With a school break, it made it possible for me to take my daughters and three grandchildren away for a wonderful week together in Scottsdale, Arizona.
I’d been with them to Scottsdale B.C. (BEFORE COVID), but this year flying into the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on American Airlines made me realize the airlines are packing us in and are completely sold out. I’ve even received offers to “buy” back my seat!
We arrived to 90-degree weather and soft breezes rushing into our bathing suits for a swim in The Westin’s multiple pools.
Jonah (13), Morgan (13) and Addy (11) are great friends and love spending time together. But we still missed Blake, who was touring colleges, as well as Hudson and Sloane, who did not have an Easter/Passover break from school.
Scottsdale is a city with one-story homes whose exteriors are mostly “earth” colors. I loved seeing the area’s many large cactus plants that look like statues throughout the landscape.
Sadly, there were not as many as I remembered from our last trip, but palm trees abound, which reminded me of my marvelous time in Palm Beach, Florida, this winter.
Although The Westin’s pool was our daily treat, we did get to go horseback riding at a nearby ranch as the sun set.
As an added treat to my western vacation, I visited good friends Jerry and Carol Levin, who have a “compound” on the grounds of the world renowned and luxurious Canyon Ranch in Tucson.
The couple and I had seen each other in Seattle to meet the great artist Chihuly and then at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s fundraising gala honoring Barry Manilow, whose show, “Harmony: A New Musical,” we had the opportunity to preview.
But I jumped at the opportunity to see them again!
I took a 2 ½-hour drive southwest of Scottsdale to Tuscon. Despite the long drive, it was a delight to see my friends again! To step into Carol and Jerry’s lives is to be embraced by the most special people! How lucky am I!
Their home in Tucson has a main house with huge plate glass windows that is surrounded by cactus “sculptures” and overlooks the majestic Catalina mountains, as well as a guest house that includes Jerry’s office. He still sits on many boards and runs companies from his office, holding Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting.
As business people, we have reinvented how we do business and I jokingly say, “I’ve turned from a Boomer into a Zoomer!”
Between the two houses is a yoga studio that Carol had built and I was happy to be a student there, taking a class with her and her visiting granddaughter Laila.
Her talented and respected hatha yoga instructor has the unique legal name, Bonne Cookie Baker. And guess what? She is a cookie baker!
We had an hour of stretches that felt so good and took the tension and stiffness out of my neck after my lengthy airplane flight and a long drive. I told her she should record her sessions and create videos so her students can keep up with her great guidance.
I’d visited the Canyon Ranch Spa property in Lenox, where I spent a mother-daughter weekend many years ago.
Here, the multiple buildings are built as if they hug the earth, all crimson-colored that match the earthy tones around them.
We all had services in the spa. Mine included a rejuvenating massage and a precious facial that cleansed my skin.
In the spa is a hot tub, which I sat in, and a cold tub that I just looked at! There is also a steam room, a sauna and relaxation rooms. I used one outdoors to feel the hot sun warm my bones and body. What a treat!
It was only an overnight stay, but we had a precious time together.
I got back to Scottsdale for a fun hibachi dinner with my family. They squealed, laughed and shivered as the chef lit up the grill with flames from the fires he created. It’s a communal meal they seem never bored by and I enjoy their joy!
We had several great meals during the trip, my favorite being at Etta – Scottsdale Quarter, where we sat outdoors at a spacious round table and enjoyed the American cuisine that was brought course-by-course out from the kitchen as soon as it was ready.
We shared all the dishes, including the scrumptious, soft and flavorful meatballs with a rich tomato sauce. They were so good, we ordered two more servings! We also had the perfectly seasoned, cut up chicken pieces on the bone, a serving of marvelous and creamy mashed potatoes and delicious desserts.
Dinners were our big evening activities except for one precious night at the Footprint Center arena.
We enjoyed our meal of hot dogs, chicken wings, popcorn and salty big pretzels as we cheered on the Phoenix Suns at their playoff basketball game in the sold out arena.
Many marvelous memories were made that week that I hope will be cherished for all our lifetimes!
My good friend Ted Vassilev, who I met in Palm Beach and who sponsored our Dan’s Papers Palm Beach launch, invited me to lunch at the New York Athletic Club on Central Park South.
It was a glorious afternoon and members of the Appraisers Association of America were there for their 16th Annual Awards Luncheon.
To my delight, artist Hunt Slonem, whose work was featured on our first edition, joined us at the luncheon. He recently moved his studio from Brooklyn to Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, where I plan to visit him!
Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu were recognized for their creation and support of artists with the Magazzino Italian Art Foundation, based in Putnam County.
My friend Pat Condren joined us after the luncheon and took me on a tour of the historic club’s billiards room, rooftop deck, pool and multiple dining rooms!