Beyond the Grand Canyon, Arizona has much to see and do. And, March is a great time to do it! Here’s what we’ve tackled this week, using Mesa as our home base.
Speaking of Home Base…
Arizona is home to the Cactus League, Major League Baseball’s spring training mecca. You can watch a team practice, or see a game. The ballparks are more intimate, increasing the chance to meet your favorite player or veteran “star”. Baseball is a Sue & Woody pastime. They had the opportunity to see the Giants defeat the San Diego Padres, 5 to 4.
Me? I got to poke around the old town of Scottsdale.
There were at least a dozen art galleries, tons of kitschy souvenir shops and ample opportunities to get your southwest on. My highlight was finding a shop to replace a missing piece of turquoise in my 1970’s bracelet – and have it ready before the game was over.
An Oasis in the Desert
Off the beaten tourist track is St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery. I knew the visit required modest attire, but didn’t realize for a woman this translated to “must wear long skirt.” Luckily the gatehouse had a supply of loaner clothes available for those of us who weren’t properly attired.
Peaceful pathways lead you through lush landscapes, a small vineyard, citrus orchards, an olive grove, and several chapels. Water fountains and gazebos add to the serenity. The Byzantine architecture (circa 1995), tall hand carved seats (the monks generally stand during services) and iconic art, made you feel as though you just might be in Greece…
The Town Too Tough to Die
I’m talking Tombstone. A resilient town with sordid history, fires tearing it down and people rebuilding, has earned it this moniker. Today, it’s the businesses which burnout and yet somehow the town continues to hang on. A bit on the tourist-trap side, the streets are lined with faux gambling houses, saloons, drifters, cowboys, and stagecoaches. With actors portraying the likes of Wyatt Earp, Big Nose Kate, and Doc Holliday… they do a pretty good job at making you think you stepped back about 150 years.
Arizona’s Most Underrated City of 2018
According to Thrillist, Bisbee is the city in Arizona without enough attention. Bisbee also has a history of boom and demise. The boom was due to a rich copper mine. The downward spiral was when ore reserves had been depleted. By the mid 1970’s, most thought the decline was complete. A hotel was rumored to be up for sale for $1.00, and no one bothered to make an offer. So, what happens to a place no one wants? Artists and free thinkers move in, and make it their own. That’s Bisbee: welcoming, thriving and accepting.
California and Oregon are our next targets. Visiting more friends and family, and retrieving our long lost friend, Thor.