Sunday, June 14, 2009

Relaxing at the Arizona Biltmore

Friday, June 12 - It's hard to believe it's the last full day of the trip. After sleeping in and going for a run, we toured the grounds of the Biltmore a bit. To explain how much I was loving being here, I gave Sandy some perspective: This is my Disney World. For those who don't know, Sandy loves the happiest place on earth, and just signed up for the Disney marathon for the 3rd year in a row.

The history and architecture here is so interesting. The hotel opened in 1929, and has been a hot spot from the beginning. Every president since Herbert Hoover has come here, Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas" here, and Marilyn Monroe called the pool here her favorite pool. I also wanted to see if we could take a look at the inside of one of the original cottages behind the main building, so the front desk gave us a key to take a look at one. One of the documents we read said the Frank Lloyd Wright "almost certainly" designed the cottages. The architecture of the lobby definitely reflects FLW's influence, and the gold leaf ceiling is second in size only to the Taj Mahal. FLW also designed the illuminated stained glass panel just inside the front entrance.

Speaking of celebrities and pools, this place isn't all about just history and architecture. It is a pretty awesome resort and spa also. It has 8 pools with a pretty cool water slide. We spent several hours in the afteroon hanging at the pool, and I walked around to get a good picture of the slide, which is housed in a very interesting structure with four spires. As I walked around the pool, I saw someone who looked familar. It took me a second to place him, but I realized that it might be Mark Consuelos. As I walked to the other side of the pool, sure enough, I heard and saw Kelly Ripa talking to one of her kids. I never would have recognized her otherwise, because she had a big hat and big sunglasses on. Mark is actually in the picture of the water slide sitting on the edge of the pool in the middle of the picture, even though I didn't even realize it was him until after I took the picture.

We had our last dinner at True Food Kitchen. The restaurant was developed in partnership with Dr. Andrew Weil, so all of the food is both delicious and healthy. We found out about it because the husband of the cousin of our friend Jim (did you get that?) is the executive chef there. Unfortunately he had already left before we arrived. Sandy had a drink called the Medicine Man with lots of antioxidants. It was made with Olivello juice (which you can only get here), pomegranate and cranberry juice, black tea, soda water and muddled blueberries. She decided to counter all of those antioxidants with a shot of vodka in it.

All in all, this was a fantastic trip. We felt that we learned from last year, and tried to do a little less driving and spend more time at each place. We spent 2 nights in 3 places this year, whereas we only spent 2 nights in one place last year. We ended up logging a little more than 2000 miles on the car. Even at this slower pace, there was not enough time to see everything! The Southwest is amazing country, and we highly recommend a visit here.

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1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a great time! I can't wait for next year. Where will you be going? -Dana