Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Phoenix Farmers Market, Museums, Hotels and Restaurants

The next morning, we checked out the Phoenix Farmers Market where I found homemade pasta and herb chocolates that were fantastic. We then drove to the Heard Museum (www.Heard.org), which is undoubtedly one of the best places to experience the art and culture of Native Americans of the Southwest. With the museum’s 10 exhibit galleries and exquisite art, it is easy to see why nearly 250,000 people visit the Heard each year. My favorite is the Indian Boarding School exhibit. I had no idea Indian children were removed from their families and shipped to boarding schools in an effort to eradicate the Indian culture from society. The experiences shared in this exhibit, as well as the impact it had on the tribes and culture, were deeply moving. I highly recommend a stop at the Heard when you are in Phoenix. The next stop was the Phoenix Art Museum (www.PhxArt.org), which truly does have “something for everyone.” It boasts more than 17,000 artworks in American, Asian, contemporary, European, Latin American and Western art, as well as fashion design and the Thorne Miniature Rooms of historic interiors. They also have a great gift shop where I found my new favorite quote, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

Following a delightful lunch at the Museum, we were on our way to the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch (http://Scottsdale.Hyatt.com). After a tour of this Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired property, we were on our way to Spa Avania for more spa treatments (I opted for a mani/pedi) and then tapas and cocktails. The resort has all the amenities you could want for a fun in the sun getaway, including sand beach, three-story waterslide and a 2 ½ acre water playground.

Dinner that night was hosted by the Arizona Biltmore Resort’s brand new restaurant, Frank & Albert’s. It’s based on the Biltmore’s architect, Albert Chase McArthur and his history with Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as the organic architecture inspiration for the Arizona Biltmore. The chef’s concept for the restaurant is Arizona comfort food and familiar classics accented by local flavors, and he uses a lot of local farms & purveyors. I loved the Coca Cola® Pork Chop & Organic Apples…what a unique combination. But my favorite was absolutely the dessert I chose called “As the Cookie Crumbles,” which is a huge, fresh, baked-to-order chocolate chunk cookie, served warm with vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream. Need I say more?

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