Idyllwild Arts Program

Idyllwild Hotels
Rainbow Inn

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Idyllwild Famous Destination - Celebrities Wild for Idyllwild


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Idyllwild: Famed Movie Locale Unknown To Many

Even though it has been featured in many movies, the charming mountain retreat called Idyllwild remains one of Southern California's best kept secrets. As a  weekend getaway, it can't be beat as a mountain retreat close to Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. And as a mountain vacation, this is one of many options to sweep you off your feet. Over the hill from Idyllwild in the Palm Desert sits a better known neighbor, Palm Springs. For Idyllwild residents, it boggles the mind why folks would prefer the 100+ degree heat to their treasured, cooler mountain retreat. When one stands in the desert and looks to the white snow peaks of the San Jacinto's, the glistening snow offers a tantalizing reminder that just across that mountain top and down its slopes there sits a scenic pine forest and beautiful mountain escape, the beloved Idyllwild.

Located in the San Jacinto Mountains, east of Los Angeles, the village & its neighboring San Bernardino National Forest have been featured in the Elvis Presley-Charles Bronson musical, "Kid Galahad," Dean Martin's "The Wrecking Crew," "Walter Matthau's "Kotch," Peter Fonda's "The Wild Angels," Albert Brooks, "Modern Romance," and recently even Darryl Hannah filmed a movie at nearby Garner Ranch.

It's a mystery why more people haven't found out about this friendly place with friendly people, great restaurants, a World Class Jazz Festival and the sensational Idyllwild Arts Academy (where "The Music Man's" Meredith Wilson taught. Even Lucille Ball and best-selling author Raymond Chandler had cabins in Idyllwild.

Part of the spectacular area's charm is that Idyllwild really does live up to its name, whether you escape there to be "idle" (relax, rejuvenate and do nothing) or to explore the "wild" (experience the lush forest & wildlife while hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking or horseback riding.)

Bob Smith of the Idyllwild Historical Society (where you can learn more about Elvis and the movies filmed there, the incredible Native Americans who lived there and more) said: "We specialize in 'slow foods,' not 'fast foods' here." You'll discover several fine bistros while wandering though the scenic downtown where you'll notice the absence of chain restaurants.

Richard Cadieux of Cedar Street Inn, a popular bed and breakfast, said Idyllwild is "the ideal place to get
reintroduced to nature--the incredible sights, sounds and aromas." Especially if you're from an urban city, you'll learn to appreciate "the quiet" that's so special and needed to rejuvenate "life."

Psychotherapist Olivia Redwine, a veteran mountain hiker, loves the forest. She raised her three children to appreciate the pristine beauty and unspoiled, serene nature that Idyllwild offers.

Lon and John of Rainbow Inn, 54420 So. Circle Drive, left the "hustle and bustle" of Palm Springs for this serenity and "peace of mind." They love running a 5 room bed and breakfast among the pines in what is one of SoCal's most picturesque spots. There are many cabins, lodges and hotels, but if Lon & John still run the Rainbow Inn, you really should check it out as one of the best choices for a sweet suite.

Capt. Dennis Rhein, owner of BlackJack Aviation, flies charters all over the country for clients like Steven Spielberg, but always returns to his home in Idyllwild. "There's no place like home," said the affable chap, who along with his wife, Georgie, have a daughter attending Idyllwild Arts Academy.


Musicians, singers and composers includee: pianists Van Cliburn, Nelson Freire and Paul Posnak; composers Robert Ashley and John Luther Adams; violinists Joshua Bell, James Ehnes and Hilary Hahn; flutist Richard Adeney; and opera singers Juliana Gondek and Sumi Jo.


The Academy is a boarding school for talented high school students specializing in arts and entertainment. (Summer arts and entertainment courses offer public enrollment in a variety programs.)  Notable attendees of either The Academy or the Summer Program include:


Ryan Carnes, Actor Desperate Housewives, CSI, General Hospital, Surf School, Thicker Than Water, Eating Out, Grand Union, Anderson's Cross
Chris Evans, Actor Boston Public, Opposite Sex, The Fugitive, Eastwick, Fantastic Four, The Nanny Diaries, Seattle, Battle in Seattle, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Newcomers, The Paper Boy, The Perfect Score, Cellular, The Orphan King, Fierce People, Not Another Teen Movie
Robert Hoffman, Actor Shrooms, Vanished, She's the Man, Guess Who, Coach Carter, Quintuplets, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, You Got Served, Pirates of the Caribbean, American Dreams, From Justin to Kelly
Scarlett Johansson, Actress Girl with a Pearl Earring, Lost in Translation, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, A Good Woman, The Perfect Score, Match Point, The Island, Scoop, The Black Dahlia, The Prestige, The Nanny Diaries, Mary Queen of Scots, The Other Boleyn Girl, Brilliant, Napoleon and Betsy, Amazon, Ghost World, The Man Who Wasn't There, The Horse Whisperer, Home Alone 3, Fall, Just Cause, North
Chad Michael Murray, Actor Gilmore Girls Dawson's Creek, CSI, Freaky Friday, The Lone Ranger, Home of The Brave, One Tree Hill, Diagnosis Murder, Undressed, Aftermath, Murphy's Dozen, Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, House of Wax, A Cinderella Story
Clive Owen, Actor Pink Panther, The Bourne Identity, Gosford Park, Shoot 'Em Up,  Sin City 2, The Golden Age, Children of Men, Derailed, Inside Man, Closer, King Arthur, Beyond Brothers, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, Ticker, Beat the Devil, Hostage, Star, Powder Keg, Ambush, The Follow, Greenfingers, Second Sight, Split Second, The Echo, Bad Boy Blues, Chancer, Bent, The Rich Man's Wife
Julia Roberts, Actress Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, Steel Magnolias, Erin Brockovich, Ocean's Twelve, Stepmom, Notting Hill, Sleeping with the Enemy, Mystic Pizza, Flatliners, Dying Young, The Pelican Brief, Hook, I Love Trouble, Something to Talk About, Mona Lisa Smile, Charlie Wilson's War, Charlotte's Web, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, The Ant Bully, Closer, Full Frontal, Grand Champion, America's Sweethearts, The Mexican, My Best Friend's Wedding, Conspiracy Theory
Keri Russell, Actress Felicity, Mission Impossible III, Malibu Shores, Malibu Mambo, Roar, Seventh Heaven, Into the West, Waitress, August Rush, Rohtenburg, The Magic of Ordinary Days, The Upside of Anger, We Were Soldiers, Cinderelmo, Married with Children, When Innocence is Lost, Eight Days a Week, Boy Meets World, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, Daddy's Girl, Emerald Cove
Mara Wilson, Actress Mrs. Doubtfire, Melrose Place, A Time to Heal, Miracle on 34th Street, Matilda, Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Batman Beyond, Mind Games, Balloon Farm, A Simple Wish, Pearl