Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rancho Mirage, CA: Sunnylands, the Walter Annenberg Estate

sunnylands walter annenberg rancho mirage
If you are looking to take in historic estates, wonderful gardens and other fine works that express another time period, Sunnylands is the place for you.

Located in the heart of Rancho Mirage among a variety of sights, Sunnylands is the former estate of Ambassador Walter Annenberg, founder and publisher of such magazines as TV Guide, Seventeen and the Philadephia Inquirer.

At Sunnylands you can not only get a taste of history, but in addition there are activities to engage in as well as feed the tummy and quench the thirst. Equipped with tour shuttles to take you all over the grounds of this oasis in the desert, Sunnylands is a smoke free environment.

Boarding one of the tour shuttles, I took a seat and embarked on one of their guided 90 minute tours. I was quick to observe the diverse historic homes and grounds that exist in the area and the flavor each represents. The historic homes and the stories of their former residents, transported me back in time and allowed me to get feel for the way it was when this property was in its heyday. If you are brand new to the area and you want to get some background, this is a mandatory stop loaded with information on who was here and how they lived.

Sunnylands has been called one of the outstanding mid-size art museums and I can certainly see why. Its grounds and layout lived up to their billing. Sunnylands has on display collections and exhibits from when people like former president Ronald Reagan met Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. There are also mementos from when past presidents discussed foreign policy. There are also personal items of Walter and Leonore Annenberg, including an exhibit of when they conceived such programs as a $50 million donation to the United Negro College Fund.

Surrounded by all this history, I couldn't help but think about the debates that took place in the rooms and floors that I walked.

Sunnylands makes it relative easy to experience its wonders as it is free to the public and has free parking. The guided tours, however, must be made in advance and they cost $35 to $45 per person depending on the time of the year.

If you are interested in taking a trip back to the past and see how the captains of industry, president's and dignitaries lived a trip to Sunnylands is a must for your next vacation to Palm Spring and the surrounding desert cities.

37977 Bob Hope Drive
Rancho Mirage, California 92270

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