Conde’ Naste Traveler Magazine just announced its 2010 Gold List.
About 20 years ago, my wife and I hired an unknown travel agent to book us a romantic trip to the Bahamas. The brochures were beautiful, but when we got there we were completely aghast at this so called resort. It more resembled someone’s backyard.
After only 15 minutes, we determined that we were not going to stay in this place, and set about to get our way to a more recognized resort.
From that day forward, we vowed to never again trust an unknown resource for travel, and certainly not trust the claims of a brochure.
The photograph above is from The Boulders Resort which happened to be one of our first choices from the Gold List many years ago. We had an enchanted visit, and we now actually live right across the street from this Waldorf Astoria owned landmark resort.
Global Traveler Magazine just published its sixth annual GT Tested Award Winners.
According to Global Traveler, 25,951 people participated in their annual survey rating their favorites in 60 different categories. The categories ranged from favorite hotels, airlines, destinations, and many more.
While visiting the Phoenix area, if you have time for a day trip, and love to see incredible panoramas, then in my humble opinion, you simply must take a drive on the world famous Apache Trail Scenic Drive.
To help you enjoy your drive on the Apache Trail, I have prepared for you a custom Google Map, complete with turn by turn instructions, and helpful tips. Depending on how often you stop to gawk at the scenery, you should plan on 7-10 hours to complete this trip.
A great portion of this trip is driving through the Arizona back country, so you should plan to bring along water and snacks. You should also plan to have great stretches where you will have no cell phone service.
Here are a few tips:
Plan to leave around 8:00 a.m. with the idea that you will have a late breakfast at Tortilla Flats. Tortilla Flats was a stagecoach stop in 1904, and today is a wonderful place to have breakfast/lunch. Depending on your speed, and how often you stop to enjoy the scenery, you will probably arrive at Tortilla Flats around 10:30ish, if you are leaving from the East side of town.
After breakfast, you will head east from Tortilla flats into the vast wilderness of the Tonto National Forest, climb upon dirt roads for the first time, and work your way across the 40 +/- miles of the Apache Trail.
At the end of the trail, you will be rewarded with views of the Roosevelt Dam, and the Roosevelt Bridge.
From the Roosevelt Bridge, you will once again drive on paved roads, and make your way back to Phoenix as you drive through the historic mining towns of Globe and Miami.
I have provided quite a few more tips in my interactive custom Google Map. Enjoy your trip, and drive safely.
When you get back from your trip, come back, leave me a comment, and tell me about your trip! I would love to read a little of your adventures.
We have always loved hiking. When we moved to Scottsdale, Arizona we quickly learned that we were blessed with many wondrous opportunities to hike.
The Go John Trail is found in Cave Creek Regional Park, which is part of the Maricopa County Parks system. The Maricopa County Parks system is the nation’s largest county park system, and contains over 120,000 acres spread over 10 very different and unique parks.
The Go John Trail (map) is a moderate 5.8 mile loop that will take you roughly three hours to complete. With this trail, you can expect a few hearty, heart pounding inclines, on well groomed trails, with rewarding long range views of the valley, and the nearby Tonto National Forest.
We have probably hiked this particular trail 30 times because of its proximity to our home, the varied landscapes presented, and the wonderful exercise afforded.
A word of caution: when hiking in Arizona make absolutely certain that you have plenty of water with you, and never, ever hike without telling someone where you are going, and when they should expect your return.
As of this writing, a day pass is only $6 per car.
Horses have long been a part of Arizona’s history, but with the rapid growth of the area in past years, and particularly with the wealthy migrating to North Scottsdale, the area has built an international reputation for its Arabian horse breeders, farms, and shows.
We visited the tour today, and found our hosts very friendly. They greeted us at the gate with free Bloody Marys, the air was filled with the aroma of a mesquite bonfire, there were free hors d’ oeuvres, and the crowd was consistently providing oohs and aahs as a constant parade of Arabian horses were paraded for the crowd to see.
Even if you don’t happen to be here in the winter, many of the Arabian horse farms keep visiting hours all year long. The link above will help you find your way to the individual horse farms.
Here are a few photographs that shot from our visit today:
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