Arizona Adventures

What a wonderful little escape to the Southwest!  I had to be in Scottsdale for a conference, andBryce and the boys came along for a little Arizona adventure.  I know how much Bryce loves the southwest from his time at NMMI, and was really glad to get the boys experience a completely different landscape.   I left AZ today grateful for the adventure, but also feeling like I hadn’t done justice to everything that Phoenix and Scottsdale had to offer.  So many more things I would love to explore.  But I suppose that’s just a great reason to return.  Normally this post would be full of gorgeous images … but with my camera inadvertently left at home, I will leave some of this to your imagination.

The Landscape

the landscape was dramatic and gorgeous, and a complete change from autumn on the east coast.  the property was nestled at the foot of Mummy Mountain, looking out toward Camelback Mountain straight ahead.  The wide open spaces make the sky seem so much larger.  And the dramatic shape of the rock formations against that sky were just so beautiful in an exotic and unusual way.


Photo Credit: JW Marriott Camelback Inn

The cactus formations were fun … somehow more than I remember in prior years.  So many quirky and interesting cactus formations.  Sort of like a Rorschach ink blot test … what do you see when you see this cactus?? 🙂

photo 4-1



All around the city there were gorgeous bright desert flowers and bushes dotting the landscape.  Bright fuchsias and oranges – just gorgeous!  I wish I knew their names, will need to look them up next time.


The Property

We stayed at the Camelback Inn, which I love and was glad to return to.  Lots of things to love about the property – but I think my favorite is the way they really value and spotlight the landscape.  The property dates back to the 1930s and has so much character.  The main building has the feeling of a luxurious lodge – is open and spacious, with lots of character: wood beams and carvings,  beautiful Native American artwork.  The rooms are little ‘casitas’ scattered across the property, with beautiful walkways weaving from place to place.

The walking paths around the property wind through the neighborhoods of casitas, surrounded by the beautiful plants and flowers of the desert.  I loved the windings paths … sort of a walking meditation to meander around, not the efficient straight lines we are all accustomed to in the city.  The boys and I  enjoyed some great rides – about an 8 mile hilly circuit up and around Mummy Mountain.  Josh was riding fast and loving git!  For Justin, it was the toughest ride he had ever done – but he loved the adventure, and was ready to go again on the next couple days.



The Art

I love cites that really embrace art and find ways to design it into their urban spaces.  Phoenix and Scottsdale do that so well- tucking little touches of art and beauty all around the city!  From the sculptures that we saw all around the city, to the Phoenix mural project, the western charm of old town Scottsdale, and even artistic touches along streets and highways.

We visited the Heard Museum and spent so much time exploring their Mercado Del Las Artes that we hardly saw the museum at all!   We also missed the Museum of the West so that’s definitely on the return trip itinerary.    So much history to explore that I am sorry we missed it this trip.





The Hospitality

Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport declared itself the Friendliest Airport – and we agree!  I cannot say enough about the phenomenal service we received.


Just one of several examples:  an airport employee headed to a meeting (not someone we would typically think of as customer-facing), dropped what she was doing for not less than 10 minutes to find us a wheelchair for Bryce and guide us through the very long construction walkway twists and turns to the proper terminal, not leaving us until we were in the hands of a ticketing agent.  She was friendly and cheerful and helpful –  and didn’t think twice about changing her plans of the moment to make sure that we had a great experience.  And the same was true for almost all of our encounters this trip.

Excited to get back to the Southwest next year sometime with the family for a more extended visit.  (with my camera this time!)


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