To get a bit of exercise after lunch and to get to know downtown Palm Springs we continued our walk a walk westwards on Tahquitz Canyon Way and turned north on North Palm Canyon Drive, two streets that are full of shops, restaurants, chic boutiques, galleries, salons and spas. We also walked by a sculpture of Lucy Ricardo, from the TV show from “I Love Lucy”. Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz spent a lot of time in Palm Springs in a 1930s hacienda. Palm Springs was a popular spot for celebrities: Elvis Presley chose the town for his honeymoon, Frank Sinatra had an estate in town where he lived with his second wife, Ava Gardner. Bing Crosby, Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and many other famous actors also had residences in Palm Springs. The glamour is still tangible today.
Along North Canyon Drive in Palm Springs there are many restaurants, boutiques, avant-garde galleries and shops. One of the most interesting landmarks here is the Rainmaker Fountain in Francis Stevens Park. The pipes of this fountain slowly move up and down, and on some of their downward movements they spill a graceful cascade of water into the basin. It’s an entertaining guessing game to figure out which one of the curved pipes is going to spew water next. Francis Stevens Park is also a frequent location of art shows and other public events.
As we continued our walk in Palm Springs I was taken in by some of the parks and front yards that had colourful flowerbeds and planters. Several Art Deco buildings can be found on North Palm Canyon Drive, a reminder of the heyday of Palm Springs when many Hollywood celebrities first came here to live or vacation. Development in Palm Springs already started in the early 1900s when tourists with certain health issues came here in order to get relief in the dry desert climate. A lot of development happened in the 1920 when many of the Hollywood stars of the time came here to enjoy the hot sunny weather and the privacy.
After our walk through Palm Springs’ downtown shopping district we settled in at Just Chillin’ at the corner of East Tahquitz Canyon Way and Indian Canyon Drive (lots of reference to canyons in Palm Springs…). Jus Chillin’ offers heavenly frozen desserts that are made of frozen yoghurt. Every day there are three choices of low carb / sugar free delights and almost all flavours are fat-free. After filling your cup with a selection of delicious frozen yoghurts you can add a wide variety of toppings before you go to the cash register and get your dessert weighed which determines the price.
With our sweet treats in hand, we sat down outside on the benches and watched the party at Oscar’s Café and Bar across the street. Music by Abba, the Bee Gees and the Village People brought a smile on the faces of the many passers-by as well as ours. Our first day in the California desert had been a great start for our nine-day getaway.