Franciscan Renewal Center
In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was the structure that held the ferocious Minotaur captive. Fast-forward thousands of years, and labyrinths are more commonly used as tools of meditation and reflection. That’s the case at the Franciscan Renewal Center, an oasis of calm in the heart of Scottsdale. The labyrinth is a flat path bordered by stones where the public is invited to walk in quiet contemplation. There’s no cost to use it or reservations needed; the labyrinth is open when the center is, from early in the morning to mid-evening, all year round. There’s something about the mindfulness required to navigate the gently winding path that makes the cares of the world drop away, and while there’s no monster in this labyrinth, it does an admirable job of soothing worried minds and anxious spirits.
The Monastery
Legend has it that nailing a horseshoe near your front door is a good thing, but we’ve heard conflicting instructions — open-end up keeps the good luck in the house, but open-end down wards off evil. We don’t want to take a chance on doing the wrong thing (and horseshoes would really clash with our decor), so when we want just a bit of that good horseshoe juju, we play a couple of rounds at The Monastery in east Mesa. The bar/restaurant is located in a Santa Fe-style house and has a little something for everyone, including a full menu, plenty of TVs, cornhole, volleyball, live entertainment, giant Connect 4, and the aforementioned horseshoe pits. The Monastery is family-friendly as well, making it an ideal place to take the kids for an afternoon of fun. Just be careful: We’re pretty sure hitting a youngster with a horseshoe is bad luck — whichever end is up.

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