Have you lived in or visited Arizona? Tell us about it!

Scottsdale, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA (North America) – March 2018 — I love my town and I never want to leave. I wasn’t born in Scottsdale, but it has been a town that my family has lived in for years. I love all the different shopping, restaurants, and activities that my town offers. Scottsdale has always been seen as the town where the wealthier people live, which can be true in North Scottsdale. I prefer Old Town, the crowd is young and there is lots to do. I love that my friends and I all live in the same area which allows us to always hang out. The only thing I don’t like is how many people are here now. Scottsdale has always been a destination for snowbirds, but over the years, more and more people come here during the winter months. Now we have spring training, the Waste Management Open, Barrett Jackson, and many other events that bring so many people here. It is great for the economy, but the traffic gets crazy.

Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona, USAJanuary 2018 – I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona (85021) during the late 1980s, early 1990s. It was a very safe place to grow up, which made it a very stress-free childhood. The winters were beautiful, however, the summers were extremely hot since we lived in the desert. Most of my memories center around swimming in our pool with my friends, or going to other friends’ houses to swim in their pools in order to beat the heat. One thing I definitely missed by growing up in Phoenix was having seasons, and an abundance of grass. Instead, while we did have grass in our front yard, we were the exception to the rule. Most front and backyards that I remember had rock or dirt instead. I remember taking advantage of the winters by constantly golfing or running outside, because I knew that come May, it would be so hot outside that I would not want to be out in the sun for more than 5 minutes at a time.

Living in central Phoenix, we had access to all the major amenities, and every type of store or restaurant you could think of was available within a 15 minute drive. Due to the city’s heavy Hispanic population, we were lucky enough to grow up with some of the best Mexican food in all of the United States. I realized this when I moved to the midwest for a few years for college. I have fond memories of growing up in Phoenix, but do not have fond memories of dealing with the hot summers.

Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023, USA – December 2016 —  In 2006, I took a chance on visiting the Grand Canyon in February during school vacation week with my eight-year-old daughter. Bad weather that time of year could have ruined the trip, but we got lucky and had perfect weather at a time of year when the crowds stay away. We were able to book a room in the Bright Angel Lodge, and walk out the back door to look right over the rim of the Grand Canyon – a magnificent view. If we had tried to go during the summer, chances are this lodge would have been booked solid and we would have been forced to stay in a hotel outside the park. We were also able to drive around the park in February along roads where driving is prohibited during peak tourist season (only shuttles allowed). Our room at the Bright Angel Lodge wasn’t anything like a modern hotel room – there wasn’t even a TV. I was surprised, but then decided the accommodations were perfect.

We had come to appreciate nature and the break from modern technology was fitting. I bought a book about the Grand Canyon at the Visitor’s Center, and in the evening my daughter and I read it together and looked at the pictures. The weather was mild, and we were there for five days before I finally saw a cloud in the sky. The air was so dry that my lips were chapped. Having lived through many a hot, humid summer in the Midwest and New England, I had always thought the “dry heat” in Arizona would be great. But, in fact, I quickly realized during this trip that this dry air wasn’t anything I wanted to experience long-term. Traffic came to a standstill when we were driving back to Phoenix from the Grand Canyon. A fatal rollover accident tied up traffic for hours. This would be dangerous if it were July and over one hundred degrees out. I took an exit off the highway and stopped at a small grocery store, naively asking the two checkout clerks about an alternative route to Phoenix. They looked at me with blank stares before explaining that the highway where traffic was at a standstill was the only way to get to Phoenix.

The reality sunk in. In New England, where I was from, the “back roads” were always an alternative when a highway backed up. Not here. Well, no problem, I told myself. The exit sign off the highway had distinctly described the place I was in now as a “city.” So my daughter and I would kill a few hours here. I asked the two grocery clerks what there was to do. Again, they looked at me with blank stares. It turned out that this “city” was pretty much a Mayberry RFD, consisting of not much more than a grocery store, a gas station, and a small park. It was a long wait until the traffic on the highway started moving again. We spent one day in Phoenix before flying home to New England. We visited the Desert Botanical Garden, an attraction I highly recommend. The tour guide explained desert survival – “Bring water with you or die.” He also explained how we could find out what the weather was like in Phoenix in the summer: “Stick your head in your oven.”