For outdoor adventurers angling for a mountain-biking trip through the Sonoran Desert or a standup-paddleboarding trip to the waterfalls of Sabino Canyon, merely getting the equipment to the starting point takes considerable effort. Avid outdoorsmen themselves, the guides at Arizona Hike Bike and Board are well aware of this trail-going hardship?one that ranks right up with bug bites and horse gridlock. Recognizing a need, and coupling it with an abiding interest in helping others explore Arizona's deserts, wildlife, and natural beauty, they started a mobile company that aims to solve the equipment-transportation conundrum. Arizona Hike Bike and Board's staff meets clients right at the trailhead or water entry point, and equips them with rental bicycles by Santa Cruz or paddleboards by Boardworks and Badfish. If it's a guided tour, the staff also supplies bottled water and snacks before leading small groups into into the rivers or deserts.
Thanks to the support of his mother, who was also creatively inclined, Pat Serie has had the benefit of spending more than 30 years honing his skills as a fine artist. From his outpost at The Emerson Art Gallery or at a variety of venues around town, he leads students through painting classes that teach technique, tricks, and how to properly furrow your brow like Dali. Classes include all supplies, such as brushes, paint, easels, and canvases, and Serie provides tips from his vast knowledge to help individuals put their own spin on each work of art.
Visual Utopia bistro offers an upscale dining experience with panoramic views of the Mesa. Let peckish peepers eat up the scenery while the bruschetta platter with melted brie, candied pecans, and apple primes the palate ($7). Or, tantalize your tummy with a mountain of spinach salad drizzled with pineapple-bacon dressing and topped with hard-boiled egg and goat cheese ($10.95). The hand-tossed barbecue-chicken pizza introduces chicken and barbecue sauce to mozzarella, red onions, and cilantro, facilitating a friendship as satisfying as a Tom and Jerry reunion ($12.50). Just like ambition to pursue guinea-pig rodeo clowning, dinner specials fluctuate weekly, but in the past have included options such as the grilled trout with tomato-cilantro chutney ($16.95) and the 14 oz. New York strip steak ($18.95).
Vu's aestheticians indulge clients with an array of body-beautification services. Treat cheeks to an express facial, a custom 25-minute procedure designed to rejuvenate all skin types, whether oily, sensitive, or carved from a large pumpkin. During the speedy treatment, faces blossom thanks to a deep cleansing and light exfoliation, and a peel and treatment mask reinvigorate surfaces. Afterward, faces radiate with a healthy glow, ready to dazzle passersby or illuminate spelunking expeditions. Patrons can show off posttreatment expressions with a visit to Vu Bistro—the spa's adjoining restaurant—which offers an upscale dining experience with panoramic views of the Mesa.
Alchemy Restaurant at CopperWynd's floor-to-ceiling windows slide open, unveiling the Sonoran Desert. Depending on the time of day, guests may see snow-capped peaks holding up an azure sky, or perhaps a thin ribbon of orange from the sun's last rays brushing over the mountaintops.
This setting is a worthy pairing to chef Paul O'Connor's artfully plated New American cuisine, from an open-faced pecan trout sandwich for lunch to pan-seared duck breast during dinner. Regardless of the dish, he prepares each one largely from local ingredients.
Besides dramatic views from its stylish dining room, the restaurant also extends to a wraparound patio that overlooks the resort's manicured grounds. An adjacent wine bar doles out drinks to be enjoyed while you?re soaking in panoramic vistas on the patio or using the fireplace to burn Polaroid snapshots that don't do the views justice. These majestic environs earned the restaurant a diners' choice award for both Best Ambiance and Scenic View on OpenTable.
If the massages, aromatherapy, body wraps, and facials don?t relax clients at Scottsdale Spa & Holistic Massage Therapy, maybe the quiet courtyard and serene pond will do the trick. Inside the North Scottsdale location, sage and sweet grass, a fountain, and a meditative Buddha further sooth clients. Frequent visitors can purchase a monthly membership, which provides discounted treatments at each of the spa's three area locations.