Indian Summer in Palm Springs CaliforniaSeptember 15, 2010 No Comments
Looking for the last of summer? Go to the desert! It’s shoulder season time, meaning Palm Springs air won’t scorch when you breathe, but it’s hot enough to swim in the hotel pool after dark and off-season prices make this trip a family bargain.
Your Palm Springs experience can start lunch at one of the many Mexican restaurants around town. One of the best is Las Casuelas Terraza, a patio restaurant bursting with bougainvillea and usually showcasing a mellow bar band – excellent for listening and relaxing. Early in the evening you’ll see lots of little kids dancing. Overhead misters keep the scene cool, and the homemade salsa is tasty. Chips and guacamole, tacos or tostados, you’ll find something the kids will love that won’t break the bank.
Or if you’re feeling more energetic, take a cool and cooling trip in one of the three hundred and sixty degree rotating cars up the Palm Springs Tram Way. On top of the mountain these cars transcend, the temperatures are a good fifteen to twenty degrees cooler than on the desert floor. Bring a picnic, take an easy hike, follow a mountain stream or sit on a rock and look down at the shimmering valley below. There are plenty of safe, easy trails for the little ones and some great look out points. The big bonus is the ride up and down the mountain face. It’s like going on a great amusement park ride – with a view. Thrilling but safely behind glass!
However you’ve begun your weekend, you’ll want to continue your getaway by unwinding – preferably by the pool. Good spots for just such an escape include La Quinta Resort, the Doral, the Hyatt Suites, and our favorite, the pool at the ultra modern Hotel Zoso, in downtown Palm Springs, a sleek setting in chrome, magenta and black. It’s only three feet shallow and perfect for the kids. Some families prefer the larger resorts in Palm Desert or Cathedral City , with the large scale pools and water slides, but we like a more mellow scene. We also like staying close to the historic downtown area, which allows plenty of leisurely strolling past cafes and restaurants and small shops. Another option are rental houses, which abound at reasonable rates this time of year, many with private pools.
But if you go with the Zoso, you’ll find the pool practically private anyway once the sun goes down. Its easy to star gaze and swim or wade in the shallow pool, and go for a simple room service repast to finish the day. There’s kid friendly sandwiches along with the more sophisticated adult entrees. The Zoso’s rooms are comfortable, large, and modern.
But if you’d rather go out for dinner, try the traditional kid friendly fare at The Chop House in a room with elegant Greco-Roman accents; the fanciful Middle Eastern themed dishes at the St. James with its colorful butterfly and rainbow walls; or the Italian food at the Kalora bistro.
Finish up with a carriage ride up and down Palm Canyon and across the shadowed residential streets that parallel it. Gentle horses pull a velvet lined livery on fifteen to thirty minute rides. Kids are allowed to stroke the horses’ manes.
Next day, rise early before the sun gets too intense. Take a stroll with plenty of water and sun screen – among the palmy oases of Indian Canyon. Although some trails are challenging, many are easy, flat loops past meandering streams. You’ll get a map and instructions from the attendant on the way in.
And if you don’t feel like a walk, of course there’s always that pool!
One way or another you’ll burn off enough calories to enjoy desert, and there’s plenty of choices in downtown Palm Springs, from gelato to our favorite at Kalora, the Italian cafe that’s also worth noting for dinner. In our book, nothing beats their orange, lemon, or lime ice in a hollowed frozen fruit. If you’re up for a short drive you can try a different kind of sweet fruit, dates – at either the Oasis Date Factory and gift shop near Thermal or Shields near Indio. There’s a tasting room to help you and the kids select the perfect and healthful treat. From Medjool to Khadrawi, the dates are as much fun to eat as they are to learn how to pronounce! And while you’re “dating” – be sure and try an incredibly rich chocolate date ice cream shake. Warning: one small is large enough for two kids to share easily, maybe even two adults.