America’s Southwest is Sizzlin’!

11 November 15


Just like Willie Nelson, I’m on the road again! Tired of mildewing in the rain here in Athens, I’ve set my course for Scottsdale, Arizona, with intentions of soaking up a bit of warmth and sunshine while getting the scoop for future travelers.

When planning travel, especially in winter, many southerners tend to hone in on either the Caribbean or a ski destination. They rarely consider the American Southwest for a family vacation, couple’s getaway, honeymoon or anniversary trip, and boy are they missing out! The winter climate in Scottsdale is quite mild, with average temperatures in the mid-60s, and it gets little rainfall. After weeks of feeling like a canoe would be better transportation than a car, I’m beginning to believe that there are some definite perks to the desert life. Besides the great weather, Scottsdale’s activities and attractions make it even more alluring.

This small town just north of Phoenix is a mecca for golfers, home to some of the best courses found anywhere. Dotted with cacti and offering sweeping views of Pinnacle Peak, Troon North is the most coveted tee time in the area, and a must-do for any golf enthusiast. Not a big fan of the greens and fairways? Many visitors come here for soothing spa experiences, heavily focused on Native American traditions with many of the ingredients sourced locally in the local Sonoran desert. Visitors of all backgrounds flock here to enjoy legendary hiking, mountain biking, hot air balloon festivals, local art, handcrafts, and a host of other diversions. The desert’s wide array of landscapes are full of life and color, and captivating to many for a myriad of reasons.


I’ve been to Scottsdale many times, but this time around I’ve fallen in love with the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel, my residence for the past few days. In addition to the amusements listed above, this hotel is located within arm’s reach of fantastic shopping and nightlife, and guests are welcomed as family. The hotel is the actual home of a few notable characters. Cecil the Australian spur turtle weighs about 90 pounds and is currently 15 years old, but he has a life expectancy of around 120 years and will double in size as he grows. I think it’s safe to say he’ll probably outlive us all. Cecil’s comrades, Bixby (a yellow lab) and Gibbs (a golden retriever), patrol the lobby and welcome guests as only friendly dogs can, making them feel right at home.


The hotel not only offers luxurious guest rooms and an attentive staff, but also the distinguished restaurants Bourbon Steak and La Hacienda, which attract guests and locals alike. The property’s new ice rink is scheduled to open next week, to the delight of families with young children, and a train ride will lead guests through the hotel’s magical holiday lights display. This property truly has something for everyone, and it is a top pick for the Scottsdale area in any season.

food1 food3 food4

kidsclub lights tree

This winter, when you’re pining for a warm-weather escape, be sure to consider Scottsdale and other towns in the American Southwest as attractive options. The locals are friendly, the culture is rich, and the activities are endless!


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