Having had such a wonderful time there last spring, I decided to again visit the friendly Old Town Scottsdale as a Christmas/birthday gift to myself – and it was the bestest gift ever! Last time I stayed with my old Aussie mate, AJ, with whom I worked at a Toronto TV station back in 1999; this time I booked myself into the Holiday Inn Express Suites (pictured below) located close to all the tourist action and very affordable for an 8-day stay. I took a late night flight out of Toronto and arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport around midnight and after a 15 minute cab ride, checked in and slept until dawn, and this is what I saw when I pulled the drapes back in the morning…..sunshine,palm trees and the pool!!After a quick breakfast, my Day One adventures commenced…the hotel offers a courtesy van that takes you to and from whatever destination you request within a 3 mile radius and my first trip was straight into the touristy hub where I dropped in to say hello to Diana at the Scottsdale Jewels store where I previously purchased some great bling…I wonder if she would remember me?You betcha she remembered! What joy to be welcomed back with a big hug. Diana showed me lots of new fine pieces, native American handcrafted silver and gems and yes, I did quite a bit of shopping there including rings, earrings and even some mini Kachina dolls (currently sitting on my kitchen island bar, waiting to be located somewhere special along with some Navajo “fetishes” I picked up at the Gilbert Ortega Gallery).There’s so much to see, try on and buy at Scottsdale Jewels and Diana is always happy to give shoppers a tour of the turquoise, silver, coral, spiny oyster and even introduce you to the bears! Check out their website: www.scottsdalejewels.com and if you visit, tell Diana (and the bears) I said hi!
Next, it was down a couple of doors to the wonderful Mexican Imports souvenir store…so much fun & soooo much to see. Picked up a few souvenirs and the lovely ladies there remembered me from my previous visit. They have very affordable trinkets and nic-nacs. You can see more on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MexicanImports
Time for a sit down and a latte and I was thrilled to discover Barista Brothers, a modest little cafe & gelato shop run by fellow Aussie, Chase. When Aussies connect, it’s time for a real chin-wag (chat) about back home, what we miss food-wise, etc. and he was kind enough to let me sit and upload pics & posts to my social media…thanks, mate.More wandering around, checking out all the touristy stuff, before finding somewhere for a late lunch… …and lunch was fabulous at the kitschy but deelish Sugar Bowl diner- a legend for frugal foodies! I had the turkey dinner special with all the fixin’s, thanks to recommendations from fellow tourists I met outside. Looked like something out of Happy Days…all pink vinyl banquettes and kitchen chairs – I definitely recommend a visit. www.sugarbowlscottsdale.com/
Once my hunger was sated, it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for “Art Walk” in the evening – every Thursday during the cooler months, the gallery district hosts open galleries and artist studios, welcoming art lovers with wine & cheese soirees, live music on the street and all sorts of “meet the artist” events. Oh my, there must be at least 50 indie galleries in a 3 or 4 block area, all offering contemporary and native American paintings, sculptures and stunning hand-crafted jewellery and silver work. So much to see and photograph, although the dark night and modest illuminations made it difficult to really capture the colour and energy of the event…but here goes:
I started at the Wilde Meyer gallery (below) where I had already purchased a miniature I saw online a couple of months back (see last pic in this series) – they have lots of beautiful works on display so join me on a photographic tour of their gallery:Thanks, Laura, for greeting me and wrapping up my darling little saguaro cactus painting for a safe trip home. www.wildemeyer.com
I also loved visiting the R.C. Gorman gallery featuring the work of the late artist of the same name. And I fell hard for the local Navajo fine jewellery – I just had to buy a beautiful ring that kept calling my name! www.rcgormannavajogallery.comI must have spent nearly 3 hours wandering the streets that night, stopping to enjoy the music from artists such as Mike Randall pictured below doing his best Buddy Holly, along with his lovely lady in the most beautiful red & white poodle skirt. www.comebackbuddy.com
Thanks to all the gallery owners & curators, artists and entertainers – I had a blast meeting you and dropping a few $s into the local economy, too! Back to the hotel for a well-earned rest, all set for the next day’s adventures….