Hiking in the Mecca Hills.

This year’s hike during the May Naked Yoga Retreat may have been our best ever! An energetic (albeit small) group of us went down into the Mecca Hills (the Painted Canyon area to be exact) on a beautiful cloudless day in May, and enjoyed one GREAT hike on the Painted Canyon/Ladder Canyon Loop.

The Mecca Hills sit directly above the San Andreas fault, at the very edge of the North American plate. As a result, the earth, rocks, and mineral deposits in the area have been squeezed, compressed, contorted, and pushed up to the surface many times over the past Millennia. This almost continuous upheaval, has created a profusion of shapes and colors in the stone and earth that make up the hills -  red abuts tan, dark gray abuts pale lilac, orange abuts dark purple. Add to all that activity, the action of rain and water over hundreds of thousands of years, and the result is a beautiful, if somewhat otherworldly desert landscape with a plethora of deep vertical canyons, sharp cliffs, soft-edged caves, and spectacular rock formations.

Access to the area is relatively easy, and as long as you don’t mind dirt roads, you can get pretty close in to the camping and hiking areas. Our trek took us into the Painted Canyon, where we parked the car, then continued on foot. I saw one snake (nonpoisonous) less than five minutes after we got out of the car. It was seeking the same shade that I was! I let the snake have it.

We continued on into the Canyon, which had several large groupings of shrubs, grasses and small trees (mostly Palo Verdes), and saw quite a number of Hummingbirds, as well as several Western Tanagers (that were clearly dressed in their Spring mating colors). The males were beautiful – bright red heads, yellow bodies, black tails, and wings that were yellow with black stripes. Females were less colorful – mostly soft yellow and gray. Tanagers are song birds, and these were singing joyfully. The hummingbirds were raucous as well; chattering after us to keep moving and leave their small hidden nests alone.

Following the stone arrows on the ground, we entered the ladder Canyon – a deep vertical canyon carved out of the solid rock by water. The way is steep in places; so steep in fact, that you have to climb a series of ladders to access the trail. Portions of the trail are just wide enough for one person to pass, and the walls on either side rise up hundreds of feet above you. Pretty amazing!

After some rigorous walking (they said this was an easy/moderate hike, but I’d hesitate to take just anybody on it), we came back out into the open at the top of the hills above the Painted Canyon. The view was spectacular. You could see the Salton Sea to the West and South, as well as the surrounding Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains. We then descended a loop trail that eventually brought us back to the ladder Canyon, where we crawled back down the ladders and back into the Painted Canyon. I highly recommend this hike, and am looking forward to exploring the area further.



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Spring Flowers

It’s little wonder Spring is my favorite season. Birds singing, flowers blooming, days getting longer, and weather getting warmer. It doesn’t get much better.

Once again we are fortunate (thanks to David) to have beautiful flowers all over the property. Among them, a variety of Amaryllis that David has naturalized over the past couple of years. The giant red one is definitely  the most spectacular. The two flower stalks are over two feet tall and the flowers…well, they speak for themselves. (Amaryllis is also known as the belladonna lily.)

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We also have several colors of California Poppy this year for the first time, plus one exotic variety that is just getting ready to bloom (pictures to come). Flowers are a profusion of color (plus the occasional monochrome bed to appease me), and the bougainvillea has finally recovered from the Winter frost. They are all really beautiful; filled with blooms.

We have lots of vegetables this year as well. Already been having greens (mustard, beet, lettuce, romaine, cress and rainbow chard), tomatillos, beets carrots, radishes, squash, tomatoes, basil, rosemary and more.

Still to come: LOTS of tomatoes, squash, potatoes, beans, beets, sunflowers and the list just goes on and on. Been cooking lots of great new dishes fresh from the garden!

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Triangle Inn Palm Springs goes Eating Out!

The cast and crew of the popular (and sexy) Eating Out film series has been the Triangle Inn Palm Springs for the last two weeks filming the fifth episode of the series – Eating Out: The Open Weekend! Returning cast members include: Young lovers Zack (Chris Salvatore) and Casey (Daniel Skelton), introduced in Eating Out #3,  Wacky Tiffani (Rebekah Kochan reprising her role), Mink Stole, and Michael Serrato, the effeminate “straight” art teacher from Eating Out #2.  Mink Stole (John Water’s film icon) reprises her role as Aunt Helen, who this time around gets her own opportunity for lots of Action. Jennifer Elise Cox (Marsha from the Brady Bunch Movies) also joins the cast in a comical and lovable role as the hotel clerk, singing the praises of all the hot men at the Triangle.

