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Palm Springs

Mid-century in mid-February

Story by Jessica Lord March 1st, 2015

SOUTH on the West coast

Karolina and I escaped winter (she a bit more so than I as she’d come from Poland and I’d come from Portland) and headed to Palm Springs to take in some sun. Monday and Friday were travel days with three full days in between. The aim was to relax, which we did pool-side at the Ace Hotel daily, but we also explored the area a bit. We rode the aerial tram, went to Joshua Tree, the art museum and rode bikes through mid-century neighborhoods.


The city is a mid-century city in more than just architecture. The car is king here (even though the King has a honeymoon house), roads are wide and speeds are well above 25 mph. Bike lane sharrows are rare and actual lanes and cycle tracks even more so. This is a shame since the weather is so nice here and terrain so level. There are sidewalks but they aren’t well lit at night. We rented a car at the airport—one of those strange Southern California half indoors-half outdoors airports.

cliffs of Chino CANYON

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway takes you to the top of the China Canyon, about 8,000 some odd feet up. In the photo below, at left-center, you can see the windmills from a far that I’ll see closer up later on.

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Mid century living

I’ve never been so immersed in mid-century architecture. It was like stepping back in time. There were even a lot of vintage cars which added to the out-of-place feeling. It was very clear that in this lived-in desert, gravel landscaping is an artform.

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Rocks and low tops

Enormous, monumental rocks contrast the low and horizontal architecture.

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The desert

I thought it was funny that the area even refers to itself as the desert, “Best car deals in the desert!arket”. I had the Best Date Shake in the Desert at the Windmill Market, just across from the windmills, and it was amazing—freshly picked dates (I also took a pound home), vanilla ice cream and milk. This is the largest wind farm I’ve ever seen. Elegant dinosaurs of the future.

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Joshua tree vegitation

A few of the things that manage to survive in the desert.

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joshua treeS

Before arriving I hilariously thought we’d have to make sure we went to the right spot to see a Joshua Tree. Not so.

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Here's looking at you, mexico

Apparently, on a clear day you can see Mexico. You can just barely see Palm Springs in this photo, not sure about Mexico.

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Footnote: Photos taken with Fuji X100T.
Coachella Valley, Palm Desert, CA, United States