A big welcome to any and all Canadians who come down to our part of the desert during the winter months. Have you thawed out yet? There are so many of you now that the local paper way down here near Mexico has an entire eight page section called Canada. Whether it's your first time to our land of endless sunshine, or you've been tagging along with a golfer for years, I have a few recommendations for things to see and do in our lovely valley.
|Photo Credit: Night shot of the 26ft tall Marilyn statue|
by American artist Seward Johnson.
Taken by my friend Nancy McKie Berryhill
- See the Marilyn statue before they take her away. Marilyn in her white halter dress with a desert mountain backdrop is so indicative of this area that it gives me goose bumps. When I saw it for the first time, it was at least a hundred degrees and the artist created her white pleated dress with so much movement, I almost felt a breeze in the shadows between her shapely legs.
- Drive out towards the Mojave Desert and take pictures of rocks and Joshua trees or visit Joshua Tree National Monument. I always see something new in nature. There are also hiking trails right here in our valley that are quite nice. One of them starts at the top of the Cove in La Quinta or there’s the Bump and Grind in Palm Desert. Whatever you do, make sure you take lots of water, wear comfortable shoes and a hat, bring sunscreen and a cell phone. Our paper has too many stories of rescued hikers that veered off into strange isolated parts of the vast terrain. Be careful and cautious.
- Visit the Living Desert. Not just a place for kids, The Living Desert has giraffes, camels and various cats that prowl around in a lovely sanctuary. More importantly, there are amazing gardens full of hummingbirds, butterflies and cacti. If you enjoy photography and nature this is a fabulous place to check out. They also have the largest miniature train display I have ever seen.
- Luxury shopping on El Paseo. This street is the pride of the Coachella Valley. Lined with sculptures from various artists who work in many types of media, this is the ultra-chic shopping district where elegant restaurants snuggle up to Tiffany’s while blasting you in cold air-conditioned comfort. I like to go to Pottery Barn and dine at Tommy Bahamas, The Daily Grill or Pacifica. They recently opened an Apple store too.
- Festivals and Special Events. Fortunately, most of this stuff takes place in the winter when the weather is mild. The list of these fun festivals is excessively long, but there is something for everyone. Besides the enormously popular Coachella Music Festival and the Stage Coach Country Music festival there are Art fairs, Air Shows and Mid-Century Modern events juxtaposed with the Tamale Festival, the Date Festival, Brews and Blues, Polo, a dog show, the Palm Springs International Film Festival and out toward Twenty-Nine Palms there is even a Weed Show Competition. My friend Marie Collier happens to be a docent at the local museum and the author of Gather the Children. She told me all about it and I’m even considering entering next year! Legal or illegal, I've never grown weed on purpose. Surely, I can grow some weeds in a year!
As you can see, there’s more to this area than just palm trees, pools and golf. Once you visit and feel the shimmering warmth and see the stars sparkle in the November sky, you’ll want to stay here forever. Because the desert rocks!