The popular feature film comedy series (the first three are currently airing on Logo) is going into production on its fourth and fifth installments shooting simultaneously. #5 at the Triangle Inn Palm Springs, and Eating Out #4: Drama Camp, in the mountains near Malibu. Returning to the helm is the director of the original Eating Out film, Q. Allan Brocka (Boy Culture, Rick & Steve the Happiest Gay Couple in All the World), with scripts written by Brocka and Phillip J. Bartell. Both films are being produced by Michael Jack Shoel, who also produced the first three Eating Out movies.

The Eating Out films launched the career of creator Q. Allan Brocka (Boy Culture, Rick and Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World) and has showcased the talents of “American Idol” finalist Jim Verraros and “Desperate Housewives’” Ryan Carnes. The previous two films, both massive gay hits, won Festival Audience and Jury Awards around the globe. Eating Out 3: All You Can Eat was just as wild and unexpected as its predecessors, combining wit, humor, talent, and amazing eye candy.

EATING OUT: THE OPEN WEEKEND
While on a wild vacation weekend in Palm Springs, surrounded by hotties, BENJI wants a temporarily open relationship but his boyfriend ZACK feels more comfortable staying monogamous. Complicating matters is the fact that Zack’s ex, CASEY, is staying at the same hotel, pretending to be dating PETER so that he doesn’t feel like a loser around Zack and Benji. Meanwhile, LILLY and PENNY compete for the only straight man on the premises: bartender LUIS, who enjoys pitting the ladies against one another for his attention. As the sex heats up into threesomes and foursomes, star-crossed lovers Casey and Zack try to find their way back to one another.

EATING OUT: DRAMA CAMP
Boyfriends ZACK and CASEY are going through a rough patch in their relationship, but neither is ready to cut ties as they head to drama camp for two weeks. Until, that is, Zack falls hard for his gorgeous bunkmate BENJI, who’s pretending to be straight so that he won’t cause problems for Zack and Casey. Meanwhile, sex-and-slasher film director JASON finds himself intrigued by LILLY, a pretty, witty transgender girl who steals his heart while performing as Kate in “Taming of the Shrew” — but to Lilly’s frustration, Jason has no idea how to go about expressing his feelings. The only rule at drama camp is “NO SEX” but by the end of session, each couple (and in some cases, trio) will find a raucous way to blow that rule right out of the water.

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Joshua Tree National Park – the Latest Adventure!

The other day we took a ride up to Joshua Tree National Park with a couple of new friends who had never been to the park before. It’s always fun to introduce people to Joshua Tree, both because it’s one of our favorite places, and because people are always so amazed by it.

The park is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It was first established as Joshua Tree National Monument in 1936, and was elevated to National Park status on October 31, 1994. It’s definitely a study in contrasts. Elevations in the park range from a low of 536 feet to a high of 5,814 feet and encompass almost 800,000 acres.

It’s hard to pick a favorite area within the park, but if we just had to, it would probably be (at least for me) the Jumbo Rocks area near the 29 Palms Entrance. This area, punctuated by boulders the size of office buildings that are piled up on top of each other, look like nothing so much as a set from the Flintstones (maybe that’s even where the animators got their inspiration for Bedrock).

In any event, geologists believe these giant granite boulders were born more than 100 million years ago, and slowly emerged from the earth as wind and water eroded the soil around them. Seems like a plausible explanation, especially when you look at other areas of the park where the process exists in less finished stages, but it’s hard to imagine the amount of time required to change a landscape so dramatically.

The Joshua Tree forests themselves also tend to amaze people – especially those from the East Coast. Joshua Trees, for anyone who hasn’t seen them, look like giant Yucca plants that have grown up to be tree-size, with multiple branches coming out of a single central stalk. There’s just nothing quite like seeing an entire landscape filled with thousands of Joshua Trees, especially when they are blooming (which has, by the way, just begun).

Wildflower season is still a couple of weeks away this year in Joshua Tree, but you can already see the signs that it’s going to be a great wildflower season. The ground is still damp, and all sorts of green plants have emerged. Desert blooms are always spectacular, and the ones in the Joshua Tree National Park are no exception. For the best wildflower watching, we generally recommend that people enter at the Cottonwood entrance (East of Palm Springs on Interstate 10). Cottonwood starts out in the low desert and climbs up gradually. Each new elevation brings a new group of wildflowers and cacti, along with a new and often vibrant color palate.

