Archive for the ‘Spotlight’ Category


Located just northeast of Phoenix, Scottsdale is the sixth largest city in Arizona. Today it is known for its affluence and as a shopping and golfing destination. However, its origins are considerably more humble. The land was originally settled by Hohokam indigenous peoples and later was the home of the Pima tribe of Native Americans. Europeans arrived in 1868 and began to develop a city around the canals originally established by the Hohokam. The city wasn’t incorporated until 1951 and at the time it had a population of just 2000 people. By the time of the 2007 census, that number had swelled to 240,710.


Today, Scottsdale is hosts the well-attended FBR Open Golf Tournament, is home to numerous high end resorts and is a beautiful, if expensive, place to live. Visitors to Scottsdale will enjoy endless shopping opportunities, a burgeoning restaurant culture and, particularly in the spring and winter, plenty of outdoor activities.


Where to stay: There are no shortage of luxury resorts in Scottsdale, including the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale, The Phoenician, Hyatt Regency Scottsdale, Fairmont Scottsdale and Camelback Inn. There are also a number of smaller, atmospheric properties worth considering, including Redbuck Ranch Bed & Breakfast and Hermosa Inn. Don’t expect to find many budget accommodations in Scottsdale, however.


Recommended Restaurants:
Zinc Bistro (Lovely French bistro in Kierland Commons)
Malee’s Thai Bistro (Wonderful Thai food in Old Town Scottsdale)
Dragonfly Café (Casual breakfast spot, pet-friendly patio)
Oregano’s Pizza Bistro (Scottsdale’s favorite pizza)
Sea Saw (Modern Japanese cuisine, excellent wine list)
Barrio Café (Contemporary Mexican cuisine)
The Gelato Spot (The creamy gelato is a local favorite)
Roaring Fork (Upscale dining, American cuisine)


Other points of interest:
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
Taliesin West
Bison Museum
Scottsdale Historical Museum


Recommended Shopping Areas:
Scottsdale Fashion Square
Kierland Commons
The Borgata
5th Avenue Shops of Scottsdale
Old Town Scottsdale



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Located in northern San Diego County, Julian is an old mining town set in the picturesque Cayamuca Mountains. The town has only about 300 residents but is a very popular getaway destination for San Diegans. On weekends the town’s population swells as visitors arrive to enjoy the pastoral setting and quaint shops on Julian’s main street.

Julian’s true claim to fame is its apples. Mention Julian to any San Diego-area resident and they will inevitably wax poetic on the apple pies sold in nearly every eatery in Julian. Fall is harvest season and visitors flock to Julian to pick their own apples in local orchards, sample multiple flavors of locally pressed apple cider and eat any number of freshly baked apple pastries. In September and October Julian hosts a number of harvest-related festivals that are extremely popular and bring the day-trippers out in droves.

Julian has embraced its history and there is signage throughout town indicating points of historical interest. A visitor can see sights including a two-room jail cell built in 1914 and the town hall, nearly a century old. A self-guided walking tour of historic places is also available. But who are we kidding, you came for some pie, right? The Julian Pie Company is probably the best-known purveyor of Julian’s fruit pies. They have locations in downtown Julian and in Santa Ysabel, just down the mountain. Strolling along Main Street you’ll find that practically every business is selling apple treats so you’ve got plenty of options. If you decide to spend the day taste testing your way through town, who could blame you? Visit mid-week and it’ll be less crowded. You’ll have those pies practically to yourself. Enjoy.

Where to stay: Julian Hotel, the oldest continuously operated hotel in San Diego County, 2032 Main Street

Recommended restaurants:
Julian Pie Company, 2225 Main Street
Julian Grille, 2224 Main Street
Apple Alley Bakery, 2122 Main Street
Julian Café and Bakery, 2112 Main Street

Other points of interest:
Julian Cider Mill, 2103 Main Street
Menghini Winery, 1150 Julian Orchards Drive


The Birdwatcher, 2775 B Street
Julian’s Toy Chest, 2116 Main Street #6


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