Arcadia, Arizona – Where Quiet Lifestyles and Luxurious Living Meet

If you’re looking for a place where you can sit back, take it easy and enjoy a relaxed, but upscale lifestyle, then you’ve found it in Arcadia. This gorgeous neighborhood, located only 15 minutes from downtown Phoenix, got its start back in the early 1920s during the postwar days. Now, homes are situated on lush, grassy lots and spectacular Camel back Mountain is the backdrop to the community. In years past, the area mainly consisted of exquisite ranch-style homes built mainly with wood and brick. They exuded all the charm and appeal of the mid-century. Since then, Arcadia has gone through a bit of a redevelopment. The thriving region is transforming the old to new by tearing down dated homes and erecting newer, more lavish abodes. The area is known for well-kept homes and you won’t find anything that looks mass-produced or like a cookie cutter. In addition, modern apartments and condos have been added. Regardless of the changes in the housing landscape, the area is extremely picturesque with mature trees, gorgeous sunsets and remarkable mountain views.

Recreational attractions
Besides the scenic landscape, Arcadia offers great attractions, amenities and is an excellent place to raise a family. For example, sports enthusiasts can get in a game of golf or throw a few balls at Papago Park and Baseball Facility, a 914-acre recreational center. Also, there’s the Desert Botanical Gardens, Piestewa Peak Mountain Park, the zoo and numerous places to go hiking. Explore some of the culture throughout the area at the Schemer Arts Center. You could take a stroll through this huge house and view galleries and exhibits that pique your interests. Or keep it simple and just view the public art project on 57th street. In addition, if a nice bike ride or a relaxing walk is more your speed, the Arizona Canal is a great place to do just that. Furthermore, if you want to get away from it all, the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, also known as the Jewel of the Desert is right at your fingertips. This resort was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and has been host to presidents and celebrities alike. While there, enjoy extreme relaxation by taking advantage of the full-service spa, fitness center, swimming pools and tennis courts.

Shopping and dining
With such fine dining, shopping and unique appeal is no wonder Arcadia is considered a Best Place to Live by Money magazine. This prominent community is conveniently located near upscale stores like Biltmore Fashion Park. Furthermore, you could visit downtown Scottsdale or take a short drive to Phoenix to explore an endless supply of retail stores. Also, don’t forget the food. Arcadia offers an array of fine dining. If you want to explore even more, check out all the delicious restaurants in nearby Phoenix. You could be adventurous and try a mix of Mexican and Greek food at Mi Patio. Instead, if you’d rather a traditional steak and some fresh seafood, Kincaid’s Fish, Chop and Steakhouse is a great choice. All this and much more is easily within reach.

Schools
Dynamic schools in the area offer children a top-notch curriculum. As part of the Scottsdale Unified School District, schools like Hopi Elementary, Ingleside Junior High and Arcadia High School provide first-class academic programs, exceptional teachers and a great environment. In addition, Arcadia has some of the best pre-schools, daycares and Montessori schools around. So it doesn’t matter how old your kids are, you can feel confident they will get a challenging and rich education. Regardless of how you describe it, Arcadia is an extraordinary, suburban community nicely situated near Phoenix and Scottsdale. Unique homes, shopping, dining, entertainment and culture are all easily within reach. The great thing about living here is that you get the quiet, serene lifestyle you want with the option of driving into the bright lights of the big cities whenever the mood strikes giving you the best of both worlds.

Premier Real Estate Communities in Scottsdale Arizona

Scottsdale represents one of the most unique residential real estate markets in the State of Arizona providing affordable living to the upscale and lavish lifestyles. Scottsdale is bordered to the west by Phoenix and Paradise Valley, to the north by Carefree, to the south by Tempe, and to the east by Fountain Hills. If you are unfamiliar with the area you may want to understand how it is locally divided. The city is commonly divided as North and South Scottsdale, each offering its own style of living.

