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  • Fall in Palm Springs Brings Changes in Lifestyle (2023)

    As I walked out on my patio at 6:00 a.m., the sun rose over the San Jacinto mountains, and a few fluffy clouds floated by. I smiled, for fall in Palm Springs has obviously arrived. The cool morning air allows me to, once again, sit out on the patio for a couple of hours while looking through social media and planning my day. There is no question we locals are happy and relieved the 100-degree days are behind us. We have watched enough streaming TV movies. We missed our patio dining and poolside chats with friends. Fall in Palm Springs Changes in Routines · Planning trips out to do errands before 10:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. is no longer necessary. During the summer, we have to make sure we have water with us, sunglasses, and, of course, wearing suntan lotion as we walk out our front doors. Now, we have no hesitation in running errands at any time of the day. · As the snowbirds arrived and visitors from nearby Los Angeles and San Diego, we realized we must make reservations for our favorite restaurants. Some restaurants closed to allow owners and employees to have vacations. Still, others used the summer months to do updating. So, it is fun to see changes when they reopened, including perusing the new menus. · No longer do we seek the parking spot nearest the grocery store entrance. Now, I find myself parking far away to get some steps in and soak up the beauty surrounding us on any given day. · Early morning swims are postponed until the sun and pool heaters raise the temperatures. I have discovered about 11:00 a.m. is perfect. · With the stores along Palm Canyon packed with new merchandise, one can browse and talk to the shop owners anytime. By the way, most of our stores in the city of Palm Springs are independently owned. · Now, one does not have to get up at the crack of dawn to head to our favorite trail. However, we still wear a hat and suntan lotion and take twice as much water as we think we need. Plus, we tell a friend where we will be going. Events Increased Two-fold in the Fall in Palm Springs. Admittedly, I love opening my emails and finding announcements of openings and events. Here are some of the recent announcements: · The Aqua Caliente Tribe announced the Grand Opening of its long-awaited new Cultural Center on November 3, 2023. The exterior of the building is beautiful, so we look forward to the fence being removed and the opportunity to learn through their exhibits and lectures. · The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway went through its annual maintenance and is now open for reservations and the perfect place to hike, relax on their patios, and have dinner. · The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens and winter hours to 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. · The Coachella Vally Firebirds have started their season—an opportunity to see, perhaps, your first ice hockey game at the Acrisure Arena. Ice Hockey is an activity that the entire family will likely enjoy. · Palm Springs Modernism Fall Show is opening this month. We look forward to seeing some iconic 50s and 60s homes perfectly preserved or restored to their former grandeur. · VillageFest’s vendors increase in the fall. Thursday nights on Palm Canyon continue to become a community gathering place. · The Palm Springs Art Museum is open, free of charge, on Thursdays from 4:00-8:00 p.m., thanks to a grant from the City of Palm Springs. · Our new downtown Palm Springs Park (Still to be officially named) starts concerts in the park. There is no charge, and here is your chance to relax under the beautiful palm trees and star-filled sky. · The golf courses have been reseeded, and they look forward to a season where people come from all over the world to experience our professional courses with stunning mountain views. · It is the perfect time to get up and get close to the Windmills by taking a tour. You don’t know how large they are until you stand at the base of one of them. · Oscars is open while remodeling the large space. Their intimate evenings are special when we hear famous people share personal aspects of their lives. · The Palm Springs Cultural Center continues to offer live music, innovative programming, and sharing its grounds with the Certified Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. Patio dining is once again in great demand. Please make your reservations and take a light wrap, for our desert climate can get cool in the evenings. Fall in Palm Springs encourages locals to stop and greet our neighbors on our walkway as we head to our community parking lots. Sitting outside on our patios with cocktails, we once again watch the sun set behind our mountains, causing the scattered clouds to turn brilliant pink. We trust you will plan a trip here and come to enjoy the relaxed, awesome community we call home 360 days a year. Oh, alright, we plan our vacations in the middle of the summer, but now it is time to celebrate our weather and events, making every day an adventure living here. Kathy Condon is a Journalist, Travel Writer, and Award-winning Author. Her niche is luxury experiences and communities living in the shadows of large cities. www.PalmSpringsInsiderGuide.com Kathy@kathycondon.net 760-902-3094

  • Nonstop Flight on Alaska Airlines from Palm Springs to Seattle NorthCountry (2023) Part 2

    First, I want to address a guest comment about my blog, Alaska Direct Flight from Palm Springs to Seattle NorthCountry, Part 1. A commentator suggested I needed to learn the difference between Direct flight and Nonstop. I looked it up and discovered that while the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. Direct flights go between two places with one or more stops. A nonstop flight goes between two locations without stopping. The Alaska Flight from Palm Springs to Seattle NorthCountry is a Nonstop flight. Secondly, that same guest comment implied I was ridiculous in calling the area Seattle NorthCountry. I smiled, for I did not make up the name for the area. Seattle NorthCountry is a term used to market the area working to forge a separate identity from Seattle. After visiting the area, I understand that the cities within easy commute of downtown Seattle are entirely different. Part II Exploring on the Trip from Palm Springs to Seattle NorthCountry After a good night's sleep, it was time to head to Venture Kitchen & Bar, down the hall from my beautiful suite at the Delta Hotel. By the way, my suite was located on one side of the conference meeting rooms. When planning a conference here, I encourage you to reserve one of these suites. Each has a full kitchen and ample space for small receptions. Plus, there is plenty of seating for some side-bar conversations or scheduled small meetings with attendees. After a made-to-order breakfast, sitting by a window framing a tree showcasing its turning leaves, it was time to head out to Snohomish, 9 miles away. Things to Do in Historic Downtown Snohomish Washington Since it was early morning, I quickly found a parking space. A tip: Grab the first parking space you come to. Later in the day, finding an empty parking space is not easy. Shopping for Antiques It didn't take me long to notice there were many antique stores. Not only were there individual vintage stores, but giant storefront buildings housed many antique vendors within their walls. I learned Snohomish is a mecca for those looking for antiques in the Northwest. Individuals walking the street could be seen carrying tiny vintage horses, crochet tablecloths, and country-style décor. Dining Downtown Snohomish Heidi's SandwichBoard It was suggested I go to Heidi's SandwichBoard for lunch. I found it down at the far end of downtown First Street. Walking in made me smile; everywhere my eye looked, antiques lined the walls and high shelves over the serving area. I ordered a cocktail, for I found it charming that a deli would have an array of cocktails on its menu. Fresh flowers were on the table, and I sort of felt like I had settled into my grandmother's kitchen. I ended up with a delightful conversation with Heidi, the owner. Our discussion, accompanied by Heidi's broad smile, revealed a woman doing what she loves. She ran a catering service before buying the restaurant. When asked what she likes about being the owner, she replied, "I make the decisions and can create the details of the restaurant's environment. For example, the flowers on the table are picked by my children from our garden. Hamburgers at The Oxford Saloon with a Friend A friend in Everett saw my social media posts and asked if there was space in my trip to the Northwest to go to dinner. With the Oxford Saloon on my itinerary, we decided it was the perfect place to catch up. The building's use has changed over the years. First, a dry goods store, bordello, and basement with men's cardroom and bar, and now a saloon. Though there is no certified documentation, it is believed this building is one of the most haunted buildings in Washington. Those who have experienced episodes make it seem plausible that both good and evil spirits lurk throughout the building. Order the Ghost Burger. It's messy to eat, but oh so good. And enjoy the live music that vibrates throughout this 100-year-plus-old building. Grain Artisan Bakery It didn't take me long to notice the many combination bakeries and coffee shops scattered throughout First Street. The city of Snohomish figured out that visitors seeking out the antiques need a place to grab coffee and rest before continuing their journey. For those who require gluten-free pastries, you will be pleased to discover Grain Artisan Bakery, where there is nothing but gluten-free pastries. Even better, if you live within driving distance, you can find gluten-free cakes for any occasion. Fisherman Jack's on the Everett Waterfront Word obviously traveled fast about the opening of this Asian-inspired Fisherman Jack's Restaurant, for it was only the 11th meal they served, and the line was already out the door. It didn't take long to discover why. The atmosphere is family-friendly, and the outdoor patio opens to the waterfront. Every morsel of food, including Dim Sum seafood and noodle dishes flavors, kept your tastebuds dancing and happy. I only wished I lived nearby. When heading to the restrooms, stop and look closely at the outstanding art---made from string and pins. I still marvel at the artistry necessary to complete these exceptional pieces that grace the walls as you enter the restrooms. Hibulb Cultural Center in Tulalip Located on a reservation in Seattle NorthCountry, the Hibulb Cultural Center's role is to preserve and protect the history and traditional culture of the Tulalip Tribes, which include the Snoqualmie, Snohomish, and Skykomish tribes. Educational events teach how to build skills to create beautiful, traditional fabrics and woven baskets used in the daily lives of the indigenous people. I particularly enjoyed sitting in a replica of the Longhouse and learning how it was used and its central role in the tribes' lives. Whale Watching in Puget Sound My first-time whale watching, I wasn't sure what to expect on a 4-hour tour on the Puget Sound Express. Going with the flow, I arrived at the appointed time and learned we would board a boat built specifically for whale watching two years ago. We started our education when we boarded this modern, immaculate boat. Two naturalists were aboard, and an intern helped us learn about the whales and the surrounding environment. We saw our first two Orcas (Killer whales) three-quarters of an hour out. Then we caught up to their pod of six, keeping them in sight for many miles. The next thing we knew, they made a circle, devoured their prey, and leaped into the air, celebrating their victory and delight. Since it was my first trip, I asked the naturalist why I was so lucky. Smiling, she said, "I think Captain Brian was a whale once, for he always finds them." As we pulled into the dock, Captain Brian announced, "You have just been on an epic whale-watching trip." I sat back, smiled, and could hardly wait to tell my daughter and granddaughter the story. Boeing Future of Flight on Seattle Paine Field As a former resident of Washington State, I knew about the Boeing Future of Flight, located directly across from the Boeing Everett manufacturing site—the largest undercover manufacturing plant in the world. Plant tours are about to resume after a three-year stoppage and will resume on November 5, 2023 I walked into the museum building and smiled at the enormity of the 28,000-square-foot exhibition floor. Following the well-defined path, I went by the children's area, where small tables and chairs revealed quickly this is a family-friendly museum. The history of the Boeing factory is well laid out—starting with a picture showing the first mail delivery by air that sparked the imagination for the development of Boeing. On the roof, you can look over Seattle Paine Field, a valuable place for launching the new aircraft to many parts of the world. I was particularly fascinated by the exact duplication of the module now attached to our present space station. You learn how astronauts sleep and where the numerous tests are organized while in space. If you want a souvenir from Seattle NorthCountry, the official Boeing Store is a great place to shop. Replicas of planes manufactured there line one wall. Or, if you need a little warmth, purchase one of the great hoodies bearing the Boeing name. Flight back to Palm Springs It has become apparent there is still much to discover about Seattle NorthCountry. Fortunately, the Alaska Nonstop flight from Palm Springs to and from Seattle NorthCountry is now on the schedule. It makes it so easy to fly into Seattle Paine Field and, from there, rent a car and start exploring, where water sports, mountains, fine dining, art, and shops await your visit. Guess where I plan to go when the temperatures reach 110 next summer in Palm Springs? I have so much yet to explore in Seattle NorthCountry. Kathy Condon is a Journalist, Travel Writer, and Award-winning Author. Her niche is writing about luxury experiences and communities living in the shadows of larger cities. Kathy@kathycondon.net www.PalmSpringsInsiderGuide.com

