Showing posts with label Scottsdale Arizona. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scottsdale Arizona. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Scottsdale. . .Walkin' in Sunshine

I hate to admit it, but I wasn’t taken with Arizona the first couple of times we visited here decades ago.  But with each return visit over the years I found some new ‘wonder’ which I kept adding to our ‘reasons to return’ list.

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Sunset - Scottsdale

Now, several years later, we actually own here – admittedly, a small bit of deeded property that affords us an annual visit of at least two weeks in our timeshare home.  And as reports of the Arctic Blast that is sweeping the Pacific Northwest keep arriving in our inbox today we are even more grateful for this warm-weather respite.

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Four Seasons Residence Club - Troon Mountain to the right
Last week I wrote from our “Marriott” home in Phoenix and by this week we’ve moved to our “Four Seasons” home in Scottsdale.

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Four Seasons Hotel Scottsdale, Arizona
One of the benefits of timeshare life at this Four Season’s Residence Club is that we are footsteps from the hotel. And as residents, we have access to the hotel’s pool, spa, exercise facility and grounds as do hotel guests.  (We have our own pool and exercise facility as well.)

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The Terrace at Onyx Bar - the Four Seasons overlooks the garden above
I’ve invited you in to see our condo on previous posts, so today I  thought we’d stroll around the property for a bit of a tour:

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We’ll start in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel where vibrant southwest colors bring the stucco Adobe-style walls to life.

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We follow a path through the natural landscape to get to and from the Residence Club and the hotel.  The stately Saguaro cactus stand like sentries and wild bunnies skitter among the bushes along the route.

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Then it is back to the Residence Club and its own lobby where easy chairs face fireplaces and southwest colors figure prominently in the d├ęcor.  The library (far right in photo above) is a quiet place to peruse the books available on the lending shelf or relax in front of yet another fireplace.  (It does get chilly this time of year, so fireplaces aren’t just for decoration!)

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Fireplaces and chimineas (like the one pictured above) are lit each night and fill the air with the scent of the southwest – the pungent smoke from the Mesquite wood – making it difficult to resist their magnetic pull to just ‘sit a spell’.

Arizona Spring 2012 154But we pass up the fireplace and head back to our place.

There, we bundle up in coats and sip a glass of wine on our deck while listening to the call of the desert animals that break the still of the night.

That’s it from Arizona for this week.  Hope to see you back again soon and until then, thanks for your time and Happy Travels!


Linking up this week with fellow bloggers at:

Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox 
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route 
Travel Photo Monday – Travel Photo Discovery 
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Scottsdale: Hiking through Old West History

Just a mile and a half north of Pinnacle Peak and the Four Seasons Resort we found ourselves at the end of the road, looking out over a vast expanse of undeveloped land; land, a sign told us, that was once part of Mexico.

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The road we had driven to get here – past numerous housing developments that make up this area in north Scottsdale --  had once been the route of cattle drives.

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We were at Brown’s Ranch Trailhead, the newest section of Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  A grand opening celebration took place only weeks before our arrival although the trails that loop through this area have been open since June.

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Once home to a sprawling cattle ranch, this newest recreational facility in the area has a large information center (pictured above),water (for humans and their furry friends), restrooms, an equestrian staging area, 200-car parking lot with plenty of handicapped spaces and parking for two-dozen horse trailers.








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The Trailhead offers some 60 miles of non-motorized, multi-use – hike, bike and equestrian – trails; from beginner to intermediate.  There is even a wheelchair-accessible Jane Rau Trail loop that leaves the main trail near the entrance and provides a scenic loop over the acreage. So many trails to choose from that  it could take days or weeks to try them all out!

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Many lead to, over and around gently rolling hills, Brown’s Mountain, Granite Mountain, Cone Mountain, Cholla Mountain and Balanced Rock.

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We set out to hike up Brown’s Mountain, (the one on the right in the photo above), on a Thursday morning.  You can tell from this empty parking lot that we nearly had the place to ourselves. In fact, we saw six people during the two hours we were on the site of the former ranch.

ScottsdaleNov2013 013A series of switchbacks led up the eastside
                            of the mountain, one of two dormant
 volcanic sites in Scottsdale.


