Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Yesterday was our last day at McDowell Mtn. Park and we spent very little of it there.    We drove into old town Scottsdale where we had spent many hours, many years ago.   Our first stop was the Valley Ho, now called Hotel Valley Ho.  It was the first place we stayed when we all arrived in the Phoenix area.   It was right in the very middle of Scottsdale, before any buildings were higher than one story, and when the Fifth Avenue shops were the epitome of class.   More on them later.

The hotel was built in 1956 and was the haunt of celebrities and important people.  I remember thinking what a wonderful hotel this was, in a wonderful, warm place.   So different from Buffalo and Rochester.  Swimming in the heated, lit pool at night was just about the most exotic thing we could imagine at the time.
We had no idea how the dry desert heat could play tricks on the mind as we walked around Scottsdale for hours without anything on our heads, or any water in our bellies.  Stories to tell, but I won'd bore you. 

The Valley Ho had fallen into a state of disrepair until 2002 when it underwent an 80 million dollar rennovation and reopened in 2005. 

Yesterday, we had a fab. lunch in the ultra cool ZuZu restaurant inside the Valley Ho.  The interior design was meticulous and spot on and even the music was "period".   

can you see me?

Dave waits for me to return to our booth

this slate bench is the hearth inside and a water fall outside, beyond the glass
After lunch we walked down through the Fifth Avenue Shops.  I remembered them as being small stores selling fine clothing, authentic Native American Jewelry, leather furniture, and a few "souvenir" type places.   Now all we find are souvenir shops, junque stores, and shops selling Indian jewelry, but I have my doubts about its authenticity.   It seemed as if each jewelry store (and there were many) were run by the same family.  We laughed as we looked in each doorway and saw the same faces.   Ah well, I guess you can't always go back.....
the Arabian fountain at the Fifth Avenue Shops

"the Yearlings"

After a delightful lunch, and a disappointing stroll, we started back towards our Park.  On the way  we stumbled upon this spire at the corner of Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. and Scottsdale Road.  We parked and walked around the small park at its base.  Turns out this 125 foot glass and steel spire was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright   as part of an installation at the Arizona State Capitol.   I'm not sure how it found its home at this busy intersection, but it can be seen for miles around.

Last up on our nostalgia tour was dinner at the Pinnacle Peak Patio on Pinnacle Peak.   Its an old cowboy steakhouse, gas lights, checkered table cloths, servers in cowboy hats and boots, and nothing but steak on the menu.   If you order your beef well done, you get a sizzling cowboy boot on a plate.    If you wear a tie (who wears a tie anymore), your server whips out a HUGE pair of shears, lops it off and staples it to the ceiling.   This place has been around for years, as evidenced by the number and styles of ties hanging over your head.   I'll never forget Jesse's little boy face when our waitress grabbed his tie and chopped it off!   His eyes were huge and he was  so worried that he was going to be in trouble....poor baby.  We knew what was coming and quickly reassured him, but the moment was priceless.  

Dave ponders his wine choice
Today, Thursday, we broke camp and headed about 45 minutes away to our new site at Usery Mountain Regional Park.   We'll be here until the 27th.   This is another Maricopa County Park and very different from McDowell Mtn. Park.  They are both in the desert, surrounded by mountains, but where we had expansive views of the surrounding desert and mountains, our new spot is more closed in, more nestled down into the cholla filled desert.    


  1. Aaah....the Arabian horse mecca!!! Staying for their big show?

    And Clyde ...he looked tired out.

  2. The hotel looks lovely.

    We love the Usery Mountain area. We tried to stay in the park but it was booked. Enjoy your stay.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful day early Valentine's Day. Greatt times remembering the old days!

    Enjoy your new location!