North Scottsdale may be best known for its diversity in business and residential real estate. This area is well known for its ability to lure lucrative companies in the Bio-medical, business services, high technology, and tourism industries, each setting up headquarters in the North Scottsdale area. The Residential Real Estate Market blends modern architecture with rustic southwest design which has set the stage for this highly desirable area. The area features some of the States top notched master planned communities such as McDowell Mountain Ranch, DC Ranch, Troon and Legend Trail.

South Scottsdale features the “Old Town” or downtown area with the upscale Scottsdale Fashion Square, which attracts over 12 million visitors annually. Although known for high end tenants occupying both commercial and retail space the Scottsdale Waterfront luxury Condos and Lofts offer the ultra luxury living experience which range from $600,000 – $5,000,000. The South Scottsdale area and Residential Real Estate Market has been thriving since early development in 1961. Whether it be winter visitors, the many people working at restaurants, shopping malls or resorts or those just looking to be close to all the amenities, the area offers lush green communities with affordable living from the low $100,000 range and up.

Visitors Guide to Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Standing on the northern side of the Sonoran Desert, in the aptly named ‘Valley of
the Sun’ Phoenix is one of the most popular cities in Arizona. Known for its
extremely sunny weather and related winter tourist trade, Phoenix has much to offer
visitors, with strip malls surrounding the downtown district. Now amongst
America’s largest cities, Phoenix is a true metropolis, with many striking high-rise
buildings in the city center, together with exceptional golf courses and impressive
resort areas nearby.

Many of the attractions in Phoenix are situated in the downtown district, the heart of
the city, where you will find notable restaurants, sporting venues and shops. Other
popular areas of the city include the business district, Old Phoenix, particularly
around Heritage Square, and the Glendale area, which is home to many of the city’s
main museums and numerous well-preserved, historical structures. The Mesa area
of Phoenix contains a number of shopping malls, whereas Scottsdale boasts resorts
and specialty shops. For entertainment venues and a vibrant nightlife, be sure to
head to Tempe, where you will not be disappointed.

Phoenix Tourism:
Tourism in the Phoenix area is well catered for, with many top attractions, a number
of which are particularly appealing to families. Ranging from historical ruins and
sights, to amusement parks and major shopping centers, Phoenix offers plenty of
things to see and places to go. Top attractions include the Castles and Coasters
theme park, the vast Phoenix Zoo, the historical St Mary’s Basilica, the prehistoric
Casa Grande ruins, Goldfield Ghost Town mining village, the Apache Trail, Piestewa
Peak walking trails and the Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Center, known
for its views of the famous Valley of the Sun.

The Phoenix area also contains its fair share of cultural museums and art galleries,
with notable attractions including the Arizona Science Center, the Hall of Flame Fire
Fighting Museum and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Phoenix offers
a range of festivals, which are held throughout the year, such as the Arabian Horse
Show in February, the Scottsdale Arts Festival in March, the September National
Public Lands Day Outdoor Recreation Fair, and the Way Out West Oktoberfest.

Phoenix Transport:
Interstates 10 and 17 provide good connections to a number of nearby cities, such
as Flagstaff. Many visitors to Phoenix choose to rent a car and this is one of the
best ways to travel around the city and neighboring areas. Public buses are also
heavily used and the Downtown Area Shuttle, better known simply as ‘DASH’,
connects many top tourist hotspots at no cost.

Close to the city’s downtown district, Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is an
important air hub and is connected to the city by shuttle buses and taxicabs. This
important international airport caters for many thousands of arrivals and departures
each day and offers good ground transportation options.

Phoenix Hotels:
Hotels in the Phoenix area are in good supply and hotel rates are often cheapest
during the summer months of July and August. Winter is a particularly pleasant
time to visit the city and accommodation becomes fully booked at the time of the
year.

