Vintage VaVoom: Trailers in Palm Springs

One of the desert's most delightful doings erects the awnings.

Vintage Travel Trailer Show

THE COMFIEST PART OF COOL: Ask anyone to describe the mid-century aesthetic and you're bound to hear words like "elegant" and "refined" and "swank" and "cool" and "cocktail" and "chic." True terms, all, but modernism boasts some very comfy, easy-to-chillax-in corners, with one of the majors being the rise of the kitsch'd-out travel trailer. The hook-it-on-the-back-of-the-station-wagon icon was an icon of the middle of the 20th century, the happy-go-lucky side to all of that chic-style happening in homes and public buildings. So when Modernism Week arrives in Palm Springs, with its salutes to all that encompassed the idea, the humbler, oh-so-fabulous travel trailer is not left out of the party. In fact, the transportation is given its own spotlight, over a single evening, with some 40-plus examples of the forward-motion form on display (think Airstreams, too). Not only that, but the doors shall be open, so you can peek inside the snug little nooks, to get a better idea of how people five or six decades ago hit the open highway. So, where in the P.S. shall you go to see these wheeled wonders? Why that would be...

THE HILTON HOTEL: But not the ballroom or lobby, nope nope; the travel trailers will dot the parking lot. Since there's so much room, you're bound to see chairs, pink flamingos, and barbecues dotting the exterior areas of the trailers, and some attractively striped awnings. Trailer restorers and those who just love the look and lifestyle make for Palm Springs with their beauties in tow, so trust you'll see some of the best of the West. And, truly: How many videos and ad shoots turn to vintage trailers nowadays to convey a certain retro joie de vivre? They're instant signifiers of a certain carefree, backroads way of doing things. Even if you don't yet have your own, you can get close-up with several prime examples.

WHEN? The trailers shall brake at the Palm Springs Hilton on Saturday, Feb. 21. The cost? It's $15 to get up and close. Good-natured jealousy, and wishing you had your own, is totally free.

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