I loved the 90’s! Your babies were still a twinkle in your eye. REM touched our soul with their prophetic lyrics. Kurt and Nirvana made wearing jeans with holes in ‘em cool. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air moved into our ‘hood and Seinfeld had us laughing at NOTHING!
Anyone other single moms want to join me in reliving that era? Pour your little ones into the minivan and hit the road. Here are 9 iconic whistle stops from the 90’s that will take you back to your youth.
1. Palm Desert, CA
Don’t know about you, but the teen sitcom “Saved by the Bell” certainly has a special spot in my heart. My first TV show as an executive producer was called “Name Your Adventure. It was hosted by Mario Lopez and shared a spot with the quintessential comedy on the NBC Saturday morning line up. The unforgettable two-part episode titled “Palm Springs Weekend,” took place at the JW Marriott Desert Springs. Our favorite characters Zack, Kelly, Slater (Mario) and the rest of the gang join Jessie to celebrate her father’s wedding at the resort. Although the property has undergone major renovations since the 1991 episode, several spots featured in the show still look just like they did nearly 23 years ago. The resort has also played host to several 90’s power-couples, including Heather Locklear and Richie Sambora who stayed at the hotel not long before their 1994 nuptials in Paris. Vanessa Williams and Dan Rather hit a few balls across the net on the resort’s tennis courts. And ask Tennis Pro, Jim Leopold, who still oversees the courts, about the highly competitive show-down between 90’s NFL Pittsburgh Steelers coach, Bill Cowher, and Cincinnati Bengals coach, Dave Shula.
2. Miami Beach, FL
Miami Beach has served as a backdrop for many TV and film projects over the years. In 1992, the film ‘The Bodyguard’ was shot at the Fontainebleau. Not only did Whitney Houston’s character perform at the nightclub in the resort, currently called LIV, but she and Kevin Costner also shot scenes in the penthouse suite and the pool area. Take a walk down Ocean Drive and visit acclaimed fashion designer and 90’s icon, Gianni Versace’s mansion. In 1992 he spent nearly $30 million to renovate the space. His home quickly became a hot spot for world’s most glamorous people including top models of the era and celebs like Madonna and Sylvester Stallone. The Italian designer was famously shot dead there in 1997. The property now operates as a luxury hotel, The Villa By Barton G. Then travel up the road about 30 minutes to Aventura. Have lunch in the Turnberry Isle Miami and ask to visit the Hibiscus Presidential Suite. It’s where the band KISS held a press conference in 1996 to announce their first reunion tour. The suite is also where Demi Moore shot scenes from ‘Striptease,’ which hit theaters that same year. Step outside and stroll the Soffer golf course. President Clinton landed his helicopter on the greens with snipers everywhere, to give a speech in the Garden Ballroom. One week later, Monica Lewinsky arrived for a book-signing to promote her story.
3. Southport, N. C.
Southport, NC’s waterfront locale, historic Victorian homes, and turn-of-the-19th century cemetery have appeared in 19 movies from the 1990’s, including 1992’s ‘Spies,’ 1993’s ‘Amos and Andrew,’ 1997’s thriller, ‘I Know what you did last Summer, 1998’s ‘The Wedding,’ as well as the TV series ‘Matlock’ and ’Dawson’s Creek.’ For a birds-eye view of all these notorious locations try a trolley, bike or horse-drawn carriage tour. Or if you plan on traveling on four wheels from venue to venue, like 84% of the rest of US travelers, don’t forget to take along the perfect 90’s car snack, Fruit Vines® Bites. They poppable bite size pieces of fruit flavored licorice-like candy, that come in 2 oz single serving bags. It is a neat, clean treat that won’t leave you with a sticky mess in the car.
4. White Sulpher Springs, West VA
Amidst bucolic greenery, just outside White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia is the historic American resort, The Greenbrier. On May 31, 1992, The Washington Post broke the story that this sprawling estate masked a government secret beneath its West Virginia Wing. Deep inside the building is a 112,544-square-foot bunker built 720 feet into the hillside, which had been kept in a constant state of readiness for more than 30 years to house the US Congress in the event of a nuclear fallout! Now, regular tours of the declassified Bunker are available for you to explore.
5. Snoqualmie Falls, WA
Loved, loved, loved David Lynch’s darkly brooding 90’s TV show ‘Twin Peaks.’ Salish Lodge & Spa, a luxury resort atop Snoqualmie Falls served as the “Great Northern Hotel” for the show. The historic property was built in 1916 and converted to a luxury property in 1988. Today, the area plays host to the popular Twin Peaks Fest, during which cast members and cult followers return to commemorate the legendary series. For those of you who are truly devotee’s and want to own a piece of the TP legend, the house that served as Laura Palmer’s home, is up for sale. After a full day of Twin Peak madness head into Seattle and visit The Sorrento Hotel. Many scenes from the film ‘Sleepless in Seattle,’ were shot there. It also was used as the production office for the filmmakers.
6. Estes Park, Co
If you happen to be passing through the Rockies on your blast from the past 90’s road trip, stop in and have a drink at the bar in The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO. Jim Carey did in 1994, for his life changing role in the film ‘Dumb and Dumber’, (he was lodged there too during the filming). And, see if you see what Stephen King did when he slept in room 217. While the original “The Shining” movie wasn’t filmed on the property, it served as the author’s inspiration for his popular novel.
7. Mansfield, Ohio
This year Ohio is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ‘Shawshank Redemption.’ Nearly all of the film was shot in north central Ohio, including all of the prison scenes at Ohio State Reformatory. There is a big celebration on tap Labor Day weekend, including lots of tours and appearances from celebrities. You can also do the self-guided Shawshank Trail any time of the year.
8. New York, NY
Recently I stayed at Yotel on 10th and 42nd on the west side of mid-town Manhattan. It is one of the funkiest, state-of-the-art hotels in New York City. From the minute I passed through their revolving door, I felt as though I’d entered the set of my favorite 90’s sci-fi film, ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation.’ Yotel New York is home to Yobot, the world’s first robotic luggage concierge, there are self-service check-in stations in the ground control area, or you can visit mission control on the fourth floor for assistance by one of the crew members. (I am not kidding they all use the Star Trek lingo). The rooms are not called rooms, but cabins, and all are equipped with high tech connectivity, technowall electronics and super cool convertible beds for saving space. While the rooms don’t have mini-bars there is a galley on every floor for you to store your leftovers. It was an out of this world experience…cheesy pun intended.
Stay at the Yotel because you and your kids will love the vibe, but then take yourself way back in time for a cocktail at the circa 1926 Warwick New York Hotel. In the early 1990’s Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman, who had a brownstone at 39 W 54th St. (currently Eastman & Eastman, Attorneys) were frequent visitors to the original Warwick Bar and Randolph’s Bar & Lounge. The hotel is located at 54th Street and Avenue of the Americas, just steps away from MoMA, Central Park, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, The Ziegfeld Theater, and Times Square and more.
9. Los Angeles, CA
For a night of great belly laughs get in line early at the iconic L.A. comedy spot, The Laugh Factory. It’s located in a former building that housed Groucho Marx on Sunset Blvd. and owned by legendary comedy impresario Jamie Masada. Generations of comics have come through the house, but the nineties belonged to Dane Cook, who made his stage debut there. Dave Chapelle set his initial mark, at the same time, by setting the world’s record for the longest stand-up comedy performance.