Phoenix Shopping:
With many expansive shopping malls, which always feature air conditioning,
Phoenix is the perfect city for those who enjoy shopping. All kinds of shops are well
represented here, ranging from chain stores and department stores, to fashion
boutiques and independent retailers. Many of the city’s main shops are
concentrated in the Biltmore and Scottsdale districts.

Phoenix Restaurants:
Southwestern cuisine has long been popular in Phoenix, with more international
offerings available throughout the city. Restaurants offer a varied choice of food,
although the many notable steakhouses are a must. Clustered in the city center and in the older areas of Biltmore and Scottsdale, a number of eateries and bars can also
be found in the lively University area.

Phoenix Weather:
Standing in the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix offers predictably sunny and hot
temperatures, with over 300 days of sunshine each year. Many people choose to
visit the city during its warm winter months, particularly during January through
March, when temperatures average 13°C / 55°F. The summer months
of July through September are the warmest, when temperature peak at 42°C /
108°F, although evening are much cooler.

Famous Hotels Near the Grand Canyon in Arizona

Grand Canyon is a valley that rises above the whole city of Arizona. While exploring the beauty of the place, travelers may also relax and unwind while overlooking around this beautiful place. The Grand Canyon is also known as the home of various luxurious hotels and inns.

Here are some of Grand Canyon’s famous hotels:
Grand Canyon Railway Hotel
The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, Arizona is developed subsequent to the remarkable Williams Depot and is situated exactly one block from the well-known Route 66. Visitors can spend their afternoon banquet and shopping along the famous Route 66 Highway, afterwards can go back to the hotel to unwind in the outdoor pool and spa tub.

The hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, caretaker, ATM, fireside, modern health club equipment, a grocery warehouse and gift store, tour support and caretaker, seminar quarters, cafés, arcade and picnic corners with barbecue grills.

Tourist Spots near the hotel:
o Grand Canyon National Park is one of the United States’ oldest national recreational areas. Inside the park lies the Grand Canyon, a chasm of the Colorado River, judged to be one of the most important natural phenomenon of the world.
o Sedona is a municipality that includes the county line among Coconino and Yavapai provinces in the northern region of Arizona. Sedona’s major fascination is its eye-catching collection of red sandstone structures, the Red Rocks of Sedona. The formations emerged to shine in dazzling orange and red when lit up by the rising or setting sun. The Red Rocks developed a breathtaking environment for everything, from the holy quests to the hundreds of mountaineering and mountain biking roads.

The Grand Canyon Hotel
It is an extraordinary 2-storey European inspired hotel. The hotel has 25 delightfully ornamented accommodations and dinner room. Meeting amenities are also ideal for wedding functions and company conventions.

Tourist Spots near the hotel:
o The Grand Canyon Railroad
o Historic Route 66
o Fishing and Camping

El Tovar Hotel
The notable sign beyond El Tovar hotel welcomes its visitors to stay at this exceptional place that is situated just a few steps from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The hotel is a three-storey structure, though the patio adds a fourth level. The usual guest rooms of the hotel include two queen beds and can provide accommodation up to four persons. Luxurious accommodations are also available and more spacious than the standard ones and offer an extra seating spot.

Arroyo Roble Hotel
It is found in the center of Uptown Sedona. It has a view over the famous Red Cliffs. The hotel is popular because it is the only five- storey structure in Sedona, having comfy rooms and also offers wonderful view in each balcony and patio.

Quality Inn & Suites Canyon Plaza
This is sited a mile from the access entrance to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The hotel lobby has elegant marble floors, cascades, and an adobe fireside. The inside entrance hall has an 18-foot interior hot bathtub. All guest rooms have free coffee, irons, ironing boards and Nintendo arcade. The hotel also offers facilities for handicapped; non-smoking and connecting rooms are also featured.

Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn
If your journey to the canyon is a one-shot quest or you prefer much desirable getaway to environment, this hotel is an ideal place for you to stay. The place offers a mixture of dining and amusement preferences on their extensive basis. The hotel rooms are built in the fashion of the grand hotels of the West; this Grand Canyon hotel is pleasing to the eye and fascinating. Their rooms feature abundant scenery, excellent artwork and certain warmness to create a destination you will reminisce for a lifetime. The Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn accommodations also include large separately climate-controlled quarters intended for your total comfort.

Peridot in Fashion Jewelry

Peridot is a transparent gemstone with yellowish green color. It is a magnesium/iron silicate stone and the chemical formula is (Mg, Fe) 2SiO4. The color of the peridot ranges from yellow green to intense bright green. The velvet appearance, a rich glow and a slightly greasy luster of the peridot is because of the way peridot splits and bends the rays of light passing through it. The value of the peridot increases with the purer green color. Peridot exists only in one color which is the characteristic feature of very few gemstones. The percentage of iron content is typically less than 15 % and also contains nickel and chromium as trace elements in the best colored peridot.

Peridot is mentioned in the Bible under the Hebrew name of pitdah and this gemstone has been mined for an estimated four thousand years before. Egyptians was using this stone as early as 1500 BC and considered peridot as the gem of the sun. Peridot is called by three names such as Peridot, Chrysolith and Olivine. In the early days, miners searched for this gemstone at night because the light from moon made the crystals easy to find. During those days, miners marked the locations of the crystals at night and dug them up in daylight. Quality peridot is found in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Myanmar, Germany, Pakistan, Arizona, Hawaii in USA and Zagbargad island in the Red sea. Myanmar and Egypt were the producers of best quality peridot until recently. However, in 1994, Pakistan discovered new deposits of peridot which produce some of the finest quality stones. Presently, Arizona is one of the largest sources of peridot, albeit of a lesser quality.

Peridot can be confused with emerald but peridots are more yellowish or olive in color which is completely different from the green of the emerald. Peridot is moderately hard and the hardness is only about 6.5 to 7 in Mohs’ scale. Peridot is easy to handle and quite robust. Peridot can be cut only according to its crystal structure. They can be usually cut in classical table and faceted cuts, antique, octagonal or oval shaped and round. Smaller stones are cut as calibrated stones and larger one are cut by designers in to fancy unique specimen stones. Peridot is most suited to daily wear after removing all the disturbing inclusions and requires little any special care.

Peridot is not only used as individual stone but also in jewelry series. The popularity of this deep green gemstone is increasing because of the preference of the green color in fashion world. Peridot is the birthstone of August and is the stone of 16th anniversary of wedding. This stone supposed to bring success, peace and good luck to the wearer. It is worn for the rejuvenation and restoration of mental and physical wellness. Peridot is believed to improve personal relationships. Peridots have healing power and are considered as a tonic for the whole body and protect the wearer from negative effects. Peridots reduce stress and provide relaxation. Asthma can cured using powdered peridot. Peridot is also used to clean and heal the heart by Egyptians.

Greer, Arizona – Heaven Nestled in a Mountain Valley

At an elevation of 8500 feet, the air is clearer in Greer, the Pine trees taller and the meadows greener. Founded in 1879, Greer was named after its leading citizen, Americus Vespucius Greer. No matter what the name, Greer is a bit of heaven on Earth.

A four hour drive from Phoenix, mostly on divided highways, takes you through the rustic town of Payson, the Rim Country, through Show Low and Lakeside-Pinetop. The turnoff to Greer, Route 373, is about eight miles past Sunrise ski resort. The road slopes gently down to the village of Greer, snuggled in a valley, surrounded by towering pine, quaking aspens, and tranquility.

Take a deep breath of pine scented cool mountain air and worries just melt.

Guests at The Red Setter Inn, an award winning bed and breakfast, are greeted by a profusion of columbine, day lilies, yarrow, larkspur and Marguerite daisies. The lodge’s living room is comfortably furnished with a combination of English hunting and old west. It sounds at odds but comes together beautifully. The downstairs play room is just that, with every imaginable old fashioned game to play and a wide selection of movies.

