Our Adventures in Scottsdale: Brunch and Frank Lloyd Wright Day 2 #ScottsdaleAZ

Through a kaleidoscope at the Camelback Inn-Photo by A Little Bite of Life

Last week, I shared my story of our first day of fun in Scottsdale.  I’m back to show you Day 2 (of 3) of our Scottsdale adventures!

After a good nights rest, we headed to brunch at Rita’s Kitchen, located at the Marriott Camelback Inn.  The morning was partly cloudy, yet still warm; a beautiful spring Arizona day.   We’ve lived in the Phoenix area for twelve years, yet this time of year is still a novelty to me.  While the rest of the country, (particularly the northeast, where I grew up) is still in a deep freeze, Arizona is stretching its arms toward the warm spring sun.   The wildflowers have started to bloom, and the air is rich with the scent of desert sage, pinion, yucca flower, and creosote.  Have you ever smelled the scent of the Sonoran desert in the springtime?  There is nothing like it in the world!

While in Scottsdale, be sure to make a stop at The Camelback Inn, if not to stay, at least to eat and wander the grounds.  Though the Camelback Inn is located in Paradise Valley, a suburb of Scottsdale, the two areas share a close tourist partnership.

The Camelback Inn opened its doors in 1936, and is one of the oldest resorts in the area.  Originally a winter-only resort, it was purchased in 1968 by Bill Marriott, of Marriott International, and with the addition of air-conditioning, became a year-round resort (Bill Marriott still stays at the Camelback Inn every spring with his family).  The rooms at Camelback Inn are adobe-style casitas, decorated with native American art.  Back in 1946, there were accommodations for only 77 people, but today the resort boasts 453 casitas, six tennis courts, volleyball courts, basketball court, a world-class spa, and two heated pools.  The main building, which houses Rita’s Kitchen, still has the original 1936 logo on the front, “Time Stands Still.”

Built against the Mummy Mountains, the front of the resort faces the beautiful Camelback Mountains.  I’ve never been to The Camelback Inn at sunset, but I am sure the view is spectacular.  The Camelback Inn has two top-notch restaurants: BLT Steak and Rita’s Kitchen.  Our brunch at Rita’s Kitchen was one of the best brunches I’ve ever had, and our time at the Camelback Inn was relaxing and decadent.

After eating, we wandered the grounds of the Camelback Inn to stretch our legs, then headed to Taliesin West.  I’ll share more about our brunch later…

Our next stop, Taliesin West, was the winter home of world famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.  Built in 1937, Wright used Taliesin West as his winter residence until his death in 1959.  Wright traveled from his summer home, Taliesin, in Spring Green, Wisconsin, on the advice of his doctor, who recommended Arizona as a relief for his arthritis.  Wright fell in love with the area, and chose the foothills of the McDowell Mountains as the site of his winter home.  Taliesin West was built with an eye for keeping the desert vista intact, using materials found locally (except for the redwood beams used on the roof), as well as the rustic desert colors of red, brown, yellow, and gold.

Photo by A Little Bite of Life for personal use only

The use of natural light was an important component for building at Taliesin West,  and the buildings were built and used without glass windows for many years, until Wrights wife, Olgivanna, begged him for windows to keep out the elements.   Wrights love of shapes, particularly triangles, as well as his admiration for Asian and native American art, is evident throughout Taliesin West.

Photo by A Little Bite of Life for personal use only

As we walked through the Taliesin West complex with our (terrific and very knowledgeable) guide, Chris, we marveled at how Wright blended the architecture into the surrounding desert.  The design of his buildings were breathtaking, and the history of Wright, his muddled love life and family history, were fascinating. Although he built Taliesin West in his 70′s, many of his most famous designs, including the Guggenheim Museum (NYC), were designed at Taliesin West. 

Photo by A Little Bite of Life for personal use only

Today, the home is owned by The Frank Lloyd Foundation, and serves as the winter campus for the fully accredited Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The site was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1982, and has been nominated as a World Heritage Site.

Daily tours of the home are available by reservation every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.

Photo by A Little Bite of Life for personal use only

Taliesin West conducts tours in the summer, and I highly recommend the Night Lights tour, which captures the brilliant colors of sunset in the architecture and pools throughout the complex.  I also recommend well-behaved children only on the tours, as there are many fragile pieces of sculpture, pottery, and original architectural pieces at the complex.  My son (14), who is considering a career in architecture, found the tour fascinating. 

After a day of splendid food, gorgeous views, and a fascinating tour, we were drowsy with the beauty to be found in Scottsdale.  There is so much to do in Scottsdale, I’m already making plans for our next trip back.  I am blessed to live so close, so we can pop over to Scottsdale whenever we’d like, but for those of you who must travel to Scottsdale from afar, make certain you research the many hotel, restaurant, tour, and adventure options available in Scottsdale, so you too, can experience Scottsdale to its fullest.

I have one more day in Scottsdale to share with you, a shopping trip to Kierland Commons with my bestie, Doll Face, and lunch at one of the areas finest restaurants.  Stay tuned…


One important thing to note about Taliesin West:  Use of photography is allowed in certain areas only, but only for personal use.  All other photography must be approved by the Foundation.  I was careful to take photographs only in the designated areas, and my photography was approved by a staff member before our tour.  My photography is for personal use only, and will not be sold.

For more information about the Marriott Camelback Inn, visit their website.  You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.  

* For more information about Taliesin West, visit their website.  Tour tickets can be purchased online through Zerve.

* To find out about the many hotels, restaurants, and activities available in Scottsdale, visit Experience Scottsdale.   You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

See Day 1 of our adventure here:  Day 1 of our Scottsdale Adventure

(Disclosure:  I received a gift card from Experience Scottsdale to use toward my weekend in Scottsdale, but my opinions are 100% my own.)