Three minutesthe other way from Eight4Nine lies Copely’s, a gracious restaurant that was once Cary Grant’s guesthouse.The interior boasts wide plank floors, stucco walls, archways, and muted hues of rose and teal, though I prefer to sit in the large courtyard, with its terracotta tiles and overhanging trees. You’ll feel like one of Mr. Grant’s personal guests as you tuck into teriyaki-glazed salmon or grilled fillet, relaxing into a world of refinement that’s both comforting and inspiring.
At the other end of the dining spectrum is the all-organic Palm Greens, an organic café that’s dishing up some wonderful food, from an “avocado roll in a bowl” to fajita and curry bowls and salads. They also have a great line of smoothies and cool little “wellness shots.” I get the Taj Curry bowl, a date smoothie, and a “turmeric gold” shot, and it’s all fresh, flavorful, and healthy.
Before I leave town, I have one essential final stop: Kreem, a wonderful new ice cream and coffee place (can you imagine a better combination?). The house-made, small-batch ice creams are a revelation. I get a Funky Cold Medina: orange blossom ice cream with pistachios and bits of sesame halvah. If it sounds astonishing, it is. For my second scoop, I choose rosemary, that is every bit as deliciously sweet/woodsy/astringent as you might expect from rosemary ice cream. Best of all: everyone I see in there, both workers and customers, is happy. Gee, I wonder why.
Which pretty much sums up Palm Springs and its surroundings, and that’s one of my favorite things about this area: everyone seems to be happy, and happy to be here. As I take a final stroll up Palm Canyon Drive, the street is like a fairyland, soft light making the adobe buildings look like a film set, palms lined up under the moon, the swirly cobblestone sidewalks of the Walk of Stars honoring celebrities from Lena Horne to Nancy Sinatra, Al Jolson to Sonny Bono, philanthropists and movie stars and authors. People stroll arm in arm, smiling, and I want to say, I get it, I get why. You’re here in search of pleasure, which is Palm Springs’ and the entire valley’s special gift: you come here to be happy, and they deliver. Some of the pleasures are obvious, some take some searching out. Make an effort, and you’ll be glad you did.
When you walk down Palm Canyon Drive at night, you’ll be one of those people I see, with the special glow that comes from discovering, or revisiting, such a very special place. There’s that word “glow” again, but I really can see it, a glow that’s almost palpable, brightening the faces of the people out in the cool evening air. That’s the visitors. To those lucky enough to live here, I want to say, I get it for you too. I mean, you live in this absolutely gorgeous spot, the jewel in a crown that stretches from jewel to jewel to jewel, full of art and culture and all that entails. You have amazing food around every corner (not to mention a piece of art on many of those corners). You look up every day and see this breathtaking scenery. You live in a place full of history, but alive to the moment, with the openness and progressive spirit that is so often a precursor to great art. What reason is there NOT to glow?