MY TOWN: Susan Speidel
Eighteen years ago, Detroit native Susan Speidel literally pointed at a map with her eyes closed and her finger landed on Arizona. Now she can't imagine being anywhere else. "I love the land," she says. "It looks like the earth burped, and the mountains sprang up!" Speidel started mountain biking a few years ago and is now up to 50 miles a day on rough terrain. "I'll go through Scottsdale, up Camelback Mountain to the castle," she says, referring to the Copenhaver Castle. "It's a really steep incline up there." (No kidding. We had to put the parking brake on last time we drove up there.) Should she spring a sprocket, it's off to Tribe Multisport, a sporting goods shop that hosts a weekly bike ride and a running group — both of which Speidel attends. "Tribe is a supportive community," Speidel says. "They're very good at getting people excited about sports." If cruising is more your speed, she recommends Rage Cycles, which specializes in vintage-looking powder pink and turquoise models. Another favorite spot is Chaparral Park, a grassy 100-acre greenbelt along Hayden Road with a doggy run for her four-footed pal Steve. "The dogs are friendlier than the people sometimes," she jokes, "but it's a great place to socialize."
The Orange Table
7373 E. Scottsdale Mall, #6480-424-6819
Copenhaver Castle at Camelback Mountain
5050 E. Red Rock Rd., Phoenix
Shine: Your Pocket Guide to Scottsdale
1800 N. Scottsdale Rd., Suite 5
2724 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Chaparral Dog Park
5401 N. Hayden Rd.
Eurasia Spa offers standard manicures, massages, and even Jin Kon gentlemen's services, but the most intriguing treatment is "The Sound of Peaceful Healing," a two-hour ritual that soothes the mind, body, and spirit with the chime of architect Paolo Soleri's renowned Cosanti bells. Indulge in a relaxing bath with green tea and milk in the Asian soaking tub and you'll drift off to faraway places in no time.
At Scottsdale Resort & Athletic Club
8235 E. Indian Bend Rd.
The Spa at Camelback Inn
The newly renovated Spa at Camelback Inn takes advantage of nature's bounty with Native American and desert-inspired treatments, from a Desert Rain Loofah shower with prickly pear and aloe to a full-body Arizona honey wrap. We love to get down and dirty with the Adobe Clay Purification Treatment, which cleanses the skin with clay and cactus fiber cloth. If you prefer something more polished and less messy, try the spa's Native American basalt stone massage. We're tingling just thinking about it!
5402 E. Lincoln Dr.
Agua Spa at the Mondrian Scottsdale Hotel
7353 E. Indian School Rd.
at the W Hotel Scottsdale
7277 E. Camelback Rd.
at FireSky Resort & Spa
4925 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Sachi Salon & Spa
4821 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Spa du Soleil
7040 E. 3rd Ave.
VH Spa at the Hotel Valley Ho
6850 E. Main St.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
The 40-year-old Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts was starting to look a little shabby, so in 2008, the city contracted for a total overhaul of the facilities. The redesigned atrium is a modern masterpiece, featuring a sleek mezzanine and glass elevator, plus a $250,000 lighted glass sculpture by artist Kana Tanaka that looks like giant raindrops cascading sideways from the stucco wall. The Virginia G. Piper Theater was torn down to its bare bones: concrete stairs were busted up and re-poured, and brand new seats, acoustic sound baffles, and patterned light blue carpeting were installed. Now this old gal's primped and ready to host famous acts such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and comedian Martin Short.
7380 E. Second St.
Scottsdale Cultural Tour
Sometimes, it seems there's so much to see and do in Scottsdale that you practically need a tour guide. Conveniently, the City of Scottsdale partnered with Ultimate Art Tours in 2009 to offer free citywide cultural tours on the second Saturday of each month. Hop on the cute trolley bus after checking out the gorgeous stained-glass windows and restored Virgin of Guadalupe painting in the Old Mission Church for a two-hour trip through the town's major cultural and historical hotspots (visit www.ultimatearttours.com for a full list). The tour's often booked to capacity, so be sure to reserve a seat well in advance.
Meets at 10:30 a.m., second Saturdays, at the Old Town Farmers Market, Corner of Brown Ave. & 1st St., 480-312-7750
Indian Bend Wash greenbelt, created to minimize flash flooding, is home to several of the city's best outdoor recreation areas, including the 60-acre Eldorado Park, which features a skate park and volleyball court, and the neighboring El Camino Park, which allows fishing and boating in the lake.
2311 N. Miller Rd.
Novice hikers can ease their way into the desert on the Bajada Trail at the McDowell Mountain Preserve, which opened to the public in September. This wheelchair-accessible half-mile stretch is full of desert flora and fauna, and the mild terrain is suitable for all ages.
Scottsdale's definitely a town to "see and be seen in," and who wants to be seen in an old sedan or a beat-up truck? Impress the eco-chic crowd with your Earth-consciousness on a two-wheeled rental from Arizona Outback Adventures or take a motorized sidewalk tour via ContempoRide Segway. Better yet, fuel your James Bond fantasies with a sports car from Status Toy Rentals at The Waterfront.
Arizona outback adventures: 16447 N. 91st St., Ste. 101
7118 E. 5th Ave.
Status Toy Rentals
The Desert Botanical Garden is a gorgeous introduction to desert flora, with more than 130 rare and endangered plants on the grounds. Highlights include glass artist Dale Chihuly's Desert Towers sculptures, on display until May 2010, and the Spiked! cocktail hour on Thursday nights.
1201 N. Galvin PkWy., Phoenix
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The upside of having constantly sunny weather is that the Phoenix area attracts several major-league baseball teams for spring training. Catch the Los Angeles Dodgers or Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, the Oakland Athletics at the 8,700-seat Phoenix Municipal Stadium or the Chicago Cubs at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa.
The first stop for any adrenaline junkie should be the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. It'll set you back a few grand, but after speeding down the raceway at over 100 mph in a tricked-out 'Vette, you won't even feel the wallet-burn.
20000 S. Maricopa Rd., Chandler
It's not just Navajo rugs and kachina dolls at the world-famous Heard Museum. The museum also hosts hoop dance competitions, an annual craft sale and free NU (Native + You) nights on the third Friday of every month.
2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix