Tempe, Arizona is home to Arizona State University and located in the heart of the Valley of the Sun. I am no stranger to Tempe, graduating from both high school and University. Many years later, I am back to walk down memory lane and explore my hometown. Tempe is no longer just a college town in the shadow of Phoenix and Scottsdale, this little town has grown up! Offering an amazing variety of excellent independent restaurants, shops, and activities, Tempe is a wonderful blend of modern and hip fitting along the rich history of the town.
Visiting twice in the last two months, I have discovered some new and wonderful activities and am reminded of the spots that are better than ever. Here are my recommendations for the Best of Downtown Tempe Activites, Shopping, and Dining.Continue reading “Best of Downtown Tempe, Arizona”
Sedona, Arizona attracts nature lovers, geology enthusiasts, adventure seekers, foodies, art lovers, mystics, and curious travelers from around the world. Located in the center of Arizona, Sedona is 100 miles North of Phoenix and a popular road trip for Valley residents. Usually a 2 hour drive between Phoenix and Sedona, allow extra time for holidays and weekend travel.
The iconic mountains of Sedona are formed from layers of sandstone in various shades of bright, bold red. Many people believe that the red rocks of Sedona are an Energy Vortex of healing properties. These power centers are a huge draw for New Age Enthusiasts. There is much debate and discussion around the magical properties of the area, but most visitors will agree that the red rocks are stunning!
One of the best kept secrets in Arizona is the growing wine making community. My Sister and I recently took a girl’s getaway trip to Sedona, and I made sure to include Page Springs Cellars on the road trip. Page Springs is located between Sedona and Cottonwood, just 10 miles southwest of downtown Sedona.
Page Springs is a small, family owned vineyard. The grapes are grown in vineyards surrounding the Cellar and nearby land, sectioned by varietal. Breaking from Arizona expectations, Page Springs is most similar to the Mediterranean climate, without as much humidity.
Every winter (since 1991) starting Thanksgiving week until early January, the Phoenix Zoo decks out the grounds in an amazing light show. Phoenix ZooLights is a holiday tradition for locals and visitors alike. For these few weeks every year, the Phoenix Zoo transforms into a holiday wonderland at night.
The mild winter temperatures in Phoenix (early evening in the 60’s F/18 C) are perfect to enjoy hot chocolate and walk around the Zoo admiring the light show. Only some of the animals may be visible during the ZooLights event, but you may still get to see a Unicorn!
We recently moved to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. I was a little nervous about the culture shock of leaving our hot, dry desert city and adjusting to small town, island life. It sounds weird, but it turns out growing up in Phoenix has actually prepared me for living in Puerto Rico.
Here are 10 ways growing up in Phoenix, Arizona prepared me for living in Puerto Rico:
Close connection to foreign countries.
It is faster to drive to Mexico from Phoenix than any state in the US, Mexico is Arizona’s neighbor to the South. Likewise, Puerto Rico’s closest neighbors are definitely not the US mainland (Hello Dominican Republic and British Virgin Islands)
Everyone is (a little) Bilingual
Anyone who grew up in Arizona speaks at least a little Spanish. I even attended a bilingual elementary school for English as Second Language (ESL program). Everyone speaks a little English in Puerto Rico. Many people are fully bilingual in both Arizona and Puerto Rico. Admittedly, Arizona Spanglish is a different dialect that the Puerto Rican Spanish, but it is a good foundation to build upon. Plus I was always really good at charades, so I can act out many difficult phrases.
There are more Snowbirds than Local Residents half the year
Winters in Phoenix are overrun by people from the Mid-west desperately trying to escape the cold and warm up. Since arriving in January, we have seen the population dwindle as the snowbirds leave the island for summer. I just cannot escape snowbirds!
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