We wore tennis shoes as we’d left our hiking boots home and did just fine until we almost reached the top.

A sign posted at the last portion of the trail -- a steep, narrow trail -- coupled with watching three others with hiking poles slip-sliding their way down, caused us to pass on the last 0.2 miles.










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So we paused near the top for photos (to prove ‘60-somethings’ can still climb mountains) and then it was down the other side to explore more of the land that made up the ranch established by E.O. Brown in 1916 and run by his sons until the 1960’s.

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We found just rusted remains of the ranch in the area we walked. . .

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. . .which fueled our imaginations about life in the real “old West” – not the one we grew up watching on black and white televisions – and sparked plans to return on our next visit to explore a bit further!

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If You Go:
 Brown’s Ranch Trailhead’s address is: 30301 North Alma School Parkway, Scottsdale, Arizona. To get there, take Scottsdale Road or Pima Road north to Dynamite Blvd. Head east on Dynamite. At Alma School Road turn left, and head north.

The loop route we followed was about seven miles in length.  We found this hike to be far less congested than the popular Pinnacle Peak trail and far less difficult than the Tom’s Thumb Trail, also just down the road.

ScottsdaleNov2013 036That’s it for Travel Photo Thursday at TravelnWrite, so saddle up and head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more armchair travels.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

When it floods in the Valley of the Sun. . .

. . .you are reminded that travel doesn’t always go as planned.

Even the best researched and well-thoughtout trips and travels can be derailed by events and circumstances beyond our control.  Take Mother Nature for instance. . .

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Pinnacle Peak - Wednesday on the left, Friday on the right
On Thursday she packed one whale of a punch in this area of Arizona known as “The Valley of the Sun” by dumping rain –  at a record-breaking pace and quantity – in a two day period.  Media reported that 1.7 inches fell as compared to the last record rain of 0.5 inches back in 1973.

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That is steam from the hot tub in the middle of this photo. Chilly? Yes!

It was interesting but after two days, we sun-seekers-from-Seattle were ready for more of those 70- and 80-degree temperatures. The weather reports assure those temps will be back by Tuesday – we’ll be gone by then.

So when it rain dampens your plans you can either sit around counting lemons or make lemonade!  If you find yourself here during inclement weather here are some ‘inside’ tips for ‘making lemonade’ and guaranteed to keep you entertained:

Visit a Museum:

There’s no better place to learn about the art and culture of the American Indians in this area, than the Heard Museums – the original, at 2301 N. Central in Phoenix, or the extension at 32633 N. Scottsdale Road.  www.heard.org
There’s also the:
* Phoenix Art Museum, www.phxart.org,
*Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA), www.smoca.org,
* Musical Instrument Museum, www.mim.org,
* Arizona Museum for Youth, www.arizonamuseumforyouth.com
* Children’s Museum of Phoenix, www.childrensmuseumof phoenix.org

Say SPA-ahhh!

Scottsdale2013 169Every major resort in this valley has some drop-dead, beyond-belief luxurious spa. Even  if you aren’t staying at the resort, you can certainly use the spa. Some offer day passes and others offer extra time in the facility with a treatment.

I can tell you a day spent at the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess spa is so pleasant – for both men and women – it could snow outside and you wouldn’t care!








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The waterfall therapy spa pool is sheltered but outside at Scottsdale's Fairmont Princess 
I took advantage of a discount package at the Four Seasons where we are staying and had a manicure/pedicure that carried me through two hours of pure pampering (I should have waited until the rains came though – I did it on a sunny day last week).

So popular are the area spas, that Scottsdale Tourism offers a down-loadable spa guide at: http://www.experiencescottsdale.com/spas/

Explore Old Town Scottsdale


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Western art lines Old Town Scottsdale

Okay, if its raining you’ll need an umbrella and coat to dash between the galleries, cafes and souvenir shops that line the streets of the old city. But the area is compact. Pick up a walking map and then don’t miss my favorites, the 1933 adobe Mission Church and the olive trees along the route – they were planted back in 1896.  Another favorite -- and a good place to take shelter and spend some time browsing (and buying) books --  is The Poisoned Pen Bookshop, right in the heart of Old Town.

