The sky above the Coachella Valley is often sunny and clear. The cloudless conditions make it easy to pick out a small aircraft as it materializes out of a mountain range on the horizon, then corkscrews and performs a grand loop-the-loop before heading home to the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport. The shiny blue Citabria plane is the resident aerobatic aircraft at JacksonAir Flight Training. The company's owner, Scott Mourhess, who dreamed of G-forces and airborne antics as a little boy, now oversees a fleet of no fewer than six aircraft used to train commercial and private pilots.
Scott and his fellow FAA-certified flying instructors occupy prime aviation real estate. The skies above their Thermal airport often draw pilots from other flight schools in the Palm Springs region, who flock to the area for the ideal practice conditions and absence of lines at sky tollbooths. The veteran instructors also take novice pilots on 20- to 30-minute flights that introduce them to the excitement being in a cockpit and the thrill of flying.
On the rolling greens of the Empire Polo Club, the Rhythm, Wine, and Brews Fest unfolds for an afternoon of locally crafted libations and priceless rhythm and blues. Guests saunter into the white cabanas of the wine garden with souvenir glasses in hand, partaking in the fruits of local and national wineries, such as Smith & Hook and Fess Parker, underneath the shade of date palms. The scent of hops and barley drifts through the high-peaked tents of the beer-tasting pavilion, where more than 25 breweries, including Shipyard Brewing Company and Lagunitas Brewing, dispense their handcrafted suds. As daycationing denizens sniff, swish, and savor their beverages, the air buzzes with liquid rhythm and blues from a roster of roots artists.
The annual Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival makes good use of the temperate weather, exciting visitors with sun, rides, and shows in the middle of February. Cotton candy and carnival rides churn stomachs while carnival games challenge hand-eye coordination. Visitors of the 68th annual installment of the festival can take-in one of the camel and ostrich races, hop aboard a ferris wheel, or watch monster trucks compete for the ultimate prize, enlightenment. Throughout the 10-day festival, live music entertains fans from acts such as Daughtry, Kool & the Gang, and Tucanes De Tijuana.
Before Coachella Valley became the incubator for modern design that it is today, it was an agricultural center, a major railroad stop, and home to the indigenous Cahuilla people. In 1965, valley residents formed The Coachella Valley Historical Society to preserve each of these eras, and opened the Coachella Valley History Museum nearly two decades later as the embodiment of that mission.
Across the nation, the skies are filled with giant, kaleidoscopically colored balloons languidly soaring over snowcapped peaks and green valleys. This is partly due to Balloon Rides Online, whose network of nationwide hot-air balloons paints the sky each day. Employing a FAA-approved basket and a professional pilot who has completed at least 500 flight hours, the company floats passengers over mountains, forests, and streams of caramel for one hour. While gliding with the ease of a cloud, pilots encourage guests to snap photos of sprawling landscapes and capture the moment. After landing, crew members and passengers celebrate with a champagne, mimosa or orange-juice toast?an important tradition in hot-air ballooning and preparing for inevitable hovercraft uprisings. With passengers' safety in mind, Balloon Rides Online also keeps a minimum insurance liability of $100,000 per guest.
Though World Gym has locations the span the globe, the gyms still feel homey. The friendly trainers are experts in their field, and the decor is carefully designed to be welcoming and warm. To accommodate guests of all levels and workout styles, the gyms boast an expansive array of cardio equipment and a variety of classes such as Zumba, yoga, spin, and boot camp.