the entrance to carlsbad tavern in scottsdale azDid you ever go back to a restaurant that you thought you loved and remembered why you stopped going? That was the revelation when we went back to Carlsbad Tavern in Scottsdale after many years from our last visit.

Our friend, who used to live in Arizona, was visiting us and wanted to go there. He was the person that introduced Carlsbad Tavern to us many years ago. I had such good memories.

It looks cute as soon as you walk up to the entryway, which is nicely lit at night. Then you step into the pretty patio with a waterfall. I think the last time I went was with Jimmy and we sat on the patio at a 2-person table. And I think that was the time I ordered something and had a difficult time eating it because it was so spicy. But I forgot about that.

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Tips for Californians moving to Scottsdale

Since Arizona and California are neighboring states, you’d expect a lot of similarities when comparing them. However, there is a significant difference in culture, climate, costs of living, and outdoor activities. Rising cities such as Phoenix, Mesa, Tucson, Scottsdale, and Chandler, attract Californians to let down their roots in Arizona with booming business opportunities, lower housing costs, and a quality lifestyle. The Grand Canyon State is a refreshing change of scenery. Still, any relocation to the unknown requires some research. To help you with it, we’ve gathered some useful tips for Californians moving to Scottsdale.

Avoid moving in summer

If you believe you’re heat-resilient after experiencing Cali summers, you’re in for a surprise.…

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Before we moved to Arizona, we had visited many times.  My Mom lived in Mesa and she took us to Old Town Scottsdale.  But I didn't find Los Olivos restaurant until a few years later when I went to Arizona on a Girl's Week Away.

During that trip, we split up a bit in Oldtown and I thought I was getting lost.  But I found Los Olivos Mexican Patio and the exterior decor piqued my interest, plus I love Mexican food.  I had to go find the rest of the group so we could have lunch there.

the entry to los olivos restaurant oldtown scottsdale

The fun entrance that made me want to see more

The "Blue Room"

As we walked inside the restaurant, we were amazed at the first dining area we were able to eat in.  I called it the "ocean room" with its strange blue ceiling and the aquarium.  I'll call it the…

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scottsdale june days summer solstice celebration sign

We decided to brave the triple-digit weather to visit Solstice Park in Scottsdale, Arizona to celebrate Scottsdale's June Days and to welcome the summer solstice.  It was held on Sunday, June 20th, in Solstice Park (previously named Solari Plaza), which is near Oldtown Scottsdale and at the Solari Bridge by the canal, or Scottsdale waterfront.

As we drove into Oldtown Scottsdale and the Fifth Avenue Shops area, we were surprised to see most, if not all, of the parking spots taken.  It was hot out!  But I guess that didn't stop tourists and area residents from visiting Old Town.

The day before we went I wondered how many other brave souls would attend the Summer Solstice Celebration.  Even with free snow cones, ice cream, water,…

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montezuma castle close look

Right before Christmas 2020, we visited Montezuma Castle National Monument in Campe Verde, AZ. This was my 2nd trip, but none of my other family members had ever been there.

I remembered the castle vividly from my first trip, but I didn't remember that there was water there.  I don't think we walked on any trail to the Montezuma Well.  The well trail was closed and I don't know if it's because of construction or Covid.  That will give us a reason to go back when friends visit that have never been there before.

Why is it Called Montezuma Castle?

That was a mistake made by early American settlers, who thought this ancient monument was built by the Aztecs for the Aztec emperor, Montezuma.  That was proven untrue, and it's highly unlikely…

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Bryan's Black Mountain BBQ

bryan's bbq ordering area

Both my husband Jimmy and I had read about Bryan's Black Mountain Barbecue in Cave Creek online.  We were eager to try it.  I had driven past it a couple of times without seeing it, so I thought it was down one of the streets in Cave Creek where the bars, dining, and shops are on North Cave Creek Rd.

We had visited Carefree Desert Gardens and were on our way home when we finally found it - right on Cave Creek Rd - and were excited to go in.  As we drove down Cave Creek Rd on a Sunday afternoon, the bars were packed.  I will admit that we tried The Grotto first but there was a long line outside and no one was distancing.  We then went to El Encanto but there was an hour wait - we were hungry!  That's when we remembered…

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Jimmy and I decided to do something fun today, but it was getting late on a Sunday and we know how quickly many places close.  Out of a few ideas, we chose to go to Carefree, Arizona, which we're very close to.  Our purpose was to really see the Desert Gardens.

welcome sign at carefree desert gardens

We've been to Carefree multiple times, but this time we were going to focus on the Desert Gardens.  I tried explaining to Jimmy that the gardens were in the town square and we'd been there before.  But for some reason, he was expecting something else.

I knew that it was a small area (I did my homework).  But when we've gone there prior we really didn't take our time.  It was always just a quick walk-through.  The last time we went was to visit the post office and the resale shop in the…

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welcome banner for the southwest wildlife conservation center in north scottsdale arizona

We visited the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale, AZ, for the 2nd time.  A woman that was there said she's lived in Arizona for 42 years and this was her first visit because she didn't know it existed.  We'd love to spread the word.

The first time we went, it was just Jimmy and me.  This time we took our son and our granddaughter.  I missed the available reservation for 2:00 on Christmas Eve so we went the day after Christmas at 10:00.

You have to set an appointment as you are taken into groups with a guide.  Although she had a mask on this time because of the pandemic, I think it was the same guide that took us through the first time a few years ago.

This is a true animal conservation center and sanctuary

Although I…

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scottsdale black bear diner restaurant plaque

We were introduced to the Black Bear Diner in Gilroy, CA, where my Mom lived until her passing last year. My brothers and their families weren't as enamored with it as Mom was, and we also became fans.

This is not fine dining. It is an affordable family restaurant that prides itself on homemade food. I didn't think of taking a picture of Jimmy's chicken pot pie - it looked fantastic!

The menu is also a bit different than the Gilroy restaurant. The Arizona restaurant doesn't have the wonderful garlic fries that Gilroy has and it was one of the first things I checked. Gilroy is the Garlic Capital of the World so I can understand why they have them and Scottsdale doesn't. They also didn't have my favorite turkey sandwich with cranberries.

Like…

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las hadas villas scottsdale condo condominium for sale

5640 E Bell Rd, #1082, Scottsdale, Arizona  85254

I had to update this before I even posted it. This cute Scottsdale condo sold in one day and has already sold and closed.

This was the popular 2 master bedrooms (on two levels, each with full bath access) with a loft on the upper level. The loft had its own closet and was set up with a trundle bed and dresser for a 3rd bedroom, which was perfect for guests.

The main level featured an open living concept from the living room, through the dining area and the kitchen. The fireplace was used on cold winter nights. Plantation shutters kept the hot sun out.

The laundry room was on the main level right off of the kitchen and had storage cabinets. The washer and dryer were about 3 years young.

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