Written By Adventure Woman Beth Walz Sarasota Polo Club -2
A Polo playing paradise with a seductive South Western Flare.
The Phoenix-Metro Area is one of the most lively and exciting places in the United States to visit and there is no better time than in the winter months when the temperature is pleasant and the city is a pulsating and electric place. If you’re looking to leave the snow and cold weather behind, you’re gonna love Phoenix.
There is a vibrant equestrian scene in the Phoenix-area. Polo is played at The Arizona Polo Club at the Scottsdale horsemen park field at Westworld Equestrian Park in Scottsdale. The polo club has been active since 1982. To view their schedule visit: http://arizonapolo.com.
When you’re not on the back of a pony or watching a chukka, visit one of the following activities for South Western fun.
My top seven suggestions!
1. Rawhide: If you want to travel in time back to the Wild West of the 1880’s visit Rawhide in Chandler, Arizona, just outside of Phoenix. You will experience everything from gun fighting to a haunted hotel. Expect good food and good fun. For the really adventurous try bungee jumping or better yet, the mechanical bull. www.rawhide.com
2. Climb Camelback Mountain: For a fun day out walk (or run) the trail leading to the top of Camelback Mountain. The views are spectacular especially at dawn and dust. Beware of the trek down; however, steep slopes and moving ground can make for a dangerously slippery slope. However, the views are worth the effort and the healthy exercise. Bring your camera. You may also want to try Piestewa Peak, formerly known as Squaw Peak, another great moderate hike (see, Salute! A Service Woman for the info on the recent name change).
3. Tubing on the Salt River: This is a super fun way to spend the day. You can rent tubes from Salt River Tubing and Recreation (check age limit) and float into a day of relaxing pleasure. Don’t forget to bring (lots) of sunscreen and water. As easy as the floating can be the searing sun and moving water will really zap your energy so be prepared to be exhausted. www.saltrivertubing.com
4. Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball: The Arizona Diamondbacks play at Chase Field. Both are worth seeing. The “D-backs” as they are called, have played in Chase Field since 1998 and became the youngest expansion team to win a World Series Title in 2001. Chase Field is the first stadium to have a retractable roof (give it five minutes) and is legendary in itself. www.dbacks.com
5. Brunch at the Wrigley Mansion: The Wrigley Mansion is an unbeatable experience. The phenomenal Wrigley Mansion is located on a hilltop overlooking the Valley of the Sun. It was built by Wrigley Gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. in 1932. The Sunday Champagne Brunch is an elegantly delicious way to enjoy the views, the art and architecture. www.wrigleymansionclub.com.
6. Desert Botanical Gardens: Located in Papago Park the Botanical gardens are not to be missed. Housed on 50 acres, these gardens preserve and protect some of the rarest and most beautiful plant life in the world. Enough said. www.dbg.org
7. Phoenix Zoo: The Phoenix Zoo maybe one of the youngest zoos in the country but it is also one of the best. It was over 1000 animals on display and over two miles in walking paths (so bring comfy shoes). It is open every day of the year and is privately owned receiving no government funding. www.phoenixzoo.org
Looking for a great hotel?
The Royal Palms
If you’re looking for a great hotel don’t look any farther than the unforgettable Royal Palms.
Step back into old world Phoenician luxury and glamour at this impeccable resort. This hotel is a special and unforgettable treat and retreat. Unlike many of the newer hotels in the Phoenix-area, the Royal Palms has a warm, cozy and personal feeling to it.
Perhaps it is because the resort started out as a private residence first and later evolved into a fabulous destination hotel. The mansion was originally built in 1929, as the winter home of New Yorkers Delos and Florence Willard Cooke, and was transformed into the Royal Palms Inn in 1949.
One of the most significant and lasting legacies of the Cookes is their passion for exotic flora and fauna. The couple were serious gardeners and planted and nurtured exotic plants from around the world; importing rare specimens from as far away as Egypt. Over 900 palms have been planted on the expansive 9 acre property as well as countless varieties of cactus, flowers and shrubbery thrive on the lush and fertile property. The beautiful vegetation gives the impression of inhabiting a glorious and bountiful oasis in the middle of the arid desert.
The Spanish Colonial architecture is lovely and there in an unmistakable air of romance as you weave through the quaint stone paved pathways of this elegant estate. There are 119 casitas and guestrooms; each uniquely decorated with colorful artwork and extraordinary furnishings. There is a ‘graciousness’ about the resort and you feel more like a ‘personal guest’ than a paying tourist. Perhaps this is because with its artesian crafted iron gates, outdoor fireplaces and exquisite tile work the intimate resort lends itself to privacy and privilege. It’s not a surprise the hotels client list reflects the rich, famous and discriminating.
The Mother of Pearl lined swimming pool is the focal point of the resort and is surrounded by private cabanas, a whirlpool spa, croquet lawn and a poolside dining facility. There is also a fine dining restaurant with spectacular views of Camelback Mountain and a state-of-the-art spa. A multi-million dollar renovation in 1997 brought the already distinguished hotel to a world-class experience in opulence and comfort. In 2011, it was awarded the #1 Romantic Getaway in the World by AAA.
While Florida and California may get a lot of polo press some of the best times and most memorable fun can be found in charming cities like Scottsdale/Phoenix. For the adventurous equestrian this is a great bet.