Rethinking Arizona

Living in San Diego exposes you to “zonies” all summer long, I’m not sure that’s meant negatively, I think the locals just get annoyed with tourists coming into the beaches. Frankly, our economy is primarily tourism and folks should temper their woes.  However, for me, it’s just that I’ve always thought of Arizona as a hot, dry desert with nothing really to offer me.  I prefer my weather in the 75-80 degree range and a nice ocean breeze, the smell and sound of the ocean is calming to me.

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Not what I was expecting when I arrived in Arizona… 

However, I’ve found myself living in Central Arizona for the last two months and can definitely appreciate the appeal.  At least from here north…  I’m living in Prescott, AZ, which is located in Yavapai County and has about 40,000 people.  Pronounced “Preskit” which took a little getting used to. There’s a little downtown area that’s built around the Courthouse with an area called “Whiskey Row”.  To be completely honest, I’ve shopped on Whiskey Row, mostly at an adorable little place called Clothes Hound but I’ve popped into other shops as well.  However, I’ve found my favorite restaurants are close by but not within the square. I’ve also found that my favorite shopping is at the local thrift stores and antique shops found around town.

Most evenings in the square there’s something going on, live music or a community event called, “Prescott Idol” where locals perform and compete to become that year’s “Idol”, I believe there are gift certificates and some sort of prize, all orchestrated by the local radio station.  I’ve heard some great talent! And some not so, I usually can hear from my patio and gauge whether or not it’s worth the walk.  Every weekend there seems to be something going on, the Mile High Festival, next weekend is the Bluegrass Festival and a few days later the RODEO STARTS!

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Sunset Overlooking the Courthouse Square

My absolute favorite part of this town is the trail system.   There are over 80+ miles of trails in the city, I’ve found a few that are well suited for running.  The rest I explore with my 6 month old Double Doodle, Jovie.

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Double Doodle Jovie

I’m not sure I will be able to explore them all, I’m here for work but I’m really grateful that I spend the first few weeks building up my length strength to overcome the torn ACL and meniscus in my right knee because bouldering through the Dells to get the view of Willow Lake on a Saturday morning is just fantastic.  I find myself wanting to join the locals in the effort to save the Granite Dells from developers.

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In the event that you ever find yourself in Prescott, AZ here are a few of my favorite spots –

Coffee –

Wild Iris Coffeehouse – this is by far my favorite, open at 6am and has a dog friendly patio, perfect lattes and wonderful treats.

Black Dog Coffee – adorable and wonderful espresso.

The Porch – incredibly cute, great service and good coffee.

Eats-

El Gato Azul – this is a quirky little tapas spot that I really love. Live music, outdoor patio and sangria. My only compliant is no bar to sit at so forced to sit at a when table dining solo, which is not my favorite. However, the food is really great, the service is awesome and I love quirky.

The Barley Hound – well this is my most visited establishment in Prescott, namely because of the open patio, white lights, wine and dog friendly atmosphere.

Outlaw Donuts – just yum. The perfect day starts with a hike, then a donut here and then basically anything else because you’ve set the stage for awesome.

I’m writing this from a wonderful little brewery called Coppertop Alehouse & Still Works.    It’s really quite wonderful, all locals and they all seem to know each other, the decor is on point and the White IPA is perfect. They have a live music schedule and food but I will have to explore these on another day. I will definitely be back the Owner/Brewer is from San Diego and lived in OB. I feel at home here.

~ happily,

kim

the way life should be

Maine.

I am obsessed with Maine.  It started about two years ago, I went to Portland for work.

Woolwich, ME

Woolwich, ME

It was December and I drove from Boston in a blizzard and I still loved it.  I walked to my first meeting, in what I thought was a winter coat, a cream wool coat from Banana Republic.  I stopped at the light waiting to cross and a car drove by, through a puddle and my beautiful cream, “winter”, coat was now grey and soaking wet. I learned a valuable lesson that day.  Don’t wear white in the winter, it has nothing to do with fashion “rules”.

