Palm Springs: We’re Home

Palm Springs was a bit of a wild card for us on this leg (Leg 7 if you’re counting) of our travels. When we booked our (nonrefundable) Airbnb for Palm Springs, all of California was still in COVID lockdown and we weren’t sure it would be better by February. We took the attitude that we could always cancel and eat the money loss if we’d be facing lockdowns and curfews and quarantines. Luckily California did open back up and I have to say, we love Palm Springs.

We chose Palm Springs based solely on it being the warmest place in February in the west that we could think of. But we were also aware of its old Hollywood history and mid-century architecture, so we figured it would be a good choice for us. And it certainly has been. Here are a few things we appreciate about Palm Springs so far after our first 10 days:

The Weather

In the summer, we hear, Palm Springs temperatures can reach 120-degrees Fahrenheit, but right now in February, we’re averaging low-to-mid-70s most days and sun, sun, sun. It is a bit windy some days. In fact, the windstorm last Saturday resulted in us having to spend Valentine’s Day morning without running water in our condo, but that is impossible to complain about after reading about the power outages in Texas all week. And it cools off quickly when the sun goes down, which means all the outdoor COVID-safe restaurants have to have gas heaters for people to be able to eat out after dark. But we’ve had pretty much 100% gorgeous days, and have upped our daily average in walking to nearly 4 miles.

The Neighborhoods

Though we’ve had a couple more natural hikes, most of our walks have been here in the city of Palm Springs enjoying all the mid-century modern neighborhoods and old movie star homes. Our first “star sighting” was Cary Grant’s former house, Las Palomas. Since then, we’ve seen homes formerly owned by Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and several lesser-known celebrities. But we like the non-famous homes decked out in mid-century style even more. Kind of ironic to find ourselves in a mid-century mecca right as we’re contemplating selling our beloved 1958 ranch-style house back home.   

The Food

We’ve been able to dine out twice and brought in vegan take-out for Valentine’s Day, all of which has been excellent quality and felt very California. We also enjoyed some super-yummy Mexican food in LA (more on that next). Food hasn’t been the highlight here that it was in New Orleans, especially since Chad and I are both trying to eat a little healthier (California lifestyle, you know), but we’ve definitely had some very good meals and our date nights have been a lot of fun.

Proximity to LA

In a happy surprise that we didn’t discover until a week before we arrived, some good friends happen to be living in LA right now! Los Angeles is less than two hours from Palm Springs and even before we knew of those friends’ presence, we’d been planning to make at least a few trips to the city to see the sights (I’d never been before) and try to see some other friends of Chad’s. 

We made our first trip to the city our first Saturday here and met our friends at their home near Griffith Park (home of the Hollywood sign). Perfect LA weather made it easy to hang out socially distanced outdoors and we walked down to a taco stand called Tacos Villas Corona and enjoyed a picnic near the Los Angeles River (which actually has water in it, surprising Chad). Then we walked to and around Griffith Park, and then met up with another friend. We had such a good time that I took zero photos the whole day, but spending time with Nate, Jess, and Jamie was a highlight of our trip so far.

Joshua Tree National Park

Palm Springs is also only an hour from Joshua Tree National Park and we made my first (Chad’s third) trip there yesterday. We worked all morning and then brought a picnic to the Hidden Valley area in the park to enjoy. It was crowded (shockingly so for a weekday) but we found a parking spot and a picnic table and had a great time. We also got about six miles of hiking in over the course of the afternoon, including the one-mile Hidden Valley Nature Trail, which was really nice. We also hiked the Minerva Hoyt Trail (out and back about 3 miles) and did a couple of miles at the Hall of Horrors area (hard to resist an evocative name).

Summary

Palm Springs has been really great these first 12 days and we’re kind of wishing we could stay longer. With February being a short month, we only have 18 days left here! With the great weather, we’ve been on a great schedule of working and walking most days, and our day trips and outings and date nights have all been so much fun. This is yet another place that we’d really like to come back to in post-COVID times. 

Our Palm Springs Airbnb

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