You have got to go here…Sunnylands – Rancho Mirage, Calif.
If you are into history, architecture, gardens, or art (just to name a few) – then a trip to Sunnylands is just for you!
Where to start…so much to show and tell!
Located less than 15 minutes from the heart of Palm Springs, Sunnylands has been nicknamed the “West Coast Camp David” due to all the historical meetings that have taken place behind its doors, but there is so much more to it.
Designed by architect A. Quincy Jones in the 1960’s, Sunnylands (a classic example of Mid-century Modern design) was originally built as a desert oasis for the Annenberg family, but over the years turned into a destination for not only their friends and family, but for world leaders and celebrities as well.
Up until 2012 all the historical significance was kept behind its walls, but thankfully now the public can relish in the inspiring stories and amazing views it offers.
While the visitors center and gardens are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m every day, don’t expect to just drive up and get on the next tour of the estate – viewing opportunities are available in limited quantities daily. Tickets are released on the 1st and 15th of each month at 9 a.m. for the following two weeks and are $35 per person for a 90 minute tour…I PROMISE it is worth it. Fifteen tours are offered each day, with only 7 people on each one. The small group made it very cool – I felt like I was actually a guest in their home.
You should arrive 15 minutes prior to your tour for check-in, but come plenty early or make sure there is ample time after your tour to walk the immaculate gardens, watch a video on the history of Sunnylands, lounge in the lobby and look through countless books, or have a lunch at the gourmet cafe.
OK, now that we got through all the basics…it is time for the main event! So hop aboard the golf cart and let’s take a tour through history…
Sunnylands sits on a 9-hole golf course and houses several lakes, a Totem Pole, Chinese pagoda, rose garden, art galore and a Magnolia tree with roots back to Andrew Jackson – just to name a few!
Sorry to say this is where the pictures stop, for security reasons photography is not allowed inside the main house. No worries, you will just have to visit for yourself and walk through the room where Ronald Reagan sat while watching Mikhail Gorbachev speak to the American people in the 1980’s (this room also boasts some of the most impressive pictures, letters and invitations from celebrities, royalty and world leaders that I have ever seen), stand in the foyer where seven U.S. Presidents have stood, feast your eyes on an actual Picasso, and take a stroll past the table where Queen Elizabeth was served dinner. Believe me when I say that these are just a few of the super cool things you will get to experience when you take a tour, so do yourself a favor and plan a trip.
Oh and don’t forget to sign the guest book on your way out – it’s a tradition!
P.S. – Did you know that the only state dinner held outside of the White House was held at Sunnylands?