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Arizona Days

Our final week in Arizona has arrived and its time for an update about our time here. My previous Arizona Days post was on January 31 so I have some catching up to do. 

dave golfing with ed, rudy and sueLast Friday Dave golfed the Dinasour Course with Ed, Rudy and Sue.  Later Ed and his wife Val had Dave and me over for dinner.  Val’s sister Shirley, an old high school friend of mine was visiting from British Columbia with her husband Mark. It was great to catch up with them. 

rempelsOther golf rounds included 18 holes at the Painted Desert course with Elda and Werner and enjoying a steak dinner and some good visiting at the club house after with them. golf with Paul and ShirleyWe golfed nine holes at Mountain Brook with Paul and Shirley- Dave’s brother and our sister-in-law. Dave and Paul also golfed with our younger son when he was here and after their game our whole family enjoyed a barbeque at Paul and Shirley’s condo in Scottsdale.  Dave and both our boys got in several more rounds of golf together during our family’s visit. One of those rounds was with Rob , the son of good friends of ours Fran and Marge. IMG_2519 - Version 2Later Rob and his family came here to our place for a pizza supper and the guys watched the Jets game together. 

Our younger son was here for five days and our older son and his family were here for twelve days and we had such a wonderful time. The weather was hot and perfect everyday so we could use the community pool. We went on hikes, Dave and I babysat while our son and daughter-in-law went to a couple movies and went on a bike ride, and we went to a Phoenix Suns game together.  Later after our younger son had left, the rest of us made a trip to Sedona and the Grand Canyon.  catherdral rockWe did a beautiful hike at dusk to Cathedral Rock, enjoyed some wine tasting in Cottonwood, visited Montezuma’s Castle, went on a Hummer ride in the desert and had a day exploring Grand Canyon National Park.  We spent the kids’ final day here at the Phoenix Children’s Museum. 

arizona opry mesaWe’ve enjoyed some good music- a fifties night at the Arizona Opry, a blue grass night at the Handle Bar pub and a great singer, guitarist and harmonica player at a wine tasting bar in Cottonwood. 

Our son Joel and his wife Karen cooked some terrific meals for us when they were here and also treated us to an amazing supper at the Heartline Cafe in Sedona. Dave and I decided to share a bevy of appetizers and dessert and it was great! We also went on a food tour in Scottsdale which I blogged about in a previous post. Dave made his famous chili when we were invited over to Rudy and Sue’s for supper one night. Ed and Millie friends from Steinbach were visiting as well and we brought along Paul and Shirley- but despite the large group there was still lots of chili  left for us to enjoy for future lunches and suppers.  

warming up baseball arizonaThis final week is Dave’s baseball playoffs so depending on his team’s performance he may be playing ball three days this week. If they lose their first games there may still be time for a few more Arizona adventures before we pack up the car and head back to snowy Manitoba. 

We’ve had a wonderful time here but we’re also looking forward to getting back home and reconnecting with friends and family in Winnipeg. 

Other posts about Arizona Days…..

Arizona Days- Post One

Arizona Days- Post Two

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Canadian Snowbirds

I knew about snowbirds but it wasn’t until I arrived in Phoenix, Arizona that I realized how massive the Canadian migration south is each winter. In the week I’ve been here I’ve met, or learned about, literally dozens of Canadians I know who have homes here, rent properties here for the winter, or come to visit people who do.  We have several extended family members who are Arizona winter residents. We golfed at a course where three holes had been sponsored by Alberta couples and sported Canadian flags on the tee box. One need only check out the number of Canadian license plates in parking lots to know there are plenty of our fellow citizens here.

So what’s the big attraction?  The warm weather of course, which provides freedom from things like snow shoveling, getting into winter boots and the arthritic pains cold temperatures can exacerbate. An Arizona real estate campaign targeting Canadians advertises, “You don’t have to shovel sunshine” and brags about Arizona’s 300 sunny days a year.

The active lifestyle the warm weather encourages is invigorating for people who are intimidated by the limits put on outdoor activity by Manitoba’s cold winters. Here they can bike, hike, golf and swim everyday. Although there are some high-end golf courses with pricey green fees many offer very reasonable rates and twilight rounds that are a true bargain. There are special lanes on major roads for bicycles and many housing and trailer communities include amenities like swimming pools, well-groomed hiking trails and schedules of planned group activities.

The glut of houses on the market at reasonable prices is another drawing card. On my bike rides in the Gold Canyon area where we are staying, there are multiple properties on every street for sale.  My husband Dave has checked out the listing particulars and there are any number of large, fairly luxurious homes listed for sale at prices well below what we paid for our downtown Winnipeg condominium or what we sold our Steinbach home for a few years ago. The American economic and housing crisis has made living in a nice home in Arizona for the winter months affordable for many people. A real estate website trying to lure Canadians south brags that homes which would sell for $750,000 north of the border are only $250,000 in Arizona.

The desert scenery is definitely another factor that makes Arizona alluring.  It is so different than the Manitoba landscape that it gives the state an exotic feel for prairie visitors.  The many kinds of cacti, the mountains, the bluest skies, the multitude of stars at night and the spectacular sunsets make the Arizona setting unique and lovely. Not only the natural landscape but also the architectural landscape is such a contrast from what one would see in Manitoba. Tiled roof, adobe style houses reflect both the Spanish and Pueblo Indian influence. Front lawns are landscaped with stone and local trees and cacti. They are intriguing for those of us accustomed to green lawns and wood and brick houses with shingled roofs.

Although we have only been here in Phoenix a week we already have a list of places within easy driving distance that we’d like to visit. The Grand Canyon, Sedona, the ancient Anasazi cliff dwellings at Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley are all destinations that can be experienced on reasonable two-day jaunts. These world- class tourist spots are another Arizona enticement for snowbirds.

I am sure by the time our two months in Arizona are over I will find even more reasons why people from Manitoba choose to winter here. But I’m already happy we did.

Other posts about Arizona…..

Golfing in Arizona

Mailboxes of Distinction

Bits of Christmas in Arizona

 

 

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Filed under Arizona, Holidays, Retirement