Wild West Adventuring With The Grandkids
BY ALICE BURDICK SCHWEIGER
Marking a milestone wedding anniversary, my husband and I wanted to take our family on a special vacation—and Arizona was the perfect destination. A trip to the scenic Southwest would offer the ideal mix of relaxation and adventure. Our family of 8, including our 6 and 9-year-old grandsons, started out in Scottsdale and ended in Sedona.
Straight from the airport in Phoenix, with hot weather, our priority was jumping into an inviting swimming pool. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch. The Scottsdale resort offers four restaurants, an adult pool and a fun-filled family pool showcasing a gigantic waterslide, rock climbing wall, miniature golf and more. (480) 444-1234. www.scottsdale.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html )
Our days in Scottsdale were jam-packed A highlight was going up in a hot air balloon. We chose the recommended Rainbow Ryders (480- 299-0154. www.rainbowryders.com ). After meeting at their Phoenix headquarters, a van took us to the launch site. The pilot had everyone climb aboard into the basket, and during the hour-long flight, we glided some 5,000 feet in the air, saw glorious mountain tops and exotic desert animals.
“Within days of being back home, everyone wanted to know if we could do this “Wild West” trip again next year!”
My favorite adventure was our customized excursion. We used the wonderful transportation company Driver Provider (602-453-0001, www.driverprovider.com ) who worked with us to devise a great itinerary. The driver picked us in the morning in their van. Our first stop was Superstition Mountain Museum (480-983-4888 superstitionmountainmuseum.org). Located near the Apache Junction, the museum site has a miniature outdoor display of reproductions of 19th century buildings. Inside the museum, the story is told of the legendary Lost Dutchman Mine.
Next stop was Goldfield Ghost Town. In the 1890’s it was a boomtown, but today it’s transformed into a playground of activities. We took a mine tour, rode the train, panned for gold, meandered around the unique shops and saw a staged gunfight. (480-983-0333. www.goldfieldghosttown.com).
Before being dropped back off at our hotel, we made a quick a stop at Old Town Scottsdale, where we explored the art galleries and specialty shops.
Since Arizona is equated with hiking, our trip couldn’t be complete without a hike. Not surprisingly, there is a plethora of trails to choose from, all different levels.
After spending five glorious days in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area, we rented cars and made the two-hour scenic trek to Sedona—Arizona’s spectacular red rock country. We stayed at the award-winning L’Auberge de Sedona (928-282-1661. www.lauberge.com. It’s a centrally located resort with beautiful rustic spacious property featuring a creek, spa, yoga, a pool, duck feeding, and more.
We were told that one couldn’t visit Sedona without signing up for the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow tour. (800-873-3662. pinkjeeptourssedona.com). The jeep ride seemed more like a Disney World adventure ride, with all the bumps along the rocky roads. It was a lot of fun and we were all very grateful for the experience.
Within days of being back home, everyone wanted to know if we could do this “Wild West” trip again next year!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Alice Burdick Schweiger
Alice Burdick Schweiger is a New York City-based travel, entertainment and medical writer who has written for numerous national magazines including Good Housekeeping, Family Circle and Woman’s Day. She is a co-author, with Laura and Jennifer Berman, of “Secrets of the Sexually Satisfied Woman.”