Travel Tips & Adventures

Real People. Real Travel.

Posts Tagged ‘Travel Planning’

Traveling the “Loops” in Phoenix

Monday, August 16th, 2010

The first time I flew into Phoenix, I was amazed at how spread out the metropolitan area is.   From west to east, Buckeye to Apache Junction, the metropolitan area of Phoenix, with all its suburbs, easily reaches 70 miles.

In some giant US cities, they build up with multi-storied skyscrapers. But, with the vast spaces available in Arizona, they have built out and even have had height restrictions on how high buildings can be built.

So, welcome to Phoenix.  Spread out and still in the desert.

Saguaro cacti and mountains are a short ride from the hustle and bustle


Where We Chose for Our Travel Destination

Monday, April 19th, 2010

And the travel winner is…

(Okay, we have not been blogging recently.  Our internet connection was very iffy, but now we seem to have resolved those issues.)

After reviewing travel options for our nine-day excursion, we have decided to choose -   ta da da da dah da!-


Our choice of Idaho was for the following reasons:

  1. We have never been there.
  2. They sent us information very quickly – we like responsiveness!
  3. We know images can be enhanced, but the stunning views of mountains and lakes were irresistible.
  4. After living in the Arizona desert, an abundance of lakes, waterfalls and rivers will be a welcome change.
  5. The scenic byways sound entrancing and the diversity of climates is always a great idea if you want to see a lot in very little time.
  6. Boise sounds like our idea of a great city to visit.  A university town, that always seems to add something special to the life of a community.   “A vibrant downtown bordered by a 25-mile greenbelt and seven grand parks, line the city’s waterfront.” (Although there is a punctuation/grammatical error there, we get the point.)
  7. My husband wants to get some golfing in.  Idaho has an abundance of that.
  8. Towns with names like “Bliss,” “Eden” and “Cascade” are so evocative we can’t resist.
  9. We once met a Coeur d’Alene resident who couldn’t say enough great things about the city.  We want to see Coeur d’Alene – scenery, culture and golf – sounds almost too good to be true!

10.  After looking randomly at the Idaho Web site, I was hooked!

More to come as we refine our travel adventure!

Planning a Getaway

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

NO, we’re not robbing a bank!  When it gets to this time of year in Phoenix, people start leaving.  The weather begins to be warmer and the snowbirds start flocking up north.

We have thoughts of migrating ourselves.  We have a short trip to LA coming up, but we’re also planning a longer stay.

But, where to go?  We have nine days and we want a new place –“somewhere where we’ve never been before.”

We had several ideas.  First, we’ll stay stateside since we’re not in the mood for customs and dealing with currency conversions.

Also, we don’t want an enormous plane ride.  We’re open to the possibility of a drive, but we don’t want to spend most of the vacation getting there.

I voted for open spaces, but I need to see water.  My husband also likes open spaces, but he likes mountains.

California?  Been there, done a lot of it.

Colorado?  Maybe.  I keep hearing about Durango and picturesque mountains.

Wyoming?  Certainly, it has the open spaces!

Idaho?  The scenery looks great in the brochures!

Washington (the state)?  We drove through on our way to Vancouver.  I’d get my water and my husband his mountains.

We’ve sent for new brochures.  Yes, I know, the mountains and natural features don’t change too much in a few years.  But, hotels and manmade items do change.

With visions of exploration and open vistas dancing in my head, I will sign off for now.

Come back next week, and we’ll share more about our plans.  Out west for sure!

Tempe is a Tempting Travel Spot

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Tempe, the hometown for Arizona State University, is a vibrant city with business, social and quality of life issues well-handled.  With a population of 175,000-plus residents, Tempe has a business center, new malls, revitalized housing stock and is just a fun place to be.  It’s also near to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, so there is easy access in and out.

Housing in downtown Tempe

Housing in downtown Tempe


Festival of the Arts

During the weekend of December 4-6, Tempe hosted the Festival of the Arts, an arts and crafts gathering that last year attracted 250,000.  In 2009, over 400 artisans with some stunning work were displaying and selling their works.  Pottery, glass, wood, photography, woven items, painting, sculpture and even food showed the individuality and quality of the handmade efforts.

With no two works identical, visitors had the opportunity to see and buy something for their use for as little as $5 or as much as thousands.

Colorful Pottery from Ken Foster Ceramics - and useful, too

Colorful Pottery from Ken Foster Ceramics - and useful, too


(As of early December 2009, his Web site was not populated yet.)

Doug Maders metal art

Doug Mader's metal art - Courtyard Art and Design

(No Web site available – 503-537-0720)

I tend to like usable art, so I was on the lookout for a small pottery casserole to replace one that had broken. I couldn’t find what I was seeking.  Instead, I saw a gorgeous pottery French butterkeeper made by Liscom Hill Pottery Works that I purchased.  (I did not take a photo – the display was crowded and I was intent on my purchase.)

