Scottsdale, Arizona: Things to See and Do

Friday November 28, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 1 Comment

Are you visiting Scottsdale for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in “The West’s Most Western Town.”

"Scottsdale, Arizona" horseback riders

Cowboys and cowgirls on horseback in Scottsdale, the west’s most western town.


When I have a visitor from out of town, the first place they want to see is Scottsdale Fashion Square (and rightfully so!), but I also take them to some of the boutiques, Western shops and art galleries in the surrounding downtown area – for a more local, authentic experience.

When I want to escape the crowds/tourists, my favorite place to visit is Singh Farms, a little slice of heaven and well-kept secret in Scottsdale. The farmers’ market on Saturdays during the fall, winter and spring is magical. People browse a selection of produce, pastries, fresh-baked bread and pressed juices beneath a tree-top canopy as music from an accordion player fills the air.



The best place to walk the dog is the paths along the Arizona Canal or the trails in the Indian Bend Wash.

Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit Butterfly Wonderland, the largest butterfly pavilion in the U.S. The rainforest environment houses thousands of free flying butterflies and fragrant flowering plants.

frittata, "Four Seasons Resort", "Scottsdale", "Arizona"

Egg white frittata with turkey sausage, tomato, asparagus, topped with Black Mesa goat cheese and avocado, Proof restaurant, Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


Scottsdale Cuisine

If you are looking for typical Southwestern cuisine, I recommend The Mission. Chef Matt Carter whips up dishes with Latin flavor. Given our proximity to Mexico, those flavors are big here.

The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Cartel Coffee Lab in downtown Scottsdale.

Looking for cheap food in Scottsdale? Go to Brat Haus in downtown Scottsdale for artisan sausage, homemade pretzels and more than 25 craft beers on tap. Or grab a burger and milkshake at Zinburger at Scottsdale Quarter.

AZ88 is the spot for late night dining. Its full menu is served every day until 12:30 a.m., but folks can still order cocktails until 1:30 a.m. Plus, its patio offers fantastic views overlooking Scottsdale Civic Center Park.

For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to Posh Restaurant. Posh specializes in improvisational cuisine that uses modern and seasonal ingredients. When you sit down, you choose the number of courses you want and specify any dietary preferences and restrictions. Then Chef Joshua Hebert and his culinary staff create a personalized tasting menu just for you. The restaurant only seats 18 around an open kitchen, so it’s a truly unique experience where you interact with the culinary staff and fellow diners.

"Scottsdale, Arizona", sunset

Scottsdale, Arizona sunset. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


When you come to Scottsdale, get your picture taken at Robert Indiana’s LOVE statue in Scottsdale Civic Center Park or atop Camelback Mountain.

The best vantage points are taken by going to the Hotel Valley Ho’s rooftop for views of downtown Scottsdale, dining on the patio at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa for views of Camelback Mountain, or from the top of Pinnacle Peak for views of the Sonoran Desert.

Scottsdale Civic Center Park is the best place to experience American Indian culture and traditions during Native Trails, an annual event most Thursdays and Saturdays between January and April.

In Scottsdale, outdoor lovers will want to hike, bike, horseback ride and walk! The Sonoran Desert is the perfect spot for outdoor activities.

"Arizona", "Sonoran desert", "Scottsdale"

Native plants in the Sonoran desert. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


Looking for a little exercise? Walk along the trails in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, 30,200 acres of protected land. It has more than 100 miles of trails.

After a day of hiking, try the Healing Hiker’s Massage at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. I had the “Back in the Saddle” massage and it was fabulous.

If you are a museum lover, Scottsdale’s best museums include the Musical Instrument Museum and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Soon they will also be home to the Scottsdale Museum of the West.

Looking for exciting night life? Go dancing and hear live music at Dierks Bentley Whiskey Row or Rusty Spur Saloon.

The Arizona Republic, the Valley of the Sun’s largest daily newspaper, will keep you posted on what’s happening in Scottsdale.

In the spring you should attend Cactus League Spring Training to catch the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium or the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields.

"saguaro cactus", "Scottsdale, Arizona"

Saguaro cactus stand tall in the Sonoran desert. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


Insider tip
Did you know that Scottsdale is known for equestrian events? Plan a visit to the Scottsdale Polo Championship in the fall. Come to Scottsdale for the Arabian Horse Show in the winter or plan a trip to Cowboy College. For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @scottsdaleAZ on Twitter.

What are your favorite things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona?

Photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Giving Thanks for Wild Turkeys

Thursday November 27, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

This is not a story about my amazing trip to Turkey. In fact, I have yet to visit Turkey, but it is on my travel destination list. This is a post about giving thanks for our wild turkeys in California.

turkey, wild turkey, california

Giving thanks for wild turkeys. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

My husband and son are hunters. Now let’s not get upset. I like Bambi just as much as the next Disney movie fan. Here in California, hunting is legal during specific seasons and my husband and son are licensed hunters and follow the California fish and game rules and regulations. All of the deer and elk meat our family consumes is hormone-free and truly organic. The same can be said of our duck, pheasant and turkey. However, I will not be serving wild turkey this Thanksgiving dinner.

Truth be told, organic turkey purchased from our local grocery store tastes much better than wild California turkey. In my opinion wild turkey is tough and not very tasty. So rest easy wild turkeys of Northern California. You are still safe in our backyard!
turkey, wild turkey, california

Attack turkey! Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


Count your blessings wild turkeys and Happy Thanksgiving!

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale Troon North: Cowboy Up

Wednesday November 26, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 1 Comment

Cowboys and luxury don’t always go hand in hand, or should I say from cowboy boots to leather gloves? Fortunately, cowboys and cowgirls fit right in at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale Troon North. Located away from downtown Scottsdale, Scottsdale Troon North takes its name from its relationship with well-heeled neighbor, Troon North Golf Club. That’s right, guests can wear cowboy boots, golf shoes, spa sandals, hiking boots or high heels in the lobby and no one will bat an eye. But you will be greeted with a warm Sonoran desert welcome.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, Arizona, hotel

Hotel review: Four Seasons Scottsdale. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


Southwest suites

I had the opportunity to stay in one of 22 recently remodeled suites at the high desert luxury resort. The $750,000 enhancements included updated rugs, new upholstery, lamps and the all important “Signature Sleep” bed that is oh so necessary after a day in the saddle. Interchangeable bed toppers – firm to plush – may not be important to you, but anyone with sleep issues will appreciate this Four Seasons option.


Four Seasons Resort Socttsdale at Troon North, Arizona, hotel lobby

Warm Sonoran desert welcome. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Extraordinary Experiences

New to many Four Seasons Resort properties is a collection of Extraordinary Experiences offered only at one particular resort. The Scottsdale at Troon North kicks off Cowboy for a Day in partnership with Arizona Cowboy College. This working ranch experience offers a home on the range, day long adventure steeped in cowboy history with plenty of hands on opportunities for city slickers to get their cowboy boots dusty.

Adobe casitas at base of Pinnacle Peak. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Adobe casitas at base of Pinnacle Peak. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Similar to conjuring up a genie in a bottle, guests are able to direct and star in their own Scottsdale spaghetti western reality show. You choose the hat and boots (additional fee), while wranglers at Arizona Cowboy College will match you with a horse based on your riding ability. You will learn to groom, bridle and saddle your horse, as well as ride next to giant Saguaro cactus in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest. The Cowboy for a Day pricing starts at $450, check the website for current prices.
casita, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, Arizona

Southwest king casita. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

The day before my Cowboy College experience, I tried a “Yoga for Horseback Riders” class (additional fee). Yoga Instructor and LPGA Expert Dodie Mazzuca geared my morning toward gentle yoga. “For horseback riding, we want to make sure the hips are healthy and the core is strong,” noted Mazzuca.
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, pool, Arizona

One of three pools. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

After a full day of hanging with horses, I opted to return to the resort for an 80 minute “Back in the Saddle” massage. Relaxed in one of 14 treatment rooms, I selected the Turquoise Sage Mountain Arnica Body Oil, good for soothing sore muscles. I could have floated around in one of three swimming pools – children’s, family or adult-only pool with hot tub and 24 hour access, after my massage. Instead, I moseyed on over to Talavera restaurant to take in the Sonoran sunset by the foothills of Pinnacle Peak and sampled lobster and corn bisque, followed with diver scallops, butternut squash, agnolotti and merquez sausage. Good thing this culinary feast was after my horseback ride!
frittata, Proof restaurant, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

Egg white frittata at Proof. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Insider Tips

While valet parking is expected at this luxury resort ($29), guests have the option for complimentary self parking. A golf cart will follow you upon parking and whisk you to your private casita. There is a $30 daily resort fee that covers high speed internet, breakfast items such as croissants, muffins and coffee, bottled water at the front desk, 24 hour health and fitness center, a 4.7 mile hiking trail that starts on the property and a Kids For All Seasons program open 365 days of the year.

The resort is pet-friendly (30 pound weight limit.)

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @FSScottsdale on Twitter.

Check-In Time: 4:00pm

Check-Out Time: 12:00pm

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, patio, Arizona

Take in a Sonoran sunset. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

If You Go:

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North (480) 515-5700
10600 East Crescent Moon Drive
Scottsdale, Arizona 85262

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Thanks to Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North for creating this experience. All opinions are my own.