California Vacation Part 6 – LaQuinta, CA

Saving the best for last, we spent the last few days of our vacation visiting our friend near Palm Springs. This was the more relaxing part of our vacation. The desert is quiet, beautiful and smells like flowers.

Check out her backyard.

Doesn’t it look heavenly?

This is Barkley, the guard dog.

I’ve never really been a fan of smaller breed dogs, but dachshunds are the exception. This little guy is quite a character.

3000 miles from home and the Easter Bunny still found us!

One of the many things I love about this area is the mid-century architecture.

This is where Elvis and Pricilla spent their honeymoon. Having also been to Graceland, I’m always amazed at how modest Elvis’s homes were, considering his fame and fortune.

After a few days in the desert, we ran out of vacation time and had to get back on a plane and back to work. Almost literally – we left mid afternoon and got home at 1:00 am. I slept for a few hours, and then I was back at my desk. It was good to be home but I’m already looking forward to our next California adventure.

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California Vacation Part 5 – The Ennis House, Los Angeles

From San Luis Obispo we headed straight for Palm Springs.

Almost straight.

First we stopped in Santa Barbara. We parked downtown and stumbled upon a pretentious but delicious cafe for lattes. It was so snooty though, lattes weren’t even on the menu – it’s espresso with milk for the unenlightened.

A few hours later, we stopped again in Los Angeles. Partly for another potty/coffee/snack break, but mostly so I could see The Ennis House. This is another place on my Frank Lloyd Wright Must See Checklist.

Relying on our GPS to take us there, we followed it up a narrow, twisty road. It seems in California awesome things always seem to be at the end of narrow, winding roads. The car climbed higher, and higher, until the system told us we had arrived at our destination, but I just didn’t see it.

Then, I looked up.

Holy Crap.

It looms.

It’s privately owned, and currently vacant, due to damage sustained over the years from the elements.

Apparently, the owner is committed to rehabilitating the structure. I can’t even imagine how much that will cost.

I hope someday it’ll be open to the public, so I take a peak inside. In the meantime I just had to settle for the street view.

Even from the street it looks amazing.

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California Vacation Part 4 – Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo

First of all, I want to point out that this motel has nothing to do with the singer. It’s named after the owners, Alex and Phyllis Madonna. They built the motel in the early 1960s, and over time, it’s become a well known landmark.

I saw this place on a travel show years ago, long before we’d ever even been to California. I knew it was in the state, I just didn’t know exactly where. Then, I forgot about it until our first trip down the Pacific Coast Highway, when the sign on the side of the road caught my eye. We didn’t have time to stop then, and we’d already planned for that night’s accommodations, but I was excited that I finally knew where is was. At that moment, I mentally added it to my travel bucket list.

We made it a destination on this trip, and the fact that our visit coincided with my birthday made our visit even more special.

The inn is best known for it’s individually decorated rooms. There are 109, each based on a different theme. It’s kitch at it’s very best.

We choose the Mountain Cabin.

It reminded me of a room in an Adirondack motel, where we stayed on our way home from Mount Washington last spring. Unlike this one, that motel, which was near Lake Plaid, wasn’t trying to be ironic (it was really cute though).

We didn’t try the motel’s restaurant. We had other dinner plans. Aren’t those pink banquettes the cutest?

We did stop in at the cafe for coffee and pie. In lieu of birthday cake, we had a big sloppy slice of coconut cream pie (not pictured, it was gone too quickly to be photographed).

The heated pool was tucked into the side of the mountain. It was a bit chilly for swimming (for my taste, anyway) but we did go up there for a soak in the hottub after dinner.

The property is immaculate with so many charming details. Somehow, what should be tacky looks almost tasteful here. If only William Randolph Hearst had such clever decorators for his castle.

I’m already looking forward to another stay here. We still have 108 rooms to check out!

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