While in Rancho Mirage for the Thanksgiving holiday, I was finally able to visit Sunnylands, the former estate of Walter and Lee Annenberg, which is just few minutes from my home. Walter Annenberg made his fortune publishing Seventeen Magazine and TV Guide and his wife Lee was the daughter of legendary movie mogul Harry Cohn. Both Walter and Lee became Ambassadors of the US and their estate once welcomed US presidents, government officials, world leaders participating in high level retreats on national and international issues and of course movie stars such as Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope. Richard Nixon sought sanctuary at Sunnylands after he resigned as president and Nancy Reagan once lamented that she and Ronnie would find it depressing going back to Sacramento, having vacationed at Sunnylands.
The Gardens at Sunnylands were designed to evoke thoughts of the brush strokes of the Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings collected by the Annenbergs. The desert landscaping suggest the same colors and textures of these works of art which can be found in the Annenberg house.