My mom mentioned something to me on our Boots on the Beach trip that when she boarded the plane home from our first family vacation to Mexico, she started tearing up because she didn't want to go home because the vacation was SO perfect. I didn't understand what she meant because I had some AWESOME vacations before. For example, going to London on my senior class trip was one of my all-time favorite vacations; however, I was ready to come home after seven days. I was excited to tell my family about everything I'd done.
Well, Adam and I went to Arizona this past weekend to visit his childhood best friend (Jake) and his family (his wife, Marie, and their daughter, Olive). We got there on Friday night and came back Wednesday, and while we were on our way to the airport, I definitely started tearing up because I just wasn't ready to come home quite yet. I don't know if it's that I needed an extra day or if it's the fact that we were visiting friends, but the trip was the right amount of relaxing, adventure and "home" all-in-one.
We got a lot accomplished, too!
When we got there on Friday night, I was pretty bummed that I was missing the first Lenten fish fry, so they took us to The Stillery in Chandler that had a Catfish Fish Fry. Obviously, it was very different from any fish fry we would have in Wisconsin, but it did the job. The best part? It was a Nashville-based bar! We got to sit on the patio while listening to live music and watch people two-step in the grassy area outside of the restaurant. I happily ate my deep-fried pickles and drank my blackberry moonshine while enjoying our first night of vacation.
Let me pause and say, I'm not going to tell you every detail of our vacation because I don't remember the names of every restaurant that we went to or the towns that we visited - but I'll give you the highlights!
On Saturday morning, Adam and his friends went golfing while Marie took me hiking with Jake's sister, Sarah, and her friend, Megan. We circled around the hike to find that the cliffs were too steep for a dog and the baby - Marie carried Olive on every hike. She is a straight-up trooper (both Marie and the baby, who just turned six months old). Anyways, once we realized the hike was a little steep and rocky, we couldn't find any other paths to take, so we just walked around the off-roading path. We headed home for lunch / dinner, and this was probably my favorite meal. We stopped at Frye's - their area Kroger, which is AMAZING!!! - to pick up stuff to make a cheese board, tray nachos and guacamole. Marie and I had a guac-off, but the avocados were slim-pickings, so we'll be doing a redo in the near future.
Sunday was probably my favorite hike of the bunch. The five of us (Jake, Marie, Olive, Adam and myself) drove out to Tucson. On the way to our hiking spot, we stopped by the Airplane Boneyard to check it out. We couldn't take a tour or anything because it was a Sunday, but Jake and Adam still seemed to enjoy seeing endless amounts of airplanes. Once we wrapped that up, we went for a hike that had the most scenic trail (this is where most of my pictures are from). We hiked about four miles through cactus, rocks, water and more. It was beautiful. I think next time, we'll try to hit up Sedona. It's almost three hours away from Jake and Marie, so we thought about it for a hot minute, but we decided to stick with Tucson this trip! I should also mention here, every hike I took this weekend, I wore my Wigwam socks. If you don't have a pair or two of these bad boys, you should probably snag some. My feet have never stayed so dry from moving around! Not to mention, they have cool designs!
We went to Uncle Bear's that night for dinner, where I had a veggie burger and the Peanut Butter Porter! It wasn't too shabby. The beer was extremely light for a porter, which I liked. They had beer battered fries, too, which were delicious!
Monday was spent golfing. Adam and I took off on our own while Jake was at work. We went to Western Skies golf club because Jake said it'd be easy enough for a beginner, like myself, but still beautiful. The major accomplishment: I finished all 18 holes! That's only happened two other times in my life. This course was gorgeous and was in the perfect spot for Adam and myself to hang out afterwards. We hopped on over to a local mall for lunch and gelato afterwards!
That night was something I was very excited for. The first time we went to AZ in December (well, my first trip), Adam kept talking up this place called Postino because they do $25 boards of bruschetta and a bottle of wine. So, basically: you order four different types of bruschetta for dinner. I got a goat cheese and tomato jelly (really good), goat cheese and red pepper jelly (also very good), pistachio and ricotta (that was just ok) and an apple, fig and brie (brie's good in any form, so that was great). It was nice going to downtown Gilbert and seeing all the action going on. That's where Whiskey Row is, they also had a cool Creole place and a bunch of other places I'd like to try once things area little more normal!
Then, the final day: Tuesday. Marie took Adam and myself to breakfast at The Nook. This was probably one of the best breakfasts I've ever had. They had their own hot sauce that was a little smoky, and I'm kicking myself for not asking to buy one (if they even had them available). Jake took a half day so him and Adam could golf one more time, and Marie, Olive and I went hiking in Florence. It was a beautiful hike once we got to the top, but it took us all of thirty minutes, so we went to a local park for Olive to roll around in the grass and have a beverage before we picked the guys up. The number one thing I noticed about Arizona is how nice their roads and sidewalks are because they don't have to use salt! This park was immaculate. There was so much greenery, a nice dog park and a great playground.
Finally, we hopped on over to the San Tan Flats. If you ever go to the Phoenix area...please visit this spot. We tried getting in on Sunday, but the wait was too long for food. It's a huge outdoor area with a bunch of fire pits (with options to make s'mores!), picnic tables, live music and just a Western theme. The food and drinks were good, the atmosphere was great, and it made for a fun night out!