Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of cultural activities, birding, horticulture, local markets, good eating and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for Phoenix/Scottsdale”
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Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends.
A good place to check on is Tommy J. DeBardeleben’s website (birderfrommaricopa.com) for Maricopa County Birding Areas and Sites.
Another good site is Josh & Alicia Horsman’s (http://scottsdale.wbu.com/)
Grape Experience - Local wineries. There are now 83 licensed and bonded wineries in Arizona. The high desert climate is similar to Mendosa, Argentina with hot daytime temps cooling off at night. Grape growing and wine making center around three areas: Verde Valley, Sonoita and Elgin and the Wilcox region of Cochise county.
Transportation: You need a car.
Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) – Your connection to more than 500 stations in 46 states. For online information and train schedules visit www.amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245)
Day One: Our cousin suggests visiting the Desert Botanical Garden – Daily: 8-8, 1201 N Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
For more than 70 years the Desert Botanical Garden has been teaching and inspiring visitors from the local community and around the world, providing research, exhibits and more designed to help us understand, protect and preserve the desert’s natural beauty.
Today, the Garden features 140 acres with 55 acres under cultivation that showcase 50,000 plant displays.
Several trails and exhibits engage you in the Garden experience, and educate you through interactive exhibits.
For all of you railroad enthusiasts the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park – Daily: 10 AM, 7301 E. Indian Bend Rd. ~ Scottsdale, 480.312.2312 is a must see.
We can see the park’s four model railroads, authentic locomotives and Pullman cars, take a ride on the Paradise and Pacific and the carousel or just enjoy the park.
Lunch is at The Herb Box – L: Daily, D: M-Sa, 7134 E. Stetson Drive, Suite 200, Scottsdale, 480-289-6160.
We suggest sharing the chef’s mezze board with hummus, tzatsiki, kale chips, olives, roasted tomatoes and pita or the Korean fried cauliflower with quinoa, pepper sauce, snap peas and pea shoots.
Then it’s either the grilled chicken and sage pesto with goat cheese, gala apple and smoked bacon or the pork ciabatta with smoked gouda, red pepper slaw and garlic aioli.
Wash it down with one of their special paloma borrachas.
Dee is a devoted Frank Lloyd Wright fan, so your next visit is to Taliesin West – Daily: 9-4, 12621 North Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale, 888 516 0811
Frank Lloyd Wright began building this desert masterpiece in 1937 as his personal winter home, studio, and architectural campus. Located on the beautiful Sonoran desert in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains in northeast Scottsdale, the site offers a broad range of guided public tours.
Visitors experience Wright’s brilliant ability to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces.
Today Taliesin West is the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of architecture and houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
A great place to see native Arizona is the McDowell Sonoran Preserve – Open Daily: Sunrise to sunset, 480-312-7013.
The preserve offers an array of Arizona trails and award-winning facilities. It is unique geologically and home to stunning geography, lush cacti forests and diverse wildlife.
You can explore 5 trailheads on more than 100 miles of trails stretched across more than 27,000 scenic acres of Sonoran Desert. Our birders can view more than 100 species.
Our cousins Powell and Pam highly recommend Rusconi’s American Kitchen – L: Tu-F, D: Nightly, Su: Brunch, 10637 N Tatum Blvd, 480-483-0009
Powell and Pam suggest sharing some appetizers to get a sense of the menu.
They include: gauajillo peppered foie gras and braised duck with smoked bacon, tomatoes and corn, boneless short ribs with a potato puree and ancho chili chocolate sauce and white truffle scented mac-n-cheese, pan roasted gulf shrimp and yellow corn grits with smoked bacon, cured tomatoes and roasted corn and the chardonnay and lemon grass steamed mussels.
The wine choice is an ’11 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso.
Day Two: Today we start at Matt’s Big Breakfast – B & L: Daily, 825 N First St, Phoenix, 602-254-1074.
Yes they have frosted flakes, but we’re here for The Five Spot, The Hog & Chick and The Salami Scramble.
Others might like the Griddlecakes or the Waffles. No matter your at the top place for breakfast in town.
Our Cousin JoEllen strongly recommends a tour of the Heard Museum – Tu-Su: 9:30-5, Su: 11-3, 2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, 602-252-8840.
The Heard Museum Collections total nearly 40,000 pieces, including major collections that focus on Southwestern American Indian cultural art and fine art and important pieces by contemporary artists.
Fine art exhibitions reflect the scope of the museum collection, which contains historic drawings more than a century old as well as contemporary canvases.
Several of the loveliest areas of the museum are located outdoors. In the museum’s courtyards, landscape combines with water features and sculpture to create a variety of relaxing environments.
Visitors of all ages can try hands-on activities that range from weaving with beads on an oversize loom and creating wearable art to forming their own butterflies, Apache burden baskets and Yaqui paper flowers.
Let’s do lunch here at their Courtyard Café – L: Daily
Start with the Tepary bean hummus (tepary beans are indigenous to Arizona) with fry bread or the chile lime shrimp ceviche with avocado, tomato, red onion and cilantro.
