No progress on the new sewing project so far, because we decided at the last minute to head to Tucson for some warmth! We left on Friday after work and returned Monday evening, which left two full days to enjoy the city. But mostly, we wanted to focus on relaxation, which we have had too little of lately.
DH did a lot of research on travel deals, and we found some good ones. The best by far was our hotel, the Lodge on the Desert, which is a historic property dating back to 1931. Its most recent remodeling and expansion occurred in 2009, which you can see in the photo below:
It's a gorgeous property located in a residential area not too far from the University of Arizona. Our room was like this one:
It even included a working gas fireplace and a tiny balcony. So romantic!
The grounds were also very pretty, although the landscaping was a bit worse for wear due to a freeze the previous week. We got there just afterwards.
Although it got quite warm during the day, you can tell from these morning and evening shots that it could be chilly too. Pretty typical of desert climates.
The big highlight of the weekend was the Sonoran Desert Museum, a zoo and botanical garden featuring the Sonoran Desert region of southern Arizona and Northern Mexico. The animals we saw included Mexican wolves (lobo),
As you can see, many of the animals were taking a siesta in the afternoon sun. There was also an extensive exhibit of reptiles, lizards, arachnids (spiders), and other creepy crawlies.
The Museum is located in the middle of a Saguaro cactus "forest" in the mountains outside of town. So the drive was interesting as well as the destination.
Dining was also a feature of our trip. Surprisingly, the hotel had an excellent restaurant where we had breakfast every morning, also a lunch. The ingredients were locally sourced where possible and well prepared. We later found out that the chef is a Culinary Institute graduate and one of the top chefs in town.
We also had an Italian dinner at Tavolino. The food was excellent there as well.
After our trip to the Desert Museum, we headed to Allegro for gelato, some of the best I've had anywhere. It's a tiny little shop located right by the University but definitely worth a visit. I am craving the canela (cinnamon) gelato even now.
Our last dinner was within walking distance at the Old Pueblo Grille.
It's in another old hacienda that's been converted into a restaurant. I was a little disappointed in my dish, but I suppose that's to be expected when you're used to New Mexican style southwestern cooking. It was pretty mild in comparison. The restaurant itself is beautiful with a large patio space. Perhaps next time, a steak... One nice feature, though--the bar area had a really great jazz band and that was fun.
All in all, a relaxing trip, exactly what we were looking for. We're looking forward to future visits and more exploration in the area.
(smaller photos courtesy of Lodge on the Desert, Tavolino, and Old Pueblo Grille. The larger ones are ours. )