entral Arizona — made up of Arizona’s capital city of Phoenix and surrounding cities such as Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and Tempe — is a place of superlatives. With around 5 million residents, it’s one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, encompassing more than 2,000 square miles. Graced with natural beauty within a bustling urban environment, the energetic “Valley of the Sun” has something to offer every visitor.
Perhaps the best known area in the region is upscale Scottsdale, with its nickname of “The West’s Most Western Town” a reminder of what it used to be. Named “The Most Livable City” by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 1993, over 217,000 people call Scottsdale home. It is a very popular tourist mecca as well.
The original inhabitants of what is now Scottsdale were the Hohokam peoples, who occupied a wide area of south-central Arizona from roughly Flagstaff south to the Mexican border. Around 800-1400 A.D., these ingenious people farmed the land we now call Scottsdale and built over 200 miles of canals to support their agrarian lifestyle. Before modern development obliterated this system, their predecessors commonly referred to them as the Canal Builders. For more about the Hohokam native Americans go to http://www.desertusa.com/ind1/du_peo_hoh.html
Today there are 21 native American tribes in Arizona, and the best place to find out about them is at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, a private, non-profit museum founded in 1929 by Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard to house their personal collection of cultural and fine art. The mission and philosophy of the Heard today is to educate the public about the heritage and the living cultures and arts of Native peoples, with an emphasis on the peoples of the Southwest. http://www.heard.org/
Scottsdale was named after U.S. Army Chaplain Winfield Scott, who paid $2.50 an acre for a 640 acre section of land in what is now the city. In December, 1888, Scott’s brother, George Washington Scott, became the first resident of the future town. Upon his retirement from the Army in 1893, Winfield Scott returned to area to join his brother in farming the land. Scottsdale has been growing ever since.
Here is some of what you can expect to find in the Scottsdale area, some of the information courtesy of the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Be comfortable. Be sure to bring your swimsuit, sunglasses and definitely a hat (or you can buy one there). Sunscreen and lip balm are good ideas too! Also, for shopping and sightseeing, bring comfortable shoes (did you know that the Fashion Square Mall alone covers almost 2 million square feet?), a hands free purse, and don’t forget your camera for all the sights.
What to do?
You’ll know that the Old West is alive and well when you see the famous Arabian Horse Show and Rodeos come to town. The annual Parada del Sol is an especially vivid event, with a parade through Old Scottsdale, fiestas and a rodeo. Horseback riding is a favorite pastime and is available throughout the area, as are native American festivals.
The Hispanic Influence. From Spanish colonial estates to hand-built haciendas to centuries-old missions, the Hispanic culture has left its mark on Arizona. You can have a lot of fun shopping for Mexican handcrafted items and there are fiestas to enjoy and great food to experience throughout Scottsdale.
Make sure to visit Taliesin West, (if it’s during summer you can do “The Night Lights on the Desert Tour“). This was famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and school from 1937 until 1959, and is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Arizona. The complex is located in the northeast fringe of the city, at the base of the McDowell Mountains. For more information, go to http://www.franklloydwright.org
If you’re downtown be sure and hitch a free ride on one the great trolleys rolling around to different spots. The Scottsdale Trolley now has three trolley routes to help you get around town – the Downtown, Neighborhood and Miller Road. Whether you’re running errands, shopping or going to a premier special event, there’s a trolley route for you.
Hot air ballooning is, shall we say, hot; jeep tours in the desert are favorites (and lots of fun); there is a seasonal water park– and more more more! The shopping in Scottsdale is legendary, so leave some space in your suitcase for the treasures you are sure to find here.
Birds and Birdies. The McDowell Mountain Golf Club (formerly the Sanctuary Golf Course at Westworld) in North Scottsdale is the first golf course in Arizona and the 17th course in the world to attain the coveted Audubon Signature Status. It features a wildlife sanctuary regulated by Audubon International. The Sanctuary’s 18-hole championship golf facility has attained the coveted Audubon Signature Status, meeting the Audubon standards for managing issues such as wildlife habitat enhancement, water quality management and conservation, waste reduction and management and pest control.
Throughout the area there are many other fabulous golf courses as well, designed to meet the desires of every golfer, and there is an astounding variety of birds and other wildlife for the nature lovers among you.
Women love it! Offerings of low crime, a healthy economy and yes, even a little romance and relaxation helped earn Scottsdale the accolade of third best city for women in Ladies Home Journal, an American magazine for women. Scottsdale also took top honors ranking number one as the least stressful city for women in America.
For the Love of Art. Scottsdale has made a name for itself as an art mecca, rivaling Santa Fe and Los Angeles. With weekly free ArtWalks, two dozen public art pieces, more than 120 art galleries, local resorts featuring fine art and even art-adorned sound barriers on the newest freeway, it is easy to see that art is a common thread through so much of the community. Although Scottsdale continues to grow and become more and more cosmopolitan, it never strays too far from its Native American and Old West roots.
A favorite place for timesharers to stay is the Scottsdale Camelback Resort. Snuggled elegantly behind protective walls, this secluded, purpose-built resort is nevertheless an urban property ideally situated in the heart of Scottsdale, just moments from everything this upscale city has to offer. Spacious, comfortable and relaxed, it is a wonderful home away from home. The resort reflects the architecture of the area and has a restaurant, games room, exercise room, outdoor pool, tennis and racquetball court, and indoor/outdoor whirlpools. It offers a range of first class accommodations that comfortably sleep from 1 to 8 guests.
It also offers a 9-Hole Executive Putting Green, a 9-Hole Miniature Golf Course, the Kokopelli Walking Trail, a Children’s Play Ground, Picnic Areas with Barbeque Grills and much more.
Within minutes to famous 5th Avenue in “Old Town Scottsdale” and 10 minutes away from Phoenix and “Old Town Tempe,” this dual affiliated RCI Gold Crown/Interval International 5-Star Resort is considered by many to be the most conveniently located timeshare resort in Arizona. As a sold-out resort, it is owned by the homeowners and independently managed by Professional Resort Operators. Several timeshare resort companies offer inventory to their members at this excellent resort, including Diamond Resorts International.
Scottsdale Camelback Resort was one of the first resorts in the valley and it has been impeccably maintained and professionally managed. SCR is a prime example of how the finest timeshare resorts are cared for, supervised and maintained once the developer is gone.
We could go on and on, but it’s better for you to come and explore the place yourself. Scottsdale, Arizona: put it on your calendar!
Websites with more information:
- http://http://www.scottsdalecamelback.com The resort’s website
- http://www.scottsdalecvb.com/ Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau
- http://www.scottsdalearts.org/ Links to the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art, Public Art and the Museum store
- http://www.scottsdalemuseum.com/ This historical museum features the prehistory, history and cultural heritage of Scottsdale and the Southwest
- http://www.scottsdaledowntown.com A guide to downtown Scottsdale
- http://www.scottsdalefilmfestival.com/ Scottsdale International Film Festival
- http://www.arizonaguide.com/ All about Arizona
- www.arizonahighways.com The famous Arizona Highways Magazine
"On the Road" is a compilation of destination ideas, resort reviews, videos and more gathered from a variety of sources that includes our readers.
The purpose of "On the Road" is to showcase some of the magnificent places in the world to visit, to give you an idea for someplace to go that you might previously not have thought of or known about. In most cases, but not all, we have provided a brief overview of a timeshare resort in the spotlighted area. Most of those resorts are either RCI Gold Crown or I.I. 5-Star quality. However, these resorts are not usually the only timeshare resorts in the area; be sure to check in your exchange catalog for a complete listing of available resorts. Check it out--- enjoy yourself, go somewhere new this year!
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