The second floor of the lodge is surrounded with a wood deck, overlooking the Little Colorado River. The pristine ten acre property is dotted with wooden chairs, lounges and swings, perfect for enjoying a cold drink and a good book. Each of the nine rooms has its own attraction: Number 1 boasts a private entry, Number 4 has its own deck, Room 9 has a gas fireplace. For those wishing a more private experience there are three stand alone cabins on the property as well.

Breakfast, served in the dining room, is a gourmet experience. One morning, a warm raspberry crumpet with whipped cream is followed by a fresh fruit compote, and an asparagus frittata. Juice, hot coffee, tea and cocoa are available not only at breakfast but all day. A complimentary sack lunch is prepared for those who want to explore the area.

The Red Setter Inn is for grownups and ideal for couples. Guests must be 16 or older.

If the trip is a family affair, Antler Ridge cabins welcomes pets and children. Fully equipped house keeping two bedroom cabins with a wood burning fireplace, supplied with complimentary wood, are scattered over the spacious grounds with plenty of room for the kids to play. The bedrooms are small as is the one bathroom. The kitchen is fully equipped. The living area has room for a full size sofa and two large chairs as well as dining table and chairs. A playground and a private catch and release pond provide additional activities. Two ranch houses, which sleep up to 16, are available for larger groups.

Greer Lodge offers housekeeping cabins as well. The luxuriously appointed rooms in the main lodge are adults only. 373 Grill, the on site restaurant and lounge, is family friendly and cowboy comfortable. Nearly every table has a breath taking view of the valley and the mountains behind. The wine list is moderate in both price and offerings. The house wine, a decent chardonnay, comes in a souvenir bottle. The menu offers the usual steak, hamburgers, and ribs. The baby back ribs are succulent; peppy but not overly spicy and served with an extensive choice of sides including a huge portion of crunchy onion rings.

Looking for an upscale experience for families and couples? You’ll find it at The Peaks. The lodge has gone through a major renovation and all the rooms have recently been refurbished. Several of the suites, generously sized to fit a family of four, come with Jacuzzis and fireplaces. Spectacular views await from every window.

La Ventana, the on site restaurant, offers a candlelit dining room, washed in pale desert colors. The ambiance is elegant but not stuffy. Diners munch on complimentary crunchy bread served with a dipping sauce of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs and Parmesan cheese. Appetizers include a roasted tomato soup with a hint of basil. The creamy broth is textured with bits of onion and fresh tomato. The salad of baby greens and candied walnuts is tossed with a tangy raspberry vinaigrette dressing. The rib eye is seared on the outside, tender and perfectly seasoned.

Not to be missed are the pancakes at the Rendezvous Diner, swimming in melted butter and syrup, accompanied by smoky crisp bacon, and a never empty cup of coffee. Your day will get off to a great start. Molly Butler Lodge offers lunch baskets during the summer months, try their sour dough burger, after a morning of hiking.

Grocery and sundry items can be picked up at the Tin Star Trading Post. Along with a cup of special blend coffee, visitors can peruse the fused glass jewelry offered by a local artisan along with Hopi, Zuni, Cherokee and other Native American silver jewelry pieces. Curios, tee-shirts, and some antiques can be found at The Quaker Barrel. The shop looks tiny from the outside but that’s deceiving. There are actually two levels and five rooms chock full of fun and curiosities.

There are hiking trails throughout the area in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. The Government Springs trail isn’t an official Forest Service Trail but it’s an easy walk along the west fork of the Little Colorado. Just go down Main Street until it dead ends in a parking lot on National Forest Land and you’re at the right place. Take a lunch, the trail is scattered with perfect picnic spots.