Each time we visit Joshua Tree National Park, we try to check out a new turn-off, and there are hundreds of them. We also like to visit favorites like Split Rock, Skull Rock, Hidden Valley and Key’s View (where, if it’s really clear, you can see the Salton Sea, and all the way to Mexico). Makes it tough, because as we add new favorites, each visit takes longer! :)

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Winter Weather…a Study in Contrasts…

One of the amazing things about living in the desert during the Winter months is getting to see the snow at the tops of the mountains and the flowers blooming here in the valley.

We’ve had several heavy snowfalls this year, but thankfully, none of the white fluffy stuff has come down below 4,000 feet.

That means we get to enjoy it from afar (unless we get adventurous and ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top of Mount San Jacinto or drive up to Big Bear for some skiing).

Better yet, lots of snow up there and a little rain down here means we’ll have water to replenish our water table and Spring Flowers blooming all over the desert in just a couple of weeks.

Not to say we don’t already have some flowers. We do. The citrus trees are already blooming and their scents are wafting through the air, the jasmine (my favorite) is beginning to bloom, and the flowers in the gardens are up and in full bloom.

We’ve also been busy in the vegetable garden – enjoying fresh lettuces, beets and carrots while anxiously awaiting the potatoes, squash, beans and tomatoes! We can grow some sort of veggies pretty much year-round, and do pretty well, despite limited space, thanks to David’s diligence and green thumbs!

Not to say we don’t have seasons either. We have them too. There’s a definite change in the air already, and lots of the bulb plants are coming up now that the night-time temperatures are getting warmer and the days are getting longer. This week, the weather is particularly nice with daytime temps in the low eighties and  nighttime temps in the high fifties.

Lots of events are coming up. Springtime in Palm Springs is filled to overflowing with things to do, both in terms of special events, and in terms of just being able to enjoy the natural surroundings. Life is good, and it’s a great time to be here!

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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with us at our May Naked Yoga Retreat!


Join us May 5th through May 10th, for our Spring 2011 Naked Yoga Retreat.We’ll celebrate Cinco de Mayo Yoga-Style with two of our most popular Yoga Instructors – Ken Breniman and David Oliphant.

Enjoy up to five days of yoga magic, hiking, swimming, sunning, mingling, and making new friends. Choose from three day, four day or five day packages that include lodging, classes, some meals, and lots of fun!

Complete details, including the schedule and pricing packages are available at: www.triangle-inn.com/may_yoga


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Mad About Mod: Palm Springs Modernism Week Returns for its Sixth Year!

Original Rendering for the Impala Lodge (now the Triangle Inn Palm Springs).

Mid-Century Modern Design Aficionados will be flocking to sunny Palm Springs, California in February for the city’s sixth annual Modernism Week Festival. The self-described “celebration of all things modern” kicks off on February 17th, and continues for ten activity-filled days, closing on February 27th.

The diverse array of events scheduled to take place during Modernism Week include the centerpiece event – the Modernism Show at the Palm Springs Convention Center, plus tours of the city’s many mid-century architectural treasures, genre-specific film screenings, educational lectures and art exhibitions, a mid-century modern fashion show, themed cocktail parties, music, food, fun and more.

The Mid-Century Modern style of interior design, architecture and urban development has seen a dramatic revival during the past decade; attracting the interest of many of the world’s leading fashion designers, interior designers, urban planners and architects.

Palm Springs, California boasts what may be the world’s largest concentration of architectural examples of the style, which traces its history through the Bauhaus movement in Europe, the International Movement (which was popularized by many Scandinavian Architects), and, of course, Frank Lloyd Wright, and his principles of organic architecture.

modweek4The clean simplicity, flowing lines and organic, natural shapes of Mid-Century Modern Architecture were translated by the industrial designers and artists of the day into incredible furniture designs, dramatic lighting fixtures, artwork, glassware, and even tableware – all created to complement the Mid-Century Modern style. These, too, will be celebrated during the Palm Springs Modernism Week Festival, with many great examples available for viewing, and/or for sale at the Modernism Show or at one of the many Mid-Century Modern galleries, consignment shops and showrooms in Palm Springs’ popular Uptown Design District.

For more information, visit www.modernismweek.com.

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Time Machine: 1987

Long after it opened as the Impala Lodge, and long before it reopened as the Triangle Inn Palm Springs, the Inn was converted into apartments.

The Triangle House was rented as a separate home, and units in the two hotel buildings were turned into eight separate rental units. Lots of changes, including the addition of the mailbox unit (still in place as you enter the Inn), and the installation of separate phone lines and separate electric meters were made in order to accommodate individual renters.

