Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The best way to see a new town...

My family and I recently got back from a long weekend in Palm Springs. None of us had been and with school just getting out for my oldest and my parents visiting (who are also PS newbies), we figured a weekend there would be a great kick-off to summer.

We rented a house through Airbnb, which was a great experience. You create an account, search for what you're looking for, and viola, a list of great places to stay appear. The house we chose turned out to leave much to be desired and the owner wasn't exactly helpful when we encountered problems during our stay, but that's another blog post for another time. Regardless, I do recommend using Airbnb for your next vacation.

We arrived on a Thursday night, had dinner and settled into our place. I was planning on doing a long run Friday morning but when it was 85 degrees by the time I was ready to run in the morning, I bagged it. I am not heat acclimated by any stretch of the imagination and I didn't really want a crash course in it while running in a strange town. I figured I'd get out earlier on Saturday morning.

Though, I do love running in a town I've never been. It is a great way to explore. Most people find themselves ditching their fitness routine while on vacation because they're either not familiar enough with their surroundings to go or they feel that, because they're on vacation, they don't have time/are having too much fun/want to relax/insert excuse here. We've all done it. But, your running doesn't have to take a vacation just because you do. Just as with every single aspect of life, a little preparation goes a long way to staying on track. And stalking celebrities is great motivation for a hot desert run :)

Part of the reason why we chose Palm Springs is the celebrity factor. Ok, part of the reason I chose Palm Springs. I believe I've mentioned before how I am a closet celebrity stalker. No, I don't climb fences (yet) or follow celebs as they're walking down the street (wait...I have done that). But I like the aura of celebrities, their "real" stories and mystique combined, and being in the vicinity of celebrities fuels my obsession. Now, with that said, I've wanted to go to PS for ages because of the old Hollywood connection. Palm Springs gained popularity as a Hollywood Hideaway, with many stars heading there for a retreat from filming in LA. Production houses used to grant their stars time off but gave them a 2-hour rule: they could go away but only within a 2-hour radius of the studio in case they were needed for filming in a jiffy. With it being less than 2 hours from LA, and too hot for it to be a tourist haven, Palm Springs became a go-to place for celebs.

As we were lounging by the pool Friday afternoon, I did a little research into Palm Springs history and sites of interest. My BFF Google did not disappoint and I found a plethora of info, including lists and lists of addresses of homes of stars. This website gave me the most info. Is it all true? Who knows but I don't really care. These were homes they owned, rented, walked through, looked at, etc. So, obsession fully ignited, I mapped out a route to see many, many celebrity homes and decided, "to hell with the desert heat and my lack of heat acclimation! There are celebrity homes to see!" Therefore, as a service to my celebrity stalking brethren, here is my running tour of Palm Springs. Keep in mind many of these homes are hidden behind gates and bushes but it's still exciting :) And, as a side note, I may add running tours to my list of services :)

The order of homes is in the order I ran to them. The total mileage from where I began back to my house was 9 miles.

Liberace 226 Alejo Rd/501 Belardo
Kind of lackluster and obviously under construction.

Frank Sinatra 1148 E Alejo Rd
This was Sinatra's first place in Palm Springs. It was called "Twin Palms." It has a long and sordid history and Sinatra ultimately had to fork it over to Ava Gardner when they divorced. You can rent it out for a hefty price.

Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh 650 Tachevah Dr
When I was doing my research, this came up as their home and I included it along my route. However, I now believe their home was a different address entirely. Not sure who lived here but let's pretend it was Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh :)

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz 1194 N. Via Miraleste
Who doesn't love Lucy? Couldn't see much and I really considered peeking through the door and around the gate here but decided it was in my best interest not to.

Judy Garland 334 Hermosa Place

Ronald Reagan 369 Hermosa Place (right across from Judy)

Elizabeth Taylor 417 Hermosa Place
This was beautiful and definitely one of my favorites. I wish I could get more of the front of the house. Damn privacy hedges and gates and stones!

