Video by Living in Arizona Now
Day One Travel and Arrival
For me, travel to Arizona means a flight. If I leave Norfolk Airport and choose frontier airlines, I can get a round-trip flight for less than $100 each way. On one leg of the journey, it is even a direct flight. Coming back, there is a layover. Flying into Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport I feel as though it is a smaller airport, but well-planned and laid out.
When we touched down, I moved to get my bags and then pick up my rental car. The resort itself is close to the airport just a 20-minute drive or so. If you are going to the resort, even getting a cab or Uber is possible since it is so close to the resort. I chose the rental so I could travel around the area and see more of Phoenix easier.
Finding the resort was a piece of cake, and check-in was even easier.
The resort boasts 1–2-bedroom villas as well as a studio that they refer to as a guest room. Since I was a solo on this trip, I have booked a 1-bedroom unit. The villa has a fully equipped kitchen and all the amenities that make a vacation perfect. My villa had a great modern feel and look at it.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- Ice Maker
- In-Room Safe
Then the resort itself offers these options.
- Activities Center/Desk
- Concierge Services
- Outdoor Pool
After 8 hours of flights and a short drive to the resort, I was ready for some dinner. I chose a local Mexican restaurant for dinner. Cocina Madrigal is which is more of a gourmet Mexican restaurant than something more typical. The food here is outstanding and worth the trip, if not the entire flight.
They had a dip here that had fresh local cheese, sausage, and jalapenos that were amazing as an appetizer. With that, I had a Margarita, which was one of the best I have ever had. Luckily, I was able to stick to just drinking two before the entrée, which itself was almost dreamlike. I finished my meal with Coconut Cream Pie, which was amazing.
Day Two Experiencing Phoenix
I started my day with a simple breakfast from a few things I picked up at a local store after dinner last night. An omelet and some cereals were my breakfast, and it was a fine start to the day.
For the day today, I have planned to see some of the museums in the area. Phoenix is known for its arts and culture and for good reason. The area has some of the best local artists of any region in the country. Perhaps it is the draw of the desert views that compel so many from the arts to migrate to the area.
The first museum on my list is the Heard Museum. This amazing location offers a rich glimpse into native American culture and heritage. Tickets are only $20 the day of in person, or $17 if you purchase in advance online. Given the size of the museum and exhibits, you can find a great deal of value for the small ticket price. Here you could spend half a day or more if you are interested in the offerings and do a deep dive.
There are many more museums in the area and I will probably see another one tomorrow. But the Heard Museum was a treasure I will not soon forget.
Next after the museums, I headed to the Phoenix Zoo. Admission here is almost $30, but it is worth it for all the Zoo has to offer, and the good that your ticket price does to feed and care for the many animals in the zoo. I do not mind tickets to museums and I like supporting the arts. However; it feels even better to support a zoo with your ticket price.
This Zoo is giant in scale and amazing in its design. There may be a more impressive Zoo in America but if there is, I have not seen it yet. Just view the map to see for yourself.
Here the African Lion and the Cheetah are amazing to see up close. Such powerful creatures. Since COVID-19, the Zoo offers more virtual experiences. The Zoo also offers Wild Times Magazine on their site, which might be a fun to read before you come to the resort and Phoenix.
My visit to the Zoo was incredible and something that I think most people would truly enjoy.
Day Three Tasting the City
Today I called this tasting the city because again I want to take a dive into the history and culture of the area. Part of that is the food from the region.
A Great Local Breakfast Place
I began the stay with breakfast at a local favorite. For over 7 years, this local spot has been making the mornings brighter for all it is called the Original Breakfast House. The breakfast menu includes great omelets and many fresh baked goodies. I tried the Key Lime pancakes just because they sounded amazing and something I had not had before. I was correct on both counts. This was an amazing start to the day. The staff is friendly and the food was warm and tasted great.
When I find a great spot I often tend to say “it is a good thing I do not have one of these near my home, I would be 400lbs”. Be careful what you say even as a joke. With the last year of COVID-19, I gained more weight than I ever thought possible with my reduced travel and activities.
After that amazing breakfast, I knew if I did not get going, I might end up taking a random nap somewhere. This meant I hit the ground running to get to my next location.
Today I wanted to start with another museum. I started my day at the Arizona Science Center. General admission is less than $20 here and you have some add-on options for special exhibits and for the planetarium. The special exhibits here change a few times a year and really offer local members a chance to experience much more than most museums and locations of the sort since it keeps things fresh.
As a bit of a space nut, I really enjoyed the planetarium and I think most people would find it impressive, fun, and entertaining. At the time, the movie was about solar storms and it was very impressive. I went away thinking about the next big solar storm and how it could happen at any time. Very humbling considering how much we depend on modern technology now.
Like many of the places I visit, I often could spend a day or more enjoying all that they offer, but an internal clock speaks to me and says move on there is more to see in town.
Next on my list was the Phoenix Art Museum. I paint a little and have completed a few hundred paintings over the last few years. It keeps me creative and active, especially during the lockdowns and craziness.
This museum offers a special free military access program which I think is a wonderful thing to do. Normal access is about $20, so making it free for the active-duty military is a wonderful idea. The museum also offers a pay-what-you-want day every Wednesday which also is nice to make it affordable for all.
At this museum, you will find art from sculpture, paintings, and even photography. Very talented artists contributed to this museum and the collections are impressive and moving.
Once my second stop was done, I realized I had not eaten since breakfast, so I head to another local spot for an early dinner. Fuego at the Clarendon was outstanding and I would highly recommend it.
Phoenix is a community that also offers some fine dining. I did not get to the more exclusive locations on this trip because I had not made reservations in time. Not having any local connections yet, I could not pull any strings. But there are locations in town that have a worldwide reputation and maybe something the foodie may want to plan ahead of.
Binkley’s Restaurant and Steak 44 are those kinds of places. Binkley’s is more of an experience location with the meal cost per person well over $200 and over $300 with wine services. I hear the food and the experience are amazing. Steak 44 is as the name implies, an upscale Steak restaurant with a dress code and a menu selection to match.
If you are traveling to the area, this resort and location are ideal for seeing the best of Phoenix, just make sure to book with TZort to save for some fine dining and tickets to local experiences.