The city of La Quinta ranks among the richest in the nation.

I just read in the La Quinta Sun ( December 18) that La Quinta ranks 437 out of 2082 of the richest cities in the United States! As stated by La Quinta’s Assistant City Manager, Bret Plumlee,  “La Quinta is a great place to raise a family or retire.  It is a high-end community which offers many positive amenities…and outstanding service which provides a high quality of life for its residents and businesses.”

I couldn’t have said it better, and now is a sensational time to take advantage of buying real estate in our beautiful resort community of La Quinta. For example, we have two incredible deals in the Citrus right now at $699,000 and $700,000, among others. These are real values for golf course homes in La Quinta — especially within the gates of the private Citrus Club, which boasts 3 golf courses and has HOA dues in the low $300s (way below other comparable clubs). Click here to view all the listings in the Citrus Club.

Where are we really? or where we really are!

The Coachella Valley, one of the better places on the planet to live (in my humble opinion), makes up a large portion of the Colorado Desert, which is named after the river that is its eastern boundary. Although the Colorado Desert runs quite a way down into Mexico, the Coachella Valley is bordered by several distinct mountain ranges mostly in Riverside County and I have heard all of them referred to as the “Chocolate Mountains”

The bad news is that none of the mountains you see surrounding us are the Chocolate Mountains. The good news is that there really is a range called the Chocolate Mountains but they are mostly in Imperial County and aren’t really visible from north of the Salton Sea. The Chocolate Mountains are actually used by the Navy and Marines as an aerial and gunnery practice range and definitely off limits to people. They are east of the southern end of the Salton Sea.

The mountains most commonly referred to as the “chocolate mountains” are the mountains to our north. The same mountains that the afternoon sun paints so beautifully, are actually the “Little San Bernardino Mountains” that run east along the north side of I-10.

The Mountains that you see to our east and south of I-10 at called the Chuckwalla Mountains and they run south to the north end of the Chocolate Mountains. There aren’t any noteworthy ranges to the south of the Chocolates.

The western side of our valley is bordered by the San Jacinto mountain range. The most prominent mountain is named Mount San Jacinto and is 10,834 feet tall. It is on the south side of the San Gorgonio pass (I-10) and is snow covered most of the winter. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway runs up the side of Mount San Jacinto to the 8,500-foot level. The San Jacinto Mountains are a relatively compact but tall range. On the north side of I-10 / San Gorgonio Pass is the tallest peak in southern California (7th tallest in the lower 48). Mount San Gorgonio (snow covered longer than Mt San Jacinto) makes up the eastern end of the San Bernardino Mountains and rises 11,499 feet above sea level.

The smaller Santa Rosa Mountains run from just south east of Mount San Jacinto (near Rancho Mirage – Palm Desert area) in a southeasterly direction to roughly the north end of the Salton Sea (just south of La Quinta). These are the mountains you see looking south beyond PGA WEST.

So, remember, you can’t really see the Chocolate Mountains from here and the San Bernardino and Little San Bernardino mountains are two distinct ranges and along with the San Gabriel range and others to their west are the only ranges in North America that run East – West but that is another story…

Things to do.

Whether you are here just visiting, a seasonal or full time resident or if you are making future plans,  we have an extraordinary amount of very different things to do. Obviously, there is a lot of golf – more than 120 courses – within the Coachella Valley and many welcome the public. Click to find local tee times.

Like the outdoors? There are several mapped trails throughout our local mountains including the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to the 8,500 foot level of Mount San Jacinto. Each town along the Santa Rosa range has maintained, mapped trails up into the local mountains.

We also have a great National Park – Joshua Tree – located on the mountain range to the northeast of Indio. There is an entrance from I-10 about 25 miles east of Indio.

If you would like to learn some pretty interesting stuff about our local geology including the famous San Andreas Fault try a great “Red Jeep Tour” where you can ride a Jeep into the fault and learn how/why Los Angeles will someday be north of San Francisco…

Learn what all those windmills are about and just how much energy they produce…

If you are more interested in indoor entertainment, there is a great theater show in Palm Springs – the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies – that is very entertaining for the mature crowd since the performers are between 57 and 85 years of age. A great theater for the performing arts is the McCallum Theater in Palm Desert.

Just want to go see a movie? Click here to see what’s playing and to buy your tickets.

Do you need to entertain the kids? Try Knot’s Soak City Water Park in Cathedral City.

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert has lots of animals from all over the world.

Children’s Discovery Museum in Rancho Mirage

Palm Springs Air Museum has a great display of WWII aircraft.

How about a balloon ride over the valley?

Just want to go out and have a good time?

World-class shopping and art galleries on Palm Desert’s “El Paseo” shopping district.

Cabazon Outlets discount shopping at it’s best about 40 minutes west of the desert on I-10.

A lot of these websites offer additional info on local activities…

La Quinta Resort is having a Facelift.

If you have driven past the entrance to the La Quinta Resort lately, you have noticed that it is all torn up!  Some residents have been nervous about why those landmark cypress trees have been torn down.  Well, the answer is all good news for La Quinta!  The old cypress trees (over 60 years old) were removed because they have become diseased and tired.  They are being replaced with 100 younger cypress trees and 40 palm trees, which will give the entrance the same elegance with an upgrade. I just drove past today and it is already looking even better than before!

In addition to the entrance, the Resort face lift includes a total renovation to the main pool and the snack bar area. On Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008, The Desert Sun had  an article about all the scheduled renovations that will be taking place within the next 2 years at the Resort.  It is all very exciting and such positive news  at a time when we don’t hear much of that!