We went in search of the sun and we found it!! Arizona is hoarding the sun and since it seemed the entire month of January was gloomy here in Kansas City - it was wonderful to feel the warmth the entire time we were there. Our purpose in going was to run a race - really just an excuse for a fun girls weekend - and our goal was accomplished!
Here we are arriving in Phoenix - with our coats and boots. We were able to get rid of those fast!
We were starving since it was dinner time - so headed to a great Mexican Restaurant close to the airport in Tempe called Z'Tejas Grill. This way we could avoid rush hour before heading to our rental home.
Next we headed up to Scottsdale to get settled in the home we had rented through VRBO - Vacation Rental By Owner (or Home Away - same thing.) I have rented through them a number of times and have always had great success. The properties have always met or exceeded my expectations from how they are pictured and described on the website - and if you are traveling with a group or family it is usually a lot cheaper then staying in a hotel. Plus you get the benefit of having a kitchen and living space to all gather versus having to cram into a hotel room.
Friday started with a trip to the grocery store to get some basics for breakfast - coffee, bagels, yogurt, fruit and wine. Can't forget the wine! Everyone took a little run around the area since we were running a race Sunday and then got ready to head out for an early lunch and site seeing. First stop Kierland Common.
A little shopping and then lunch at Postinos Wine Bar - we are going with a wine theme on this trip. I had heard good things about Postinos from a previous trip - there are multiple locations in the area so was looking forward to trying it.
It wouldn't be a vacation to me if I didn't visit at least one museum - and the number one recommendation on Trip Advisor for the area is the Musical Instrument Museum - or MIM. The girls were really good sports about stopping there next - and everyone loved it! The museum displays more then 6500 instruments from over 200 countries. Their collection exceeds 16,000 so it is quite impressive and and housed in a beautiful building. Most displays are enhanced by state of the art audio and visual technologies that allow guests to see the instrument, hear their sound and observe them being played in their original context.
One section of the museum is a tribute to famous singers. They have the actual costumes worn by the celebrities, their actual instruments and audio and video footage of them performing. I bet they have at least 50 or more!
The Dance Organ (The Apollonia) pictured below measures over 25 feet long and weighs over 2 tons. It was originally manufactured in 1926 in Antwerp and was brought to the United States in the mid-1980's. They play it twice a day and we were lucky enough to be there!
We spent close to 3 hours at the museum and didn't get to see it all. I highly recommend it if you are in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Next a quick stop at packet pickup for the race and we were off to Happy Hour!
Early Saturday morning those of us running the 10K got up and headed for a hike to the top of Piestewa Peak. Piestewa Peak is the second highest peak in Phoenix at 2610 feet. The tallest is Camelback. It used to be called Squaw Peak but the name was changed to honor Lori Piestewa, a US soldier killed in Iraq and the first Native American woman in history to die in combat while serving the US military. We were advised to get their early as parking is limited and it's a favorite hike for locals especially on the weekend. We lucked out and snagged one of the last parking spots and headed for the Summit Trail to the top.
If you were familiar with the trail and didn't stop to see any of the beautiful views you could probably make it to the top in about 45 minutes, but of course we took our time and enjoyed the scenery.
The last quarter of the hike to the top was pretty rocky so we all decided the classification of difficulty was accurate - but fun and worth it!
The hike was definitely one of the trip highlights for me - and we worked up quite an appetite. So next up we stopped at one of my favorite places and treated ourselves to a great lunch.
After a little relaxing by the pool it was time to get ready for what we were hoping would be a wonderful and memorable dinner. A friend of mine that lives in Phoenix had recommended Ocotillo to us, and she has always been spot on in the past. Her record is intact as the restaurant was fantastic!
The inside is modern and very clean and linear. Friendly knowledgeable staff making the whole dinner very enjoyable.
The food was delicious and our waitress advised us on how much to order. The portions are large and are meant to share so she suggested 2 salads and 2 sides to start. The quantity was perfect.
3 Pasta's to share:
They have a great outdoor space complete with fire pit that is heated.
What a wonderful evening - thanks Teri!!
Oh that's right - we actually came for a race on Sunday! So we were all up early and Cheryl and I headed over to a great coffee chain from one of the coffee capitals of the world - Dutch Bros from Portland to get coffee for everyone. If you are somewhere and see them stop and treat yourself to a cup! The morning crew was very energetic and when they heard we were there for a race they gave us all the coffee free - nice!
The weather was perfect for a race - 50's and sunny to start. Linda and Tracy did the half marathon and did great! The rest of us did the 10K (slackers) and to finish is to WIN - and we all did!
We had worked up an appetite so headed over to a breakfast place called Perk.
Time was running out on our trip so we headed back to the house to get cleaned up and out of the house by 2 PM. The owner had graciously given us a late checkout because of the race so we had to hustle. We were clean, packed and out the door with minutes to spare and had about an hour and a half before needing to head to the airport. We stopped at another pretty restaurant/shopping area right across from Kierland Common callled Scottsdale Quarter and walked around and enjoyed our last bit of sunshine.
I can understand why people spend the winter months in Phoenix - what's not to like! I had such a great fun time with these ladies - can't wait to plan another running trip! I saw this recently and it's so true!
It's the Year of Reading for me so I'm simultaneously reading these two books.
Thanks for coming along on my adventure! The Best is Yet to Be!