Monday, January 3, 2011

La Quinta ~ Coachella Valley ~ California

We love rv’ing and it gives us many opportunities to see so many wonderful places and adventures that we might not otherwise have.  Sometimes it is just great to park in one place for awhile and enjoy those places that you might not even know about by just passing by.  The Coachella Valley is one of those wonderful places full of treasures.

The sign to welcome us to La Quinta, California
La Quinta is a name I love and had wanted to see more of the ‘Gem of the Desert’.  A Cahuilla Indian historian said they believe that La Quinta was the original Garden of Eden.  “We believe La Quinta was the cradle of civilization where human life began on earth”.  The La Quinta Hotel was built in 1926, so it’s possible this is when it became known by that name.  The resort was a secluded hideaway for the Hollywood celebrities and socialites and had the first golf course in the Coachella Valley, now there are more than twenty golf courses.

Downtown Old La Quinta in sunny California
La Quinta is considered a mythical fountain of youth by many. Their beautiful city backdrop is the spiritual Santa Rosa mountains with their curative powers of desert sun and silence.
The word ‘la quinta’ means ‘the fifth’. The history says the area was established by Spanish conquistadors in the eighteenth century as the fifth resting spot for travelers between present day Mexico to San Gabriel Mission of Los Angeles at San Bernadino, CA, thus giving it this name.  Then there is the loose translation, the word ‘quinta’ means country home or hacienda. La Quinta was originally called Marshall’s Cove after an early day rancher but it is not clear when the name officially became La Quinta.

 Don the Conquistador at La Quinta, Ca.
Don is the name given this artwork by the designer Bill Ware. This conquistador is made of brass, bronze and copper and the horse is solid aluminum. This is one piece of artwork among many in the city of La Quinta, who pride themselves on their wonderful displays of public art.
The fountain in Old La Quinta, California
La Quinta Old Town has a charm that cannot be missed.  It is a small area at the core of the town but has much to draw us in.  The buildings have been kept pristine and with all the bougainvillea in bloom, it was wonderful to just wander down the street and enjoy the colors and Spanish architecture of old.   La Quinta covers a total of 32 square miles and the elevation is 20 M (56 ft) above sea level.  The population has been growing steadily.  In 1980 there were 4200 residents and is now about 45,000.  Once you spend any time in this small city, you will understand the growth.  It is a very special area of the Coachella Valley.

Devane's in Old Town La Quinta, California
There are several eating establishments to visit in this small but trendy area.  We didn’t time our visit for eating but we had eaten at Devane’s in the past when they were located elsewhere and always enjoyed it. William Devane is the actor who owns and operates Devane’s and was the main reason we originally went there but we always enjoyed our meal.

Triptych of Old Town La Quinta, Ca

The Triptych Old Town La Quinta was created by local artists Nancy and Larry Cush.  This creation, beautifully framed by blooming bougainvillea is located on the Carmel building in Old Town. It is three different murals portraying a mountain scene, a Spanish style fountain like we’d seen in the courtyard and a sunset.
La Quinta Civic Center Campus, Calif.
We spent some time at the La Quinta Civic Center Campus at the corner of Washington and Calle Tampico, not far from Old Town, although it seemed a world away. There is a lake with a water feature and koi fish and ducks, there are walking paths that will lead you to benches and picnic areas as well as public art to enjoy.  

My mystery flower in La Quinta, Calif.
I found this mystery flower (to me) on our walk and got this picture of three stages of blooming. It was so pretty and one I hadn’t seen before, another reason that makes this city a gem.  The fragrance from the spring blossoming is wonderful.

Bougainvillea vine of La Quinta, Calif.
The Bougainvillea is a vine that can be seen growing all over this area as it enjoys the warm weather and full sunlight. They do bloom all year but the flowers are more plentiful once winter ends and offers these beautiful displays of color as we wandered around the town.

There are several opportunities to participate or enjoy the many charms of La Quinta, whether it is climbing, biking, the world of arts and theater, and we can’t forget golfing.
To see the events planned for 2011, check this webpage

If you would like to see more of the Coachella Valley, follow these links:

And there is so much more to share with you.


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