I am so thankful to the wonderful Trusteeship Organization, the Los Angeles chapter of the International Women’s Forum, for the amazing retreat at Sunnylands on March 22nd. Sunnylands is the former winter estate of Walter and Lenore Annenberg. Walter served as the Ambassador to the UK under Richard Nixon. Their 400-acre estate in Rancho Mirage served as a magnet for political leaders, royalty, and celebrities. Frank and Barbara Sinatra were married there. Each President was entertained there, and more recently, President Obama entertained Chinese President Xi Jinping and King Abdullah of Saudia Arabia.
The residence itself is the ultimate achievement by famed mid -century architect, A. Quincy Jones. It is surrounded by 200 acres of magnificently cultivated grounds and a golf course. The grounds stretch out as far as the eye can see, dotted by ponds and manicured landscaping. The interior of the residence has been beautifully maintained. It is currently owned by the Annenberg Foundation.
Tickets were sold out within the first five minutes of release online. Our organization was greeted by Jeff Cowan, Foundation President. We had an opportunity to view a movie about the history of the estate, and were entertained with a wonderful dinner and reception at the new center, designed by Fred Fisher. Much of the famed art collection which hung on the walls has now been donated to museums, but replicas remain. The furniture designed by world famous designer, Billy Graver, is a tribute to mid-century design.
If the walls could talk!!! It was so much fun to see the photographs of so many prominent individuals over the lifetime of the Annenberg’s who had walked through those doors. It is wonderful that such a historic estate has been preserved so beautifully, and the public has an opportunity to visit.