Solo Travel: Scottsdale

I’ve been talking about taking a solo vacation for a very long time and guess what? I finally did it!

The weekend definitely had a few awkward moments (trying to take a selfie at the top of a scenic overlook and eating alone at a hip and happenin’ restaurant top that list) and sometimes you wish you had someone with you to point something new out to, but overall I had a fantastic and relaxing weekend.

Phoenix

Scottsdale and Phoenix are a bit like like Dallas and Fort Worth in that I never know which one I’m in or supposed to be in. I flew into Phoenix and landed early enough to visit the Desert Botanical Garden before it was scorching hot. If you don’t consider 92 degrees at 8:20 am scorching hot.

entrance desert botanical garden

owel garden

desert botanical garden

arizona chipmunk

These little chipmunk-prairie-dog guys were just the cutest.

mini pink cacti

pink cactus, phoenix

Phoenix Cactus

I then made my way over to Scottsdale to check-in at the Westin Kierland Resort and claimed the adults only pool as my own for the rest of the day.

Westin Kierland Adult Pool, Scottsdale

Westin Kierland Pool, The Vacationers

We all know that room service is one of my favorite things in life, so breakfast the next morning was delivered promptly at 6 am so I could stake my claim for another afternoon by the pool.

Room Service

Pool day

Day by the pool

The whole reason for visiting Scottsdale was to tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. The house has been at the top of my to-see list since reading Loving Frank and seeing Ken Burn’s documentary years ago. Growing up outside of Chicago I’m familiar with Wright’s Oak Park homes and influence on the city’s architecture, but Taliesin exceeded all of my expectations.

Taliesin West Fountain

Taliesin West PergolaThe land was purchased with Wright’s commission from Fallingwater. Each winter a group of architects, craftsmen, creatives, and Wright groupies would caravan out to the property to work on the structure. When summer came, they’d caravan back to the original Taliesin and spend the summer in Wisconsin.

Taliesin West Money Shot, ScottsdaleI’ll spare you all the details in case you ever want to visit yourself (Wright was such an interesting and eccentric individual and I could talk about what I know and learned all day) but it’s amazing to think that Taliesin West was built by hand by unskilled laborers and that it was meant as a temporary structure. To this day, the Taliesin Fellows program is in operation and some of the original fellows who worked with Wright still live and teach at Taliesin West. If it weren’t for the living in tents bit, I might consider applying. My mom always said I should have been an architect.

Taliesin West Pano

Corrin at Taliesin

Taliesin West Asian Art

Frank Lloyd Wright Oragami Chair

There’s a large portion of Taliesin where photography is not permitted, including the Wright’s living quarters and much of where the fellows live and work (I heard someone mention there’s a pool with a diving board around back), which is understandable but still a bit disappointing. I did get to sit in one of Wright’s original origami chairs in the living room, and if a mini replica is $1,140, I don’t want to know what an original costs (and bless the volunteer’s hearts with that spelling of origami).

Taliesin West Inside FountainSince the original Taliesin burned to the ground (twice), Wright had a well dug (800+ feet — but he did hit water!) and filled fountains and pools strategically around the grounds. The property continues to pull from the original well and isn’t tied to the city’s water supply.

Taliesin West Dining Hall

The dining room where the fellows eat together every day at 12:30 and 6:30. The Wright’s believed that living in such close quarters inevitably created conflict between fellows, but having to be social twice a day could curb the attitudes.

Taliesin West Asian ArtworkThere’s an extensive collection of Asian art throughout the home, including 12 scenes placed around the property that were meant as mental triggers to inform the visitor that they’re leaving one space and entering another. This was is from the path on the brow of the property overlooking Scottsdale into the social quarters.

Scottsdale Hike

The last day, I did some roaming around town, hiked some baby trails, and saw giant cacti I thought only existed in Westerns.

spiky plant
Mountains

Giant Cactus

Pizzeria BiancoI had dinner at Pizzeria Bianco on the recommendation of several friends. Chris Bianco won a James Beard award in 2003 and the NYT said their pizzas might possibly be the best in the US. I don’t know if it’s the best, but the Biancoverde (fresh mozzarella, Parmesan, ricotta, and arugula) was delish.

Talking Stick CasinoI also couldn’t resist a stop at Talking Stick Casino where I put in $20 and promptly won and lost $250. The Eames inspired elevator foyer is a bit of a slap in the face to Wright, right?

All of this is to say Arizona is lovely and that I highly recommend solo travel. I’m already thinking about where to go next!

16 thoughts on “Solo Travel: Scottsdale

  1. I’ve always wanted to take a solo vacation. I’ve traveled alone, but it was always to a destination where people were waiting for me. I think Marfa would be a great place for me to escape. 🙂
    Meagan´s last awesome blog post…Casa Olé Green Sauce

    1. You should do it! Everyone was super nice and I feel like people made more of an effort to be friendly and strike up a conversation when I was alone.

      Thanks for visiting!

  2. The Frank Lloyd Wright house is amazing. Wow.
    I believe Pizzeria Bianco is mentioned in Delancey. I think the owner flew there to study how to make his crusts, etc, so I’m pretty jealous.

    I’m midway through The Vacationers and kind of meh–like, what’s the point? But what did you think of We Were Liars?
    Erin´s last awesome blog post…What I Read Wednesday

  3. Looks like an amazing and relaxing weekend; oh, could I use that! Beautiful photos. I traveled alone often on business and explored wherever I visited, There is fun (culture, trouble, whatever you seek) to be found everywhere. The nice part about being solo is that you can do precisely what you like when you like 🙂

  4. We should totes go to Disney together we just need to figure out when and I will let u know if we r going any time soon

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