  • Alaska Direct Flight from Palm Springs to Seattle NorthCountry (2023)

    Getting an email from a public relations firm you have worked with is always good. It's even better when it asks if you want to explore a new community. This time, it would be Seattle NorthCountry, located in Washington State, where I lived for 26 years before I moved to Palm Springs 11 years ago. The email was from DVA Advertising and Public Relations, and I happily accepted. The goal is to fly the direct route from Palm Springs International Airport to Seattle Paine Field. After exploring Alaska's website, I found the exact flight schedule, which operated Thursday through Monday. We decided I would fly up on a Monday afternoon flight and leave Friday in the morning. The plane up on Monday was about one-half full, while the flight back to Palm Springs was at capacity. Rental Car at the Seattle Paine Field Airport If you haven't ever flown into Seattle Paine Field Airport, you are in for a treat. This airport has become a significant player for anyone going to the Seattle area. Little traffic on the way to the airport, lots of parking, and the ease of check-in with a lovely waiting room make it an attractive alternative to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Once you land, with luggage in tow, follow the signs to the pathway to the ground transportation area. You leave the main terminal and follow an open-air walkway to the nearby building. While the path was beautiful with plants and art, I did have an observation. I mentioned I lived in the Northwest. One wonders why the architect didn't cover the path for the rain and snow days that frequent the State of Washington. In any case, renting a car to get on your way from the airport is simple. In about fifteen minutes, I reached my home for the night at Delta Hotel Everett. A beautiful suite, a charcuterie plate, and my favorite wine were waiting for me. Since it was 7:30 p.m., I was thrilled the hotel anticipated my needs. I poured myself a glass of wine, put my feet up, and enjoyed the morsels of delightful food they had waiting for me. The Fly Heritage & Combat Armor Museum I cannot tell a lie. When I woke up and perused my itinerary for the trip, I was less than excited to see the first item on my agenda appeared to be a War Museum. However, being the trooper I am, I pressed on and was thrilled a Seattle NorthCountry friend wanted to join me on the tour. Once there, we discovered the museum was closed. However, we were very honored the Executive Director was there to greet us for a private tour of this three-hangar museum, whose concept was Paul Allen's and planned under his watchful eye. The artifacts, including the aircraft (most of which can be flown) and items gracing the floor and walls, were chosen with Allen's belief that only the best available should be showcased to the world. I learned too many facts at the Flying Heritage and Combat Museum to share in this article. However, two stand out. I had no idea how many women, besides constructing our airplanes and ships, were involved in World War II. There were entire regiments of women pilots. Plus, I had no idea how often animals were used in fighting WWII. Educational Opportunities are Abundant This museum has activities for the entire family. By implementing interactive technology, an entire wall is easily accessible for children and people in wheelchairs, for a mere touch moves the information, much like flipping through pages on an iPad. If you want information about any war involving the United States, you will find letters, documents, pictures, and videos about the specific event listed chronologically. Pro-Tip: Plan at least one-half day to visit this expansive museum. Seattle NorthCountry Diamond Knot Brewery With so much new information swirling in my head, I asked my friend to join me at the Diamond Knot Brewery. It is celebrating its 24th anniversary as an innovator of craft beers in the Seattle NorthCountry. They now have three locations in the area, one of which houses the brewery. It's located in Mukilteo and is a short drive from Everett. Their delightful manager, Whitney Blanchet, proudly showed us around the restaurant with its walk-up window to buy ice cream. Along the walls, historic photos show the original building and how the surrounding environment has changed. Pro Tip: Try their root beer brewed in their facility. Save room so you can have a root beer float. Mukilteo Lighthouse Beach and Park An easy couple of walking blocks away, it was time to explore Mukilteo Lighthouse Beach and Park. With the weather overcast, it was honestly just right for this Palm Springs resident who had been experiencing 100-plus-degree temperatures during the summer. A bench on the rocky beach water's edge was the perfect place just to be. I wasn't the only one wanting to sit and enjoy the calming, relaxing sight of billowing clouds floating by over Puget Sound. Some people brought beach chairs and obviously had settled in for the afternoon. In the distance, children's shouts of glee could be heard coming from the nearby elaborate playground on the park grounds. Unfortunately, the perfectly maintained and still-used lighthouse was closed for the day, so I missed the opportunity to head to the top. Yet, I was struck by the plaque by the door, stating how Captain Vancouver had come through this area and named it Rose Point due to all the roses blooming when he arrived. Pro Tip: A walking map of the park greatly enhances your first exploration of this large, welcoming public park. The Enchanting Experience of The Muse Whiskey and Coffee Much construction was happening in the area, and Google Maps seemed more confused than I was. I am so glad I persevered, for it proved to be an outstanding evening experience. Once I was on the right path, there was a large, dark gray gingerbread-like house before me with the words "The Muse" written near the roofline. The building wasn't close to what I thought I was looking for. On the other hand, who would expect a 100-year-old house to be perched on the water's edge standing alone, adding to the mystique of a possibly haunted house. Originally the offices and showrooms of Weyerhaeuser, the building has been moved to this location, its fourth stop in its 100-year history. The historic building is now protected, and new owners ensured it has been restored to its original grandeur. The wood floors, wainscot paneling, and trim are pristine, with hand-embroidered wallpaper gracing hallways and lounge areas. Besides my intrigue with the building, there was the experience of entering my first whiskey bar in the Pacific Northwest. The former safe now houses members' lockers and the owner's whiskey collection. Proudly sitting in the middle is a bottle for your pleasure, if you choose, for a mere $45,000. In the bar area, on the top shelf, is a collection of whiskey from the Prohibition Era. Two bottles of priceless whiskey from 1931 lie on their side in the same well-guarded display case. Yes, I had ordered an Old Fashioned and have to say, it is good I am not nearby here because the exquisite whiskey they made it from would not fit my pocketbook regularly. Pro Tip: Make reservations ahead of time for one of the lounges if you want to go late afternoon or evening. The Muse is not a place for a full meal, but their small plate choices are varied and delicious. They do serve breakfast, and I am assuming excellent coffee and pastries. Ending the Day at the Delta Hotel With all the new knowledge about The Muse and thinking about its outstanding art scattered throughout the house, it was time to call it a day. Back to the rental car and a short drive to Delta Hotel for an evening of quiet and reflection. How could I have lived in Washington State for 26 years, being the explorer I am, and not know anything about this magnificent Seattle NorthCountry? This article is Day 1 – Palm Springs to Seattle NorthCountry. Stay tuned. I will be sharing more of what I discovered. I hope this is the start of letting Palm Springs residents know there is a direct flight from Palm Springs to Seattle NorthCountry, where one can experience an entirely different environment while learning about our country's history and observing the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Kathy Condon is a Journalist, Travel Writer, Award-winning Author, and Society of American Travel Writers member. She covers luxury experiences and communities living in the shadows of larger cities. www.PalmSpringsInsiderGuide.com 760-902-2094 kathy@kathycondon.net

