Seeking Sunshine

Winter has hit early and hard here in our neck of the woods. So, Mr. U and I decided to seek a little sunshine and warmth before we settle in for a long winter’s nap. Last week we made a quick trip to Scottsdale, Arizona, on the cheap. We were both able to fly down there for the cost of one ticket. Thanks to the Southwest companion pass program. Once there, we were able to stay at our son’s condo for free. (Thanks son #4.) Our biggest expense was shopping our rental car.

I am not new to travel, but it still amazes me that, in 2 1/2 short hours, you can go from:

And from:

We have been to Scottsdale several times and always enjoy it. We even considered being snowbirds there, but I think I would miss family, friends and home too much to be gone for 4-6 months out of the year. So, we compromise and try to escape the cold, overcast days by going there a couple times a year.

Scottsdale offers a wonderful variety of things to do. Below are some of our favorites:

  • Bike riding: You can rent bikes and ride along the green belt. This is a level ride that traverses along the canal and interesting residential areas. If you get thirsty on the way, be sure to stop for a frosty local beer at PHX Beer Co. You can sit outside on their patio overlooking the canal. Of course, if you are having a cold beer, I would highly recommend having their Bavarian Pretzel Bites with Arizona gold cheese fondue. Then bike an extra 10 miles.
  • Hiking: There are lots of wonderful hiking trails in the dessert near Scottsdale. Most are within a two hour drive. This trip we did the Granite Scenic Loop Trail in McDowell Sonoran Conserv. It was just a short 15 minute drive to the trailhead and there are numerous hikes there for every level.
  • Spectator sports: The Pheonix area offers lots of sporting events to attend; from college to professional sports, including baseball spring training and the Waste Management Open.
  • Shopping galore: (Because of the above bullet.) Kierland Commons is an upscale shopping center with plenty of shops, restaurants and bars. It is a little pricey, so I usually just window shop there for ideas. If you are in downtown Scottsdale, try going to Fashion Square. It is a much larger indoor shopping center with over 200+ stores.
  • Pickleball: This is a popular up and coming sport with retirees that provides great exercise. I feel like it is a cross between ping pong and tennis. Mr. U and I are just learning it. There is a pickleball court within walking distance of my son’s condo and we have gone there a few times. The courts are always very busy, but you just rotate in. It is a very social sport and the people have been wonderful with our clumsy beginning efforts. (I do hate the learning curve.)
  • Good eats: Yes, I have been accused of being a foodie. And yes, I take pictures of food. We have only begun to explore the variety of restaurants in the Scottsdale area. One of my favorite breakfast places is Butters. Be sure to stop by Joyride Taco for taco Tuesday. Postino’s has a lovely atmosphere and a great happy hour. Mr. U says that I should mention his favorite place to watch sports on 15 TVs at once – Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers. Sigh.
  • Outdoor festivals and markets: We enjoy strolling around the different festivals and markets. These vary depending on the time of year you are there so look up events to find out what is happening.
  • Other: There are lots of other options that we do not typically do, but if you are interested there are numerous golf courses, casinos, museums and art exhibits.
Hiking the Granite Scenic Loop Trail

Our last night there we went to Old Town Scottsdale. We listened to some live music at a quirky country bar and then strolled through the area and enjoyed the “Scottsdazzle” Christmas lights by the canal. Although, being from the PNW, it still seems a little odd to me to have Christmas lights when we are wearing light jackets and looking at palm trees. We finished off the night with dinner at The Culinary Dropout.

We are back home now and ready to hunker down by the fire for that long winter nap.

4 comments on “Seeking Sunshine

    1. Janis – Thank you so much for stopping by. It is exciting to hear from other retirement bloggers, especially since I am so new to this journey. I am headed over to your blog now. Thanks again for taking the time to reach out.

    1. I would be totally good with that Melissa! Thanks for stopping by my blog and subscribing.

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