Mark and I enjoyed a staycation this past weekend. I think every person should try this out. A staycation challenges you to experience your city in ways that you’ve been too busy to enjoy.
Since we are making an honest effort to go vegetarian (Amy) or only eat meats from local free range animals (Mark) and we are counting our calories we thought this weekend would be extremely disappointing and near impossible when it came to our food choices. Instead of feeling deprived and challenged we were easily able to find little gems that we’ve been missing.
At Armitage we found a perfect fit on a Friday night for couples like us in their mid 30s. We were able to lounge comfortably outside with a cool breeze left behind after the monsoon rains. We smoked a cigar and drank a bottle of delicious Pinot Noir (that was normally $130 sold to us for $50) and nibbled on pita and hummus. Mark, in true fashion, ended up negotiating with the manager for their last 9 bottles at an even lower price. Anyone want to come over for wine? We snuggled on the outdoor couch while chatting and laughing about life and gave really lame attempts at making up life stories about the other diners seated around us. It was a perfect Friday evening.
We then checked in at Westward Look Resort and Spa for a mere $62 per night. While a little outdated, the property is flanked by the majestic mountains and deserts only found in Tucson. We found it to be very comfortable and quiet. The restaurant, Lookout Bar and Grille, on Friday night was packed wall to wall with older people dancing and drinking. We smiled with the thoughts of being 70 and still young at heart. Dancing away the weekend night with the belief that our minds and bodies could still carry us like the teenagers we’ll believe ourselves to be. It was quite beautiful. One man in particular is forever imprinted in my memory of images. He was probably in his late 60s dancing alone with his hands above his head, his eyes closed, and the music filling his being. He was free and uninhibited. Thank you for that gift, kind sir. You have given me an image of the spirit I aspire to grasp as this aging process continues to wage it’s war against me.
Saturday led us to the Tohono Chul Tea Room. Again in the middle of summer we were comfortable seated outside where we enjoyed the tastiest caprese salad, potato salad, and grass fed beef burger. The scents, sounds, and sights of the sonoran desert were enough to counter the less than stellar service we had.
We spent the day shopping at Costco (we scored on angry birds for christmas gifts!) and La Encantada. Running in to current and old friends because Tucson really is a very large family. We ended the evening at Ra. Unfortunately Ra was the one place that let us down. It felt like a meat market with subpar food, too loud of music and super poor service. Maybe I am closer to being the old lady dancing at Westward Look than I am the young woman out to seduce! Ha.
Sunday we opted to try Blue Willow. This is my new favorite breakfast place in Tucson. Enormous healthy options at a low cost. Excellent service. Diverse group of diners from families to hippies to UMC medical employees. I had the vegetarian omelet. It arrived with large chunks of brightly colored tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms. I so badly wanted to eat it all but because it was so large I only managed to make my way through half of it. Mark asked our waitress about where the meat was purchased and she rattled off knowledge that made you just want to hug her for caring enough to educate herself. She informed him that he would be able to eat the beef chorizo (Mark’s favorite breakfast dish) as the beef comes from a local farm that treats their cows with dignity and respect, grazing them on grass. The chicken on the other hand comes from a mass US vendor. While you wait for a table you can peruse the little boutique that sells everything from handmade metal fans to Star Wars gifts to cannabis cookbooks to quirky items that joke about sex and politics. I even found the perfect gag gift for Mark called the freeloader fork. For all of you who know Mark and what we like to call the “Mark’s Special” this fork extends up to 2 feet so he can eat off of anyone’s plate at the table! LOL
We spent the remainder of the day napping off our large breakfast and playing knockout in the hotel pool (I lost EVERY game!). Or in a more positive sentence…Mark won EVERY game! We soaked in the jacuzzi and read during the thunderstorm.
We finished the evening with dinner and brews at Harvest. We are so glad we found this place for those times we are traveling to that far away land called Oro Valley. We were able to drink $3 local drafts and chow down on sustainable foods that were cooked to perfection! Everyone on staff was kind and talkative and again we were able to sit outside in the cool summer breeze absorbing the magnificent views of Pusch Ridge. The backside of the Catalinas truly are perfectly etched and carved.
We also set out on a mission to fill our reusable cups at every vendor we chose to patron and were very pleased to discover that each one gladly filled our cups instead of using their non-recyclable to-go cups. AJs even allowed us to get refill prices for the remainder of the day. This is a simple way we can make our footprint smaller. Find local restaurants. Find sustainable restaurants. And carry your own glass.
Even better, bike to each location. This would’ve been a great addition to our weekend if I weren’t nursing a very painful bulging disc. But Tucson is definitely the town to strap on your helmet, find one of the hundreds of bike paths and venture out to fun and adventure and greener living. Now go out and vacation in your city. Fall in love with the people and place you call home. I know Tucson pulled me back in to her charm and beauty. It just took a little bit of moving outside my box of familiars.
Next weekend we are out on a family adventure to enjoy the cooler weather and pine trees of our very own mountain just 30 minutes from home. Let the Tucson adventures continue.