  • Constructing a Guest House Essential Considerations

    Guest Post by Paula Hernandez of Porch Palm Springs has seen a large growth in guest houses (We call them casitas in Palm Springs). Thus, I felt this article would be helpful to my readers considering reconfiguring or building a guest house on their property. The popularity of guest houses and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) has surged across the nation in recent years. Homeowners are increasingly viewing these separate, compact homes on their properties as innovative solutions for multi-generational living or as a means to generate extra income. In fact, according to a report by KCRA news, the proliferation of building guest houses has played a pivotal role in driving the housing market's growth by over 120% in the last few years. For many families, the prospect of supplementing their income by renting out a guest house, whether for long-term or short-term stays like Airbnb, holds undeniable financial allure. The potential benefits of constructing a guest house are both diverse and attractive. Defining Guest House Objectives Guest houses can serve various purposes, from hosting visitors to generating rental income or providing personal space for work and creativity. Enhancing Your Lifestyle Imagine having a serene sanctuary within your property, a private retreat, a home office, a fitness area, or an inspirational space for focused endeavors. A guest house can significantly enhance your daily life by offering a distraction-free environment for meditation, work, art, or other personal pursuits. Generating Rental Income Turning your guest house into a reliable source of rental income is an enticing prospect. Platforms like Airbnb have streamlined the process of renting out spaces to travelers, potentially covering your entire mortgage with just a few weekend bookings. However, managing short-term rentals can be demanding, so long-term rentals are also a viable option to consider. Important Considerations for Building a Guest House if You Are Going to Renting Out Before venturing into rental hosting, it's crucial to assess the rental market's dynamics in your area, understand pricing expectations, and ensure compliance with local regulations. Becoming a landlord, a short-term rental host, or a property manager each entails distinct responsibilities and expectations, necessitating thorough research to determine the right path for you. Balancing Guest and Personal Needs While designing your guest house, it's essential to consider both your potential renters' needs and your personal preferences. Questions about accessibility, amenities like air conditioning and appliances, workout space, and soundproofing for your own use need careful consideration. Navigating Zoning Regulations and Permits Before embarking on the construction of your guest house, it's imperative to grasp the local zoning regulations and permitting requirements. Each municipality has its own rules for auxiliary structures, and non-compliance can lead to legal complications and project interruptions. Homeowner's associations may also impose additional guidelines. Budgeting and Financial Planning Constructing a guest house can incur substantial costs, averaging around $200,000 for a detached unit. A contingency fund is advisable to cover unforeseen expenses and repairs. Moreover, obtaining a home warranty can provide protection against unexpected breakdowns, ensuring a worry-free hosting experience. Design and Construction Once you've defined your goals, secured the necessary permits, and organized your finances, the exciting phase of designing and constructing your guest house commences. This stage allows your creativity to flourish, shaping a space that aligns with your vision. Planning Layout and Functionality The type of guest house you choose will depend on your needs and budget. Options range from converting existing spaces like garages or basements to constructing standalone units. Deliberate on the layout and how furnishings will fit, ensuring comfort, privacy, and convenience. Guest Comfort and Amenities When you embark on the design journey for your guest house, it's crucial to prioritize guest comfort and consider a range of essential amenities that can make their stay enjoyable and memorable. Bedroom Space One of the first aspects to contemplate is the size and layout of the bedroom. A spacious and well-arranged bedroom can significantly enhance the guest's experience. Think about whether a queen-sized bed comfortably fits, leaving room for additional furniture like a desk, closet, and dresser. Providing ample storage space ensures your guests can keep their belongings organized during their stay. Kitchen Facilities A well-equipped kitchenette can be a game-changer for guests. Consider outfitting it with essential appliances such as a refrigerator, oven, and microwave. Offering these amenities allows your guests to prepare meals and snacks at their convenience, enhancing their overall experience and potentially extending their stay. Bathroom Convenience Ensuring your guest house has a fully functional bathroom is non-negotiable. A shower, toilet, and sink are the bare necessities. Beyond that, consider providing quality toiletries, plush towels, and adequate storage for personal items. A clean and well-stocked bathroom is often a major factor in guest satisfaction. Laundry Facilities Integrating a washer and dryer into your guest house can be a significant draw if space allows. Travelers often appreciate the convenience of being able to do their laundry, especially for extended stays. Additionally, offering this amenity can distinguish your rental from others in the area. Temperature Control Adequate heating and cooling systems are vital for year-round comfort. Ensure your guest house has reliable climate control options, such as central heating and air conditioning. Guests should have the ability to adjust the temperature to their liking, providing them with a comfortable environment regardless of the season. Creature Comforts in a Guest House Beyond the basics, consider additional creature comforts that can set your guest house apart. Soft, inviting furnishings like plush rugs, cozy throws, and comfortable cushions can create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Providing thoughtful touches like a selection of books, games, or a welcome note can leave a lasting positive impression on your guests. Outdoor Amenities If your property allows for it, outdoor amenities can be a delightful addition. A private patio, garden seating, or a barbecue area can enhance the overall experience and provide guests with opportunities for relaxation and enjoyment of the surrounding environment. Incorporating Aesthetics and Style Aesthetic choices, such as rustic, coastal, contemporary, or minimalist designs, can elevate the guest house's appeal. A thoughtful selection of color schemes, lighting, furnishings, and decor can enhance the space's ambiance and functionality. Sustainability Features Embracing sustainability is not only eco-friendly but also cost-effective. Utilize sustainable materials, explore renewable energy sources like solar, and incorporate water-saving measures to reduce utility costs and environmental impact. Maintenance and Management Ensuring your guest house's long-term viability and appeal requires ongoing maintenance and proactive management. Regular cleaning, inspections, and timely repairs are essential to safeguard your investment. Building a guest house can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor when approached thoughtfully. Prioritize zoning compliance, budgeting, and a home warranty for financial security. By focusing on design, amenities, sustainability, and maintenance, you can create a guest house that meets your needs and offers a lucrative investment opportunity. The challenges are real, but your guest house can become valuable with the right planning and effort. The Palm Springs Insider Guide is published by Kathy Condon, a Journalist and Travel Writer, covering luxury experiences and communities living in the shadows of larger cities. kathy@kathycondon.net

  • 7 Reasons Why Palm Springs Airport is the Right Choice for Visitors?