Fishing is a favorite pastime in the three major lakes at Greer: Bunch Reservoir, Tunnel Reservoir and River Reservoir. River Reservoir is the largest at approximately 120 acres. Located one mile north of Greer, off FS 245, River Reservoir produced one of the largest brown trout in the state of Arizona. Big Lake, about eight miles from Greer, is stocked with 30,000 rainbow and brown trout every spring and at 400 acres is the largest lake in the area. An Arizona fishing license is required for anyone over 14 years old.

Need a little more excitement? Try the ski lift chair at Sunrise Park Resort. The chair lift runs every weekend and holiday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm beginning Memorial Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Mountain bikers can use the lift to get their bikes to the top of the ski runs.

Whether hiking, fishing, or just snoozing in the dappled shade of the tall pines is your idea of a heavenly respite, you’ll find it in Greer, Arizona.

Directions to Greer: State Hwy. 87 north to Payson. From Payson, take State Hwy. 260 east following the Mogollon Rim to Show Low. At Show Low, continue on Hwy. 260 through Pinetop-Lakeside and McNary. Go past the Sunrise Park Resort road (Hwy 273) to Hwy 373. Greer is just down the road.

Affordable Housing and Golf Bring Retirees to Oasis of Pueblo El Mirage Resort in the Arizona Desert

In many ways, Pueblo El Mirage seems to be the dictionary definition of an old-fashioned “retirement community.” It is located in Arizona, second only to Florida as the state that attracts the most retirees. It is gated, well-maintained and for active adults age 55 and above. The amenities are varied and include an 18-hole golf course designed by Fuzzy Zoeller. Its best selling point, though, may be its affordability. The development, situated on 325 acres just northwest of Phoenix, is a “land lease” community with housing prices below the national average. Pueblo El Mirage has, in fact, been named “Land Lease Community of the Year” for 2007.

There are two categories of homes here. The Village Homes are cozy (meaning small), roughly 750 square feet to 1,035 square feet with two bedrooms and two baths. There are six floor plans, and each home comes an attached carport and a fully landscaped yard, which means a combination or rock and drought-resistant plants. These homes are placed fairly closely together along the street and do not have much front yard, but they are low maintenance and an option for those not needing or wanting a lot of space and upkeep. The smallest is The Mesa, and the base price is $75, 881. The largest, The Casa, is $82,720. These residences are found along the golf course and throughout the interior of the community.

The second category of homes is the Fairway Homes, which are larger and primarily located along the golf course between the 17th and 18th greens. Sized from 1,411 square feet to 1,680 square feet with two to three bedrooms and two baths, these homes offer the option of a garage rather than a carport. There are five floor plans, and the lots are larger; front porches face the street, which is further away than with the Village Homes. The smallest of the Fairway Homes is The Scottsdale; its base price is $115,800. With a garage instead of a carport, the price is $127,900. The most expensive model is The Grande; its base price is $131,520 (or $143,570 with a garage).

The real estate prices are low because the land is leased, not purchased with a home. For the Village Homes, interior lot fees are $340 per month; golf course lot fees are $366 per month. For the Fairway Homes, interior lot fees are $448 per month, and golf course lot fees are $566 per month. Pueblo El Mirage estimates that not buying the land upon which a home sits saves the average homeowner $100,000 to $150,000 off the purchase price, which is probably true. There is no HOA fee; the lot fee covers community maintenance and includes use of the clubhouse, golf course, etc. Homeowner property taxes are also less than they would be if land were purchased rather than leased.

The community also provides RV storage; rates range from 3,682.80 to $3,979.80 annually. Daily, monthly and quarterly rates are also available.

The championship, 18-hole golf course that meanders throughout Pueblo El Mirage is 6,600 yards and 72-par. According to Fuzzy Zoeller, it “provides a challenge to the low handicap golfer as well as fun and competition for the weekend player,” and is characterized by long, gentle fairways, sparkling lakes and short tee time waits. Fuzzy could be biased, though.

