TRAVEL THERE: AZ MUST-SEE DONE, WHAT NEXT?
The first time you visit an area there are just things you must see and thanks to a great trip early in our marriage, as well as several times passing through AZ, we’d knocked out the musts. From Monument Valley in the northeast corner to the Grand Canyon in the west, to BioSphere down south and seriously, everything in between, I’d taken care of the must-sees. So why were we going back?
A Desert State of Mind
We like the desert. There is a peacefulness that comes from the landscape. Some people like beaches and others prefer mountains, but I’ll take a desert every time.
Bill made it very clear that he wanted to take it easy, very easy on this trip. He wanted to play golf. I wanted to have tea at the Phoenician. The rest was supposed to be relaxation. Message received.
Those Free Guides from the Internet
For most trips, the first thing I do is go out and buy a travel guide, but I already owned an AZ guide and it had served me well. I just needed the latest information, including festivals and events. The internet is great for that and so are those free travel guides the cities and states will send you.
In the world of free travel guides, Scottsdale has won the prize. I pored over their guide the moment it arrived and continue salivating over it to day. It was full of information without being overwhelming and hip without being shallow. It had great maps and references to online resources that I really cared about.
Phoenix did not fare so well. It was virtually anonymous, merely a template someone sold advertising in. I yawned over it and it’s greatest contribution to the trip was some headlines I used in my scrapbook of the trip.
Sedona’s guide was somewhere in the middle – not as snazzy as Scottsdale, but not as boring as Phoenix. A map in the center served us during the stay and made it to the scrapbook.
From various websites I was able to glean a lot of useful information about some art festivals and events that proved to be very helpful in planning the trip. There were Artwalks, Art Festivals and other Arty things just begging for us to take part. The trick is not to merely google the city, but google “visit wherever.”
I used the local New Times sites to find the best places to have breakfast. The internet is also where I found the amazing inn where we overnighted in Sedona. Thank you, Expedia!
Playing It By Ear
For those of you who say phooey on all that planning, I’m just going to play it by ear, I say good luck. I find it is a lot harder to be ready to play it by ear, than it is to plan things out in detail in advance. This only happens on the first Friday, that is only open one evening of the week, something else needs reservations at least two days in advance.
If you just show up somewhere, without doing your homework, and then try to play it by ear, well, you might have a great vacation, but the chance of you actually getting to see and do the things you were most interested in are slim to none in most cases.
The trick in this household it to be sure I know what’s most important to me and work it in early in the trip, then as the time plays out and the options get smaller, I haven’t missed my priorities. I work out a list of daily options, focusing on the one time or limited access events. I don’t get to see everything I want when Bill is playing it by ear, but I don’t miss everything either.
Next week, we’ll start out on our Arizona Adventure. Please come join me.