Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Staycationing in Scottsdale!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

OLA: Staycationing in Scottsdale!

this is a permanent Christmas tree at a Scottsdale strip mall
compliments of the chef at Sol
We hadn’t been to a Mexican restaurant since our arrival here in October.  So we went to Sol and sampled their fare of fish tacos dorada and grilled carne asada burritos. We started with the complimentary chef’s appetizer and the traditional home fried tortilla chips and a selection of salsa, great refried beans, and chipotle seasonings.  Then the head waiter who liked chatting with us remarked, ‘Oh so you’re on a staycation!’

The word staycation is a combination of stay (or stay-at-home) and vacation., a popular blog, attributes the earliest use of this term as in a 2003 article in The Sun News. The word became widely used in the United States in May 2008 when the travel season began with rocketing record high gas prices preventing many people from doing expensive travel. The word has since been added to the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary in 2009.

famous brewery restaurant chain, Gordon Biersch
Last week we had a short vacation in Scottsdale, Arizona. You might ask, ‘Aren’t you already always on vacation, cruising in your RV? What do you mean vacation?’  Well, even in this lifestyle, vacationing is a getting away from everyday living. In the past four years we did it 7 times, not counting the visits to children’s homes and reunions with family and friends.  First it was at Whistler BC in 2009; then it was in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Macau, and Treasure Island, Florida in 2011; lastly, Miami, Florida and the Bahamas in 2012. So I use the term staycation here to mean a vacation where we don’t go to a faraway place, still stick close to home (the RV), but significantly alter our daily routines.

downtown Old Scottsdale
Scottsdale is a city adjacent to Phoenix with an estimated 2013 population of more than 220,000. The New York Times described downtown Scottsdale as "a desert version of Miami's South Beach" and as having "plenty of late night partying and a buzzing hotel scene". The city is loosely divided into four areas: South Scottsdale, Old Town (Downtown) Scottsdale, Central Scottsdale, and North Scottsdale. The real estate market in Scottsdale is among the most expensive in the United States, among the top ten markets in the nation for luxury home sales.  So we wanted a taste of this upscale urban Arizona city.

the almost private pool @ Zona
We stayed at the luxurious resort, Zona Hotel and Suites. We had a one bedroom suite complete with a full kitchen and dining area in addition to a spacious living area. The Resort features 4 heated pools and 4 hot tubs, neatly arranged with 2 casitas, each one with about 24 units, sharing each pool area. Bill and I visited the fitness center every morning followed by a dip at the hot tub.  By midday, however, we were out of the Resort, shopping, dining, and sightseeing.

my gown for a Scottish wedding
But the staycation was fueled by a burning shopping goal, Scottsdale being the best in the Phoenix metropolitan area. So I combed the outlets of Fashion Square Mall, looking for the ‘Mother of the Bride’ gown I will wear at the Guthrie Castle wedding of my daughter April in Scotland.  After all, tremendous Thanksgiving discounts were still in the air. I even emailed photos of the candidates I found to April for her approval. I finally found it at Nordstrom, a Takashi royal blue off shoulder gown, ‘ruched’ to perfection. Bill, on the other hand, needed a golf bag for his new try at the sport, Viewpoint having 2 golf courses and our neighbors on the street all avid players of the sport. He found a used one at a Goodwill store. We were right! They are havens for treasure at wealthy niches like Scottsdale!

Bill's new golf bag
In the evenings, we went around town to see the splendor of Christmas through the d├ęcor of an upscale town, much like what I used to enjoy in Makati, the Philippines’ financial district. We found a private home lavishly bedecked with colorful Christmas lights. Fashion Square Mall had its own dramatic display. Even a small strip mall featured a permanent Christmas tree that has become a Scottsdale icon. But most tourists visit and marvel at The Mormon Temple’s spectacular display that is nearer Viewpoint.

@ a Scottsdale shopping area
These short vacations or staycations we take away from the RV are great getaways for us. For one, it is a break from cooking for me and a breakl from my cooking for Bill! For another, they remind us that we will  return, one day, to a stick home to lounge and nest as we reminisce our good, old, active traveling days! 
a private home bedecked by Christmas lights