Karen Kimmel launched the Crafting Community events at The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs in 2008 and they’ve been growing fast in popularity. I am dreaming to go, but we live a tad too far for a week end escape to Sunny Cali. I imagine it as (and it is!) the perfect family week end, an experience not only of crafting but bonding around some meaningful activity, in a wonderfully inspiring environment. Oh I wish this could inspire more events in equally inspiring venues around the world! Karen, are you looking for partners? Anyone listening?! Palm Springs is also one of those wonderfully evocative destination..must be the joining of those two dreamy words, Palm and Springs. Hard to beat. Talking about word association, you’ll notice that Karen is married to James Bond. I think she definitely has the magic touch…Read on for her favourite things to do when she’s in Palm Springs with the family and stay tuned for the next Crafting Community at The Ace in April 2013.
MEET THE KIMMEL FAMILY
I am Karen Kimmel and my husband is James Bond. He is one of the partners of Undefeated, a sneaker spot in LA, SF, Las Vegas and Japan, but more importantly he is a dad crazy for his kids! My daughter Jersey is 9, and currently very into singing. And my son Ace is 5, and prefers playing drums and generally wreaking havoc. James and I are native East Coasters, but now we all live very happily and noisily together with our pit bull, Penny, in a mid-century home in Los Feliz, CA.
My job description is constantly evolving. In addition to Kimmel kids, my line of children’s art tools, I am serving as creative consultant to several clothing brands, working on a major interior design project and just put together our fourth annual family weekend at The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs called Crafting Community. The common denominator between all of these projects is an effort to create environments outside the everyday, where families can spend meaningful, unstructured time together.
Crafting Community began with the desire to spend more quality time with my family and friends. The very first Crafting Community in 2008 was incredibly intimate, with just a handful of families participating – now we’re hosting over 70! I have always wanted the event to feel like a party in a friend’s backyard, where families can go back and forth from the crafts and the pool at their own leisure. A good deal of the programming came from my fascination with traditional crafts and my desire to collaborate with innovative artists and artisans, but the workshops are almost a means to the end of carving out unstructured, creative time for our busy families. We always have a jam-packed schedule of workshops and activities, but we want our families to set their own pace at the weekend retreat– to really savor the vacation time, be present with their families, and indulge their artistic minds. I was drawn to the desert because I am very inspired by nature and holding this event at the Ace Hotel seemed like a natural fit.
PLAY in PALM SPRINGS
My kids love riding The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the worlds largest roating tramcar. In the winter you can go sledding, and in the summer, there are great hikes, and a huge change in temperature! The whole experience has this very retro, 50s family vacation vibe that I love.
Smoke Tree Stables offers a one or two hour guided horseback ride through an old Indian reservation. Our favorite time to do this is in the late afternoon/early evening when you can capture the incredible desert light.
The Palm Springs Art Museum is a hidden gem that has an impressive collection of everything from Diego Rivera and Picasso to Anish Kapoor.
EAT in PALM SPRINGS
There are a lot of really great breakfast places in Palm Springs. A few of our favorites:
– Cheekys: The lines are always killer but its worth it! Great farm-to-table food that has everything from healthy Aca
ci smoothies to a flight of bacon.
– King’s Highway at The Ace (photo below): Housed in an old Denny’s restaurant, this mod diner is a huge favorite and everything they make is great. I love their fish tacos! If you’re lucky, Linda Gerard, King’s Highway legendary hostess, might just regale you with a show tune (or a dirty joke if you’re dining without the kids!).
– The Parker Palm Springs Hotel: Best spot for brunch on the gorgeous outdoor patio. My kids love their complimentary smoothies and the fact that they can run around the garden the second they are done eating.
For a dinner just the two of us? When we are in Palm Springs, we are always in family mode so I have no idea! I am told the Purple Palm at the Colony Palms Hotel is a great spot. Or Matchbox Pizza, a newish place from the same owners as Cheeky’s. Artisnal brick oven pizzas that are very seasonally driven and delicious.
SLEEP in PALM SPRINGS
At the Ace Hotel & Swim Club of course! This is where we always stay and we love its low-key earthy vibe. Our favorite rooms are the Kings lounges because they have spacious patios complete with an outdoor fireplace. I love Commune’s unexpected decor details like record players and Polaroid cameras. Plus we can bring Penny!
SHOP in PALM SPRINGS
I love going to the antique malls to hunt for mid-century treasures! The Uptown Design District is another great area to find some special pieces, with dozens of modern furniture stores and vintage boutiques. It’s lovely, but nothing beats the thrill of finding a real gem at an antique mall. We love the booths in Palm Canyon Galleria, right on Palm Canyon Drive’s main drag. If you’re feeling a bit splashy, there’s always Modern Way right down the street – that’s where you can snag your egg chair!
If you are driving from LA (120miles / 2hours East from LA airport), make sure not to leave early in the day to avoid rush hour traffic! The city boasts more than 350 days of sunshine a year so make sure you pack lots of sunscreen and hats!
Photo credits: Kimmel Kids or the respective places mentioned.