So, which of those ‘inside tips’ did we pursue? None! We spent the morning working out in the resort gym and in the afternoon lit the fireplace, grabbed our books and leisurely did absolutely nothing – another nice option when you travel!

See you back here next week on Foodie Tuesday and again on Travel Photo Thursday! And if you’ve not yet signed up to receive our posts regularly, you can do so right here on the home page, www.travelnwrite.com

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Simply ‘Feelin’ Groovy’ in Scottsdale

It never fails. There comes a time – usually as each of our trips is drawing to a close -- that we want to shout, “Slow down, you move too fast!” It is happening again this week in Arizona.

With only a few days left in Scottsdale  Simon and Garfunkel’s “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” seems to say it best. . .

“Slow down, you move too fast; gotta make the mornin’ last

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Daybreak - 6 a.m.
Just kickin’ down the cobblestones

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Old Scottsdale - Art Walk
Lookin’ for fun and feelin’ groovy. . .

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Hello lamppost, what’s cha knowin’?

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I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’.

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Prickly Pear Cactus Blooms

Ain’t cha got no rhymes for me?

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Kaleidoscope planter
Do-it-do-do, feelin’ groovy. . .

~~~~   ~~~~ ~~~~
I’ve got no deeds to do, no promises to keep

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I am dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep


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Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.


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Life I love you, all is groovy!”

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That’s it for this Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox and Oh,The Places I have Been Friday at The Tablescraper. Click the link to each of those sites for some great armchair travel!

Note: ‘59th Street Bridge’ is the colloquial name of New York City’s Queensboro Bridge. If you’ve never heard them sing the song, click this link:YouTube. Guarantee it will make you smile!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

An Arabian “Tail” ~ Arizona’s Moroccan Mirage

Mirages, caused by the intensity of the desert’s heat,  are those shimmering images of things that don’t really exist.

Los Cedros USA, (pronounced los said-rows) could be – for the unsuspecting anyway-- thought of as a mirage in the expansive Sonoran desert north of Scottsdale, Arizona between Cave Creek and Pinnacle Peak.

Up until June the word ‘Scottsdale’ conjured up images of  the Old West: blue jeans, checked shirts and tablecloths, boots, and cowboys and cowgirls and work horses, of course.

Those cowboys and cowgirls these days are most likely behind the wheel of a late-model over-sized pickup and as for those horses. . . let us tell you. . .

Scottsdale2013 041One heat-draped afternoon, during our Scottsdale stay we visited Los Cedros USA; a visit that felt as if we’d walked into one of Scheherazade’s stories from 1001 Arabian Nights.

As we stepped through the enormous intricately carved entry doorway we found ourselves in. . .well, a modern replica of some 2,500 year old  Moroccan citadel right there in Arizona USA.












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We’d sought out this Moroccan ‘mirage’ after seeing a cover photo of it on Experience Scottsdale’s tourist publication.  The small print “about the cover” told us it was open to the public – free of charge, in fact. Yet, we were  the only visitors on the week day we visited.

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The entryway led us to an enormous (15,000 square-foot ) courtyard.

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There wasn’t a sound to be heard as we continued our explorations, but it didn’t take long to realize that’s because the Los Cedros ‘residents’ were resting . . . they took little note of their visitors.

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Los Cedros USA is an elegant multi-purpose development,  first and foremost, a luxurious home for performance  horses. Those large open spaces when not being used by horses and their trainers, are cleaned up and used for  hosting human events that can range in size from 50 – 500 people. 

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We were winding down our self-guided tour of the horses (petting is allowed) and their ultra-luxe accommodations which include a modern spa-like shower room and therapy pool, (pictured to the right) when we went in search of someone who could tell us about the place.

Dawn M. Green, the general manager, upon learning that I planned to write about Los Cedros USA, said, “Well, then you need to see the Throne Room!” and led us down a hall, to this: 







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I couldn’t help but think as I wrote today’s post, just what Scheherazade could have done with this Arabian ‘tail’! 