Bands also performed throughout the Festival.  On the jazz stage, we heard the Chandler-Gilbert Community College Band perform big band numbers.  They had an interesting medley with “Auld Lang Syne” intermingled with Christmas carols, plus a rendition of “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady.


To host the Festival, Tempe blocked off about fifteen blocks of the downtown area.  Since these events occur regularly in Tempe, check out the light rail which travels right through the campus to save you time looking for a parking spot or $10 for event parking. The light rail is relatively new to the Phoenix area, but it is clean, on schedule and reasonable in cost.

Other Tempe notables

It may be in the desert, but Tempe has an amazing amount of water.  Tempe Town Lake, a manmade body of water, is a centerpiece for many community events.  In the area adjacent to the lake, events from ethnic fairs to fireworks are held regularly.

If you’re coming to the Phoenix area for a visit, we recommend that you check out what might be happening in Tempe.  There are hotels in Tempe if you care to stay; the aloft hotel is new, a “hip” hotel, and there are other hotels that can put you right in the middle of things or give you some quiet at the end of the day, if you prefer.

aloft hotel in Tempe

The Buttes

(Tucked into a hillside and next to a spring training baseball facility.)


ASU and Tempe

You can’t miss ASU’s presence in Tempe; it is unmistakable.  

Come back tomorrow for info on Arizona State University and other amenities in the area.

Traveling to the Sun – Arizona and Phoenix

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

The first time I came to Arizona, it was a major revelation for me.  The sunny, blue skies were so welcoming – even at the 100-plus degree temperatures in the middle of summer.  I got off the plane and, when it was time to go back, I really didn’t want to!

If you are taking any airline except for Allegiant (see our blogs on our trip to Oregon), you’ll likely land at Phoenix at Sky Harbor Airport.  Terminals are large and do include amenities like moving sidewalks for some of the long walks from your arrival gate down to baggage claims. (more…)

Traveling…Something to Be Thankful for

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

This is the day in the United States that families give thanks. But, it has grown far beyond what the original Pilgrims could ever have envisioned. We have a humongous feast that can take days to prepare. We truly do have much for which to be thankful.

Years ago, I traveled to Plymouth Rock where the Pilgrims landed and it had become extremely commercialized. There were little stands with the usual gimcracks and souvenirs.

Buying things seems to be what everyone thinks about when they consider traveling. And, I admit, I have purchased my share of souvenirs, too.

Somehow, the anticipation of seeing a new place and the sense of wonder and discovery has now been dulled by security checks and the many rules and regulations that now govern our travel.

In this blog, we have tried to feature places where we have enjoyed the travel, the people and the indelible scenes that have enriched our lives.


Why travel tips and adventures exists

The reason I decided to publish a travel blog was that the newspaper for which I write, a small city’s paper, had asked me to cover travel. They decided they only wanted to feature local places, which left a whole world of great destinations I wasn’t able to share.

So, that led to the beginning of this travel blog.


Almost old enough to give birth

The blog is now eight months old – almost old enough to have given birth to a real human baby. Have we done a good job? Does anyone want to share his/her experiences?

Would anyone like to offer comments other than the spammers who perpetually leave messages – or in Russian, which I cannot read?

So, I am asking for people to respond and participate. Should we continue the blog? Will you help us by supporting the blog through response and checking out our store?

We’re open to new experiences and new people. We’re always thankful for them.
Please give us some feedback!

And, have a wonderful holiday season to those who celebrate holidays in the next month. To those who don’t have holidays, please accept our understanding that people have different cultures and ways of experiencing the world. We would love to hear from you, as well!

May you have health, love and joy in your life and a chance to travel to the places that enlighten, enliven and excite you!

Warmest regards,

Shelley Gillespie
Publisher and Editor

PS The new photos at the top of the blog give you some new places to view.  Oregon and Las Vegas are featured – two great destinations!

Travel around Portland, Oregon

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

One of the best things about Portland, Oregon is just getting around!  Especially if you are in the downtown zone  – “Fareless Square,” where you ride for free, Portland is one of the most accessible cities in which we’ve traveled. (more…)

Friday Favorites: Buster’s Restaurant – won’t bust your budget

Friday, August 28th, 2009

After a hard day hiking at Walnut Canyon (see August 20) we headed back to Flagstaff, Arizona, the nearest city, to eat. Since it was only 4:00 PM, not every dinner place was open. We were pleasantly surprised to find Buster’s Restaurant & Bar open and thronging. (more…)

Getting Scammed: A Travel Advisory Update

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Last month I reported that I had been scammed. As unpleasant an experience as it was, the whole situation has gotten worse! I’m also kicking myself that I let myself be duped. I do have to admit that the con artist was very clever. (more…)

International Travel Planning … on your own … without a net…Part 12

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Scotland: Fall 2009

DAY 15






It’s time to hop a golf cart over to the birthplace of golf over 600 years ago, St. Andrews.

Actually, birthplace is not quite accurate. Golf in some form was probably played in another country before it came to Scotland, but hey, Scotland just had a better marketing department! (more…)