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Sunnylands, Oysters, Free Activities

Learn about Sunnylands, the iconic Rancho Mirage estate, then get a taste for fresh oysters and free adventures across the Golden State

Episode 18 of the California Now Podcast begins in the epicenter of mid-century modern design: Sunnylands. The center’s director, Janice Lyle, guides host Soterios Johnson through a tour of the estate’s rich history. Learn why Sunnylands is known as the “Camp David of the West” and discover how to take a fascinating tour through what Lyle calls the “surprisingly intimate, aesthetically satisfying” 25,000-square-foot home. 

Next up, Johnson breaks out the horseradish and lemon wedges for an oyster-themed lightning round with Hunter Lewis, Editor in Chief of Food & Wine. From picnic tables to high-end restaurants, Lewis dishes on the best spots to enjoy bivalves on the half shell. Travel insider Pauline Frommer rounds out the episode by highlighting her favorite free—and nearly free—activities in California. Learn tips for landing a front-row seat on a taping of your favorite television show, where to take a self-guided elephant seal safari, how to snag a free tour of San Francisco, and much more.



Janice Lyle, director of Sunnylands Center & Gardens, delves into the estate’s history and shares her top tips for exploring Greater Palm Springs.

Food & Wine Editor in Chief Hunter Lewis reveals his favorite spots for fresh oysters in California.

Travel expert Pauline Frommer guides us through the best free (and nearly free) travel experiences across the Golden State.

About the Host

Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis, Calif., in 2016 and is just getting to know his surroundings. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson will use the California Now platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.

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