Since Mr. Right is off doing an adventure, I decided to take an adventure of my own. Mine was a little tamer, though. Because I have not been there, I chose to take a trip to Palm Springs, CA. After all, since the temperatures there are at their peak in August, why not make it a mini-adventure and get the true desert experience??? And to top it off, my flight out was to take place on Monday, Aug. 8. That is the day that Delta had its shut-down which put more adventures in my travels. Rather than deal with delayed flights, etc., I just rebooked my flight for the next day. I was lucky enough to have been “grounded” in Lexington, and I was able to sleep in my own bed that night. Many travelers spent the night sleeping on airport floors around the world. I have mentioned here before that it is so important to be prepared and be flexible when traveling to avoid those mini-meltdowns so many fliers have when their flight plans are changed – or cancelled. But I digress. I want to tell you about my trip to Palm Springs, CA.
I stayed in the Palm Desert area, and my room was a lovely studio with a patio and an out-door fireplace. I was beside the pool and had a beautiful view of the mountains. Since it was so hot, there weren’t many people which meant the pool only had a few there at any one time. Sometimes pool-side rooms can be noisy, but this one was very quiet and peaceful. I ate breakfast on the patio each morning after I took a long walk. It was important to get exercise out of the way early to beat the heat.
I’ll not bore you with all of my day to day goings-on, but I wanted to tell you about my favorite activity that week. One afternoon I signed up for a tour of the celebrity homes in the Palm Springs area. There were only two of us on the tour, and the guide/driver was loaded with behind the scenes information.
For instance, Palm Springs became “Hollywood East” back in the day when the movie studios “owned” their actors. That meant the actors were under contract to make several movies with a particular company. Most movies were filmed on the set back then, and when they were in production, the actors weren’t allowed to travel more than 100 miles away from Hollywood. When Frank Sinatra made his first million, he established a get-away home in Palm Springs. Then other actors followed and built their own desert homes, and the rest is history.
It was tough getting good photos from the moving tour van, but I did my best. For instance, here is Elvis’s house. People who own these famous homes now aren’t allowed to alter the exterior, but they can freshen it up. However, they can do whatever they want to the interior. Palm Springs is a mecca for mid-century modern homes and Spanish mission homes. They want to preserve the look.
This is the house where Elvis and Priscilla lived during their first year of marriage. They rented it, and on their wedding day, they had to sneak out the back and run across a vacant lot in order to avoid the paparazzi. They hopped in a car, went to the airport, and flew to Las Vegas to get married.
Leonardo Dicaprio owns this home that once belonged to Dinah Shore. It can be rented for $4,500 a night. Lots of the homes can be rented, and they aren’t as expensive as this one.
Some of the celebrities who owned homes there back in the day were Lucille Ball and Desi, Lucille Ball and her second husband Gary Morton, Marilyn Monroe when she was married to Joe DeMaggio, Peter Lawford (his house is where President Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe allegedly had their affair), Liberace, Sonny Bono, who was mayor), Sammy Davis Jr., John Wayne, Gene Autry, Zsa Zsa Gabor, who is still living there at age 99), Robert Stack, Ozzie and Harriet, and many more.
Some of the homes had hitching posts because the stars played golf, played tennis, and rode their horses. They rode their horse to each others house and tied them up in the front.
Liberace lived here while his other house was being remodeled. His mailbox was shaped like a piano.
We were able to tour the back yard of Robert Stack’s house. His house was command central for the Rat Pack. Their wild parties were there, away from the wives, so they could be bad boys, if you get my drift.
Lots of today’s stars have homes there, too. This is Lily Tomlin’s. It’s called Lily Pad, which is on the plaque to the left. You can tell that with the walls and the alarm signs that the stars were very into security and rightly so.
This one belongs to Kenny Rogers. It has a twin just a few hundred yards away, also owned by Kenny. Barbra Steisand likes to rent these houses when she is there. She rents both so she can control who her neighbors are.
Palm Springs has quite a history. This structure was a prison for Italian prisoners of war during World War II. They have been really cautious about preserving the look of the city, but recently they let a Hyatt Hotel built a multi-level structure, and another hotel is building a high rise. They are in the process of ruining what they have loved and preserved for so many years.
Many stars remain in Palm Springs after they pass away and are buried in the local cemetery. Their grave markers are just like everyone else.