Palm Springs Girlfriend Getaway Two Day Stay with Visit to Joshua Tree
Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park
2-Day Getaway by Connie Young
2-day girlfriend getaway begins by car from Orange County, California. Connie
Young and Debbie Stock meet at a convenient location near Orange County Airport,
then embark on their journey with a scenic drive (less than two hours) to the
popular Palm Desert destination, Palm Springs. Day One offers a relaxing tour and
orientation of this premier vacation city.
Day Two, the girls explore Joshua Tree National
Rounding the bend outside of Banning on Interstate 10 East, the wind began
to pick up as we approached the narrow gorge ahead. Standing is clusters on each
side of the interstate and climbing into the hills rising from the valley floor,
giant turbine powered windmills announce the entrance to the desert towns
beyond. My car's outside temperature reading shot up 10 degrees once we passed
the windmill farms (officially called wind energy farms), a product of
compression heating of the wind.
Our 2-day getaway's first destination was the legendary playground of movie
stars, painters, novelists and just plain folks seeking to enjoy unfiltered
sunshine, desert breezes and nightlife. This was the stuff of the 50's and 60's,
but the lure hasn't faded. Numerous golf course oriented residential
developments have sprung up east of Palm Springs with streets named for the rich
and famous like Gene Autry Trail, Dinah Shore Drive and Frank Sinatra Drive.
THE VISITORS CENTER
The first stop at the edge of town was the Palm Springs Visitors Center. Once
inside you are instantly acclimated to the feel, look and colors of the desert.
T-shirts and sun hats in colors of copper, sand, turquoise and sage, along with
countless books on wildflowers and desert recreation, fill the space. The
friendly staff provided us with a visitors guide and great suggestions for
enjoying our stay. Although not staffed at the time of our visit, the center
also housed a Native American cultural information desk. The Agua Caliente Band
of Cahulla Indians can trace tribal roots back 10,000 years in the canyons and
on the valley floor. Brochures about archeological sites, history,
contemporary celebrations are readily available.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF THE CITY
Palm Springs still draws crowds to Palm Canyon Drive, the heart of the city
where day and night life includes theatre, world class dining, seasonal
festivals, quaint shops and close-by museums. A life-size bronze of former Mayor
and Congressman Sony Bono sits at the edge of a fountain in one of the many
plazas and the Palm Springs Walk of Stars pays tribute to the many Hollywood
stars who lived and played in Palm Springs. There are also stars for presidents
Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. Both frequented the area.
Every Thursday evening except holidays, Palm Canyon Drive closes to traffic for
its weekly VillageFest. Vendors display quality arts and crafts, tasty treats
and you can buy fresh products from the certified farmers market. Live
entertainment adds to the festive atmosphere.
Endless choices in both indoor and street front patio dining abound. Restaurants
encourage patrons to enjoy their meal just a few feet from the busy sidewalks by
providing misters that cool the dry warm air to a comfortable temperature. We
were in search of lunch when we arrived and the first order of business was to
find a parking place near the eateries on Palm Canyon Drive. Parking is at a
premium even on weekdays. Most of it is free, however, and we were able to
secure a spot just one block off of Palm Canyon Drive. We made our way to the
Las Casuelas Terraza Mexican Restaurant, at 222 S. Palm Canyon. Inside the walls
were covered in huge brightly painted desert and Mexican heritage themed murals.
A large shaded outdoor dining area ran the length of the building. The mark of a
popular restaurant can be found in the number of people dining midweek at noon.
It appeared the clientele included many local business people on their lunch
hour among the tourists like ourselves. Service was friendly and the food was
Rested and refreshed, the next order of business was to check out the shops
lining the boulevard. Our conclusion was they run the gamut from mom and pop
trinket and souvenir huts to pricey designer boutiques. There were very few
shops that teenagers would find interesting. Overall, I would say Palm Canyon
Boulevard catered to a more mature crowd.
Case in point is the Palm Springs Follies at the Plaza Theatre. This spectacular
brings vaudeville back to life in a Broadway-caliber celebration of the music,
dance and comedy of the 30's and 40's. From ticket sellers and ushers to the
entire cast of the production, they're all old enough to have enjoyed the tunes
fresh from the songwriters' pens. The production is a hit with seniors and
busloads arrive weekly from retirement villages statewide.
There is a lot of serious nightlife too, from gaming in nearby casinos to
entertainment in the hotels and restaurants. Something for every pocketbook,
mood and energy level.
Read about Day
WHERE TO STAY
After discussing a variety of hotel options and initially picking a
luxury Palm Springs resort, we decided we each wanted our own room and chose the
Western Inn at Palm Springs. The hotel sits at the edge of downtown along
South Palm Canyon. A great choice, we each saved over $200. ...>