Barbara Streisand 555 Portencio Rd.
The photos don't do this house justice. It's built up on a mini-mountain and is very expansive. It's definitely a more modern-day celeb home. But you know what else is so f-ing cool? This house was used in filming one of the Palm Springs episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210. I am dying that I was able to see a piece of history from one of my all-time fave shows. This is all according to this website, but I am taking it as truth. Don't you judge me or my 90210 love.

Babs' own mini mountain hideaway

House used in Oceans 11, filmed in 2001
Honestly, this isn't the best picture. For all I know, it's of some random house that no one famous at all even looked at. But considering Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell were next door neighbors, I'm thinking it's pretty cool regardless.

Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell 550 Via Lola

Liberace #2 1441 Kaweah Road

Everyone should have a piano for a mailbox!

And a Statue of Liberty in their backyard!

Barry Manilow 780 Via Las Palmas
I only was able to get to see one of his houses. This one was definitely lackluster.

Elvis and Pricilla's Honeymoon House 1350 Ladera Circle
This house is just so cool! In addition to my run, I also brought my mom to the house because she was a pretty huge Elvis fan (still is, though she won't admit it for some reason). We were greeted by Elvis himself. They do tours of the house each day and we showed up right as they were beginning one. We didn't take it but we could see into the house and out to the pool in the back. Super cool! For more info you can see the Elvis Honeymoon house online.

It's not everyday you walk up the front steps to a home and get greeted by Elvis.

 View of Elvis inside the house (with my reflection in the window as my mom took the photo)

Inside the house as Elvis was giving his tour. The pool is right outside that room. 

Marilyn Monroe 1326 Rose Ave.
You can't see him, but there was a large dog on the porch behind that gate. I didn't want to get too close and have him start barking. I didn't have time to get thrown in jail that day.

Nat King Cole 1258 Rose Ave.
He and Marilyn were just two houses apart.

Linda Carter and John Phillips from the Mamas and the Papas (though not at the same time)
695 Stevens Rd

Debbie Reynolds 670 Stevens Rd

Magda Gabor 590 West Chino Canyon Rd
The Gabor sisters all had houses together. West Chino Canyon and Panorama met in a T. Zsa Zsa and Magda's houses were across from one another and Eva's house was across from Zsa Zsa's where the vertical part of the T met the horizontal. Does that make sense? :) And Magda's house was super low key and kind of ugly compared to her sisters'.

Zsa Zsa Gabor 595 West Chino Canyon Rd.
This one was definitely one of my favorites. Really pretty.

Eva Gabor 700 Panorama Rd

Elvis 845 West Chino Canyon Rd
This was the home that Elvis owned in Palm Springs. I believe you could take a tour at some point but I don't think you can anymore. It was kind of disappointing. I expected more extravagant. It's very secluded so I imagine there were some crazy things that happened here.

Notice the image of Elvis's face on the house number

And this concludes the Celebrities of Palm Springs Running Tour. If you were to place all of these houses on a map together, you'd see just how close they all were to each other, many of them direct neighbors. I like to image many of them here at the same time, house hopping and having the absolute best parties.

There were tons of houses I could have photographed and placed here, but I can only add so many photos :) I'll just have to go back and do a sequel.


  1. One of my favorite blog posts ever. Looks like so much fun!

  2. Brilliant! My snowy Kamloops run pales in comparison! How long did you end up running? And how long did it take, assuming you stopped at each of those spots.

    Now - you're going to like this! - as you probably know, Goldie Hawn also has a place in Vancouver, BC. I used to work at one of the Starbucks stores downtown, and I have served her coffee! Goldie Hawn ordered a short wet cappuccino. No joke! She was wearing sunglasses, but the voice was unmistakable!!

    1. I'm totally jealous you served Goldie Hawn coffee!! I don't think I would have been able to keep myself from staring.

      My Palm Springs run was about 9 miles. I don't remember how long it took. I'd have to look it up. But I do remember towards the end it was really hot and I wasn't running very fast. The Gabor sisters' houses were very close to Elvis's house and I spent a lot of time lingering there. They were all about a quarter of a mile from where we were staying so I wasn't too worried about time at that point. I also played with some random cat around Barbara's house and that are up some time ;) It was fun.