Next you can’t pass up the Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hatch Green Chile Cheese Enchiladas composed of a three-cheese blend, green chile sauce, corn tortillas, sautéed carrots and potatoes, with a side green salad.
But you may prefer the oven-roasted turkey & melted brie with sliced Granny Smith apples, chipotle mayonnaise and the daily-baked cranberry-walnut bread.
Your wine is ’12 Allegrini Valpolicella. Dessert is the fried bread sundae.
Get some exercise at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum – Daily, Summer: 6-3, Winter: 8-4, 37615 U.S. Highway 60, Superior, AZ (one hour due east of Phoenix)
The Arboretum brings together plants from the Earth’s many and varied deserts and dry lands, and displays them alongside unspoiled examples of the native Sonoran Desert vegetation.
No matter what the season, you will enjoy a moving and memorable experience of the beauty, majesty, and mystery of arid land plants. You will also enjoy the many natural communities that form the arid land environment.
Memorable experiences await you as you walk the Main Trail, you will see enthralling, otherworldly shapes and forms in the Cactus Garden.
You will also find peaceful reflection in the cool shade of towering trees in Queen Creek Canyon and intellectual stimulation in the many and varied displays at the Smith Interpretive Center.
Enjoy a quiet and intimate time at the Wing Memorial Garden, as well as inspiration for home or business landscapes at the Demonstration Gardens of Low Water-demanding Plants.
See expansive southwestern vistas visible from the High Trail. There are many gardens here, so find your special places among them.
You’re in for a culinary experience at Virtu - L & D: Daily, 3701 N Marshall Way, Scottsdale, 480-946-3477
Their charred octopus comes with lemon chickpeas, arugula and fennel and the truffled lamb has capers and shallots and is napped with a porcini cream.
The grilled branzino has orange, thyme and fennel flavors and the pork chop is served with greens, bacon and blue cheese.
Your wine is the ’13 Langhe Nebbiolo and dessert is chevre cheese cake with nila wafer.
Day Three: Over Easy – B: Daily, 4730 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, 602) 468-3447 is our recovery station or maybe just refueling.
Here you can build your own omelet or choose one of many pancakes. Other choices include: Croatian spinach loaf, chicken fried steak and gravy, ham steak and our favorite the chilaquiles.
Time to tune in to the Musical Instrument Museum – M-Sa: 9-5, Su:1-5, 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix, 480.478.6000.
Guests are introduced to MIM through the Orientation Gallery on the first floor which showcases the artistry, diversity, and movement of musical instruments from around the world.
On the second floor guests can venture into different regions of the world to discover the complete orchestra of a Chinese opera, a big-band jazz ensemble or all the instruments of a mariachi band.
MIM’s collection includes instruments from more than two hundred countries and territories in the world. Some larger countries such as India, China, Russia, the United States, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and others have multiple displays with subsections for different types of ethnic, folk and tribal music.
The instruments have both historic and artistic merit, and many are more than fifty years old. MIM’s goal is to acquire instruments that have been used for folk and tribal occasions wherever possible.
Our Cousin Joe, who plays in Cousin’s Joey D’s group, says the acoustics here are the best. In addition to Joe they book a lot of performers you need to experience.
Next let’s float over to the Butterfly Wonderland – Daily: 9-5, 9500 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale, 480-800-3000.
Butterfly Wonderland takes flight with a highly innovative, indoor rainforest environment featuring the largest butterfly pavilion in America.
You’re welcomed into a magnificent, lush, rainforest environment where thousands of butterflies from around the world fly freely alighting on fragrant flowering plants.
In their theater they tell the story of the longest known insect migration on Earth: the migration cycle of the monarch butterfly. The production team filmed hundreds of millions of monarchs along their migratory routes from Canada, across the United States terminating in their remote overwintering sanctuaries in Mexico.
Other exhibits include the live ant colony and the honey bee extravaganza.
If you have time before your main meal today you might enjoy the Penske Racing Museum – M-Sa: 8-4, Su: 12-5, 7125 East Chauncey Lane, Phoenix, 480-538-4444.
The Penske Racing Museum showcases a collection of cars, trophies and racing memorabilia chronicling one of the most successful dynasties in sports. On display are cars detailing the diversity of Penske racing.
Today’s main meal is at the Breadfruit – D: M-Sa, 108 E Pierce St, Phoenix, 602-267-1266.
Day-O, let’s start with the diver scallops coated with Appleton Estate and jerk rub seared in a black skillet or the smoked red herring with sautéed green cabbage on a French baguette.
There are tough entree choices for us after so many meals in Jamaica, but one has to be the curried goat with steamed basmati rice and vegetables.
Those Red Stripe curried prawns look mighty fine but our other choice is the jerk pork marinated in rum, jerk rub and slow smoked over pimento served with West Indies polenta.
The rum punch is authentic.
Until next time, best wishes and safe travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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