We have had such a spell of cold, wet weather that we just wanted a weekend to be warm and dry. Palm Springs beckoned. There was a tremendous wildflower bloom along I-15. We went through Temecula and were surprised to see snow on the ground at the Santa Rosa pass and the San Jacinto mountains were covered with snow.
We stopped at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. There is a small visitors center with helpful rangers, a museum, a tortoise and garden path. There are also nice restrooms. It is worth a stop.
We stayed at the Westin Rancho Mirage - a nice resort with plenty of amenities. We always eat at the Pink Cabana at the Sands Hotel for our first evening. The interior of the lobby was designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, who is a well-known interior decorator. The design style is a fresh take Moroccan tile work. The Pink Cabana has a very interesting menu and great food.
Our only major outing was to Thousand Palms Oasi
s Preserve. This is a fascinating spot full of the native California palm, Washingtonian filifera. This statuesque palm keeps its dry lower fronds giving it a natural skirt. There is a small visitors center staffed with very knowledgeable docents. We learned that the water in the oasis was due to the local fault. It was shocking to find so much water in the oasis that there was a boardwalk over the standing water. We also sampled the palm fruit which tastes like a crunchy raisin. This is an amazing place and offers several short hikes.
We also visited the small, pretty Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden, part of the Palm Springs Art Museum. The art blends seamlessly with a beautiful outdoor plantings. Adjacent is the Artists Council
. We saw an amazing exhibit of photography by local artists.
On the way home, we stopped at Diamond Lake in Hemet. Past the Museum, there is a road up to the reservoir. This was so mobbed with flower peepers, we turned around. We parked to the far right of the lot for the Museum. There is a pretty view of the hills and a trail. The colors were vivid with yellows, bold oranges and deep purples. The Museum is small, but well worth a visit.
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