial Board, a California nonprofit that selected the sites and artists.

Students and scholars worldwide come here to study and write about the art and emerging and established artists who created these often monumental edifices in unexpected places.  Subject themes range from the environment, immigration, or climate change, to name a few.

However, what makes this adventure very special is that it is an activity an entire family can enjoy. Finding the locations, which are often obscure, may require one to use GPS coordinates. Get the whole family involved in the treasure hunt to find another installation often not visible from the road. The Desert X mobile app is a great tool for learning the details about  the art and its artist.

Here a few examples of the sites that will be revealed as you explore.

Desert X Wishing Well by Ghana Artist Serge Attukewei Clottey

These brilliant canary yellow cubes are constructed of plastic water buckets used to carry water in Ghana. The four-inch squares are connected with wire on four corners. The artist wanted to bring attention to the Coachella Valley’s future and its continuing dependency on water.

Desert X What Lies Behind the Walls by Saudi Arabia Artist Zahrah Alghamdi

This wall is about a quarter-mile hike up a slightly elevated path.  It is made out of insulation dipped in glue and then rolled in the earth surrounding the area. Metal rods in the interior hold it in place. Thus, it displays the different colors of the soil and forces one to think about people’s diverse cultures and experiences throughout the world.

Desert X ParaPivot by Poland Artist Alicja Kwade

This art installation is placed on top of a hill with a path that quickly gains elevation. More than one person has stood at the bottom of the trail and decided it is too much of a challenge to tackle on a warm Palm Springs day.  Representing glaciers, balanced in precarious positions, one walks through it and contemplates the what-ifs surrounding our everyday life.

Note: IF you have a disability placard, please let the volunteers know, and they will facilitate a way to see the art.

So make your reservations to come to Palm Springs. Pack your suntan lotion and your hats, and head out to explore this unusual way to see our valley.

Contributed by: The Santiago

For a real western adventure, and a truly inspiring experience, embrace your inner Cowboy and head out on a horseback ride, take a few tips from our friends at the Santiago Resort Palm Springs, which caters to gay men.

 

 

The Palm Springs area has several stables offering guided tours heading up through the mountains, down along the streams of Indian Canyons and even full moon trail rides at night.  So whether you’re feeling like the Lone Ranger or maybe just Woody from Toy Story, jump on a horse and see the desert in a whole new way. Just minutes away from Santiago, this is a unique adventure!

Insider Tip:  You’ll need jeans and something that looks like a pair boots. Flip flops and shorts will not cut it!

Brittany Ryan Checks out the Horseback riding at Smoke Tree Ranch

Located just a few minutes from Santiago and at the base of Smoke Tree Mountain, the Smoke Tree Stables provide guided hourly and daily rides on over 150 miles of trails right above Palm Springs.  Offering trail rides since 1927, this place is the real thing.  They offer picturesque horseback riding through the beautiful palm oasis and year- round streams of the Indian Canyons.

Even the dogs like the Horse stables at Smoke Tree Ranch

For a more energetic ride, you can trot, canter or gallop through the canyons of Morongo Valley on the private trails of CottonWood Canyon Ranch, The staff gives guided tours through the mountains and riding lessons as well.  It doesn’t get more Western than this!

Also located in Morongo Valley, Coyote Ridge Stable has several different trail rides to choose from. For a truly unique adventure, try one of their full moon rides, blazing your own trail up hills and through washes by moonlight.

Or perhaps you prefer watching over riding?  Check out the tournament schedule at the Empire Polo Club in Indio.  Pack a picnic basket and a bottle of champagne or check out their Tack Room Tavern.  This is a great place to spend an afternoon.  And don’t miss joining in on the lively divot stomp tradition at halftime.

Travel/Food Writer Linda Milks with Bella and Catie on a dog-friendly Palm Springs vacation.

Palm Springs is a well-known doggie haven. Many hotels, restaurants, and shops happily welcome and even indulge our four-legged friends. So when we recently had an opportunity to explore Palm Springs with our dogs, we were excited. Bella (Linda Milks’ feisty white Maltese/Lhasa Apso) and Catie (Sue and Todd Montgomery’s friendly black Cocker Spaniel) were equally enthusiastic. While they are both “senior” dogs, they still love to travel — mainly because they love all the snacks along the way.

CATIE:  I love traveling with my Mom and Dad. I was so worried when I saw them put their suitcases in the car. I thought they were going to leave me behind, but “bow wowsy”—  they put me in the car and I got to go too.  I was even more excited when my doggy pal, Bella, hopped in the backseat.

BELLA:  I usually get left at home when Mom goes on a trip, but it didn’t happen this time. I was so happy to see you, Catie. I heard we were going to some wonderful small hotels in Palm Springs, and when we pulled up to Talavera, I knew this was going to be great. When we opened the door, there was my very own guest dog bed and some tasty treats. The bathroom was huge so that’s where my Mom put the special dog bowls they set out for me. I could look out the door to the hot tub in the back area that was all enclosed with a bamboo fence, making it my own private playground.

Bella settling in for her stay at the Talavera, a dog-friendly boutique hotel in Palm Springs.