We don’t know exactly when the Inn was converted into apartments, but our good friend Bob Hoven (the now deceased publisher of MegaScene), told us that it was definitely rented as apartments throughout most of the 1970s and 1980s when Palm Springs, like Las Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City and other resort destinations that had seen their heyday in the 1950s and 1960s saw significant declines in their popularity.

Bob told us he had wonderful memories of visiting the then-owner of the property, who lived in the Triangle House for a portion of that time. Bob said he held wonderful parties, although Bob was quick to admit that many of this memories from that time were a bit foggy, not because of his age, but rather because of the variety of recreational drugs available at those parties!

We still don’t know too much more about that period of time than Bob told us, but we were fortunate, about a two years ago, to come into contact with a fellow who rented the Triangle House in the late 1980s.

He, and a couple of elderly (and reportedly highly eccentric) ladies were, in fact, the last renters to occupy the property before Matthew and Kevin (our predecessors) purchased it, rehabbed it, and opened it as The Triangle Inn. We asked lots of questions about the property, and he shared what he knew with us.

He also promised to return with some photos he had form when he lived in the house, and, in fact did so a year later.

The photos in this blog are from 1987, two years before the property became the Triangle Inn, and although you’ll find some of them to be very different, you’ll also find a number of quite familiar things that are still very much a part of the Inn today. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into our past!

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Happy Birthdays Joel and Jonathan!

The year was 1971….

Seems like a long time ago at this point, but it was only 40 years ago that the mothers of Joel Markovits and Jonathan Keiser found themselves in the process of giving birth to two young men who would eventually become friends and celebrate the date in Palm Springs with a Disco Birthday Extravaganza!

We were thrilled that they chose the Triangle Inn Palm Springs (actually, the Desert Dream House) as the site for their birthday celebration.

Joined by friends Brian Monroe, John Hausman, Michael Smith, David Salinas, Allyn Miller Chris Gent and Sergio Nunez, they celebrated in style the entire weekend (even discovering in the process that we had yet another birthday boy staying here at the hotel).

A great time was had by all, the decorations were amazing, and the outfits were, well, it was a celebration of the seventies, after all! :)

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Time Machine: 1957-58.

Original Rendering for the Impala Lodge.

As many of you know, Stephen and I have had a keen interest in the history of the Triangle Inn Palm Springs ever since we purchased it in January of 2001. Kevin and Matthew, the previous owners (who actually named it the Triangle Inn when they opened the Inn in 1990), knew the name of the architect, and had a name for the original owner (which later turned out to be somewhat wrong), but had never done any historical research. They had also never actually contacted the architect (even though they told us he was still working in the Coachella Valley).

Needless to say, we were intrigued, but we were also new owners with plenty to do. It took us around a year to get more than the the basics, but we did get the process started. We met Hugh Kaptur, the architect, and found out the Inn was his very first commercial project. We found out (from Mr. Kaptur) that it was originally called the Impala Lodge, and that the original owner was Fern Laurence (who opened it in 1958).

Mr Kaptur  gave us several pieces of artwork, and photos (which we scanned and saved). Among them were an original architectural rendering for the Impala Lodge, several construction photos (taken by Bethlehem Steel), a couple of photos taken just after completion, and even a copy of Mr. Kaptur’s business card!

In recent years, Hugh Kaptur, who was one of the youngest of Palm Springs’ Mid-Century Modern Architects, has gained recognition for his work. An exerpt from his bio on the Palm Springs Modern Committee’s web page says “During a trip to Palm Springs in 1956, Kaptur elected to stay and has remained ever since. In his early years in Palm Springs, he apprenticed in the firm of Wexler & Harrison.”

“Kaptur’s first own Palm Springs project was the Impala Lodge, now the Triangle Inn, in 1957-58. Other projects followed soon including the William Burgess Residence, the Pete Seva Residence and the Robert Leaver Residence (now demolished) all perched above Palisades Road on a rocky ledge with sweeping panoramic views of the valley floor.”

“Partnering briefly with architect Robert Ricciardi in 1961, the firm completed Palm Springs Fire Station #3 and the Palm Springs Golf Course Clubhouse. From 1965- 1975 in partnership with Larry Lapham the firm designed lavish homes in the exclusive Thunderbird and Eldorado Country Clubs; other projects included the Tahquitz Plaza / Anderson Travel buildings (scheduled for demolition), and Fire Station #4. Also during this period, Kaptur remodeled the Casa Blanca Hotel into its current iteration as the Musicland Hotel. He is probably best known for two Southridge houses, one for actor Steve McQueen (1968), the other for William Holden (1977).”

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