    With an imminent trip to Seattle North Country, I was delighted to discover a direct flight from our Palm Springs airport to Seattle Paine Field in Everett, Washington, on Alaska Airlines. I shouldn't have been surprised, for there are 30 direct flights to Palm Springs International Airport (PSP). When the public relations group DVA Advertising and Public Relations asked me to come to Seattle North Country to visit and share information about the area, I was thrilled, for after all, Washington State had been my home for 24 years before I moved to Palm Springs. I'm heading to North Country in a couple of weeks, but now I want to focus on our fabulous Palm Springs Airport. What is so Special about Palm Springs Airport? Anyone who has ever flown into or left this airport can answer that question. Frankly, we residents still never take the beauty and ease of this airport for granted. The flight into the airport provides an astounding view of the mountains surrounding Coachella Valley. We residents who use it and commute frequently can't help but compare it to the busy and often confusing airports scattered throughout the United States. Yes, we are spoiled, and we know it for the ease of this airport continues to be appreciated by residents and visitors alike. If you fly into the Palm Springs airport on a large plane, you will dock at the Sono Bono Terminal. Once you leave your aircraft, you walk past a few retail stores and restaurants before stepping onto the open-air escalator on the path to Baggage Claim. Historic Modernism Design Donald Wexler's acceptance of the commission to design the Palm Springs Airport terminal was the largest of his lifetime. Wexler was known for his outstanding mid-century design, for he was the architect for many of the newly built public buildings and residential homes popping up throughout the rapidly growing Palm Springs community in the 50s and 60s. Wexler used the mid-century design elements of simple design, timeless steel and glass materials, elegant lines, and open spaces. Today, the 30 ft overhanging roof with floor-to-ceiling glass entrance and exit frames the mountain view is intact. Now, funds have been approved to make changes and additions to the building. Happily, I learned at a social event one of Wexler's sons is working with planners to help ensure that the additions and changes help maintain the integrity of the original building. The terminal was constructed in the now-defined Modernism or Mid-century style that has become the trademark of Palm Springs. Modernism Week, with October and February events, allows access to view and study the unique architecture. International Art is Located throughout the Terminal and the Grounds As you leave the plane and enter the concourse, you see four large clear boxes holding exquisite pieces of Dale Chihuly's glass shell sculpture. At the foot of the escalator, a life-sized big-horn sheep, artistically created, waits for you as you follow the path to Baggage Claim. Slow down and take notice, for you will be surprised how much art is scattered on this short walk. If you arrive with your dog, you will see the open area on the right—the perfect place to have him stretch before you continue your journey. While he plays, peer at the art in the far corner. I was honored to be asked to write an article for the Palm Springs Preferred Hotels site about the art at the airport. Quickly, I discovered there was little information documenting the art. It became an excellent research paper. Famous International artists created many enormously valuable pieces of art throughout the airport. See my article on the art at the Palm Springs Airport. Restaurants and Retails Stores in the Palm Springs Airport Terminal Up until now, restaurants and shopping have been quite limited. An early flight meant you could get your wake-up coffee at The PSP Coffee House and grab a pastry. One day, I had packed my snack for a long trip, only to discover I had left it in the refrigerator. I was delighted the Desert News/Desert Mart was open so I could grab a fresh deli sandwich. However, this limited availability is about to change. The new revamping of the airport means more room for restaurants and retail. The local community is smiling broadly for the powers that be have agreed to use all local vendors—no big corporation organizations will be found in the terminal. Convenient Transportation to All Areas of Coachella Valley It is not often one will be flying in and out of an airport, literally a 10-minute, at most, ride to downtown of a city, which is the case in Palm Springs. My condo is out of the flight path. I tell people coming to visit me to text me when they land. Then, I head out to pick them up and arrive as they are coming to the curve outside the terminal. If you are going to one of the other eight cities in Coachella Valley, there is no problem finding transportation to your destinations. Rental cars are on site, and taxis line up to meet scheduled flights. Uber and Lyft are easily accessible. What Airlines Fly into the Palm Springs Airport? Keep in mind that some airlines seize flying during the summer or reduce the number of flights. You will want to check with the airline directly for up-to-date information. American Airlines Avelo Air United US Airways Delta Frontier Airlines Virgin America Allegiant Air Sun Country WestJet Palm Springs Departing or Arriving at Los Angeles Airport (LAX) For many international trips, locals fly out of LAX. We rent a car and drop it at the airport for long trips. For shorter ones, we drive to LAX, about a 2.5-hour drive in good traffic. Also, check Flixbus to see if it works with your schedule. Unfortunately, even though we have a train, its stop in Palm Springs is scheduled late at night, and early morning stops rarely match your needs. Town Car Service can be arranged for transportation between the airports. As I write, services start at $103 one way. Yes, we are proud of Palm Springs Airport (PSP). I trust I have painted a picture of what it is like and what to look for when you arrive or depart from our special terminal. We locals are very proud of it, and it is a special place to come home to after any trip, whether for business or pleasure. One last thing---As you leave the terminal, you will see the brightly colored benches. Artists were commissioned to design our benches throughout the community by the Public Arts Commission. The perfect place for you to wait for your ride to your lovely stay in what we like to call our desert paradise. Kathy Condon is a Journalist, Travel Writer, and Award-winning Author. She covers luxury experiences and communities living in the shadows of larger cities. She is the owner and developer of Palm Springs Insider Guide, which includes information she cultivated from her 11-year residency in Palm Springs, California. 760-902-3094 Kathy@kathycondon.net

  • 6 Ways to Enjoy a Staycation at a Luxury Resort

    With few open days on my monthly calendar, I looked at it and wondered when I would have time to relax with no agenda. Then it happened: I got an email from a public relations firm and was wondering if I would be interested in staying at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage for a couple of days. Please be aware that clicking on affiliate links may result in Palm Springs Insider Guide earning a commission. This disclosure follows the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For those wondering, travel writers who have written a great deal and have a variety of places where their articles have been published get these invitations occasionally. In return, the public relations firm trusts you will write an extensive review. There are no restrictions by the public relations firm about the review. Staycation at a Luxury Resort Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa The Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa is nine miles from my home in Palm Springs. It is located across from the large shopping center, The River at Rancho Mirage, on Bob Hope Drive. I have visited a large residential area connected to it, but the resort grounds are gated from that area. Thus, I hadn't had the opportunity to explore except for a recent ribbon cutting of their newly open pool on the far side. Packing List for a Staycation · The first decision is to leave the computer behind. Oh, alright, I put in my iPad with my keyboard for it, but I'm happy to report I didn't even pull it out. · Swimming Suit · My caftan from California Caftan has become a must-pack item for every trip. It is versatile because it can be a beach coverup and a morning wrap for coffee on the patio. When I go to dinner, I add a couple of pieces of jewelry to the ensemble, making the caftan the perfect for everything from a casual dinner to an elegant setting. · Kindle so I can read my Book Club selection. · Casual clothes for daytime exploring · Make-up – I did invite friends to join me for meals. Frankly, the suitcase is lighter than it is when I head off to a dog-sitting gig. To discover invaluable travel tips as you plan your next vacation, explore my exclusive ebook on expert travel tips for a seamless and memorable journey! Checking in for a Staycation at a Luxury Resort I was anxious to start, so I arrived at about 1:30 p.m., hoping my room was ready. I was so glad to get this staycation started. Pulling up to the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa makes you feel special: You enter the beautiful grounds and pull up to the fully canopied area to park while registering. Registration was a breeze. Then Chris led me in the golf cart through the gate to my perfect parking spot under a shade tree. We grabbed my suitcase and were off to my room. 1. My Room for the Staycation Since I am a person who likes a lot of light, I was thrilled one side of the room had a floor-length wall of glass with sliding doors. The view is on one of the golf course fairways with a lovely pond with Canadian geese leisurely walking for a stop on their way South. They remind me that fall is approaching. Amenities included a number of filled water bottles, a Keurig coffee maker, a refrigerator, a robe, delightful NEST soap and hair products, and lovely linens encouraging me to stay and luxuriate in the evening and morning. 2. Dinner with Friends at the bluEmber Restaurant After a nap and realizing how wound-up I was, it was time to get dressed and head to bluEmber with friends I had invited to join me for dinner. Two guy friends invite me frequently to dinner. Thus, I was delighted to ask them to join me to experience the bluEmber Restaurant. They hadn't had dinner at the Bluember. Unfortunately, eating out on the beautiful patio at the Omni wasn't possible because it was too warm. It must be romantic and enchanting, with a customarily lit firepit and starlit sky. We had delicious appetizers, which could have been a meal, but we persevered and ordered our entrees. Salmon, my braised short ribs were superb, and we would have changed nothing about this terrific meal. Back to my Room for Dessert Granted, not every guest gets this outstanding presentation sent to your room. But I would certainly be remiss if I didn't mention this was delivered to my room during the afternoon. I saved it for our dessert after dinner with my guests. We decimated together, for we, of course, had to try everything. The little rocks were chocolate. I don't say this often, but they rival the taste of Belgian chocolate I have gotten used to from my daughter living in Belgium. I learned each Omni has its signature presentation. This one with the sugar cookie in the form of California is used for this particular resort, which is covered with local products, including Brandi Toffee, dried apricots, jerky, and nuts. 3. Staycation at a Luxury Resort Needs to Include a Spa Treatment Slowly, I could start feeling myself relaxing. However, the walnut-size knot on my shoulder was the clue I needed to prioritize a massage. I entered the Spa and was given a tour. Fortunately, I have finally figured out if I am going to have a massage, don't wait until the last minute to go into the Spa. Go early and enjoy the environment. My lovely spa tour guide suggested I enter the sauna, hot tub and end up in the steam room. I followed her suggestion and then went upstairs to the lounge, which I found interesting. There were hardly any lounge chairs, mostly straight-back, which made little sense to me. In fairness, the patio, which one could use if not in the middle of our hot summers, had many lounges in the open air. The fruit-flavored water was terrific. Stephanie, my massage therapist, asked me what needed attention. After much work, the walnut-sized knot was reduced to a pea-sized knot. She gave it more than the old college try. She was excellent, and I would definitely ask for her in the future. 4. Shopping Onsite at the Omni Las Palmas Resort Fashion-forward clothing for the entire family is found in the Las Palmas Resort Boutique. So, no worries if you forgot to pack something. You will find it in this boutique store near the Spa. Or you can buy a new piece of apparel that will help you update your wardrobe at home. Want some snacks, you can find them here. Plus, it is the perfect place to find the present for your house sitter watching over your home and pets. If you love the organic lotions used during your spa treatments, you can purchase them at the Spa's small boutique store. 5. Three Pools Invite You to Lounge As you step outside, the main entrance, the pool with Caribbean-style music floats through the air, beckons you to put your suit on and join others under the palm trees and umbrellas of the nearby pool. Tucked away on the other side of one of the golf course ponds, I was surprised to learn the resort has a giant water slide and a lazy river where you can float under a raft under our sun-kissed sky. A golf cart ride away or a short walk, there is the third pool. It was recently dedicated and is ameba shaped and considered the pool you should head to if you want a quiet afternoon with your book or have an afternoon snooze. 6. Invite Friends You Been Wanting to Connect to Join You I quickly learned I wasn't the only local who didn't know about the attributes of this beautiful resort. I invited a friend over for Happy Hour, only to discover at the moment, there are no Happy Hours at the resort. Instead, we ordered the Cobb Salad at the Bluember, which may be one of the best I ever had for lunch. I will be inviting more friends in the future to join me there for get-togethers or even a short meeting. Afterward, I took them on a tour of the grounds and watched as they were in awe about this beautiful place we often drive by, with no idea what lay within its grounds. Alas, it was time to pack up. I noted how relaxed I felt, and now, again, I am ready to resume my schedule. A special thank you to Sarah Appelblatt of the Magrino PR, an award-winning woman-owned public relations firm, for suggesting I stay at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa, and Eva Frank, who helped handle the details of my stay. I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the upbeat, positive attitude of the staff I encountered during my staycation. Lastly, the espresso martinis waiting for me in my room after a day of total relaxation reminded me that a staycation at a luxury resort in your community is a way to learn and truly relax. Plus, there is no airplane ride or long drive ahead of you. Kathy Condon is a journalist, travel writer, and award-winning author. She specializes in luxury experiences and exploring communities living in the shadows of larger cities. kathy@kathycondon.net 760-902-3094 www.PalmSpringsInsiderGuide.com About

