California's Palm Springs Area: Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Borrego Springs & Beyond
by Don Young
The Land Of Fun & Sun: As the story goes, Hollywood grew and prospered and with it, the local resorts, country clubs, and tennis facilities until everything was so overcrowded, so expensive and so exclusive that even the members of the Hollywood movie colony found it difficult to get some peace and relaxation. Two of those celebrities, Charlie Farrell and Ralph Bellamy, began to look for something better. They found it in a small, sun-drenched community in the desert east of Los Angeles a place called Palm Springs. Farrell and Bellamy built their own tennis resort there, and their friends clamored to join. Soon, Palm Springs became the favorite getaway for an ever-expanding group of actors and actresses, directors and producers. Some enjoyed the warmth of the desert during the otherwise chilly winter months. Some enjoyed escaping the harassment of the media. Others simply enjoyed a private retreat within reasonable distance of their workplace: Hollywood. Hedy Lamarr had a house on the northeast corner of El Alameda and Hermosa Drive. Gloria Swanson had a hideaway where she could entertain Joseph Kennedy. Darryl Zanuck and Howard Hughes were notorious for their use of Palm Springs as a place to bring their paramours. The region continued to grow, spurred on by such annual events as the Bob Hope Desert Classic, the Dinah Shore LPGA Golf Tournament, and the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Golf Tournament. Today there is a veritable showcase of glittering hotels, resorts, restaurants, bistros and boutiques intersecting with streets bearing such familiar names as Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Fred Waring, Gene Autrey, Gerald Ford and Frank Sinatra. Lana Turner, Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, and Cary Grant and Barbara Hutton all honeymooned here. But there is more to this region than a sense of being in Hollywood East. To the south and west, the terrain becomes mountainous and there are remnants of century-old gold mines scattered among the apple orchards near Julian and Ramona. There also are the Indians, descendants of the original settlers of this lush and varied area, and the names of their reservations reflect the heritage of generations: Cahuilla, Manzanita, Los Coyotes, Santa Rosa, Capitan Grande and Morongo. If you have been planning to pamper yourself, now is the time and this is the place. Few north-south roads penetrate this land of mountains, state parks, national forests and Indian reservations. The primary ones are state routes 78 and 79, both extremely scenic links to such little-known but highly interesting communities as Julian, Ramona, Hemet and Borrego Springs. This guide explores the region in depth, with an emphasis on outdoor activities, from golf and birdwatching to wine tours, watersports and hiking. Touring chapters take you to all the well-known sights, and then lead you off to unusual attractions that will amuse and delight you. Accommodation sections cover all, from camping to B&Bs to historical houses. Restaurants and cafes are chosen for their charm and impressive cuisine. Often, doing something that you've done a dozen times before, but doing it in a different place, at a different time, or with a different person can make all the difference. Under the right circumstances, even the routine can become an adventure. Everything in life is an adventure. At least, it is the first time you experience it. Every sight, every sound, every scent, every taste, every sensation is an adventure that once. Why? Because it is a discovery . And every new discovery is an adventure. So, the authors dedicate this book to discovery: to experiencing new places, new people, new activities, new sensations, but above all, to discovering new dimensions within ourselves.
- Hunter Publishing, March 2011
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