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Monday, March 16, 2015

Phoenix Girls Trip Weekend

At the suggestion of one of my Clemson roomies, we planned a girls getaway for President's Day weekend in between when 3 of us were celebrating turning 30 in January and February (Vic's b'day isn't until July but she was happy to take a 30th birthday trip early with us). We had a fabulous time! This was my first time to Phoenix and to Arizona (other than an airport layover previously which I don't think counts) and I'd definitely recommend it as a fun place to visit.

This is me with my awesome carry on bag for hands free travel ready to head to the airport.

We all arrived in Phoenix Friday afternoon where Vickie had gotten our rental car (upgraded to an SUV for no extra charge... score!) and acted as the chauffeur to the hotel, Hilton Squaw Peak Resort. Brooke, Vickie and I made a quick trip to a nearby grocery store to get breakfast foods and snacks for the mini fridge in the resort room before Celeste arrived. This was the fountain and pool area outside our room. The room (or I suppose it was called a suite) was split into a living room area with the tv, a couch, a chair and small fridge and then a bathroom area with sinks outside of the door to the shower and toilet. And then a room with two queen beds. It was so nice having the couch and chair to sit on and relax instead of only having the bed and a desk chair like many hotel rooms.

We started off vacation with pedicures in the resort spa. It was just the 4 of us in the nail area of the spa (plus the ladies doing our pedicures) so that was nice.

After that we walked a couple blocks to a local Mexican restaurant called Aunt Chilada's. We were all starving by that point and it was delicious. I was not partaking in the drinks but the others said the drinks were great too.

We then went back to the resort and settled in as we were all pretty tired from traveling and the time change and whatnot. But one more fun thing happened... Vickie asked us to be her bridesmaids at her wedding in August! So exciting!

Saturday we took our time getting up and ready and then we went to the Botanical Gardens. I'm sure you are thinking how fun can botanical gardens be in the desert but they had a free guided tour and we learned a lot about different cacti and the desert. The cacti and other plants are more concentrated in the gardens than they might be out in nature but that way you get to see everything and it seems more like true gardens.

Fun fact - the saguaro cactus (pronounced sah-wah-ro) does not grow it's first arm until it is about 70 years old. Subsequent arms can take more or less time than that but if you see one with an arm you know it's at least past retirement age. When I had ever thought of a cactus this is the kind of cactus I pictured and also the ones they use a lot in movies and such.

Then we went back to the room for some snacks and headed to the biggest of the resort pools. The pools at the resort were heated which was one of the reasons we picked this hotel... although they weren't super warm (maybe upper 70's F) but luckily it was sunny out. This one had the lazy river so that is where we spent all our time. The girls got some mai tais (and lemonade for me) and we floated around the lovely lazy river. This lazy river was much better than the one I'm used to at Carowinds because it was longer and didn't rush you along too fast.

That evening since it was Valentines and we knew restaurants would be packed we stayed in and ordered pizza and salad and watched Bridesmaids. It was the perfect girly evening. Oh and all the girls got to feel munchkin kicking. He must like pizza :)

On Sunday, we went hiking in a nearby park area, Papago Park, that had some various trails and neat lookout points and was right by the botanical gardens from the day before. It was quite warm which was a nice break from the cold weather we were having in NC. We actually had awesome weather the whole trip which isn't too surprising since Phoenix doesn't get much rain and had great temps most of the year.

It was actually quite the climb to get up to the cave like lookout part of the giant rock. Clemson girls... best in the world!

After hiking we went to a local brewery/bar for food and drinks.

Then we drove a short distance to Scottsdale to a wine bar, Su Vino, for a wine tasting and cheese/fruit plate. They have a cool option for pairing wines with chocolates and the girls shared the chocolates with me and they were delicious. They all really enjoyed the wine too.

That night we got dressed up and went out to dinner at Beckett's Table which I found after searching various lists/reviews for top restaurants and it did not disappoint.

These are the short ribs I had... amazing!

And we got a complimentary dessert to celebrate our birthdays!

Monday morning we all headed back to the airport for our flights back home. I ended up arriving in Charlotte just prior to the ice storm hitting that had schools and most things closed the next day and on a couple hour delay the day after that. The flight coming into Charlotte that left after mine was cancelled so I lucked out! Although being stuck another day in sunny Phoenix might not have been so bad.

This was the first time the 4 of us had done a trip together with just us since usually we see each other every year in Clemson for a reunion along with significant others and other friends too so it was really special to spend time just the 4 of us like we used to all the time in college. I can't wait to see them again in August to celebrate Vickie's wedding! I love these girls and loved celebrating turning 30 with them!

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