When not golfing, residents can enjoy the new, nicely sized, but not cavernous, Spanish-adobe-style clubhouse which has a TV lounge, a dance hall, a hair salon, laundry facilities, a gift shop, a library and a number of rooms for activities such as card games, sewing, woodworking and ceramics. There is also a restaurant, a pool and an exercise room. An activities director is on staff, so residents always have plenty of things to do, including enjoying potlucks, casino trips, theater outings and tours. Clubs are many; quilting, clogging, bowling, aerobics and computers are just a few. And with Phoenix just out the front door, all that this large city has to offer, including fine dining, major league sporting events and museums, is close at hand.

Phoenix is in the Sonoran desert. It is hot (100 degrees and higher in the summer is common); the heat is dry, which does help, but it is still hot. During the summer life is simply lived indoors (except for golfers who will golf in nearly any weather). Winters are quite nice with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. The sun shines nearly all the time.

Not sure where to retire? We’ll show you where! Check out Great Retirement Communities where baby boomers and pre-baby boomers find the best age restricted communities, active adult communities, master planned communities, RV communities and more. All in one place. Updated daily and weekly. Honest, unbiased reviews and community snapshots.

A Wonderful Day With Mom in Sedona, Arizona

My Mother, a huge art lover, recently came to visit me in Sedona, Arizona. She instantly fell in love with the beautiful rust and limestone colors of the red rocks and the brilliant blue of the sky that serves as the perfect backdrop to the magnificent rocks. We enjoyed a wonderful hike at Bell Rock Pathway, took a fun jeep tour with A Day in the West and enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Poco Diablo Resort on their covered patio.

She was so in love with Sedona that she wanted to find something to remember the beauty that Sedona offered her. We of course visited all the shops in Uptown Sedona where she found several souvenirs that she must have, but she also wanted a one of a kind piece of art for her home created by a Sedona artist. We instantly headed down to the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village.

I could tell by her face that we had arrived at her favorite Sedona destination! She was ecstatic as soon as we started our journey into Tlaquepaque, which is fashioned after a traditional Mexican village. With its wonderful arched entryways, cobblestone walkways and the very lush green environment we were instantly filled with a sense of wonder and awe! Add to that all the galleries, boutiques & restaurants and we had the perfect place to stroll, shop and eat.

She was truly amazed by the variety of artistic styles and mediums among the artists throughout the village. We even came across an artist working, who stopped and took the time to talk to my Mom and answer her questions. That really meant a lot to my Mother and the painting is now hanging in a very special place in her home! It did not take her long to find another piece and than another and another! I was beginning to think I would need a moving truck to get her back home. Little did I know that my home was the destination for some of those incredible pieces. Thanks Mom! And thank you Tlaquepaque for giving my Mother and me a wonderful day of fun together!

Enjoy the Unique Lifestyle of Scottsdale, Arizona

For the cultured yet progressive, Scottsdale, Arizona offers a unique variety of experiences and destinations. Incorporated in 1951, this relatively new city is influenced by the great Sonoran Desert that surrounds it. Desert vistas offer awe-inspiring beauty and ruggedness that, in turn, have innovated city adventures ranging from hiking to equestrian activities, and desert architecture to national sporting events.

One of many places for mountain and desert trail hiking is at Pinnacle Peak in northern Scottsdale. Hikers to this granite boulder area can see the Camelback Mountain to the southwest and catch a glimpse of the Four Peaks Mountain range 25 miles to the east. All the while, enjoying the giant saguaro cactus, plentiful banana yucca, and the army-green colored paloverde trees. Hikers share trails with rabbits, coyotes, snakes, lizards, and must, at times, make room for bobcats and mule dear.

While horseback riding is permitted on many of the desert trails, for equestrian-type competition and entertainment, the city of Scottsdale has Westworld as a venue. Westworld possesses a multi-use tented arena that holds 6,000, a 119-acre polo field, and a horse arena that holds 600.

Events held at Westworld include the Annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show in mid-February where 2,000 of these stately horses compete and show-off their precision. The Miniature Horse Show takes place at the end of March, beginning of April here. Lovely and delicate miniature versions of these fine animals demonstrate their skills.