This hotel is small and the rooms are all very private. There was only one other room next to the pool. They left their door open, so, of course, I went exploring to see just who they were. I guess they like dogs because they wanted to pet me. (I do like attention!)

Katie with her own welcome sign at Avanti in Palm Springs

CATIE: I was thrilled that our hotel, Avanti Palm Springs, was so welcoming to me. There was even a sign at the front door with my name on it. The setting was quiet and nicely landscaped with a lovely pool and hot tub. My Dad walked me all over and I felt right at home. Our room was stylish (yes, I may be a dog, but I still like style) and comfort. We even had a kitchen where Dad could concoct snacks for me.

 

The pool at AVANTI in Palm Springs

BELLA:  Now let’s talk about the yummy food we ate in Palm Springs.

Swordfish Tacos at Azucar is an ideal lunch.

CATIE: Yep, we went to so many great restaurants and sat on their outside patios. Everywhere we went there were water bowls and lots of snacks.  Our first lunch was at Azucar, a welcoming place with inventive cuisine (as my Mom, the food writer, would say). This restaurant is located at La Serena Villas, a luxurious boutique hotel. Mom and Dad and Linda had drinks and delicious appetizers and swordfish tacos. (I know they were delicious because I got some too.)

Cioppino at Jakes, one of dog-friendliest,locally-owned restaurants in Palm Springs.

BELLA: Catie, did you know that the first night’s restaurant, Jake’s, was named after the owners’ dog? Do you think we will ever get a restaurant named after us? Bruce and Chris, the owners, were so nice to us, and I loved meeting their new dog, Jackson. But more than that, I loved the bites we got from that giant meatball your Dad ordered. The shrimp that our Moms gave us was pretty tasty, too. I didn’t think my mom could finish that big bowl of Cioppino, but she did. Maybe it’s because we helped her.

Copely’s local- owned and pup-friendly restaurant is a Palm Springs favorite.

CATIE: Bella, have you ever eaten at a five-star restaurant?  Well, Copley’s was a first for me. And we were both treated like the princesses we are. The setting was magical, and I loved sampling some of our humans’ fabulous fare, such as Dad’s Mizo Glazed Scottish Salmon and Linda’s Slow Roasted Duck Breast. I was especially impressed to learn that this chic, historic site was Cary Grant’s guesthouse during the 1940s. (I know about Cary Grant because I always love watching him with Audrey Hepburn in “Charade.”)

The epic margarita flight at Tac/Quila in Palm Springs

BELLA: Catie, we sure had a great lunch the second day (and that means lots of treats off our parents’ plates). We tried Tac/Quila, home to modern Jalisco-style cuisine and, according to our parents, the best margarita flight ever. Catie, didn’t you just love the bites of beef you got from the fajitas? The pork from Mom’s al Pastor made me beg for more.

Breakfast or brunch at Palm Springs legendary Sherman’s is not to be missed.

CATIE: The last morning in Palm Springs, remember that breakfast at Sherman’s, a very famous New York-style deli and noshing spot for dogs and humans alike? While the humans had scrumptious egg dishes (like my Mom’s lox and scrambled eggs), we had special snacks and bowls of fresh water. And then Mom and Dad ordered yummy pastrami sandwiches to take home.  (Hey, I love pastrami too.)

Bella exploring at Bones and Scones in Palm Springs

BELLA: We also got to go to some very fun pet stores. I loved Bones & Scones because they gave us treats and Mom bought me more treats (like pumpkin and peanut butter biscuits) to take home.  This store specializes in making healthy and organic dog food, which is very important for us senior pups so we can stay at the top of our games.

 

Catie showing off her new pink halter at Posh Pet Care in Palm Springs.

CATIE: My Dad bought me a bright pink halter at Posh Pet Care. This was another special pet shop with lots of toys and dog outfits. (I am a bit voluptuous, but they even had sweaters that fit me just fine.)

The owners of Boozehounds giving Catie a tour of their new expansion which will include a play area for dogs.

BELLA: Catie, I think we should tell them about Boozehounds.  This bar and restaurant will open soon in Palm Springs, and it will be a wonderful destination where dogs can take their humans. We met the founders, Jimmy McGill and Steve Piacenza, and they loved us.

CATIE: Well, who wouldn’t love us?  We are so cute and, Bella, you only nipped at the owners’ feet once.

Mixologist, Justin Gordon, making dog parents happy at Boozehounds in Palm Springs.

BELLA: Wow! That mixologist, Justin Gordon, sure seemed to make our parents happy. Those drinks were so colorful, and they “oohed” and “aahed” about them. Maybe we can come back again when they have the play area set up for dogs while our parents have cocktails.

Final note from dog parents:

Our doggies were treated very well on this trip, although they were exhausted when we got home after all their antics in Palm Springs. We had so much fun with them, and we definitely encourage other dog lovers to take their pups to this amazing dog-friendly destination. And make sure you stay in a Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel (PSPSH), as we did. Many of these charming hotels welcome dogs.

 

Story provided by Linda Milks and Susan Montgomery.

Author: Andrew Schaeffer

I’m not an outdoorsy guy. I’m in my element when I’m lounging on the couch binging something on Netflix. But, I needed to change that habit and get out and get moving—and what better way to do so than by going somewhere with plenty of outdoor activities?