Escapes: A yearlong, historic exhibit near Palm Springs

An Austin Mini Moke, a gift from Frank Sinatra in 1968, is part of the Rancho Mirage exhibit.
An Austin Mini Moke, a gift from Frank Sinatra in 1968, is part of the Rancho Mirage exhibit. Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands


Gifts from legends on display in the desert

Walter and Leonore Annenberg are often touted as two of the 20th century’s greatest philanthropists. Their winter estate, Sunnylands, sits in Rancho Mirage, a resort city near Palm Springs. There, the Annenbergs entertained countless esteemed guests – British royalty, American presidents, world business leaders and more.

Starting today, “Treasures at Sunnylands: Selections From the Gift Collection of Walter & Leonore Annenberg” will showcase 46 items given to the Annenbergs from some of those esteemed guests. With a singing fish plaque from George H. W. Bush, an Austin Mini Moke from Frank Sinatra and a silver cigarette box from Queen Elizabeth, it promises to be a fascinating collection at what is now a retreat center.

The display will be free and open to the public for one year, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, at the Sunnylands Center & Gardens, 37977 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage. The center is closed in July and August. For more information, visit


Ice sculptures

What: Some of the world’s top snow sculptors will compete at Carve Tahoe starting Wednesday. The goal is simple: create the most impressive piece of ice art. Judging is Saturday, and the best dates for the public to view are Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

When: Wednesday through Sunday

Where: Northstar California Resort, 100 Northstar Drive, Truckee

Cost: Free



Chowder bonanza

What: Take a culinary tour of the town courtesy of the 12th annual Chowder Day in Bodega Bay. Tickets come with a map guiding you to different chefs pouring delicious samples of chowder. Follow signs as you enter Bodega Bay to find the ticket booth, and expect to spend three or four hours tasting.

When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Where: Harbor View Way, Bodega Bay

Cost: $10



Guided hikes

What: Look for bald eagles in the Cache Creek Natural Area during a free, guided hike put on by the Bureau of Land Management. The 5-mile trek lasts about four hours, with at least one steep climb. Call to reserve a spot.

When: Saturdays through Feb. 14

Where: Redbud Trailhead parking area, Highway 20 (29 miles west of Williams)

Cost: Free

Information: (707) 468-4000


Asian art

What: The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco hosts more than 17,000 pieces of art spanning 6,000 years – easily one of the biggest and most impressive Western museums dedicated to Asian art. Normally entry costs $12, but on the first Sunday of the month, admission is free.

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 1

Where: Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., San Francisco

Cost: Free



Travel talk

What: At the No Reservations Travel Club’s first meeting of the year, local Gene Williams will share stories from river cruising on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 3

Where: Arcade Library Community Room, 2443 Marconi Ave., Sacramento

Cost: Free

Information: (916) 457-1426;

Bee Staff