Shields Date Garden

Shields Date Garden has been on my radar for sometime, but there was always something else I wanted to do in and around Palm Springs more every time I was there! But this time I was hellbent on going and getting my hands on a famous date shake!

Shields Date Garden was founded by husband and wife team Floyd and Bess Shields in 1924. They were pioneers in the field of date farming in the Coachella Valley. They even went as far as to create their own varieties as the “Blonde” and “Brunette” dates. Shield truly believed in date farming and gave presentations on the process, and later created a slide show. By this time the Coachella Valley was filling up with date farms, and the Shields were in need of a new lure, especially with all of the fresh traffic of people traveling to the new resort hot spot, the Salton Sea. So he created a documentary, The Romance and Sex Life of the Date. The word “sex” was pretty taboo to have in large letters across a billboard or building in the 1950s. But it certainly made people curious and Shields thrived. Today, the documentary (albeit a slightly modified version) still continues to play continuously, and people are encouraged to walk the Garden and indulge in a variety of date goodies!

In 1953, in beautiful classic roadside tradition, Shields added their now iconic large knight to beckon visitors.

One of the things the Shields developed the the date crystal, which went into their very own date shake and date ice cream. All of which is still available at Shields today.

Today, Shields Date Garden even has its very own cafe, serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We arrived early for breakfast, where Patrick had the date pancakes, before we stepped out to tour the actual grounds. I had initially expected to just roam around the beautiful date palms and take some pictures, but what I wasn’t prepared for were the over 20 relatively life size statues documenting the life of Jesus. Yes, Jesus. Like, from the Bible. Apparently in 2011 William and Lillian Vanderzalm of Vancouver, Canada, had recently closed their Biblical garden, and were looking for a new home for their statues in the Palm Springs area. They called Shields, who accepted them, and the statues were installed in 2013. The presence of the story of Jesus isn’t as random as you would initially think, as dates originated in the middle east, becoming a dietary staple for those living in the area, especially in Egypt and Israel, and palm trees are mentioned multiple times in the Bible. As fitting as it is, I will admit I would have loved to have walked the grounds prior to this change.

I honestly cannot recommend Shields Date Gardens enough! It is a must if you are in the Palm Springs or Indio area. It’s only about a half hour drive from the heart of Palm Springs. It also makes for a perfect stop if you’re on your way to another religions folk art oddity, Salvation Mountain! You can check our our visit from a couple years ago here.

That wraps up my Palm Springs post this spring. Unlike previous visits, we didn’t stay at a nifty old hotel (which I usually do a post about), instead opting to stay where Patrick’s company put him up at, which is free! And seeing as we are still making improvements on the house, we kind of need to save where we can!

Dress: Portland Antique Expo, Portland, Oregon
Copper Belt & Tooled Leather Purse: ???
Copper Jewelry: Here and there…the ring with wee little turquoise stones came from my dad
Shoes: Olvera Street.

I Brake for Vintage Neon

Throughout our entire trip there was lots of yelling “I’m pulling over!” or “Pull over!” depending on who was driving. Sometimes it was quite frantic. I have been called “dramatic” at times. But I just can’t help myself when I see a good vintage neon sign! And boy were there a lot of good ones! Some were attached to businesses still operating, others abandoned. So, in my last road trip post I share a collection of all of the gorgeous signs we saw, plus a few images of their accompanying buildings if the were pretty neat looking too!

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Vintage Reno Signs

I literally took thousands of photos on our road trip, 3322 to be exact. Most were of abandoned buildings and killer vintage signs, which are my two favorite things to photograph, and our road trip was full of them! So much so my photos are coming to you in three, yes, three, separate posts! First up I’m sharing the sights of Reno! Now, if you follow me on Instagram and checked out any of my stories while we were on the road, you may have seen me fawning all over some of these signs, and I am so happy to finally share them with you in all of their glory in this post!

Most of the signs you’ll see are from motels, and I’ve even included some images of the actual buildings if the building was cool too!

If you liked this, there will be another signage post in the near future! So stay tuned!

Rock-a-Hoola Waterpark

When it comes to my passion for photographing abandoned Americana, my love really is with places from the mid-20th century or older. However any place that is abandoned I’ll check out, even if it was abandoned just thirteen years ago, which is the case with Lake Dolores’ Rock-a-Hoola Waterpark off Interstate 15 in Newberry Springs.

Originally, the area around Lake Dolores was a private resort, but opened to the public in 1962. By 1998, it had new owners, and a massive remodel, which added the Rock-a-Hoola Waterpark with the most horrendous and gaudy “retro” theme, which ended up looking like a that 1980s vision throwback to the 1950s. You can check out a video of what it once looked like here, now it has been overrun by graffiti, and I was able to only locate one spot that featured the original “Rock-a-Hoola” text. The park closed in 2004.