That’s it for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday; check out Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photo journeys.  And thanks for your visit – we appreciate the time you spend with us and hope you’ll be regulars here!

Scottsdale2013 037If You Go:
Los Cedros USA, 8700 East Black Mountain Road, Scottsdale, www.loscedros.com

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer in Scottsdale? Say, Spa-aahh!

The  air was thick – a 111-degree blanket enveloped us – as we made our way across the expansive grounds of the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess to the resort’s Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa, an air-conditioned 44,000 square-foot oasis of health and beauty. A place so large, there’s a greeter who escorts you to your destination within its spacious confines. It’s like a resort within a resort.

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The Well & Being concept -- introduced just last January -- combines health, wellness, nutrition, integrative medicine, skin care and fitness. Folks here say they are the first luxury resort in the United States to implement such a comprehensive approach.

So health-serious are they, there’s a full-time doctor (a real M.D.) on staff at the spa. 

Scottsdale2013 114We toured the facility that offers a demonstration kitchen and workout areas as well as some 30 treatment and consultation rooms, (some of which open  to the patio pictured above). We watched a class doing exercises on surf board machines while a video of waves was projected on a large screen behind them.






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One feature neither of us were inclined to try was the Aerial Yoga where yoga poses are done (think upside down yoga) with the support of these suspended cloth slings (which, they say, allow for greater stretching).

Say Spa-ahhh. . .

Following the tour I headed to the large and luxurious dressing/locker room and, while sipping some Prickly Pear lemonade, suited up in a fluffy robe and slippers. I was about to have my first-ever facial. Rose Marie, an aesthetician who’s worked here for 11 years, introduced me to its wonders.

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Because I’d never had a facial before  I chose it over a list of seemingly endless spa treatments.  Mine, a 90-minute treatment, began with an up-close and personal face photo (Brace yourselves! The images on that computer below are me and quite frightening). The two images, Rose Marie said, show sun damage and capillaries – I think they showed age as well!

The ‘reality show’ was followed by applications of  the ‘lotions and potions’. It was a botanical bonanza that included, but not limited to, an aloe cleansing, mists of lavender honey and rose geranium, a sweet cherry enzyme peel and a carrot seed soothing serum.  . .you get the idea. . .

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One thing to keep in mind about spa treatments in resort settings like this one, is the cost of the treatment gives you access to all the other spa amenities and features on the day of your treatment (come early, stay late; a resort within a resort). 

Here those amenities include: steam rooms, saunas, a eucalyptus inhalation rooms, a private rooftop pool, and a three-story therapeutic waterfall, inspired by the real thing in the Grand Canyon, Havasupai Falls.

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If you are like The Scout and not ‘in to’ spa treatments,  you can purchase a day pass here to use the non-treatment facilities.  (Free access is included with those booking the Fairmont Gold option).

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TravelnWrite regulars will recall we nabbed a good deal on November’s Black Friday for our stay here last December. The new spa concept was introduced about a month after our visit. Now that we’ve tried it, we can’t imagine a stay that  didn’t include significant time at their Well and Being Willow Stream.

The Scottsdale Spa Experience

Scottsdale2013 174Whether a long-time spa enthusiast or a newbie to the spa world, summer in Scottsdale is the time you’ll find both great hotel rates and good deals on spa packages and treatments.

To see a few of this summer’s deals: click on Experience Scottdale’s link:  Summer Spa Series

For information about the Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa, www.scottsdaleprincess.com or call 480-585-2732.

An example of their Seasonal Offerings is this, one of  their June specials:
  • 45-Minute Treatments Monday - Thursday
    Need a quick mid-week spa fix? Choose from these 45-minute energizing spa treatments designed for the person on the go. Available Monday – Thursday all day long. 45-minute Energizer Massage or Customized Facial. $129 each
That’s it for this week’s Travel Tip Tuesday!
If you have a tip about spa treatments or where to find deals that you’d like to share with other readers, please write a comment in the section below or send us an email to travelnwrite@msn.com   Small print: We want to thank the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess for hosting our spa visit and treatment.

If you’ve not yet signed up to receive TravelnWrite posts, please do so on the blog’s home page, top right hand corner.  If you want to follow us on Facebook, click this link!  And, as always, thanks for stopping by today!

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