My wife was insistent that we should visit Sunnylands, the Annenberg Estate in Palm Springs, which now provides regular public tours. I'm very happy with her persistence; it was well worth the time and expense. The Annenbergs were a very wealthy and politically connected couple, and they built a large estate in Palm Springs, professionally designed, elegantly furnished, and containing their extensive art collection. Not to mention the 9-hole golf course. It became the center for many important meetings and conferences. Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan frequently stayed at Sunnylands; Nixon went there immediately after his resignation. Democrats frequented Sunnylands too. President Obama recently met the Chinese premier there. The guided tour requires advance reservations, which can be accomplished on-line. They take small groups on a walking tour through the estate and then drive them around the golf course. There are countless historical memorabilia throughout, which the guides explain thoroughly. The one drawback is that we were not taken to the "downstairs areas" -- we would have loved to see the kitchen. But you do get to see the Annenberg's bedroom and huge master bath and most of the other living spaces. The Annenbergs were major art collectors, but I learned elsewhere that they willed most of their art to the NY Metropolitan Museum; the artworks on the walls are apparently digital copies, but they sure look like the real thing. The tour takes about 90 minutes; well worth the time. I think there may be restrictions on young children but you can check this out. There are a cafeteria and restrooms in the adjoining waiting area, which also has an excellent desert garden. There are public restrooms on site.
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