Friday, January 10, 2020

Vintage Palm Springs, Our Vacation Spot

Ellen, Ken, Palm Springs, 1962
It was one of those cold, cloudy days in the winter in Palm Springs in 1962. It had been raining. We couldn't go swimming. Suddenly, the sun came out, but it still wasn't warm enough to don our bathing suits.
I remember the "car coat" I was wearing. It was red. So was the "pixie band" in my hair. My brother was reading a book. Dad snapped a photo with us squinting into the sun. 
We were staying at the Hillcrest Manor. My Dad was a contractor and had a door and wardrobe business at the time. He had supplied the remodeled Hillcrest Manor and another motel nearby, The Caribbean, with their doors and wardrobes. I guess the owner had a difficult time with payment, because in exchange, we had a weekend apartment in Palm Springs for about 3 or 4 years. We shared it with my Dad's business partner, so every other weekend we HAD to go to Palm Springs, rain or shine. This was one of those rainy weekends. 
Hillcrest Manor, Palm Springs
It wasn't easy getting to Palm Springs in those days. It took hours and hours. There weren't a lot of freeways. I vaguely remember going all the way south on La Brea Avenue until it turned into Hawthorne Blvd. I also remember stopping part-way in San Gabriel at a Mexican restaurant called El Poche Cafe for dinner. It was in an old adobe building, down the street from the San Gabriel Mission. There was a candle shop in the lobby. It must have taken about 4 hours to get to the desert.
The Hillcrest Manor was just off the main drag, Palm Canyon Drive. I remember walking to Louise's Pantry (originally Gordon's Luncheonette) and the A & W Rootbeer Stand, downtown, in the same courtyard as the Palm Springs Plaza Theater. If the weather was cold and we couldn't swim all day, we'd walk up and down Palm Canyon, looking in the shops. There were many of the same stores that we had in Los Angeles: Silverwood's, Desmond's, Robinson's, Saks 5th Avenue, Bullock's, Milton F. Kreiss Drugstore and lots of little resort-wear boutiques. 
Downtown Palm Springs
We also went on field trips near Palm Springs to the Palm Springs Aerial TramwayAgua Caliente Indian CanyonTahquitz CanyonHadley's Fruit Orchard and even all the way out to the Salton Sea. Dad liked arranging educational field trips for us. Mom liked shopping. 
I've continued taking trips out to the desert my whole life. Even though it's changed and grown, I still love it.
Have a great weekend!

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At 11:40 AM PST, Blogger ken bloom said...

Wow Ell!! It's amazing that you remember all those details. It brings back a lot, but especially our singing at the top of our lungs!


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