Today, a hill looms high with nothing but oddly foreboding supports from the long disappeared waterslides over tag ridded buildings that continue to fade and decay in the hot Mojave sun.

I took loads of photos, so gear up for a pretty picture heavy post!

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Ghost Towns along Highway 49

I am sorry to report I don’t have any images from our time spent in Portland. I was incredibly busy constantly visiting with friends and family, and shopping of course! What I do have to show for our trip though are some shots I took of some ghost towns. we visited during our journey back home.

Honestly, I can’t recall when I first fell in love with the old mining towns along California Highway 49. What I do remember though is being very young and marveling at the old buildings the small town of Mariposa, where my great aunt and uncle used to lived (they have since moved to Seal Beach). We visited them every so often during our trips to California, and I always loved returning to that town. California’s gold rush is a unique moment in time, and a driving force in California’s rich (no pun intended) history, much like the Spanish missions and Hollywood. The towns that sprung up from it continue to draw me in whenever I get the chance to drive through them.

After crossing the border between Oregon and California, we peeled off I-5 just before Sacramento and made our way down Highway 49 visiting Amador City, Sutter Creek, Mokelume Hill, Murphys, Angels Camp, and Columbia. Sadly, we didn’t make it into Mariposa (it’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since I was there) but there are still many more gold rush towns I wish to visit, and I know we will make it there one day. But today I just want to share with you some of the images I took during our visit to these quiet and peaceful towns.

A couple of years ago we visited Coloma, where gold was first discovered in California, and you can take a peek at here.

Patrick and I didn’t have much down time after getting home. In fact we are off to Joshua Tree for the weekend! So I better go repack my suitcase! I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Salvation Mountain

Each time I would visit Palm Springs and return home I would get asked “Did you go to Salvation Mountain?” Here’s the funny thing about where Salvation Mountain is… It’s hardly “close” to Palm Springs. Palm Springs, and its neighboring cities of Palm Desert, Cathedral City, and Indio are the closest cities of any real consequence to Salvation Mountain, which is actually located in Niland, near the southeastern edge of the Salton Sea, and about 75 miles from Palm Springs. But it’s like, if you’re already that far out into the desert, why not go? And this time we finally made it. So, what is Salvation Mountain?

In 1984 a man by the name of Leonard Knight trekked out to Niland and began to build a monument to God, and the message of “God is Love”, a message Knight felt so deeply and wanted to share with the world. He added to the mountain in a variety of ways every day. He also covered his vehicles in the same message with incredible detail. Seriously. People come for the mountain, but the trucks to me are the real work of art. No matter your religious beliefs, I think Salvation Mountain is a must see for those interested in the weird and bizarre of California’s desert landscape, as well as those interested in folk art, because it truly is a prime example of folk art.

Knight passed away in February of 2014, but Salvation Mountain doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. It’s still looked after, and it is still an incredibly popular spot for people to visit, at least a dozen people came and went while we were there.

This pretty much wraps it up for my Palm Springs posts. I did a bit of shopping, and am contemplating a “haul” post, but not entirely sold on the idea yet…so we’ll see!

Hat: Ricochet, Joshua Tree, California
Blouse & Shorts: Buffalo Exchange
Belt: I honestly don’t remember…
Sandals: Minnetonka

The Wigwam Motel

During the week Patrick decided to surprise me with a mini, one night getaway at the Wigwam Motel in Rialto on Route 66!

An icon of the Mother Road, the Wigwam Motel is a handful of concrete tipi structures that are quaint, and of course, small. There honestly wasn’t much to do in the small town of Rialto, and its neighbor, San Bernardino, but we found some light entertainment in the odd McDonald’s Museum, located where the very first McDonald’s was. We also stumbled upon the restaurant that Mad Men used for its Burger Chef scene in the episode “The Strategy” (S7 Ep6), Chris’s Burgers, which was in fact a Burger Chef originally. And, yes, we sat in the same booth as the cast in the scene.

While I can now cross this off my list of unique places I want to stay at, I still would love to visit the other surviving Wigwam Motel, located in Halbook, Arizona. How about you? Do you ever want to stay at unique lodgings just for the heck of it?

Dress: Retro Rejuvenation, Coburg, Oregon
Belt: Nordstorm
Shoes: Re-Mix
Purse: Buffalo Exchange
Turquoise Rings: Here and there
Western Themed Charm Bracelet: Put together by me, from charms from various places