“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” Frank Lloyd Wright
As we ventured north on our way to the Grand Canyon, we took some time to relax and enjoy ambling between Phoenix and Sedona.
THE ARIZONA BILTMORE
2400 East Missouri Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona: 800.950.0086 or 602.955.6600
There is really only one place to stay in Phoenix, AZ and that is the Arizona Biltmore. Beg, borrow or steal. Not that it is so glamorous or deluxe, but it just is THE hotel in Phoenix. For those who don’t know, the Arizona Biltmore’s main architect was Albert Chase McArthur, but it screams Frank Lloyd Wright who was on-site consulting for four months as it was being built. The website photos make it look much more massive than it is. The hotel is at most three stories high. We were upgraded to the Ocatilla section of the hotel and it was only two stories. There are separate stand alone cottages that act as suites and everything feels very intimate even though it is a favorite on the convention circuit. Find a travel agent like ours, Jill Schuler at Singer Travel (firstname.lastname@example.org), who is connected with Virtuoso Hotels. We were not only upgraded but received vouchers for breakfast and lunch. We also spent the afternoon lounging at the pool without even going to explore – so I am of no use with guiding you through the, I have been told, very exciting downtown.
12621 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259
As you all know, the Cypriot is an architect. That being said, I had no choice but to head on out to Taliesin West in Scottsdale. What makes me laugh is that on the website it says, “Frank Lloyd Wright began building this desert masterpiece in 1937 as his personal winter home, studio, and architectural campus.” What really happened was: FLW charged architecture students loads of money to “learn” the craft. This education consisted of a little architecture and a load of manual labor. They were the ones that actually built this place, living in tents on the lands in all weathers. It is still a school, but now there is much emphasis on scholarly efforts than physical. It is amazing to see and experience how it was conceived and created out of nothing. It is a wonderful of modern architecture.
ON ROUTE 17 NORTH OF PHOENIX
ROCK SPRINGS CAFE
35769 South Old Black Canyon Highway, Rock Springs, AZ 85324: tel. 1 623.374.5794
No matter what time you head out of Phoenix, there is always time for pie, especially at this side of the highway cafe. Get all three of there top flavors: boozy Jack Daniels Pecan, Blueberry Crumble Top, and its mainstay, the Old Fashioned Cherry Pie.
Just off I-17, exit 262 (Cordes Junction) & 2 miles down a dirt road.
Actually we thought it would be a great idea to venture here after Taliesan West; we were wrong but that doesn’t preclude it from being a Best Bit. As the website tells us, Arcosanti is the realization of “the concept of arcology” (architecture + ecology), developed by Italian architect Paolo Soleri. In an arcology, the built and the living interact as organs would in a highly evolved being.” In reality, it is a 70’s concrete hippie dreamscape. Think Logan’s Run but in the desert. It really is a site to see.
One beautiful thing that came out of Archosanti are its bells. Paolo Soleri and his wife make and sells these to help pay for Arcosanti’s constant additions and permutations. They are lovely and are also hanging in the Biltmore Dining room. Paolo Solari was a student of FLW after all.
JEROME, AZ 86331
After the hippies leave Arcosanti, they head on up to Jerome. A mile up on a hill, this old mining town had became a ghost town and then was bought up by the 70’s crowd. I have never seen as many art and crystal stops in one place. There is even a haunted hotel on the top of the hill. It’s all very “The Shining”.