By Cacinda Maloney
She flies over long distances in a precise migratory pattern and is known as ‘the wanderer’ in Australia. But here in the United States, we call her the Monarch butterfly. Flying overhead in search of nectar plants and basking in the sun, this week I felt like a butterfly as I explored the City of Scottsdale, calling it the Scottsdale Invasion!
Invasion of the butterfly
I am much like her, wandering the earth, finding my paradise, and this time it was in my own back yard. Flying down Lincoln Blvd, which is one of the loveliest streets in all of Phoenix, Paradise Valley and Scottsdale combined, I race towards the mid-century modern Hotel Valley Ho to start my week in Old Town Scottsdale. The vibe here chic, cool and retro. As I check into my fabulous room, it will be a few days of relaxation, as I have come to bask in the sun, enjoy the spa and relax from my harried international travels.
The butterfly counts not months, but moments, and has time enough. ~Rabindranath Tagore
Valley Ho Hotel: Located in the historic district, known as Old Town. This urban resort is one of the best preserved examples of mid century modern architecture you will ever find. It is fabulous and you will not be disappointed.
Café-ZuZu: This is their signature restaurant, half indoors and half out, it is a non-pretentious, laid-back kitchen with seasonal American food that is fresh and uses local ingredients.
VH SPA: Needing a bit of relaxation, I opted to get a deepbody work massage for my first day at the Ho. You can choose from an entire menu of services.
Once revitalized, I was up at the crack of dawn to experience something I have not done in a very long time. I took a trip on an aircraft that I often do not fly on ✈. As I attached myself to the wicker basket, I could feel myself rising and knew it would be a glorious day amongst the mountains and the desert landscape. Rising high, I breezed thru the air on my hot air balloon experience courtesy of the Captain and his crew of Hot Air Expeditions.
Now grounded, I was up for a visit to the famed Taliesin West, which was the personal winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright. And oh! what a mansion he built, out in the middle of nowhere (in the Sonoran desert at the foothills of the McDowell Mountains) in the late 1930’s to the 1950s. A man before his time, known as the Father of Organic Architecture, where he designed structures in harmony with the environment and humanity. A visit to Scottsdale is not complete without a stop here.
I combined this with a visit to one of his students (and sort of a rebellious one at that) Italian-American Paolo Soleri of Cosanti. This was my first visit here ever and truly worth a quick stop, as you can see he was a man way before his time, who only recently died this year.
From there I soared thru the sky over to the Desert Botanical Gardens to view the Chihuly Exhibit. The Sonoran desert is a perfect backdrop to this famous glassmaker’s works of art. I cannot recommend it enough. Also in March 2014, they will have none other than the Spring Butterfly Exhibit! These gardens are well preserved and a wonderful place to stop by for music in the park as well.
So after all that soaring and spreading of my wings, I thought it might be apropos that I have dinner at Cafe Monarch in Old Town Scottsdale. It was this restaurant that inspired me to write this theme about the Monarch Butterflies. This restaurant is truly one of a kind and is quaint and romantic. The ambiance on the patio is incredible with the hanging lanterns and the candles everywhere. The food is spectacular and has a pre-fixed meal. Typically,this is not what I am used to, but I didn’t have to stare at the menu and make choices, literally everything is done for you here. The South American owner Gus, is creative and sweet as can be. Stop by and say hello to him.
The migration will continue on to other resorts, restaurants and activities, but I will leave you with my favorite butterfly song in Spanish by Mana: La Mariposa
Disclosure: My trip to Scottsdale was in conjunction with the #ScottsdaleInvasion, as I was a travel writer/blogger for Experience Scottsdale, the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. This in no way influenced my fabulous time spent at three different resorts, seven restaurants and hours of activities that I was able to experience