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September 24, 2018

Sandra Scott Travels: Saddle Up and Head West To Scottsdale


Last week I asked: Where can you learn about “Western Spirit?”

In Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Hotel Valley Ho

The Hotel Valley Ho

When I realized that Scottsdale and Phoenix were about equal distance from the Phoenix airport John and I decided to stay in Scottsdale.

It was a good choice.

The Hotel Valley Ho is one of the Historic Hotels of America but vintage 1950s.

It was a bit depressing learning that a hotel built in the 1950s met the qualifications as an historic hotel.

The Hotel Valley Ho is considered by architects to be “one of the best examples of a mid-century hotel.”

Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner

A toast to Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner

It was a getaway for the Hollywood elite and is where Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner were married.

The hotel has beautiful gardens and two swimming pools.

Sadly a cold front came through and it was too cold to go swimming but there is a lot to do in the area.

The hotel has an excellent location on the edge of Old Town Scottsdale.

In fact it is on the edge of the Art District.

Old Town, as one would expect, has maintained its Main Street look.

 collection of old west movie posters

A collection of old west movie posters

Not far from the hotel we visited the Western Spirit: Scottsdale Museum of the West which is a Smithsonian affiliate.

One of their current exhibits is The Rennard Strickland Collection of Western Film History, a collection of old west movie posters.

I was able to recall many of the old time movies.

It wasn’t surprising since, as a youngster, I was only allowed to go the movies on Saturday nights and it was when the cowboy movies were featured.

Beside a great collection of artwork they had a wonderful collection of Hopi pottery that spans six centuries.

Hopi pottery

Hopi pottery

The Abe Hays Family Spirit of the West Collection of saddles, spurs, badges, and clothing was extensive.

Plus there were mockups of a saloon, store and sheriff’s office.

I liked the factoid part.

One said that the U.S. Calvary pursuing Apaches could travel 25 miles a day but the Apache, on foot, could run 75!

And, one time Geronimo wanted to see the “big water,” so he ran all the way from San Madres to the Gulf of California.

What a man!

We visited the nearby Desert Botanical Garden.

Chihuly glass sculpture.

Chihuly glass sculpture.

I wish there had been tickets for their Luminarias which is featured every Christmas.

In the evening, 8,000 luminaries are lit (most have candles) by 200 volunteers.

At the entrance there was a Chihuly glass sculpture.

His work is easy to recognize.

There are also unique sculptures scattered throughout the gardens.

At the Musical Instrument Museum.

At the Musical Instrument Museum.

Docents were available to answer questions and give demonstrations.

There is no doubt about it my favorite museum was the Musical Instrument Museum.

We had to drive to it but most things we visited were easy to get to off the I-10.

Near the entrance there were two impressive Vanuatu slit drums.

There is a piano in the grand lobby where a young lady was playing – nice introduction to the museum.

Qualified guests are invited to play.

I could have spent hours in the Geographic gallery – it’s a trip around the world through music with tableaus that not only featured the musical instruments of an area but also the clothing and other artifacts.

Musical instruments on display

Musical instruments on display

Most vignettes had a video of the actual ethnic groups playing some of the instrumentation in native apparel.

It seems humans must have music in their life and can make it out of anything in their environment from bones to fruit to oil drums.

“Music is the language of the soul” and something everyone can enjoy regardless of their culture.

Travel Trivia Tease™: Who built Taliesin West?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!

2 Responses “Sandra Scott Travels: Saddle Up and Head West To Scottsdale”

  1. January 14, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks for this great post on Scottsdale! We are heading there on Jan 24th for a week and will be visiting the Desert Botanical Garden.

  2. January 20, 2018 at 11:22 am

    Thanks, Doreen, If you have not been to the Musical Instrument Museum don’t miss it. Excellent and can take hours to explore all of it. Enjoy!

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