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Frances Allen’s Desert Roundup—Living Desert Re-opens Trails, Carousel

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANCES–Pictured (from left): Frances Allen-Fridman, Tracy Cupwell, Bernard Dervieux, Kevin Parker Grace Robbins, and Jere Ring attending the birthday party at Cuistot.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANCES–Pictured (from left): Frances Allen-Fridman, Tracy Cupwell, Bernard Dervieux, Kevin Parker Grace Robbins, and Jere Ring attending the birthday party at Cuistot.

Posted Thursday, January 1, 1970 - 1:19 pm

By Frances Allen

If laughter is truly the best medicine, then guests at my birthday party last week will all live to be 120.

The laughter was infectious as party guests including Tracy Gupwell, my niece, an official of the British government and her partner Annie Hughes; singer and raconteur Jere Ring; property maven Tim Ratigan; author Grace Robbins; and “jeweler to the stars” Kevin Parker told stories and shared memories of a wilder, old time Hollywood.

The venue was Cuistot in Palm Desert, a farmhouse theme that incorporates stonewalls, soaring ceiling, massive wood beams and a large fireplace that’s always burning.

But under the watchful eyes of owner/chef Bernard Dervieux, Cuistot is not just a showplace. Rather, the former executive chief at such iconic venues as Chicago’s Pump Room and The Beverly Hills Hotel uses the restaurant’s exhibition kitchen to it’s full advantage, letting guests know that their order was prepared fresh and in true French style.

By the way–me and Cuistot have something in common: we’re both celebrating our “32nd” birthdays!

• • • • •

With the advent of fall, one of the Desert’s most attractive attractions, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, will return to regular hours and re-open its hiking trails and carousel beginning Monday from 9 a.m. (7 a.m. for early birds who are also zoo members) to 5 p.m.), with the last admission at 4 p.m.

The Living Desert’s nature preserve hiking trails will also re-open to guests and members. Hikers of all levels can choose one of three trails of varying degrees of difficulty to enjoy the nature and beauty of the outdoors.

The Discovery Loop is a brief, quarter-mile meander, while the Adventure Loop rambles for a mile through desert wash habitat and across a rocky bajada. The Wilderness Loop offers an adventurous three-and-a-half-mile down a boulder-strewn canyon and along a rocky ridgeline with stunning, far-reaching vistas. The trails, as well as The Living Desert’s operating model train display, are accessible with paid admission or annual membership and open daily except Christmas, through May 31.

In early November, The Living Desert will celebrate the grand opening of Crossroads of Conservation that includes a new entrance with state-of-the-art features, a welcome center, gift shop and Living Legacy Endowment Garden dedicated to the supporters of the Living Desert. There are also several special events.

In addition to the above features, The Living Desert will offer its popular series of annual events. Featured Oct. 27 and 31 will be Howl-o-Ween, followed by Wild Lights on Nov. 23, the much-anticipated Brew at the Zoo on Feb. 9 and, the Zoobilee Gala on Mar. 2. For more information, call 760-346-5694

 

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