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California vacations By Lena Katz

Most parts of the country are just catching afirst glimpse of spring, but in the desert, it’s in full and glorious bloom — which means if you need a quick dose of Vitamin C, the ideal weekend getaway is a golf/spa or art/food Southern California vacation. Here’s 2009 news from the bustling town of Palm Springs and the more laid-back outlying regions of Palm Desert and Coachella Valley.

If you’re a foodie who appreciates a meal deal, definitely book your California vacation for the first half of June: Palm Springs Restaurant Week kicks off May 31st and runs through June 19th. More than 100 participating restaurants in the desert cities will offer up three-course prix-fixe menus for either $24 or $36.

Foodies, also mark your calendar for Wednesdays, when the new Palm Desert Farmers Market takes place at the Visitor Center. And of course, Villagefest, Palm Springs’ marvelous Thursday night street fair kicks off in May. This one shuts down the city center and jump-starts the weekend with its festive vibe and eclectic mix of vendors. Elsewhere in the arts,  there’s the Palm Springs Film Noir Festival (May 28-31 at Camelot Theaters), and the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival June 23-29.

California vacation Golfers, before you hit the greens, analyze your game and update the contents of your golf bag at the recently opened TaylorMade Performance Lab in Desert Springs. This is the fifth location of the high-tech workshop/custom retailer, and is a hot destination for anyone looking to up their game. Also at the top of golf news headlines: full renovations of both the courses at Indian Wells Golf Resort.

There are a zillion place to spa in the desert, and many specialty treatments are geared toward the ebullient sunshiney vibe. From Viceroy’s couples ice rubdowns (offered in a private outdoor treatment area) to the Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort’s girlfriend getaway rooms, spa days can be as social or as steamy as you like. For those who always like to check out what’s new in town: Colony Palms is your place. This recently renovated boutique hotel just opened a Moroccan-inspired spa. Hilton Palm Springs also completed amulti-million dollar renovation of its “Elements” spa, while Miramonte Resort and Spa makes a splash (a-har-har-har) with a new signature swimming pool.

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Lena Katz lives on the Left Coast and writes about tropical islands, beach clubs and food, but her heart belongs to NYC.

Tagged: California

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