  • What I Learned at a Danny Morel Awaken Seminar in Palm Desert CA

    Sitting at my computer one morning, I got an email that would significantly impact my life. At the time, I had no idea who Danny Morel was or what Awaken Your Higher Self Seminar was about. With a packed calendar, I was surprised to see I was available for the three days the Awaken Your Higher Self seminar was to be held at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa. It was 15 miles from my home in Palm Springs. I emailed Danielle Dorman of DDPR. Inc. and told her I would be delighted to accept the invitation. I was hosted for this event. However, I am sharing from my heart my observations and my learnings. Who is Danny Morel? I didn't know who Danny Morel was, and I soon realized many people on my social media platforms did not either, for I kept getting replies: "Who is Danny Morel?" Born in New York City to a mother from Ecuador and a father from the Dominican Republic, his life was filled with music, art, food, and everything relating to Latin culture. Then at 13 years old, his parents divorced. His mother moved him to California. The only place they could afford was ghetto-like areas of Southern California. As the oldest son, he did what he could to help and vowed not to live this way for the rest of his life. Nor did he want his mom and brother to live in such conditions. He declared he would buy his mother a house. By the age of 21, his mother moved into her new home. Danny Morel Real Estate Career With a mentor and applying the wisdom of his mentor, Danny built a real estate empire of 1.1 billion dollars. The next step was teaching others how to succeed in the real estate world. Before long, he realized patterns surfaced about people holding themselves back. Numerous conversations with his mentor resulted in him starting a coaching career, which has now evolved into Awaken Your Higher Self three-day conference recently held in Palm Desert, California, at the JW Marriott Desert Springs. Awaken Your Higher Self, Presented by Danny Morel With a notebook and pen in my purse, I headed into the large ballroom to my reserved seat. With a sold-out conference, I'm bad with numbers, but there appeared to be 500-plus people seated and tapping to upbeat music, waiting for Danny to open the morning session. Things that Impact Our Energies Daily Parents' Values Passed Down to Us Parents' Beliefs Passed Down to Us Circumstances in our Day-to-Day Life Demands of our Day-to-Day Life All the above affect us: Health Relationships Finance We took out our notebooks, quietly sat there, and considered how we would like our life to look under the three categories. With the goal in mind, we settled in to understand how we must establish new thought patterns to gain access to our newly designed life. At What Level Do We Operate Our Lives? It didn't take long to realize I was living at the survival level. Traveling and seeing beautiful places and being able to write about them so I can share them with readers brings me great joy. However, I pay my bills through my dog-sitting gigs. Don't get me wrong, I love dogs, and my human clients are delightful, but I realize there is still more to life. Thus, Danny had my attention, and I was ready to play full out. First Exercise Forgiveness At first, I felt I was on top of this one. I told myself there was no one to forgive—I had many in-depth conversations. Then Dany started presenting the concept that you are either the creator of your world or a victim. Throughout the day, the concept came up again and again. Reinforcing things if you are living in survival mode, what are you doing to create that situation? What choices are you making? Breathwork for the Evening Session All of us were lying on our yoga mats. The lights dimmed, and we began a rhythmic breathing pattern led by Danny. My brain went everywhere: This isn't easy. I wonder what is going to happen next. Does this work? You get the picture. Then we were to go back to normal breathing. A person unexpectedly popped up in my mind. Someone very close to me. I will refrain from mentioning her name, but those close to me will know. Over the years, our relationship has been painful and brought me tears when I talked about her with others. Then, the thought popped up out of nowhere: Wait, I'm not a victim. She has chosen a different path and is making her choices for her path, which has nothing to do with me. Tears followed the realization. This new viewpoint was such a relief. Thus, I knew in my heart it was not what I did. It was the choices she was making. A Discovery About a Relationship During the Seminar When you have a 20-year friendship with someone, you cannot help but think there is more-I remained hooked. Once I spelled out what I wanted in a relationship: Let me be me, support me in my career, respect me, encourage me, want to be with me on a day-to-day basis, and buy me flowers because he knows they make me happy, etc., I realized I was far from receiving this from the individual. Oh, and another thing Danny said, Men, what if you spend ½ the time you spend on your favorite sports spend it on your relationship? I'm not saying stop watching sports. Remember that in the scheme of things, your relationship makes life sing when handled well. Yes, I got the lesson loud and clear. NEXT! Another Evening session with Breathwork Again, we lay on our yoga mats and followed a guided breathing process. Unexpectedly my father popped up. I was close to my father, and his approval was important to me. Thus, when I would stack wood, he would take an additional log and say, here's another one to go here –I think it is good enough. The same was true of the large mirror over our sofa I was in charge of cleaning each Saturday morning. He would find a spot, clean it, and say, That's good enough. Until this breathwork, I blamed him for making me feel like I was never good enough. Through this process, I realize Dad is the one who has had the most influence on my life and, indeed, my career. As we know, no one is ever perfect. Through Dad's teachings, he helped me learn how to contribute to society and do it to the best of my abilities. Oh, and there is something else—Dad had an 8th-grade education, fell asleep reading Popular Mechanics Magazine each night, and built our house without formal training. Other Participants at the Conference As many know, people you meet at a conference can sometimes quietly influence your life. This seminar was no exception. I met a nurse during the break and talked about the Covid experience. She worked 16 hours daily and slept in her garage to avoid infecting her family. What surprised me the most. She said, Kathy, the most challenging part was how we were treated after Covid was waning—no one wanted to be around us for fear they would get it. During the final exercise, we were asked to join with someone we didn't know. Much to my surprise, I was doing the exercise with Danny's father-in-law. It was his first experience seeing his son-in-law present. Okay, I'll admit we didn't do the exercise. We were too busy chatting. The takeaway from the conversation, Kathy, you have seen the real Danny, and I am so proud of him. I can't get over how simply he breaks down things so complex. Emails Can Bring Unexpected Opportunity for Growth Some of you were watching my social media posts and saw that I was enjoying the experience. Truthfully, I feel a little bit lighter. I had no idea about some of the things I mentioned above. Oh, one last thing. The overwhelming theme of the seminar was always to be your authentic self. I am so appreciative of what I learned. I trust you will consider keeping growing through education through Danny Morel's seminars or open yourself up to programs and events which challenge you to move out of your comfort zone. Thank goodness I opened the email. As someone said, I was courageous enough to enter unknown territory, trusting it would be for my higher good. Kathy Condon is a Journalist, Travel Writer, and Award-winning Author who shares her thoughts and travels to help stretch you to grow and learn about the world around you. kathy@kathycondon.net 760-902-2094 www.PalmSpringsInsiderGuide.com About List of Danny Morel Sanctioned August Webinars

