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Hi, I’m Tess.

Welcome to my blog where I document my travel adventures, provide tips, and give food & hotel recommendations.

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The Desert Gem - Palm Springs

The Desert Gem - Palm Springs

The past 2 months have been a whirlwind! I've been meaning to write about my recent vacation to Palm Springs but with a massively delayed flight back to NYC & movers at my apartment the very next day to relocate me to Southwest Florida, things got away from me to say the least!

Early April, my childhood best friend & I met up in Palm Springs to celebrate our 20 years of friendship. This was my first time visiting California (no, I don't count the one time I went to Disneyland when I was a toddler) and I loved every single thing about it! I arrived the night before my friend so my first day was spent walking around by myself which was a great test to see if I could handle a solo vacation... turns out I can! For our long weekend, we stayed at the Palm Mountain Resort & Spa, which was in the most perfect location & was very relaxing! Everything in Palm Springs was spectacular from the amazing air quality to the delicious meals to the stunning architecture! For being such an East Coast girl, I think I've finally seen the light & want to always channel my Cali girl vibes from now on.

Below you can read about the details of my trip & things I recommend seeing & places to eat!  

Day 1 (my solo day): I started my day pretty early since I hadn't had much time to get acclimated with the time difference. My first stop was Peninsula Pastries, which was about a 20 minute walk from my hotel, but I was loving the warm, dry air so much that it didn't bother me one bit. Peninsula Pastries is a small French patisserie with delectable little treats & coffee. I picked up a cappuccino & a croissant, which was amazing, and then walked 10 minutes further to the Moorten Botanical Gardens. These gardens were unlike any other botanical gardens I've been to! Instead of your typical flowers, they show off their numerous types of cacti and other desert plants (see the main blog post photo). The entrance fee is only $5 & is a must for your Palm Springs vacation! Afterwards, I started making my way back towards the hotel & made a stop at the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center which surprisingly also had an entrance fee of only $5 and provided a coupon for your entrance fee to the Palm Springs Art Museum, their larger sister museum. The Architecture and Design Center showcases all of the great architecture in Palm Springs and tells the story of how each famous design came to life. After grabbing a quick bite to eat at Fisherman’s Market & Grill, I headed to the Palm Springs Art Museum. Their exhibit was really cool and just being there made me feel inspired. After a long day of exploring, I walked back to the hotel to rest & freshen up, then I went for an early dinner at the newly opened 4 Saints Palm Springs. Now, I’ve had some pretty amazing food having lived in NYC for almost 9 years, but my dinner at 4 Saints was mind blowing! I was at the bar, eating alone, and I had a full blown 4 course meal because I couldn’t get enough! (Dessert photo below). The staff were extremely nice & assertive and the views were breathtaking. The restaurant has floor to ceiling windows with views of the mountain. This was the perfect way to end my 1st day in Palm Springs!

Day 2: Now that we were both in Palm Springs, we started our day with breakfast at Lulu California Bistro then walked over to BIKE Palm Springs Rentals to rent bikes for half of the day. They gave us a small map of where we could see some of the colorful doors and we were on our way. It was so much fun trying to find them, it was like a scavenger hunt getting lost in the streets of the neighborhoods and then spotting colored doors! After returning our bikes, we stopped by The Pantry at The Holiday House where we had a quick drink & a delightfully light lunch! The decor inside was to die for and it’s on my list of places to stay next time I’m there. We then ventured to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway that takes you up 2.5 miles to the top of Mt. San Jacinto State Park. It was a very steep ride up & down the mountain but it was so worth it! Once we got to the top, it was a lot chillier than the temperature on the ground so be sure to bring a jacket or sweatshirt with you. To our surprise, there were snow patches on the ground! After falling & busting it because of the snow, we hiked one of the easier trails that took us to some amazing views! This is also another must-do when visiting Palm Springs! Later that night, we went to dinner at Grand Central and then made our way up to the intimate bar with a speakeasy vibe, Bootlegger Tiki. The entire vibe inside was so unexpected and special. From the decor to the meticulously crafted cocktails, you’re bound to have a great night here!

Day 3: You can’t go visit Palm Springs without making a pit stop through Joshua Tree National Park and we were so glad we did! This was by far the most adventurous day and it started off by renting a car at the airport in the morning and then making our way to the park. It’s about an hour’s drive from Palm Springs and a very easy one at that. You’ll know when you’ve arrived inside the park because you mouth will literally drop from the breathtaking views of massive boulders to the quirky Joshua Trees every where you look. We started off by hiking the Ryan Mountain trail which is a 3 mile trail up to the summit of Ryan Mountain. I’ll admit, it was a little strenuous at times but the views were worth every ounce of sweat. The trail took about two hours to complete and after that we were a little worn out. Our final stop was at a group of huge boulders that we passed on our way in. We got out & climbed up because it looked like so much fun until we found out that the rocks were not smooth as they appeared to be from the distance. We got some great photos but after some scrapes & cuts, we were ready to head back to the hotel to get ready for our last dinner. We wanted to end the trip with a bang and what better way than to have a nice dinner at Mister Parker’s at the Parker Hotel. This was also one of the best meals I’ve ever had! The food was beyond delicious and the ambiance and decor made it that much better. I still dream of this meal and cannot wait to have it again the next time I’m in Palm Springs!

Day 4: This was our last day and we spent it in true Palm Springs style… poolside! Our flights back home were later in the evening so we had all day long to relax. We had a delicious breakfast at Cheeky’s then stopped in some shops along the walk back to the hotel. We then gathered our belongings, had the front desk hold them for us, and lounged by the pool for the rest of the day. I took a break from the sun and got a classic facial at the hotel spa. It felt amazing to be pampered after all of the sun I had gotten and was a great way to relax before I relocated to Florida the following few days!

Palm Springs is a wonderful place to vacation and I highly recommend it to anyone. It was a fantastic girls’ trip but would also be great for families, couples, or just a group of friends. I hope to visit Palm Springs for many years to come!

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