I realize I am not really selling you on Maine yet.  After my meeting, I walked down the street to find a local coffee shop to work, I stumbled into a fabulous little spot Bard Coffee. I go there at least once every time I’m in Portland. Downtown Portland is incredible, it’s walkable and cute, tons of restaurants and shops and just down the hill is the Port, which has some tourist trap restaurants and then it has J’s Oysters. J’s is where locals drink beer at noon on Tuesday.  Everyone knows each other and an outta towner in business attire stands out like a sore thumb.  Which really just means that they know to help you find a seat and make lunch recommendations. I love it there.

trail running

trail running

Recently, I had a craving for oysters and Sav Blanc so I checked out Eventide. I made friends with a woman who moved there from Southern California, her husband was a local and had just accepted a dare to eat a six year old oyster.  It was the largest oyster I had ever seen and quite possibly one of the more disgusting human feats.  What a fun group! Overtime I’ve made friends in Maine and even found myself at Sugarloaf last January and am going again next January. Also, there’s a great running trail along Casco Bay – little rolling hills and great site seeing, it’s just perfect.

I feel like Southern Maine and Southern California have a lot in common.  Not the weather.  The weather is not the same, at all, not even close. But the food, the lifestyle, the mountains, there’s great running and beaches. Old Orchard Beach is 7 miles of beach! There’s even surfing, I haven’t done it yet.  I’m terrified as the best surfing is in the winter, but it’s on the to-do list. I even toy with the idea of moving there.  Not forever, San Diego is my forever home but just for a little while so I can have a new adventure.  See new places.  I mean I need to go see the stars in the Acadia National Park!

I may have to create a Top 10 To-Do list for Maine.

~ happily,

kim

pura vida

surf, sunset, cocktails at the El Bee.

surf, sunset, cocktails.

It was a short trip, benefit of traveling constantly for work – flying on miles can justify ashort trip to Central America for a friend’s wedding.  I feel as if I dipped my toe in the water, just enough to know, I want to come back here.  We stayed at an all inclusive for the wedding, which to me is like a vacation prison but I understand the appeal for a wedding and for families. Although I did manage to meet the one single guy at the resort, a United Pilot, named Craig, super cute but lives in New Jersey.  Craig, call me, let’s get fish tacos next time you fly to San Diego.

Luckily, I had my birthday twinsie, Stacey, there and we took a day to explore. Stacey is a gypsy at heart as well and I love her. I came home and when people asked about the trip, I described it as my neighborhood, Pacific Beach on steroids. The people were friendly and chill, the food was awesome, the beaches lovely and the culture was a total surf town.  However, day we had to surf was not very good, in fact, the winds were so strong that my surfboard blew out of the water after I jumped off it and I had to catch it in the air to keep from knocking myself out.  It was intense but we had so much fun. First of all, we surfed in bikinis, that does not happen in San Diego, the waters are just too cold. Also, we made friends with a guy from Boston, Nick, and I learned you can surf in Boston – MIND BLOWN.  Will have to find that spot.

After being offered a sunset ride on a pony by not one local but two, we found a little place in Tamarindo called The El Bee and had sunset drinks.  Oh and also, just to be clear, there were TWO locals on ONE pony.  I laughed heartily and then instantly felt awful for the pony who looked miserable with two drunk dudes riding on her back trying to pick up women. The El Bee is a fantastic place with great drinks, hammocks, swings, bean bags, live music and it’s all right there on the beach. I never wanted to leave.

We're not actually a family...

We’re not actually a family…

I didn’t think I would want to go play with monkeys at one of the local Canopy’s but everyone said it was amazing and I had to do it. I mean I do love monkeys, slightly terrified of them but not one to miss out on something I tagged along.  Although when he offered to hold the snakes, I not only declined I went to the other end of the farm.  He had just brought two back from the woods that had ESCAPED.  He dropped them back through holes into their cages. I kept thinking this system is not very secure. I hate snakes. I hate snakes more than Samuel Jackson.  Actually, I still blame Harrison Ford for my fear of snakes.  Why did they have to have that snake pit scene.  I mean how many times did I wake up in the middle of the night only to step down into that pit.

Totally off track…what did I learn in Costa Rica? Well I knew when I headed down there that I was already planning on going in August for another Surf Camp.  But being there in vacation prison reminded me that I don’t want my vacations scripted, or an agenda or schedule or whatever you want to call it.  I want to be free, to explore, to learn what the locals do or eat and see it all. I want to really experience the place that I am in.  So Costa Rica I will be back, but it will be on my terms, so I can experience as you say, the pure vida.

~ happily,

kim