When John and I decided to build our second home, the decision to lay roots in Scottsdale, Arizona was an easy, if not an immediate one. We’ve been vacationing in the Grand Canyon State for as long as we can remember and its dusty, hot and energizing climate is what we crave when we want to escape our cold Canadian winters.
It’s an extraordinary place with a fascinating history: In 1932, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright built his respite known as Taliesin West – arguably his greatest masterpiece – as a way for him to escape his brutal Wisconsin winters. It’s quiet, low-key and unpretentious. Condé Nast Traveller is quick to call Scottsdale a “muted version of Beverly Hills” with its pristine clean city streets and abundance of fantastic eateries and galleries, and its ranked as one of the most livable of all US cities.
I’m often asked why we decided on Arizona over Florida, but to us the answer is quite simple: We’re no Snowbirds! John and I are very active and we adore the outdoors, so we needed a place where we felt like our adventurous spirits could really take flight. Also a major bonus: the heat. Yes, truly! Because you’re in the desert, the heat is void of any humidity. It’s this lovely dry heat so even if it is 90-degrees outside, you aren’t sweltering. It makes an optimal environment for the many activities my family partakes in while there: We mountain climb, bike, hike, golf, run, you name it, we do it! As long as we’re outdoors, we’re happy. Add in the fact it’s only an hour more in flight time (than Florida), you can’t go wrong.
I’m going to be sharing the home build on Crafted as we begin to lay the groundwork and foundations for our home, but for now I thought I’d share some of our favourite adventures in Arizona so if you’re also thinking of escaping this winter, maybe we’ll run into you!
Haunting and mysterious, the Antelope Canyon is for the adventurous traveller who wants to discover one of the most spectacular – and little known – attractions in Lake Powell. It’s a masterpiece of colour, just don’t forget your camera!
Petrified Forest National Park
A national park in northeastern Arizona, it’s given its name for its large deposits of petrified wood, with highly colourful, eroded badlands. With high elevation and dry winds, the site (which was declared a national monument in 1906) is a perfect way to spend a day hiking the trails. More than 400 species of plants and bunchgrass cover the park – it’s gorgeous!
Although this place is a very popular and very trendy tourist attraction in Arizona, it’s a must-see. Constructed during the Great Depression, this arch-gravity dam sits in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River where you will be in awe of its scale and its architecture.
Oh, how we love Sedona! Some call it a resort town, but we still like to consider it a desert town with its red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls and stunning pine forests. It has a really happening nouveau arts community, too. Expect a lot of spas, art galleries and amazing restaurants here. On the outskirts, hit the trailheads access at Red Rock State Park for a day of hiking.
McDowell Sonoran Conservancy
Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve embodies more than 30,000 acres of desert with 195 miles of maintained trails, which allows you to explore by foot, bike or horse. We love that it’s open from sunrise to sunset, meaning you can capture the beauty of the day beginning or ending on this truly epic landscape.