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Sunnylands – Rancho Mirage, Calif.

7 Jan

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.

Main House


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!

TotemStop and smell the roses...

DSCN5863DSCN5882This goes way back!

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?


Happy Sunnylanding,



Pappy & Harriet’s – Pioneertown, Calif.

3 Mar

You have got to go here…Pappy & Harriett’s – Pioneertown, Calif.

Have you ever wanted to visit an old western town and eat an amazing meal? Well…I have just the place for you – Pappy & Harriet’s.

Located just 30 minutes from Palm Springs and 20 minutes from the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, Pappys ( as the locals call it) is nestled in Pioneertown – which was founded in the 1940′s as a movie set. Before or after you eat I highly suggest you stroll around and take pictures as the buildings are very quaint and there are tons of great photo opportunities!

Just like the old West!

Oh no...who is going to bail us out?

OK, so back to the really good part…

Pappys is a place where you can just relax, eat a fabulous home-cooked meal and have some fun.  When you enter you will be greeted by amazing and eclectic decor.

There is not a bad seat in the place, (I prefer near the window so I can watch the horses and bikes roll by) so pick one and make yourself at home.

Over the years I have eaten just about everything on the menu and have never been disappointed.  Portions are huge and prices are right.  You MUST try the chili…it is to die for.

Look at the big hunks of steak in the nachos below…

There is something I love about drinking tea out of a mason jar.

OH and do you love music?  Pappys is known for hosting world-class bands and musicians.  They have live shows almost every night and no matter what your musical taste is there is something for you.

Many of greats have stood here!

In the hustle and bustle of life, you need to stop once and awhile and enjoy a good meal with good company – Pappys is just the place to do that!

When you are near, make the extra trip to check out this special gem!

Happy Pappying,


Tahquitz Canyon – Palm Springs, Calif.

19 Jan

You have got to go here…Tahquitz Canyon – Palm Springs, Calif.

OK, so here is a sneak peek…

There is so much more where that came from…read on!

My dad had heard about Tahquitz Canyon ( ancient Native American land) from a friend, so on a recent trip to Palm Springs we decided to check it out and I am so glad we did!  The Canyon is located just minutes from the heart of downtown so there are no excuses not to go.

Upon arrival you will enter the visitors center where you can read up on the canyon and borrow a hiking stick if you want!

Let me preface by saying that this is a two-mile loop to a 18ft waterfall with a 350 foot elevation gain, but if you hike or walk at all it will be a breeze.  With that being said please remember this is Palm Springs and it can be hot any time of year so bring plenty of water and snacks!

Now to the fun part…take your map and go.  The trail is very well-marked and is easy to follow.  As you go, look for markers that give you fascinating facts about the land you are on – such as where ancient ruins were found.

While walking really keep your eyes open as there is tons of amazing sceneary…everything from rock formations, fantastic views, wildlife to lush pools of water.

I can not express to you how beautiful this hike is.  I was in awe of all that was around and was totally giddy when we made it to the waterfall!  The only big bummer about this hike is that you can’t swim in the water – I was so tempted!

If I would have known how serene it was at the top I would have packed a lunch and had a picnic!

You may never want to leave – but if you must, don’t fret there is tons to see on the way down. Since it is a loop, a whole new set of wonders to discover awaits. (I made my family stop and take funny pictures!)

At the end I was very sad because it was over, but happy to have made the discovery!  I hope you feel the same after exploring Tahquitz Canyon!

***Side note – Admission is $12.50 (well worth it) and the hours vary, so check before you go!

Happy Hiking,