Daily snapshots: Travel in Central Arizona 2014

(Last Updated On: December 15, 2020)

I had planned to make my usual quick winter trip to Arizona to visit my parents and as many friends as we could, but the cheapest air fare I could find required a 10-day stay. It took about a nano-second to decide the office could get by without me for a few days longer and book the flight.

Usually I prefer to visit Arizona a little later in the season in order to catch warm weather and the desert awash in flowers. This year we were lucky – we had spring weather for our winter visit. It was so warm that even a few flowers were starting to make their appearance!

This trip included time in Phoenix, Tucson, and Sedona.

It was a lovely trip with lots of time spent with family and friends.

Daily Snapshots

Here’s my daily photo diary.

Welcome to Phoenix

I am delighted to see Phoenix sprawling across the valley below because I know it is warm and sunny down there. And it is. And there are also hugs from the owners of our favorite Bed & Breakfast here, a lovely alfresco lunch, a short walk through a neighborhood already bursting into bloom, and a long drive to take in the sunset from South Mountain.

collage of flowers, mountains, and overview of Phoenix

I have, at least temporarily, given winter the slip.

A monastery and lunch in a garden

We get a bit of a late start, but eventually we are on the road south to Tucson. Along the way we stop at the beautiful St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery and enjoy a very late lunch in the garden at Tohono Chul park before arriving at our cottage in Tucson.

Arizona monestary college

Canyons and Gardens around Tucson

We begin the morning with the tram ride to the end of Sabino Canyon, followed by a hike back for much of the way before the heat does us in and we hop back on the tram for the remainder of the return trip.

Sabino Canyon collage

We spend the afternoon communing with the plants and butterflies at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

collage of butterflies, cacti, and flowers

Another lovely day in the warm sunshine!

From friends in Tucson to friends in Sedona

The plan is to spend a little time exploring historic Tucson this morning, but first we have to find historic Tucson (or what is left of it anyway).

We finally do locate it, but my parents have had enough of walking and I finish my brief tour on my own. Along the way I meet a horse-drawn carriage tour and wish I had been more organized so I could have taken my parents on that!

Historic courthouse, house, and other buildings in Old Tucson

We have a delightful lunch with friends here and then head north to drop off my parents and then meet another set of friends in Sedona.

The sun sets (and the moon rises to replace it) along the way.

desert landscape with pink sky and moon

Oak Creek Canyon and more in Sedona

After a morning catching up with old friends, Lane and I head out for a brief tour of Oak Creek Canyon– where we spend most of our time playing along the water at Slide Rock State Park. We also make a quick run up to the lookout at the top to take in the view and buy a few pieces of jewelry from the Native American vendors lined up along the way just for good measure. Then it is back into Sedona to book a Pink Jeep Tour for tomorrow and take in the sunset from Airport Road.

Collage of Oak Creek Canyon scenery

Finally the day ends delightfully with more conversation with friends over dinner.

More red rock and a desert arts community in central Arizona

Our Pink Jeep Tour takes us into a spectacular section of Red Rock country along the Broken Arrow Trail. It feels as if we are very far out in the wilderness, even though we are still in Sedona. I love the scenery. I’m less thrilled with the driving antics that make it an “adventure,” but it does make for a great morning. A long lunch and more conversation with friends is followed by a stop to see petroglyphs (the site closed five minutes before our arrival) and a visit to the colony at Arcosanti on our way back to Phoenix.

Collage of Red Rock scenery

Desert Botanical Garden

For the most part, today is garden day. The Desert Botanical Garden has a Chihuly show that looks very different depending on the time of day you visit. So we visited a couple of times!

Snapshots of the Desert Botanical Garden

Micro Dwellings and more in Scottsdale

It’s hot and even a little humid today. We should have gotten up early and gone for a hike, but we didn’t. Instead we visit the micro dwellings on display at the Shemer Art Center. The display is part of a festival of sorts going on, so it’s a pretty lively scene. We plan to have a drink in downtown Scottsdale, but give up – the spots that are open are jam-packed. Instead we swing by a bar to relax over margaritas and snacks until it is time to check into our casita. And then it is time to meet friends for dinner!

collage of art, buildings, and food trucks

Return trip to the Desert Botanical Garden

My mother wants to see the Chihuly show at the Desert Botanical Garden, so we return with her today. (I would have been happy to go there every day, so I am pleased to have an excuse to return.) Lunch in the garden is followed by some time spent wandering the garden until the heat does us in. Back at our casita, we play cards on our patio until sunset. Then we head back to the garden to see the art under lights. Hours later we end the day over drinks and a bite to eat with a friend.

Chihuly glass sculpture in the garden

And now our trip has all but come to an end, as we fly back to wintry Minnesota in the morning.

Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun posts

All Arizona posts 

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