  • Joshua Tree National Park History

    Visiting Joshua Tree National Park is special no matter what time of year you go. I hope the information about its history below will enhance your appreciation of this beautiful area of our California deserts. Yes, the park is home to two deserts, the Mojave Desert in the west and the Colorado Desert in the eastern and southern portions. Joshua Tree National Park History Paleo people are believed to have existed up to 8,000 years ago in this area. They mysteriously disappeared. It was thought 500 years ago, the Native American presence began within the confines of the area now called Joshua Tree National Park. The Native Americans migrated with the seasons, for they were hunters and gathers and sought the resources they needed to survive. Today there are four major tribes: the Mojave, Serrano, Chemehuevi, and Cahuilla, and there are about 15 sub-branches. The park is rich with artifacts that reveal aspects of their lives. Small indentations or caves can be found, which are assumed to be their shelters. In front of one of them, there is a large boulder. Made into a mortar and pestle, it is thought to have been used for grinding flour. It is not uncommon to find petroglyphs, and a fortunate hiker is still discovering them. In the 1800s, the population of the area changed again. Miners discovered gold in the hillsides. They started setting up camps around their mine claims. Some of them brought their families and settled in using the Homestead Act. However, the mines were not large producers of gold, so many of the temporary citizens of the area packed up and left their belongings behind, and retreated to the Los Angeles area. The Keyes Ranch History Upon his death, Mr. Morgan owed Bill Keyes back wages. Those wages were paid by Mr. Keyes, inheriting the land. Mr. Keyes met his bride and brought her to the land. Eventually, they had seven children; five of them survived and lived on the ranch. Water was plentiful, so dams and ponds were built. Mrs. Keyes managed the garden that flourished. She realized many miners and settlers needed food and set up a store. Eventually, she sold things like bonnets for the miners' wives and items made on the ranch by Mr. Keyes. Meanwhile, Mr. Keyes developed a business where the miners would bring the ore down to his ranch, and he would process it for them. Also, he developed the reputation of being able to fix anything. Mrs. Keyes homeschooled their children. Other miners and settlers noticed and asked if they could bring their children over to be taught by Mrs. Keyes. Eventually, a one-room schoolhouse was built, and the San Bernardino School District hired a teacher from Burma to teach the children in the area. Today this ranch is preserved exactly the way Mr. Keyes left it when he died in 1969. Thousands of metal pieces he used as parts can be found in the immediate area, and fences made out of dead Joshua trees and trunks surround the house. The buildings stand just as they were last used. A peek through the schoolhouse window reveals books still on the bookshelf. The Superintendent and Jason Theuer, Cultural Resource Branch Chief, fully understand the depth of the responsibility they have to care for this American treasure. Also, both acknowledge that they are far from discovering the treasures that still are to be found in this 800,000-acre-plus park. So pack a lunch, fill up your car with gas and plenty of water, and explore this wondrous park. AND if you should happen to run across an artifact, leave it where it is, note its location, and report your findings to one of the rangers. You may find a missing piece of this intriguing Joshua Tree National Park history. Kathy Condon is a journalist and travel writer. She is the Founder of the Palm Springs Insider Guide. Her book It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: It’s All About Communication was named Best Book Finalist by USA Book News Kathy@kathycondon.net 760-902-3094 www.PalmSpringsInsiderGuide.com About

  • Acrisure Arena Welcomes Cirque du Soleil to Palm Desert in August

    If you have never seen Cirque de Soleil, here's your chance to see it in our beautiful Acrisure Arena. It is coming to Palm Desert in Coachella Valley from August 31 to September 3. Thus, you have only four short days to see "Corteo" performed by these outstanding athletes. Note this is over Labor Day Weekend. I was delighted when contacted by the organizers. They asked me if I would like to interview one of the performers. Of course, I said yes. I researched more information about Cirque du Soleil, and I am pleased to share what I learned in this article with you. History of Cirque du Soleil The humble beginnings of Cirque du Soleil started in the quaint town of Baie-Saint-Paul near Quebec City, Canada, in the 1980s. To the townspeople's delight, performers on stilts juggled balls, dishes, and sticks lit with fire frequently appeared in the evening to entertain them on cool Canadian nights. The troupe grew, and Guy Laliberte, one of the members, decided to organize a cultural event. He invited other regional performers to come together in 1983 and then again in 1984. The goal was to share ideas and techniques to enhance their performances, for it was apparent that the community loved this light-hearted interaction. First Big Break for Cirque du Soleil Quebec City needed an extravaganza to help celebrate the 450th year of the discovery of the city. They had heard the performers in Baie-Saint-Paul were delighting people with their antics and athletic abilities. The invitation came—the troupe would be one of the attractions for the celebration. After this successful event, Laliberte started to dream bigger. What if we left the Quebec area and started traveling around the world? He named the newly formed troupe Cirque du Soleil, which means Circus of the Sun. His idea worked. The troupe went to 10 other Canadian Cities under a big top tent. The first audience of 800 was enthusiastic and helped spread the word about the quality of the event, and the admiration for the performers' abilities continued to grow. The Second Big Break in the History of Cirque du Soleil It happened in 1987 when Cirque du Soleil was invited to the Los Angeles Art Festival. After its success there, it moved to San Diego and Santa Monica. Headquarters in Montreal The unbridled success enabled the organization to attract the funds to build its headquarters in Montreal in 1997. To this day, though it has been added on to, it is called The Studio and is where the creation and production of the performances have their birth. They are now in their 18th year. Keep in mind that each year there is an entirely different production. This means the storyline, scenery, costumes, and performing artists must learn new routines. The shows include music with approximately 31 original songs. Today 4300 performers are performing in 150 cities. Troupes perform in Croatia, Belgium, France, Ireland, the UK, Spain, Poland, Lithuania, Austria, Germany, and Denmark. Pulling the Curtain Back to See Behind the Scenes of Cirque du Soleil Performances. When we go to performances, we sit there with anticipation for we have bought our ticket. Since we chose this particular event, we trust we will enjoy it. However, after interviewing some of the staff involved with the production, I have to admit I had no real idea of what had to happen to make this two-hour spectacular event happen. A Look at the Statistics of the Making of a Cirque du Soleil Production. The Team (The name they use for the entire troupe) consists of 117 people from 27 countries, and 18 languages are spoken. Stop and think about it – that fact alone seems daunting to overcome. The entourage's arrival means 100 people will be hired from the local community. They need extra help with the 12-hour set up and the 4-hour tear down after the show. There are 25 trucks to unload with approximately 700 road cases and 272-panel pieces to construct the floor that fit together like a puzzle. 700 costumes require ironing for 8 hours a day. The costumes consist of 2000 pieces and 200 pairs of shoes. The 18th creation of Cirque du Soleil Corteo Storyline There is an innovation with this year's creation: It is the first and only two-sided performance. Thus, it will be easier for more people to view the version fully. Corteo, which means cortege in Italian. This performance is about a festive parade where a clown feels as though he is attending his funeral in a carnival-like atmosphere. Four angels guide him through an intimate, often silly, and tragic dreamlike world. With their help, his strength, vulnerability, knowledge, and generosity showcase those aspects in him and within all of us. Never fear. There are plenty of light moments and silliness in the production. So, there will be no heavy hearts leaving the arena. Interview with Cirque du Soleil Performer By Zoom, I had a lovely interchange with Joseane Martins Costa, who has performed in Cirque du Soleil since 2018. She is from Brazil; however, I talked to her while she was in Columbus, Ohio, where they are performing. K: We began our conversation by discussing her degree in Aeronautical Sciences. I asked her how did you decide on this degree focus. J: She smiled as she relayed her story about her interest in the subject. She said I started ballet when I was three. Then I moved on to gymnastics from seven until I was 12. Then I got involved with synchronized swimming and was on the Brazilian National Team. We competed in the National Pan American Games in Guadalajara in 2011 and won a Bronze Metal. In 2012, I decided I wanted to continue my path of synchronized swimming. Then I saw a performance of Cirque du Soleil and decided to apply. Happily, I was accepted to be trained as an acrobat. Thus, my life has always been about movement, specifically flying, so it made sense to me to learn more about it for my degree. K: How do you develop so much trust in the people you are flying on the highwires with? J: Kathy, all performers must trust not just the people we are on the highwire with. We must trust all 117 members of the Team. The Team members putting the set together are an integral part of the production. We have to trust they have done it correctly and checked it so we will be safe. K: Where do you stay when you are on the road? J: We are given a stipend, so we can use it however we desire. Recently, we were in Los Angeles for six weeks. I chose to rent a small place, and it was terrific being stationary for a while so I could relax in my own space for such a long time. K: How many days a week are you on duty? J: We are always on duty for 5 days a week. That includes the performances. During those five days, if we are not performing, we are practicing. However, we have entirely off two days a week—our bodies need time to recover. K: Do you get time to explore the communities you are performing in? J: Yes, we can do whatever we want on our days off. We have a manager who makes exploring opportunities available to us. K: Since you are coming to Palm Springs, I'd love to give you and three others a tour of Palm Springs. J: That would be wonderful. Joseane was off to what I am assuming was another interview. She is a fabulous spokesperson for the Team. Attending Opening Night I am honored to have been invited with a friend to attend the Opening Night of Cirque du Soleil at the Acrisure Arena on August 31. Imagine how different this will be for me since I now have "met" one of the performers. Again, Cirque du Soleil is coming to Palm Desert at the Acrisure Arena from August 31-September 3, 2023. You can get Cirque du Soleil 2023 tickets here. I asked Joseane what she liked most about being a Cirque du Soleil Team Member. She replied, "I get to fly and celebrate life every day." Kathy Condon is a Journalist, Travel Writer, and Award-winning Author. She is the owner and developer of Palm Springs Insider Guide, a resource for those visiting Palm Springs, California. kathy@kathycondon.net 760-902-3094 About

