Thursday, May 3, 2012

Exploring Arizona: Scottsdale

Now, this is a place we never really considered living, so that why I'm saving it for last. Scottsdale is, for whatever reason, the place where the "wealthy" go. It's been compared more to Orange County, and certainly has the home prices to back that up. While it's nowhere like the Bay Area, homes still run around $500,000 and can cost much, much more. For the price range we were exploring, a home in Scottsdale would buy us the zipcode, but the area itself would be older, more run down, and just generally less desirable. 

Nonetheless, it does have a lot of strengths, and is a great place to visit! So, the Thursday we were there, while we were waiting to hear if we got the house, we decided to make an afternoon exploratory trip to Old Town Scottsdale. 

Driving there, we skirted the north side of Papago Park (which houses the zoo, botanical garden, and other special places) and were treated with this bizarre looking rock formations. They reminded me of some I saw driving through the desert on the way to Big Bear last year. 

Like everywhere else, Scottsdale was gorgeous in spring. 

We parked in the cutesy (and free!) parking corral and headed of the check out the sites. 

Very shortly into our walk, we discovered a self guided tour stamped into the pavement and, of course, had to follow it (though I should point out this was mostly me driven, rather than Ed driven). 

On our way to the first spot on the map, we found a great sculpture garden with southwestern ironwork. 

I'm not entirely wild about cacti, but this metal Saguaro was just beautiful. 

We also got to see this beautiful cactus in bloom and had to get close to believe that it was actually real!

Ed and I both commented that it seemed like a place our mothers would really appreciate. 

We also walked through this very pretty park and commented to each other that we liked Scottsdale a lot more than we thought we would. It helped that it was in the low 70s with a light breeze. 

Finally, we made it to the little red schoolhouse, a historic building in this town and one of the oldest. The inside was a museum about the town's history, featuring a replication of one of the many tent houses that used to fill the streets. 

They also had a model of the schoolhouse. Just a little smaller than what we have now :). 

I especially loved all the rules! I would have lost my job as a teacher a very, very long time ago. 

Back on the main street, we enjoyed peering in the somewhat touristy, but still fun, stores that abounded, most with a southwestern theme. I, of course, had to snap a picture of this store name, paying homage to my alma mater. 

The whole town had that old western feel, which we've noticed everywhere. Before planning this move, I never really thought about the connection between these desert towns and cowboys/westerns, but you can certainly see those roots when you're out and about. There are a number of old west towns (like Tombstone) that are on our list to visit while we're out there. 

Hands down, this was the oddest and creepiest souvenir that we saw - a dagger and display made with a real rattlesnake! Seeing this may or may not have made me more paranoid about rattlesnakes in general (to the point that I was a bit skittish on the run Ed and I did this past weekend). Seriously...who would buy this?

At some point, I'd love to try out this very cute dessert place (part of the history tour as the building has been around for something like 100 years). 

After taking the walking tour of this whole side of town, we settled down in some comfy chairs with some gelato and relaxed. About 30 minutes later, we got the call we'd been waiting for, and found out our dream home would be ours. 

So, while we're not going to relocate to Scottsdale any time soon, it certainly has a special place in our hearts. 

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