It seems being married brings on additional symptoms of midlife, in that husbands become less adventurous. Wives on the other hand tend to kick things up a notch during their midlife, am I right?
As was the case this particular Sunday for us three girl friends. A spur of the moment idea, a day trip to Flagstaff for a hike, a brewery tour and a visit to Camp Verde. Granted, my first reaction was "What time are you setting off?", and my second reaction, irrespective of the early start time, a resounding "Yes!"
My husband didn't want to get up early and had a ton of work to do, another wanted to stay home and watch the baseball and the third wanted to take his new car for a spin... yawn! Midlife man symptoms, this is why you need girl friends ladies!
From Scottsdale, Flagstaff is just a two-hour drive along a mostly scenic route across the desert. Climbing in altitude along the way it starts out with the cactus-loving rugged terrain of the low desert and eases up into the lush green conifers and evergreen foliage, of which the ponderosa pines are among the most common. There is also a drop of 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, so it's a great place to escape the summer heat of the Phoenix valley!
In Flagstaff we met Austin, our friend's son who was to be our guide. A young man still far from the symptoms that our midlife husbands display, so he was up for the adventure along with his adorable girlfriend and Luna the dog. I mentioned none of these midlife concerns to his sweetheart, besides, the fact that we three showed up husband-less may have been a red flag!
We hiked the Lockett Meadow on the Inner Basin Trail, about 12 miles north of Flagstaff on US 89. Warning, it's at 8000 ft elevation and the single carriage dirt road up to the trail head is long and winding with no barrier guard. I didn't fare well, intermittent screaming, lots of hyper ventilating made worse by the thin air, and almost on my friends lap much of the way. Nothing like a day out full of exhilarating excitement!
The hike was totally worth the aggravation of getting there. The aspen trees, which I had never seen before, grow abundantly along this trail and in October their leaves turn yellow and it will be a sight to behold.
The hike is steep but not rugged, so if you have good lungs and are reasonably fit, it's not too difficult. Scottsdale and the Phoenix valley is at about 1000 ft above sea level, and this hike starts out at about 8000 ft... just saying!
Next stop, a trip to the Historic Brewing Company in Flagstaff. Some of our other tennis friends were in Flagstaff that day, so we were able to coordinate a beer fest! A first for me, since I didn't drink beer but was easily persuaded after the adventures of the day thus far.
The brewery is in an industrial area on the outskirts of Flagstaff. Our hiking guide happens to work there, so we were rewarded with a tour and a peek into the art of beer making. I think he does this often, if you happen to stop by, tell him I sent you, it'll make up for the earlier screaming in his ear!
Even though this is where they make the beer, they have a bar set up among the fermenting equipment and have 15 of their regular, seasonal and limited release beers on tap as well as a taco themed food truck open Wednesday through Sunday. You can sample any of the beers before you order and it's $5 a pint.
Onward to Camp Verde, about an hour from Flagstaff and an hour from Scottsdale, located in central Arizona, sitting on the bank of the Verde River. This place is lush, green and peaceful, picket fences and horses give it an English country vibe. Camp Verde is the gateway to the Verde Valley wine region with vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms spread across the area, now we're in Karen land! It's also the home of the 104-acre Out of Africa wildlife park.
It was a short visit to say hello to friends. The locusts were busy in the trees singing their sunset songs whilst the neighbor's horses chomped on their supper. The mosquitoes munched at my dusty tired legs and I drank another beer and didn't care. It had been a grand day out!
There are many jewels to be found in the state of Arizona, but some are well hidden, like the Hermosa Inn tucked away in Paradise Valley. It's the last place you'd expect to find a hotel, situated alongside multi million-dollar resort homes in one of the wealthiest property zip codes in the country. But that's part of the charm, it's not like staying in a hotel, more like house sitting for your affluent relatives with full access to enjoy their spectacular southwestern style home whilst the staff take care of your every need. The only difference is, you pay for the privilege!
Using tennis as an excuse for a girl's trip to Las Vegas is a sobering thought. What could possibly go wrong? But it's as good an excuse as any given that these six ladies in their midlife have friendship in common because of tennis.
The trip had been in the pipeline for months until one evening at the bar during a happy hour gathering, and far from sober, dates were secured, and flights were booked right there on cell phones. A mere $45 each way from Phoenix to Las Vegas... cheers to Southwest Airlines!
In case you're unfamiliar with the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions, they are the car lover's dream and for those who can afford to bid, and win - perhaps a dream come true!
Haven't been able to steal the time away for a proper holiday of late, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't enjoy a little time away from home. A change of scenery with the ones you love, namely hubby (aka Brian) and the dog (aka Rigsby), is all you need to recharge the batteries for a while! A staycation in Arizona is never a disappointment when there is so much to do, see and enjoy here. So we drove all the way down the road to the new Mountain Shadows resort to see what all the hype was about!
