Traveling with a toddler can be intimidating. As infants, they're so portable, predictable, go-with-the-flow in comparison. As we prepared to tag along on L's business trip to Scottsdale, AZ, I knew that we had to prepare in a whole new way. Ella is a laid back little girl, but she's still a toddler and lack of preparation can lead to meltdowns, and meltdowns are just not fun. Luckily, there are parents who have come before me & they have posted their own lists. Between Scottsdale's official travel site & the wonderful blog of Mommy Poppins, along with our own family interests leading the way, we were set for a wonderful time in this scenic city. There is no shortage of fun, and the good food is plentiful!
Day 1 – We landed at PHX airport at about 5:30pm, and had reservations at The Roaring Fork. Ohhhh my goodness, was it good! We ordered the Chicken Tortilla Soup for Ella. It arrived as a plate with a perfect circle of shredded chicken, cheese, avocado and cilantro & then the broth was poured, tableside, around it. The result is what is hot remains hot, and what is chilled, is slowly warmed up so that the flavors meld together perfectly!
L & I checked out the menu the night before, and it was clear immediately that we were not having lite faire for this meal (though the menu offers it if that is your desire). We ordered and shared: BACON-WRAPPED PORK TENDERLOIN with White Falls Mill Cheese Grits & Mexican Street Corn (photo below) & ROARING FORK "BIG ASS" BURGER Poblano Pepper, Cheddar, Smoked Pepper Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, Pickles, French Fries (sorry, no photo because we got too excited and I forgot before we attacked it). Delicious, and our favorite meal the entire trip, by far! What a way to kick it off. Not only that, but our waitress, Amy, was lovely & very sweet with our little one. Even better, there were 3 very elegant drunk women celebrating a birthday at the table next to us so they were delighted when Ella belted out her new favorite song, "Happy Birthday!" at the top of her exhausted, delusional lungs.
After dinner, we checked into our room at the Embassy Suites by Hilton. From the moment we arrived, the staff was friendly, courteous & extremely helpful. They delivered a playpen for Ella to sleep in for our stay so we didn't have to lug our own along. Lovely!
Day 2 – While Momma went to work, Mommy & Ella hitched a ride on the hotel's courtesy shuttle to Scottsdale Fashion Square. This expansive mall offers shopping, food and play area. After we shopped, we played in the kids play area.
**I am always looking for a great deal. I love shopping the clearance sections in other states because it's always sunny in California, so we benefit from the change of seasons in other places. This trip, Ella's gorgeous 18-24 month & 2T clothes were found at babyGap, one of my favorite stores for kids fashion.
Butterfly Wonderland held the magic and wonder that made family time even more exceptional than usual. Butterflies move just as they are depicted in movies, or by artists, giving them a surreal quality.. As we moved through the sanctuary full of fruit & brightly colored flowers, more than 3,000 butterflies surrounded us in all their brilliance.
This really is a must-see, one-of-a-kind experience when you're in the area. It delighted all of us. Though we cannot touch the butterflies as the oils from our skin can harm them, one did kiss Ella's cheek. All of this magnificence is topped off by an awesome gift shop.
We had dinner at the hotel restaurant (Granada Bar & Grill). The pizza seems to be their specialty, but it doesn't come with a spatula to serve it, so that's something for the suggestion box. We had the deviled eggs as an appetizer & they were delicious!
Day 3 – Swimming at one of the hotel pools was great. Ella & I were alone, except for a lovely couple from England who were reading and napping on the other side of the deck. I picked up a fabulous Stearns Puddle Jumper Life Jacket at Target & Ella had a wonderful time with more independence in the water!
Family dinner that night was at Bootleggers where the Moms tried delicious & refreshing peach moonshine, and ate pulled sandwiches (the perfect blend of smoky, sweet and tangy) and waffle fries. Located in the heart of Olde Town Scottsdale where there is no shortage of fabulous eateries, this was a spur-of-the-moment decision that did not disappoint. 4.5 stars (my waffle fries were overdone otherwise it would've been 5)! We shall return!
Day 4 – Ella & I packed then walked back to the mall to check and see if Mommy had missed anything on my sale spree. Then we caught the courtesy shuttle back with Brad, the lovely driver from the resort. One of the front desk staff (whose name I'm sorry I didn't get) gave Ella a little bag of M&Ms.
As we headed to the airport to fly home, I was filled with gratitude for this trip.. Ella & I got to relax and have fun without the demands of life at home, and we got some great quality family adventure time. We will see you again soon, Scottsdale. Thank you for the wonderful trip!
**The statements made in this post are my own opinions. I wasn't paid anything to promote anyone or anything.**