Thirsty for wanderlust? Here’s a look at my adventures in Arizona earlier this year!
Back in the spring, I took a trip to Las Vegas by way of sunny Arizona. I already recapped my Vegas shenanigans, but I promised you a look at my trip to Phoenix. Here it is, finally!
So why Phoenix? One of my aunts lives there, and I decided to take the opportunity to go out west to finally pay her a visit. Plus, I’ve only ever seen a bit of the Grand Canyon and a tiny slice of Flagstaff, so I’m glad I got to see more of this lovely state! It reminds me a lot of parts of South Africa — the succulents and cacti, the gold and red desert dirt, the wildlife. Amazing. I stayed about four days and we fit in a lot of stuff! Lots of exploring in Phoenix and Scottsdale, plus a day trip to stunning Sedona and Jerome.
First order of business? Frozen prickly pear margaritas at El Encanto in Cave Creek, a suburb of Phoenix. Because this city is hot.
Actually — no. The margarita was the second order of business. Whataburger was the first order! We don’t have these in North Carolina so it was a total treat.
I was greeted by this sunset on my first night in Phoenix — early to bed for us because of our day trip the next day.
On our way to Sedona, we stopped at Montezuma Castle National Monument. These are ruins from an ancient Native American tribe’s (very) well-preserved cliff dwellings near the town of Camp Verde. This ‘castle’ is so incredible. It is hard to believe people once lived in the mountain like that. Let alone build them. Without cranes and Caterpillars and the like! And, it’s amazing how nature has preserved them so well.
This frybread — a Native American fried bread — with cinnamon and sugar was the perfect mid-morning snack. I first tried frybread in Montana when I was younger. It’s sort of like a funnel cake the way it is fried and then seasoned. Delish!
Aren’t the red rocks of Sedona beautiful? I loved seeing the lush greens of the trees and cacti and the ruby reds of the rocks and the deep blues of the skies. What a beautiful place! My aunt and I drove around a lot.
Next we had burgers + beer flights at Oak Creek Brewery & Grill before heading home.
On our way home, we stopped in the little ghost town of Jerome. It’s a small mining town that was abandoned and then re-settled as a sort of artist’s colony and tourist destination. The Jerome Grand Hotel is supposedly haunted and many of the shops and bars have ghostly names like The Spirit Room, The Asylum and The Haunted Hamburger.
The next day my aunt showed me Cosanti, the home of the late artist Paolo Soleri. Incredible architecture and windchimes.
Next, drinks at the gorgeous old El Chorro bar. I could walk around here forever! Every detail was stunning.
Next, dinner at The Yard. It’s an ‘outdoor’ pub in a center called Culinary Dropout. It’s basically a little hipster food court. I could totally see myself eating at the different restaurants here with my friends on a Friday night!
That night, we walked around a cool lighting installation in Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden. Artist Bruce Munro’s amazing exhibit featured mostly recycled materials, like water bottles, coupled with fiber optic lights in all colors. So cool to see at night!
The next day, I met up with my blog friend Madison of A Joyfully Mad Kitchen, who I hadn’t seen since she moved to Phoenix and had her baby! We grabbed tacos at Joyride Taco House and chatted for hours! It was so nice to catch up.
For drinks, I met up with my friend Charissa at The Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale. Named for the omnipresent cactus, this fancy boutique hotel is an Instagram lover’s dream. Every detail is just perfectly thought-out! So bright and fun. I want to go back.
On my last day in town, I had a few things to check off my to-do list.
1) Lunch at In-N-Out. Another thing we don’t have in North Carolina!
2) Coffee at Giant Coffee. So loungy and rustic and cozy.
3) UrbAna, a lovely homewares and party shop featuring lots of local Arizona makers. And lots of aprons and barware! (My fave, duh.)
Our last aunt-niece dinner was at Flower Child, a vegetarian restaurant and juice bar. I so wish we had something like this in Charlotte! I had the best wrap and wish I could have another. Plus, the decor is gorgeous.
And then I had to leave for my retreat in Las Vegas the next day! So sad it was over. There is lots more to explore in Phoenix, for sure. I am dying to go back for more adventures in Arizona! // susannah