If you live around Scottsdale or have passed through recently, you may have noticed the giant white tents standing alongside Loop 101 and Hayden Road. For ten weeks at the beginning of every year as many as 100 of the finest artists from across the country gather in this enormous arena to display their work. Many of the artists create new work whilst visitors, art lovers and art collectors meander the studios taking in spectacular art in various forms from paintings to sculptures, and can chat with the artists and see how their work is created.
There is always somewhere good to be in Arizona at any time of the year, despite the soaring temperatures in the summer. It's a state with it's own climate control. A couple of hours north or a couple of hours south, we've got it all covered, just find your comfort zone. At this time of year, you want to be right here, Scottsdale and Phoenix, the places to be, weather included. With so much going on, from music festivals to rodeos, art shows to championship golf tournaments and everything in between. It's alive with life, the State's own entertainment capital.
Locally, this event has quite a reputation for being the single most popular people watching arena in the west. Of course, some people do actually go to watch the golf! Many girls dress up as though they're going to a star studded party on a yacht in the Caribbean. It was a gloriously warm day which favored the skimpy clothes, and with no concern for the general terrain of such event, the scenery was more than entertaining with high heels and platform shoes tottering about the sloping grassy banks of the vast 18 hole championship TPC golf course.
This was my first time to a golf tournament, and the first time to any event that hosted a record breaking almost 205,000 people on a single day. It was a sight to behold. I didn't see much golf but that wasn't really why I was there, as I believe was the same for a large number of other folk in attendance!
Every year in January, Scottsdale Arizona hosts the Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions. This year it takes place from January 14th to January 22nd.
It's the largest concentration of cars from old classics to modern day prototypes and everything in between here in the beautiful city of Scottsdale. Rows of gleaming polished chrome like the dinnerware on a banquet table, paintwork in every imaginable color like perfectly lined up bottles of nail polish. Proud owners dusting off their pride and joy, the crowds milling through the tents, browsing, dreaming! Celebrity cars for sale, rare cars in impeccable condition, so much to look at, not enough time. Then there are the auctions, the excitement, the big spenders looking to catch their dream toy. Outside, the tempting smell of barbecue, food trucks, and if you're game, you can tackle the worlds largest turkey leg!
What's in it for us girls? Men are not the only ones that these cars invoke fond lifetime memories for. Today, I saw my very first car, a red Mini Cooper. Forty years on, I can't believe I actually fit inside that car! The Morris 1000, the very first car my parents owned when I was 10 years old. The day my daddy brought that car home, I spent the whole day playing inside it pretending it was my play house! There's a huge Exhibitor Marketplace to stroll around and shop, plus, there are lots of happy men walking around, all in very good moods, some dashingly handsome!
This is my first time visit to a car show and I liked it! If you are in the neighborhood and have a chance to go, it is well worth a visit. A general admission ticket is just $20, with senior, military and student discounts available. Auction and VIP packages vary, but all can be purchased from the Barrett-Jackson website here.
This amazing property is referred to as the "Jewel of the Desert" situated in the heart of Phoenix, AZ. Since 1929, accommodating U.S. presidents and legendary film stars, the luxury resort currently boasts eight swimming pools and two championship golf courses amid 39 acres. It's stunning architecture was designed by the famous American architect Frank LLoyd Wright.
The Biltmore "Sprites". These original architecture sculptures were designed by Frank LLoyd Wright in 1914 to stand guard over Chicago's Midway Gardens. These same Sprites, meaning fairy or elf, now grace the grounds of the Arizona Biltmore Resort.
Having spent many years working in the hotel industry, I have a passionate curiosity for interesting properties around the world. The Arizona Biltmore Resort is no exception. We enjoyed a lazy afternoon, sipping wine, overlooking the lush gardens of the hotel, watching their guests come and go, and the scenic beauty of the Camelback Mountain Range beyond the golf course. It was idyllic.
The transition into fall is a slow process in Arizona, so I wore an off the shoulder blouse by Topshop from Nordstrom. It had the feel of fall with it's autumnal floral colors on a black background, bell sleeves and a light-weight silky feel. The black coated skinny jeans are by Citizans of Humanity, (similar here) and the clutch bag is Vince Camuto. (Similar here). I love this bag, because it's big enough to fit a substantial amount of girl stuff, and when you need to be hands free, it has a handy gold link chain shoulder strap, plus it has the leather coated bear claw charm giving it an edgy feel. The booties are Via Spiga and are my favorite new purchase this fall, they just seem to go with everything, plus they're "walk all day" comfy to boot!
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50