A few weeks ago, Andrew and I took a trip out west to attend a friend’s wedding in Florence, AZ (which is a small town known for their prison, one wedding venue….oh, and Country Thunder). We had never spent time in the Saguaro state, so it was the perfect opportunity to make it a mini vacation for just the two of us. Between our hectic work schedules, job stress, and busy nights/weekends, we really needed this time alone. After spending a few days with our friends, we had two, full days to do whatever we wanted. This was a new feeling because we NEVER get to go anywhere without a formal plan already set in place. Normally our schedules are constrained by other obligations, but this time we were completely on our own! So, today I’m sharing all the details from our trip – where to stay and eat, what to do, and of course, where you can find the most alluring cacti for photographing. Andrew doesn’t get my obsession with these prickly plants, but I’m just so fascinated with the fact that they conserve their own water to live in extremely dry environments, like Arizona, and still remain so beautiful and colorful! I like to call them the trees of the desert.
Where to Stay
Okay, this was by far the coolest resort Andrew and I have ever stayed at. We felt so swanky and high profile, even though we had actually gotten a good deal through Groupon – ha! We stayed from Monday-Wednesday, but I can tell you right now, if we’d been there on a weekend, it would have been party-central. If you’re looking for a fun Bachelor/Bachelorette destination, I would seriously consider this resort. It’s right in the middle of Old Town and within walking distance to all of the hot spots downtown Scottsdale. Everything about this place screams Arizona…maybe it’s the bright colors, good looking people, and countless number of cacti?
Where to Eat & Drink
This is everyone’s go-to breakfast spot in Scottsdale. You’ll definitely have a wait ahead of you (we waited about 40 minutes on a Sunday morning), but it’s totally worth it. Grab a mimosa or bloody mary at the bar, and sit outside while you wait for your table. I ordered the Bird Omelette and it did not disappoint.
Andrew and I adored this place, it reminded us a lot of a restaurant in Chicago called, The Hampton Social. We were told they have amazing brunch, however we only made it there for drinks after dinner. If you’re in the mood for a good cocktail, I highly recommend ordering the Endless Summer. It’s a mix of rosé champagne, Veev Acai, muddled strawberry and orange peel….so refreshing!!
We had a super casual dinner here on our last night in Scottsdale, and thought the atmosphere was very California-like (similar to Montauk)! Andrew said “this is totally your place” when we walked in – lol! We sat outside on their little patio, drank some beer, and shared a few flat breads. It’s the perfect date night spot if you aren’t looking for anything too fancy.
I don’t think I mentioned yet that I didn’t realize Old Town, Scottsdale was actually an old western-style town. It was so cool and totally unexpected!! Andrew and I had just eaten a big dinner and were walking around OT with a major sweets craving. In the midst of all the old clay buildings, was a pink restaurant that’s been around since 1958 called the Sugar Bowl. The minute you walk in, it’s like an instant time warp back to the 50s. You have to take a second to think about where you are. If you have kids, this is for sure the place to take them. The ice cream is scrumptious and you can even order dinner if you’d like! We sat at the counter for a quick ice cream sundae and didn’t stop smiling the whole time.
What to Do
Day trip to Sedona
Sedona is only 2 hours outside of Scottsdale, which is the perfect amount of time for a quick little road trip (plus the scenery is gorgeous)! If you get up really early like we did, you can make it there before it gets scorching hot. We hiked a trail called Soldier’s Pass which is about a 4.2 mile hike and I’ll admit, we didn’t make it the whole way, but we had a lot of fun trying – ha. We aren’t really the hiking couple, I guess? However, I do wish we would have been there around sunset because I can only imagine how beautiful the views are. After a morning spent sightseeing, I forced Andrew to spend a few hours shopping at the Tlaquepaque Village. They have the most charming little shops (I bought a cactus shaped Christmas ornament for our tree), and it’s definitely worth stopping before you head out of town.
Hike the Superstition Mountains
We didn’t hike these mountains but we did pull over on our drive from Florence to Scottsdale. The cacti are gorgeous and they look like they were placed strategically all over the mountains. But be careful because if you decide to hike and get too deep into the wilderness, you could run into a mountain lion – no joke! That pretty much scared us off immediately, but not before I took a few photos.