I’d been enjoying lots of cuisine choices since I’d arrived in Scottsdale Old Town but I had been really looking forward to this next place since my last trip: Hula Modern Tiki Lounge! Located in the heart of the tourist area, Hula kinda sticks out from the usual cowboy-themed diners and resto-lounges. I love my tiki bars – I’ve enjoyed many around the world, my fave being the now-deceased (!) Trader Vic’s in Waikiki. In Toronto we have the fabulous Shameful Tiki but ever since I found it on the ‘net last year, I’ve wanted to visit the Hula Tiki Lounge and I was not disappointed… I felt like a real old fart as it was only around 5:30pm – too early for a real dinner – but this golden girl decided on an early-bird special. As it was “happy hour”, I chose a few appetizers plus my fave tropical bevvie, a Painkiller, which the bartender kindly served in a mermaid tumbler. Wow! I topped off the meal with a slice of tropical coconut cream pie (more like a cheesecake) and Kona coffee. Yummm – I definitely recommend you drop in and indulge when you visit Old Town: www.hulasmoderntiki.com
I then went for a stroll around town afterwards – needed to walk off the calories, LOL – and viewed the Christmas lights. The next day, I opted for a fab American full-on breakfast and dropped in to the Denny’s a block from the hotel. OMG, it was deelish – I ordered the Lumberjack special and yes, I cleaned the plates.Had to go back to my room for a nap to sleep off all the carbs, but it didn’t take long to get my ass in gear and head to the second touristy area of Old Town where I’d previously visited with AJ and enjoyed the “galloping horsey fountain”. A team of “groomers” were busy cleaning the fountain and decorating the stunning equine sculptures for Christmas. I made sure to drop in to Berdena’s Cafe across the road for a fresh squeezed orange juice. AJ and I had a pleasant time there in April and I loved the fresh, bright decor and friendly servers. www.berdenas.comThe cafe is located in a small plaza and as I walked through, I spied a storefront that had been turned into a “campaign HQ” for the “Save Old Town Scottsdale” movement. So what’s this all about? Apparently a local developer (with tons of $$s) wants to tear down a huge section of this quaint tourist destination and turn it into a wall of hi-rise condos and chi-chi boutiques and has subsequently driven up the rents on the mom and pop retail stores. Yes, there are quite a few of the traditional souvenir shops but there are so many classy boutiques and jewelry designer stores there, already along with beautiful cafes and galleries. If this development goes ahead, they might very well all be wiped out. I was crestfallen – Old Town is my “spirit home” and I care deeply about the charm and uniqueness of the area. Plus I’ve made lifelong friendships here…I have to get involved, I have to contribute and support somehow….Beverly and Brian Moore of Earthen Rare told me how!Beverly is a very talented designer of leather and hand-crafted bead jewelry and Brian, her husband, works closely with her in creating unique pieces. They are very involved with the campaign and suggested I videotape a plea for petition signatures & support plus my observations on the situation from a tourist’s perspective. So I did – I recorded a “call to action” that has since gone out on social media and I hope it helps. www.standupforoldtownscottsdale.com
But back to Bev and Brian – what a beautiful studio/store they run…the positive energy is palpable and the two of them are the nicest people you could ever want to meet. I spent a great deal of time with them, chatting about the current social and political climate in town as well as browsing the display cases. And yes, I made a couple of purchases there, too, including something very special for my sister back in Australia who, I know, will love the artwork and superb quality. Check out Earthen Rare’s beautiful treasures (below) So another full day of sight-seeing, local engagement and making new friends was done…whew! I was exhausted. Another big day tomorrow so let’s call the hotel van for a pick up and home for some R&R on my sunset balcony.