Arizona Adventures – Installment 2

Welcome to posting 2 for 2016 which covers late Feb-early March.  Work is finally giving me some breathing room lately so I hope to stay more on top of our blog posts!  This post covers:  Manhattan Beach, CA, Tucson, Chicago visit, and local happenings!

Sat 2/20-Tues 2/23
I enjoyed a nice long weekend hanging out with friends Cathy and Don in Manhattan Beach on the front-end of a business trip!  We hung out downtown and at the beach, had great meals and wine!, and biked for miles along the coast (from Manhattan Beach to Hermosa to Redondo!)

Close encounter with the pelican!


Fri 2/26-Sat 2/27

We decided to hit Tucson for a quick visit just like we did Prescott in early Feb – on the spur of the moment!

Congress Street area

We headed straight to downtown and had a delicious late lunch at HUB Restaurant & Creamery – one of the best lobster mac and cheese I’ve ever had along with a very tasty verdejo white wine!  After lunch we checked out the Hotel Congress for a little retro atmosphere!

Hacienda del Sol hotel

Cute rustic and reasonably-priced hotel – we ended up with a fantastic room upgrade, as, this is a first, the door to our room would not fully shut and lock because of the intense sun and heat.  No complaints here!  We enjoyed an incredible sunset view and room service on our patio.  At about 3am we were woken up by a pack of coyotes – brought back memories of our safari – it was pretty wild!

Pima Air & Space Museum

One of the world’s largest non-government funded air museums, it was seriously impressive – though the Palm Springs air museum visit was very memorable given the personalized attention.  Over 300 aircraft on display on over 80 acres, multiple large hangars, a space gallery, and I can’t think of anywhere else where I’ve seen 2 Air Force One planes!  Some notable plans are captioned in the slideshow below.

We drove past the ‘Boneyard’, largest aircraft storage and preservation facility – it’s a bit eerie to see so many planes in various states of disrepair and repair – planes cut in half, painted to mask the airline it was used for, etc.  Like the Land of the Lost Misfit Toys, except for planes 🙂  You can tour the Boneyard through the museum.

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Fun times with visiting friends
– weekend of 3/5
So happy to spend quality time with my dear friend Christine from Boston (Christine and I spent a month traveling in Australia in 1996 – a trip of a lifetime!)

AND with Lisa & Michelle from Chicago!  What a great Chicago reunion!

Happy Hour & Sunset at Sanctuary Resort – Wed 3/9

Dinner at Wright’s at the Arizona Biltmore

Thurs 3/10-Mon 3/14


Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) Mon 3/14
I’ve been wanting to go back to MIM after Dave and I toured the Stradivarius exhibit and I’m glad I did!  While Dave was at work, I cruised up north to enjoy lunch outside and a few hours (you need at least 2 hours to see most of the displays!) to explore the MIM – the #1 Tripadvisor tourist activity in Phoenix, founded by the former CEO of Target after being inspired by a visit to the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels.

The museum has a mind-boggling array of musical instruments (over 15,000) from every corner of the globe (200 countries), displays of a huge variety of musical genres, specialty instruments.  I don’t know that I’ve seen lutes before (not flute, lute!) or zithers – but they were there in droves!  This musical mecca also included a large exhibit of famous artists and music manufacturers as well as self-playing instruments, and unique artistic instruments (including a very creative ‘air guitar’!  🙂  I’m serious!  The visit was capped off by visiting an interactive room where you can play different instruments to your heart’s content!  It was fun to try the harp, a variety of drums, a gong, and so on….

Outdoor and Global Music Displays

Musical Genres, Specialty and Steinway Display, Artist Gallery (too many to include, but a few favorites)
Very excited to see the 80s old school ‘rap’ display (it was mislabeled as ‘hip hop’!)  Hard to see, but there is a Sugar Hill Gang LP in a plastic crate (didn’t we live out of those in the 80s?!) – my very first single LP was in fact Rapper’s Delight, and I can still rap it!

Crazy Guitar & The Rest

Some general Phoenix/Scottsdale observations:

  • Gorgeous perfect weather – don’t think it’s rained since Jan!
  • Beautiful mountain scenery and sunsets (though Santa Fe and her amazing clouds may edge them out for 1st place!)
  • Very friendly people, especially since many are from the midwest- but evil drivers behind the wheel – impatient and they fly!
  • There may be as many Cubs fans here as there are in Chicago!
  • There may be as many pigeons in our hood than in Chicago!  Cleaning up is not a fun task!  I promptly bought ‘Owlie’, our plastic owl who now keeps watch of the balcony.  I HATE pigeons now and, if armed, would kill!
  • Restaurants pay homage to happy hour with amazing drink and food specials, even the fancy ones!  Wine lists here rock too!
  • The coyotes are nearby – you can hear them howling at night – also, where there’s a patch of grass there are rabbits, never seen so many!  I guess the coyotes gotta eat!
  • Everything is a 15-20 min drive (unless we go to the nearby Shea/Tatum (Sheatum) intersection) AND parking can be challenging even in the suburban sprawl!  Places with a good walking score will continue to be at the top of our hit list!
  • Allergies have been AWFUL, but conditions are improving!

Stay tuned for our Santa Barbara vacation post!


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