The Annual Parada del Sol Rodeo also calls Westworld its home. Coinciding with the Parada del Sol Parade, concerts, and block party in Old Town Scottsdale, this rodeo has been a Scottsdale tradition since the 1950’s. The entire Parada del Sol celebration takes place in early March.

The more cosmopolitan Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction occurs at Westworld from mid to late January. A multitude of sophisticated affairs accompany this “premier” auto auction, including parties, chartable events and upscale fashion shows. Making Scottsdale truly a city where the rustic meets the refined.

In the 1920’s, veteran architect Frank Lloyd Wright purchased 600 acres of Sonoran Desert at the foot of the McDowell Mountains. Taliesin West, Wright’s summer residence and work community was born. It is still populated by Frank Lloyd Wright-schooled architects and their protégés. Taliesin West architecture seems to melt right into the desert landscape and become part of its surroundings, now located within Scottsdale city limits.

Another architect and artist has called Scottsdale home, Paolo Soleri. The community he’s inspired at the Cosanti exhibits experimental architecture using monolithic concrete structures. Soleri and the community of the Cosanti and the larger Archosanti, located west of Prescott, Arizona, are famous for the copper bells they create. The bells can be purchased at the Cosanti or be seen in local décor.

To quench a totally different passion that could only be elicited by a sports enthusiast, Scottsdale is home to baseball Spring Training and golf’s Phoenix Open. Spring training for the San Francisco Giants is at Scottsdale Stadium, located in central Scottsdale. Cactus League Spring Training exhibition games are prevalent at this venue during the season.

Historically known at the Phoenix Open, this yearly national golf tournament takes place at the TPC course in Scottsdale in late January. It draws a great deal of media attention as it is established as a more laid-back tournament on the golf scene.

The city of Scottsdale, without trying, is the arbiter of an abundance of activities exclusive to this desert haven. The color, sights and sounds of the desert work together to create an ambiance where the natural environment merges with human needs and desires.

Carefree in Carefree, Arizona: Desert Dwelling at Its Finest

On the north-eastern outer reaches of the Valley of the Sun lies Carefree, like neighboring Cave Creek, a hamlet nestled just to the north of Scottsdale. Principally known as a haven for retired folk, many of whom visit during the winter from colder climes and are known as “snowbirds”, however, of late, many year-round residents are opting for the tranquility of Carefree, while commuting to their jobs in either Phoenix or Scottsdale. Consequently Carefree, much like Cave Creek and the surrounding environs has seen considerable growth in recent years.

Spanish Village is a shopping center in the heart of Carefree with many eclectic stores and restaurants. It is also host to antique car shows, home shows, art shows and horticultural events during the course of a year, making it an extremely popular destination for both residents and tourists alike.

A little further south on Tom Darlington Road we have another shopping complex known as “El Pedregal”. This is a more upscale development with many art galleries, gourmet shops, boutiques and jewellers. There are several excellent restaurants at the facility, which is a two storey affair arranged in a circular fashion. There is a stage at one end and, due to the “amphi-theater” style arrangement, it is an excellent venue for the many musical concerts, of all genres, that El Pedregal hosts each year. Grab a glass of wine, sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Carefree also has a general aviation facility with a 4100 ft. runway, which is home to many aviation enthusiasts covering vintage aircraft to modern experimental lightweight craft. This year, at a combined antique car and plane show. We were privileged to have a bit “flying fortress” of World War II vintage fly over in all it’s majesty. Very awe inspiring; an what a crowd it drew that day. We also were fortunate to have two F16 fighter jets do a fly-by from Luke Air Force Base. All in all a good day out for all the family.

That sums Carefree up really. Many people come to visit from all around, and some just cannot bear to leave. It has all the benefits of a small town with all the attractions and facilities of two major cities, Scottsdale and Phoenix, just a scant 30 minute drive away.