Southern California 2011 travel blog

Windmill farms

2 - Westin Mission Hills Resort

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Sheri Gray

Bruno Santos and Reggie Woodridge

21 - Palm Springs

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26 - Palm Springs Follies

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38 - Aerial Tramway

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42 - Living Desert Zoo

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45 - Palm Desert Civic Center Park

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55 - La Quinta Resort

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The River

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Aqua Pazza

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Jill Murphy


PALM SPRINGS


THE DRIVE TO PALM SPRINGS

About ten miles before arriving to the Palm Springs area, it was quite interesting to see wind farms with literally hundreds of windmills of various sizes and styles.

PALM SPRINGS AREA

Palm Springs is actually only one town in a series of about five towns that have developed contiguously south of Palm Springs over the years. The town of Palm Springs is now the older part of the area although there are still some very famous people who have estates there.

The places to stay when visiting the area are the towns of Rancho Mirage, where we stayed, Indian Wells, Palm Dessert, or La Quinta. This is where all the best resort/golf hotel, shops, and restaurants are located. That is not to say that you won’t want to spend a day visiting Palm Springs and attending a theatre performance there as we did.

WESTIN MISSION HILLS RESORT

We had a challenging choice to make when deciding whether to stay at the Westin Mission Hills Resort, a Starwood Hotel, in Rancho Mirage or La Quinta Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Hilton Group Hotel, in La Quinta. Ultimately we chose Westin Mission Hills as it appeared to be more centrally located on the map. It was an excellent decision and we can highly recommend this hotel for a wonderful stay in the Palm Springs area.

Virtually all the hotels in the area are large, have at least one 18 hole golf course and are beautifully landscaped as you will see in the photos of the Westin Mission Hills Resort.

Photos 2-18

The Reservations Manager, Michelle Doornink, really looked out for us a gave us the Presidential Suite.

During our stay, Reggie Woodridge, Director of Room Operations; Bruno Santos, Duty Manager; and Sheri Gray; Concierge Marketing Executor, all helped make our stay a wonderful experience at this resort.

A VISIT TO PALM SPRINGS

It is an easy ten mile drive to Palm Springs with lots of parking available. The part of town to visit is the main street that is all of six blocks long. There are lots of outdoor restaurants to choose from for lunch.

Photos 21-24

We met some young “alternative lifestyle” young people as we walked along the main street who were very friendly with vibrant personalities!

Photo 25

A “must do” when visiting Palm Springs is to see the Palm Springs Follies. It is a theatrical production that has been running for about 20 years. You can buy tickets online at psfollies.com, the concierge at your hotel can buy them for you, or you can buy them the day you visit Palm Springs, as we did. It’s located on the main street.

Photos 26-35

The surprise of the follies came when we were standing in the outer lobby waiting for the doors to open and were reading the posters about the show. When we read that the performers’ average age was 65 with performers from their 50s to over 80, we were in shock and wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. We could only imagine old, amateur retired people, out of shape with nothing better to do.

To our delight and surprise, all the performers were in great shape! Anyone could only wish to be in as good a shape even in the best years of life whether male or female. They all had professional credentials of long standing in Hollywood and on Broadway. They performed as beautifully and with as much energy and enthusiasm as you would see from 20 year olds. The costumes were as fantastic as you would see in Las Vegas.

Guess the age of the performers in these photos.

The gentleman in the red cowboy outfit is in his 70s. The woman in the cowgirl outfit is in her 60s and the man in the black outfit is in his 50s.

It was one of the most entertaining live shows we have ever seen! We encourage people of all ages to see this show and get energized to enjoy a life filled with joy and fun!!

PALM SPRINGS AERIAL TRAMWAY

An excellent thing to do on the same day you visit Palm Springs is to take the tram ride to the top of Mt. San Jacinto State Park. This tram ride boasts the “world’s largest rotating tram cars” and a 2 ½ mile ride. It is only a few miles outside Palm Springs. There is the Peaks Restaurant and the Pines Cafe at the top if you didn’t have lunch in Palm Springs.

Photos 38-41

INDIAN CANYONS

Also just outside Palm Springs is an Indian Reservation where there are several desert/mountain walks/hikes. We did not have time to take advantage of this activity, but it is on our list of things to do when we visit next time.

THE LIVING DESERT ZOO

On another day we visited various places in the Indian Wells, Palm Desert, La Quinta, and Ranch Mirage area. The Living Desert Zoo is located in Palm Desert. It is a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours walking through the desert, seeing the flora, fauna, and desert animals.

Photos 42-44

PALM DESERT CIVIC CENTER PARK

As we really enjoy interesting walks where we can walk for a couple of hours for about 5-6 miles, we consulted with Sheri Gray, Concierge, at our hotel. She recommended the Palm Desert Civic Center Park that was only a couple of miles from our hotel. It was an excellent recommendation and one we thoroughly enjoyed.

Photos 45-54

LA QUINTA – A WALDORF ASTORIA RESORT HOTEL

We decided to visit La Quinta to see what we missed and to find out if we made the right choice by staying at the Westin Mission Hills instead of La Quinta.

La Quinta is one of the older resorts, one where the Hollywood stars of the past often stayed. It is exceptionally maintained and, as you will see in the photos below, it is a truly beautiful Spanish bungalow style resort.

Photos 55-62

As beautiful as it is, for us it was much too far removed from the center of the area. So if we were to return to the area we would select either the Westin or one of the other resort hotels more centrally located.

TWO EXCELLENT SHOPPING AREAS

The River

About two miles from our hotel is an excellent and beautifully designed shopping center, The River. It has all the shops and restaurants you could want.

You can find a different restaurant for every day you are staying. Our favorite was Acqua Pazza.

El Paseo Drive

El Paseo Drive is the Rodeo Dr. of the Palm Springs Area. For fine dining and upscale shops, this is the place to spend and afternoon.

We have a dear friend, Jill Murphy, who lives in the area and had lunch with her at one of her favorite restaurants, the Harbor House Restaurant, on El Paseo Drive.

We spent six days in the Palm Springs area and still had things to see and do the next time we visited. This is definitely a location to spend time to have fun and enjoyment.



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