If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know that Dane and I traveled to Scottsdale, Arizona to bring in 2018. We planned this trip to meet up with two other couples last winter and had absolutely no idea that Penn State would get the Fiesta Bowl bid – such an ironic coincidence! We didn’t end up going to the game (though it was such a good one to watch), but it was really neat to see Penn Staters out and about in the streets, which is a total rarity here in Hawaii. Today I’m sharing all about our long weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona – everything from what we did to where we ate and everything in between if you are interested 🙂
A Long Weekend In Scottsdale, Arizona
We left Hawaii on a red eye out of Honolulu on United. I will be honest and say that we don’t typically fly United, but I think that is where we got the cheapest flights when we booked. Needless to say, when they e-mailed us the day before saying our aircraft got switched and we were now both in middle seats, I was less than amused. Turns out, because of this debacle they were offering staggeringly cheap upgrades to United Polaris! If you’re not familiar, Polaris is business class seating, but the seats lay completely flat and you’re given a pillow and blanket in your own personal little pod. COUNT ME IN! We upgraded for what we normally spend for a round of drinks and it was worth every penny.
To note: apparently United is working on getting the pod set-up on every flight, but sometimes your Polaris seat will not be a lay-flat pod, so research your aircraft before booking! We touched down in San Francisco before heading on to Phoenix and grabbing a rental car. We booked a HomeAway property (more coming in the next week on why we chose a HomeAway vs. a hotel), but couldn’t check in until later in the day, so Dane and I took full advantage of the day and tooled around the city and surrounding suburbs. We ate at Lou Malnati’s for lunch (Dane’s personal Chicago favorite), Nektar juice bar for me, a swing around the casino (won $300!), a trip to Ulta (none of those in Hawaii) and then headed on to our HomeAway house 🙂 The house was situated right by a nice river park area, so the first thing Dane and I did was go for a run. The weather was GLORIOUS! Crisp, but not cold and the sun was shining. We checked out the nearby Desert Botanical Garden before heading back and picking up Sarah and her husband from the airport. We chose Diego Pops for dinner (recommended by several AZ-natives) and it did not disappoint. We shared the Brussel Sprout Nachos and oh my word – they were heavenly. I’m still thinking about them!
When we got back to the house, Casey and Eric had arrived from Charlotte and we stayed up way too late chatting and catching up! It had been since Dane and my’s wedding that we had the gang all together! Needless to say, we picked up right where we left off 🙂 We made plans to wake up early the next day and conquer Camelback Moutain!
I will say that the parking for hiking Camelback (we chose the Echo Canyon Summit Trail) is hairy at best. We couldn’t get parking in the tiny lot that is provided (considering this is a huge landmark for locals and tourists, you might think parks + rec would make it bigger, but c’est la vie…), so we parked about a mile away and walked in. The hike itself is moderate and I would definitely recommend substantial shoes and lots and lots of water. There are portions that require both arms and legs and if you are afraid of heights, this might be a struggle for you. That said, the hike itself is a great workout with amazing views and was the perfect way to start our day. My friend Casey wore these and I came home and ordered a pair for myself. They have grips on the bottom to help with foot placement and rock-face navigation while hiking and don’t look like traditional hiking shoes. An all-around win in my mind, plus if you’re a trail runner, they are dual purpose!
You can see the shoes I referenced above! They just look like regular sneakers, but they pack a serious hiking punch. She told me she wears them for all sorts of outdoorsy adventures, including hiking the Cinque Terre, and has had them for 5 years.
We were pretty hungry after the hike, so we scaled back down the mountain and headed straight for Ingo’s Tasty Food. There is ample parking and it took us less than 5 minutes to get there! They were offering all day happy hour (not sure if that was the norm, but hey – it was welcomed!) and we ordered a round of drinks and potato wedges. Dane had the Paris Texas Burger and I had the Avo Toast and Ingo’s Chopped Chef Salad. Everything was absolutely delicious! 10/10 recommend, plus they let you bring dogs there so obviously bonus points for that 😉 My drink of choice was this delicious Pomegranate Frozen Margarita. They switch out their flavors seasonally, which I thought was cool!
We headed back to the house to shower and change for dinner that night. We ended up sharing a bunch of appetizers and drinks at AZ88, a really cool bar and restaurant in Old Town and grabbing some cupcakes to go from Sprinkles. I think jet lag was getting us all pretty good, because I don’t have very many pictures to share. Hmm!
The next day was filled with spa time at The Phoenician, a tee time at Troon North, a trip to The Saguaro hotel, an afternoon happy hour outside and takeout Thai for dinner. I noticed that as the trip went on, I took fewer and fewer photos. It wasn’t intentional at all, but when I’m genuinely enjoying myself I want to be on my phone less. One of my big 2018 goals is devoting my time to people who make me want to check my phone less and this group certainly fit that bill 😉
Not only was the 31st New Year’s Eve, but it’s also Sarah’s birthday so we had a full roster of events lined up for the day! We started with brunch at The Henry and moved on to an escape room at Escape The Room AZ. We didn’t escape (we were close, but that apparently doesn’t count!), but it was so fun and I would recommend doing it as a fun group activity 100%!
We had some down time at home (Dane and I did a killer circuit workout that left my legs screaming) before hiking Papago Park and then hitting the town for the night starting at The Mission Old Town for dinner. It was a jam packed day, but it’s safe to say everyone in the group had a good time. Both The Henry and Mission were absolutely delicious. I don’t think anyone had a bad meal. I cannot say enough good things about the Brussel Sprout tacos or Mexican Street Corn at The Mission!
I only have a few (blurry) photos from New Year’s Eve and my memories are a bit of the same 😉 We all had fun and that’s what counts for our last night together for awhile. Safe to say we went out 2017 with a bang!
January 1st we vegged the entire day on the couch watching football and all the good bowl games. Seriously – how good was that Rose Bowl game?! At the edge of our seats until the final second. Shoutout to Georgia for coming back strong on that one. I’m excited to watch the National Championship game next week. Anyone else? For dinner, we grabbed some delicious pizzas from The Dough Bird and called it a night pretty early since we had early flights the next day.
At the end of the trip, we boarded our flight home happy and exhausted and slept for the full seven hours back to Honolulu. Living so far away from all the people we love can be really hard, so we try to make a conscious effort to plan trips and get togethers as much as possible. It’s crazy for me to believe that I met Sarah and Casey through blogging and we have developed such an amazing friendship and that our husbands mesh so well together. It’s our hope we can make another trip happen at some point in 2018…any recommendations for destinations?!