  • 6 Palm Springs Happy Hours a Resident Enjoys

    As a mature woman over 50, I, like many of my friends, am not keen on having a large meal late at night. Thus, we often meet somewhere at 5:00 or 5:30 p.m. to take advantage of the Happy Hours scattered throughout Coachella Valley. Most of my friends live in Palm Springs, and thus, we usually stay in town. However, when I'm meeting friends from other parts of the Valley, we often come up with halfway meeting places. Things to consider when going to Palm Springs Happy Hour in the summertime. Do you want to eat inside or outside? With temperatures sometimes reaching 115 degrees in the summertime, it might not be the wisest choice to select a place based on its delightful outdoor seating area, though many have misters. Confirm the Palm Springs Happy Hours timeframe by telephone. More than once, I checked a restaurant's website and reviewed the information provided, only to discover there was no Happy Hour or the hours were different than the ones listed on their website. While most restaurants now stay open year-round, a few close for a month or two during the summer to have a much-needed rest before the season begins in mid-September or October 1. My Go-To Restaurants for a Palm Springs Happy Hour This list by no means states which are the best or inclusive of all Palm Springs Happy Hours--it is the list of the places I enjoy and go back to again and again. 1. The Reef at the Caliente Tropics The Reef is one of my go-to places when I have visitors in town. I like to go there because I believe it has the best coconut shrimp in the area. Also, their Mai Tia topped off with a large sprig of fresh mint, seems like the perfect drink to end a day. Guests and I am discovering many locals have not gone here. The Reef is on the side of the Caliente Tropics, so look for the sandwich board near the entrance door. Walk down the hall and turn left into the room. The entire space is decorated, so one feels like you have walked into Jimmy Buffet's Key West world. There are booths and café tables where you can gather your friends for intimate conversations. That is if the small stage in the corner has not attracted some local musicians who perform with an upbeat tropical vibe. In that case, sit back, enjoy, or grab a person, and dance on the postage-size dance floor . If you have a big group, the patio has picnic tables poolside so that you can watch the antics as hotel guests frolic in the large pool. 2. Bill's Pizza Takes You Back to Italy One of my fondest memories is visiting North Lake Como with my family. We looked over a menu with perhaps, 50 different kinds of pizza for our evening meals. I was delighted to discover Bill's Pizza in downtown Palm Springs has a crust reminiscent of the ones I enjoyed in Italy. While the menu is not nearly as extensive, my favorite is the Elton John. The combination of artichokes hearts, tomatoes, cooked spinach, red onions, four kinds of cheese, and feta on top of garlic-infused olive oil sauce is so flavorful and the perfect reason to overlook the calories involved. Happy Hour is only on Monday, but it gives one an excuse to go there for reduced draft beer and wine. Plus, getting a table inside or out is easier since visitors have hit the road after their weekend getaway. 3. Agua Caliente Casino 360 Sports Bar A friend was visiting, and she wanted to try her hands at the slot machines at the Agua Caliente Casino. After playing for a while, it was time to get a bite, and we discovered it was Happy Hour at the 360 Sports Bar. It was then we discovered the Nachos. We should have figured out when the bartender said you want one-half of an order, right? We looked at each other and asked, " Is it big enough for two?" He grinned and said, "Yes, I am sure you will be fine. It arrived, and we both started laughing—the serving was huge. It appeared to be made with melted processed cheese, but we overlooked it because the other fresh ingredients were superb. (I'm going to ask for regular cheese melted on it next time—It Doesn't Hurt to Ask.) Paired with a glass of wine or an ice-cold draft beer, I can assure you you won't need another bit of food the rest of the day. We took half of the half-order home for lunch, which was heated in the air fryer the next day. 4. Sammy G's Tuscan Grill Tucked Away If you are downtown, you will want to go under the arch that says The Vineyard and walk until you get to the building in the back. Tell the concierge you are there for Happy Hour and will be directed to an inside lounge or a secluded outdoor patio. Sammy G’s Tuscan Grill is a well-established restaurant has been attracting people for years and is known for its delicious Italian meals. Late into the evening, local musicians entertain crowds and encourage dancing and mingling. As you would suspect, the Happy Hour menu has an array of Italian foods. Recently my friend ordered eggplant parmesan. My serving of a meatball and spaghetti was the right portion size for my evening meal. With a choice of wine, well cocktails, and various craft beers at reduced prices, you can have a lovely meal in a beautiful atmosphere at a reasonable cost. 5. Eight4Nine Superb Cocktails Okay, I'm hooked on their Old Fashioned. My first drink in Wisconsin was an old-fashioned made with brandy when I turned of age. Brandy was readily available in my German community and was believed to help digestion. Thus, the cocktail was created using brandy instead of whiskey. However, more prevalent in the Southwest, it is made like the original inventor in Louisville, Kentucky, intended to be made with whiskey. Thus, that is what you will find at Eight4Nine with a giant square cube, which melts slower and causes less drink dilution. The Eight4Nine lounge area, all day long, you can order craft cocktails and beers at reduced prices. They call their menu Lounge Bites, which range from hearty sandwiches and salads to Lobster Croquettes. Locals often go here to meet with friends or have a noon business meeting. Locals are often seen having a quick chat with a person at an adjacent table. Are you staying in Palm Springs and Wanting to Meet Friends at the Other End of Coachella Valley? 6. Enzo's is A Great Halfway Meeting Place Located in Rancho Mirage, Enzo's has become one of my favorite places to meet friends who live at the other end of Coachella Valley. It is approximately halfway between Palm Springs and Indio, making it a great location to catch up. There is plenty of parking. Walking up to the front door, you feel you are in for something special. Once you open the door, the expansive view of the restaurant appears before you. Turn left and go down the steps to find an empty table. From experience, I've learned the bar is also a great place to strike up a conversation. There are two dishes I can highly recommend. The lasagna with homemade Italian sausage, ricotta, Romano pecorino, and parmigiana Reggiano will practically have you wanting to lick your plate. I mentioned homemade Italian sausage—you cannot go wrong with their meatballs. Add a glass of your favorite wine, and you will be all set for the rest of the evening. Of course, with our beautiful Palm Springs evening weather, there is always room for a nightcap at one of our many outdoor patios. After carefully checking, I discovered some of my other favorite Palm Springs Happy Hour places are not having Happy Hours. Instead, they use the term "Lounge Bites." Upon examination of the menus, it appears many items are small portions of the entrees served in the main dining rooms. I don't know about you, but that's great because I enjoy the restaurant's superb cuisine without having to take home half of it to warm up the next day, which is never that satisfying. Even though Palm Springs Happy Hours seem to be diminishing, I am glad restauranteurs are finding a way to keep serving those of us who desire smaller meals in the evening. One last thing, it seems new restaurants keep popping up, even in the summer, so I can assure you there are many other places you may want to explore. Kathy Condon is a Journalist, Travel Writer, and Award-winning Author. She is a 10-year resident of Palm Springs and is the owner of www.PalmSpringsinsiderGuide.com 760-902-3094 Kathy@kathycondon.net. About

  • Summer in Idyllwild California

    As the temperatures soar in Palm Springs, California, we residents look for ways to change our daily routines. This blog is about a trip my friend, and I recently took to Idyllwild, California, for the day. Why do we appreciate summer in Idyllwild? Summer in Idyllwild is Cooler Frankly, we know it is going to be about 25 degrees cooler. Idyllwild is located at nearly the 5,500-foot level, nestled in the ancient ponderosa pines in the San Jacinto Mountains high above Palm Springs. The Road is Windy, So Not Something Most Want to Do in the Winter. There are two routes to Idyllwild from Palm Springs. My preferred way is Highway 74, which you can access Idyllwild from Palm Desert. The drive can be a bit scary, for the winding roads were designed with curves traversing back and forth along the mountain's edge. Thus, going up the mountain is not high on my travel list if ice and snow stick at high elevations. Highway 243 is another way, which you approach from Banning, California. Admittedly, the panoramic view is beautiful, but for the driver, focused attention is a must for the road that hugs the mountain's edge. What is there to do in Idyllwild? Shopping is Abundant One of the appealing aspects of Idyllwild is the many retail stores offering a variety of products—most of the stores are owned and operated by independent vendors. There are candle stores, clothing, handmade crafts, and antique stores dotting the streets. Wooley's offers an abundance of gear if you want to head out on some of the local trails. Strolling is Encouraged This community is one where a lack of a plan can lead to some unique experiences. We turned right up the street from the downtown parking lot. Idyllwild Gardens A Place of Serenity A recent discovery is the Idyllwild Gardens. What a wonderland. Perhaps, it is the contrast to the desert environment, but this lush nursery makes one want to stop and smell the flowers. Soothing music plays in the background. Benches are placed through the grounds of this family-owned nursery, where you can buy beautiful pots. We were impressed by the beautiful Christmas red pots of various sizes and commented on how perfect they would be if you were decorating with a red theme. A special stop on the grounds is the Bucolic Travelers, a vintage van now a boutique shop with everything from vintage garments to non-toxic remedies using plant-based formulas. The Rustic Theatre Downtown Idyllwild I had often been to Idyllwild, but always when The Rustic Theatre was closed. We noted that the signs were being brought outside on this day, and the theatre appeared open. From the marquee, it appeared a movie would be shown later in the day. We crossed the street and asked the staff members if we could peek into the theatre. They smiled broadly and said, "Absolutely." Entering the lobby felt like stepping into a place frozen in time, except for the giant motorcycle parked behind the robes. Staff said the owner, a motorcycle rider, jokes that it is the best parking spot in town. Here's a video showing how it was initially built. Recently, it has been remodeled, and we marveled at the large seats with wide arms to hold drinks. It shows movies, and the 260-seat theatre also holds live events. El Buen Cacao is a Must Stop I discovered El Buen Cacao in a small shop tucked down in one of the retail alleys years ago. Now they have moved to the Village Center Shops near the top of the stairs of the Idyllwild Brewpub. In the corner is their 9-year-old child doing her homework while Mom and Dad create the chocolate and greet customers as they come in to buy 75% plus pure cacao chocolate in truffle form or bars. The owners have been going all over the world to find the best cacao for their products. There was a spark in their eyes as they talked about their newly forming idea—providing tours to the destinations where they travel regularly. I can only imagine how educational these tours will be for people who sign up for such an adventure. For example, the owner had us taste the pulp surrounding the seed that would later be roasted into cacao. I encourage you to sign up for their newsletter. There you will find information about tours of their present-day facility, their world tours to the cacao plantations, and their excellent product that they send all over the United States. Summer in Idyllwild Means Stopping to Enjoy the Restaurants Pure Bean Idy After the drive up the mountain, I am sure you will be ready for refreshments. Located adjacent to the main parking lot, Pure Bean Idy does a brisk business making freshly brewed coffee and serving pastries. After picking up your order, I suggest you take your treat outside and find a seat on the patio that wraps around the building. This is an excellent place for people-watching, and if you are fortunate, a local musician will be playing at the nearby bandstand. Café Roma We were a little bummed when we discovered that Café Roma doesn't open until 4:30 p.m., at least when we recently visited. This is a special place because there are patios that make one feel like they are dining in the forest. This multi-level restaurant offers fares, including everything from pasta to duck a la orange to Steak Argentina. Another delightful touch is the music provided by local musicians accompanying dining hours. Idyllwild Brewpub Craft beers are plentiful on the Idyllwild Brewpub menu. Even though I am from Wisconsin, beer is not typically my first drink of choice, but one cannot help but get caught up in the atmosphere where beer lovers are abundant and gather for conversations. I ordered the Idyllwild IPA and was not disappointed. However, my reason for numerous returns is the outstanding fish and chips. Breaded just right and fried to perfection, the fish seems to melt in your mouth. Be prepared to be stuff. The fish fillets are enormous. There is also coleslaw and a giant pile of French fries. Admittedly, I appreciate the cool weather. In fact, on this recent visit, the temperature was nearly perfect, with a slight breeze making the perfect exploration weather. The smell of the evergreen trees brings back memories of my childhood in the Wisconsin countryside. The drive down from Idyllwild to Palm Desert or from Idyllwild to Palm Springs offers a spectacular view of Coachella Valley. However, one of the unique aspects of this place which makes it special to me is talking to and learning from the people who have decided to make this mountain community their home. I always learn something new when I spend the day here. Now that I have learned I have more to explore, maybe it is time for me to spend part of the summer in Idyllwild 50 miles from Palm Springs. Kathy Condon is a Palm Springs Travel Writer, Journalist, and Award-Winning Author. She is the owner of www.PalmSpringsInsiderGuide.com 702-902-3094 kathy@kathycondon.net About

  • Palm Springs Summer Activities

    How hot does it get in Palm Springs in the summer? You will hear Palm Springs residents saying 100 degrees isn’t really hot. As a former Northwest resident, I can tell you there is a big difference between 100 degrees in Washington State and Palm Springs. Indeed, the desert air humidity registers well below that found in states where rainfall occurs regularly. To the delight of residents with pools, the sun once again heats them warm enough to become a place for exercise. Pool parties are on social activities calendars. Happy Hours are abundant, and poolside gatherings are the perfect backdrop for catching up with friends. Palm Spring Summer Activities are Plentiful Hiking Trails There are trails of all difficulty levels within the city limits of Palm Springs. There are 60 miles of trails, and it includes the Reservation of the Agua Caliente Indians. Nearby, the Mt. San Jacinto State Park has 54 miles of trails, many with outstanding views of the Coachella Valley. Summer means you are up early, hitting the trails. Take twice as much water as you think you need, wear a hat, and suntan lotion is a must. Be sure to stay on the trail, for there are too many required rescues due to a hiker wandering off on the less traveled route. Windmill Tours an Activity for the Entire Family Those majestic windmills standing like soldiers at the entrance to Palm Springs have a story to tell. There are two tours where you can get up close and personal with these giant machines. The windmill tours begin at the Display Yard, where one learns the history of the 1980s. Here are the two options: Take a self-guided tour using your car. From personal experience, it is great fun having teenagers follow the app and direct the flow through the assigned path. Then there is VIP and Guided tour where you have a knowledgeable guide taking you on the paths and pointing out things along the way. VillageFest is One of the Fun Palm Springs Summer Activities One of the more popular Palm Springs summer activities is Thursday’s VillageFest. In the summer, hours are pushed back to 7:00 p.m. with a closing time of 10:00 p.m. Vendors line North Palm Canyon for blocks sharing their creations, while music sets the upbeat tone for this evening event. If you are looking for a unique souvenir or gift, it will not be difficult to find it here. Jewelry, photography, original paintings, stationery, and new and vintage clothing tempt you. A suggestion-- go there hungry, for the food booths offer everything from hot dogs to ethnic foods that will tantalize your taste buds as you walk down the street. Patio Dining It would be hard to say which Palm Springs restaurant has no patio. The pandemic allowed restaurants to develop creative ways to expand their space outside so that our beautiful Palm Springs evenings can be enjoyed. The variety of cuisine available continues to involve with new restaurants opening constantly. If you love Mexican food, it is fun to solicit suggestions from locals. You will discover there are many Mexican restaurants, and everyone has his own opinion of why one is better than another. Shopping in Palm Springs We have a few national retail brand stores in downtown Palm Springs. However, most of our stores are owned by locals who spend many hours in their location. Interaction with them will help make your shopping experience fun. You can ask them about their products, and the next thing you know, they will be sharing information about some of our unique places to visit while you are here. Public Art is Abundant Our new downtown park, still not officially named, reveals many art installations drawing people to the area. The 25-ft Marilyn statue has become a must-see. At the end of Museum Way, our Palm Springs Art Museum is a beautiful place to browse, relax and contemplate what the artist is sharing with all of us through her art. Our Local Agua Caliente Casinos Offering Entertainment If you haven’t been to one of our casinos lately, you may be surprised by the updated machines, restaurants serving great food, and entertainment in their showrooms. Sign up for their loyalty programs and enjoy some free gambling time. Summer is the Perfect Time to Go to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Since the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is 8,000 feet above the desert floor, you can expect a minimum temperature of 20 degrees cooler. My best tip: Go up at around 4:30 p.m. to see the view in the daylight. Then have a cocktail, eat at one of the restaurants, and return after dark. Preparing for Summer Visit to Palm Springs I trust this brief blog will help you in preparing for your summer visit to Palm Springs and has whetted your appetite to encourage you to come and take a closer look at our community. Our international airport, with many direct flights, is only 10 minutes from downtown Palm Springs. Our many Palm Springs Springs Preferred Hotels are within walking distance of the activities I have listed above. It may be hot, summer temperatures in Palm Springs can reach 115 degrees plus, but you will find more than enough Palm Springs summer activities to entertain you and your family. Check out the Greater Palm Springs calendar for events scheduled during your stay. Kathy Condon is a Journalist and Travel Writer focusing on luxury hotels, spas, and cities living in the shadows of large cities. She developed www.PalmsSpringsInsiderGuide.com to share information about her community of Palm Springs. 760-902-3094 Kathy@kathycondon.net About

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