The Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona

The Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona

The Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona

Just slightly north of the downtown core, The Clarendon Hotel is nestled away in a quiet neighbourhood. It’s the perfect spot to step back in time all while enjoying modern amenities and design. I was originally drawn to its midcentury vibe only to discover it was actually built in 1972! That might explain the artful use of mirrors vertically throughout the stone facade. A little further research and I discovered that a journalist by the name of Don Bolles was murdered outside the hotel when a bomb was placed under his car in June of 1976. One of my favourite attributes a hotel can possess is the intrigue of having a rich history, just like the Hotel Congress in Tucson. I swear these hotels find me! Anyway, I very much enjoyed staying at the Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona, and here’s why:

Breakfast at Tranquilo

Question: What’s better than a hotel with a restaurant attached to it? Answer: A GOOD restaurant that serves Mexican food. And that’s exactly what Tranquilos is. The horchatas are perfection, the service was amazing, and the menu was super flexible for dietary options (hello vegetarian choices!). If that wasn’t enough, we even saw Aquaman dining one morning. 

Unlimited Snacks

If you’re aren’t sated from the delicious menu of Tranquilos, not to worry! The Clarendon Hotel offers a wide variety of complementary snacks from the concierge desk. I can confirm that I was a regular visitor of this endless candy counter. Any offer of a peanut butter cup and I’m there. 

Location, Location, Location!

The location of accommodations directly affects what kind of trip you will have. If the hotel is far from everything, the trip will be spent commuting to the places you want to be. Fortunately, The Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona is, dare I say, the perfect location. Keeping a mindful distance from the downtown core where parking can be a real nuisance, especially during the event of a cattle convention (true story.) Not only is there covered parking for the hotel (which turns out is pretty important in the desert heat) but also ample street parking as well. In addition to that, it’s quick and easy to get to a number of notable spots within Phoenix. 

The Suite Life

Any hotel suite that comes with a full closet, a fridge, and a sitting area is alright with me. The Clarendon goes one step further by having their suites situated all around the courtyard pool, and that is a true delight. I love being close to the water! Aside from that, another feature I was stoked on was all the storage space for my toiletries. I know this sounds like a minor detail but as a person who travels with a few many products, it’s nice to have somewhere to put them that isn’t in the way. 

PRODUCTS I TRAVELLED WITH

Speaking of the few many products I travelled with… here’s a couple things on the shelves that I particularly love:

TOP SHELF
EVA NYC clean it up shampoo / soften it up conditioner – c/o
BIODERMA Sensibio H2O Make-up Removing Miceller – c/o

SECOND SHELF
NARS afterglow lip balm in orgasm – c/o
GLOSSIER haloscope in quartz – c/o
NUDE BY NATURE moisture shine lipstick 05 pale coral – c/o

THIRD SHELF
SKINCEUTICALS Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF50 – c/o
SKINCEUTICALS C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment – c/o
ESSIE nail polishes – c/o

FOURTH SHELF
THE WITCHERY cedar oil – c/o
KIEHL’S midnight recovery concentrate – c/o
IMAGE SKINCARE the max stem cell creme – c/o

FIFTH SHELF
SAJE exotic deodorant spray
OUAI hair oil – c/o (this is one of the few things from the line that I like the smell of)
SHEA MOISTURE 100% pure shea oil – c/o
IMAGE SKINCARE the max stem cell facial cleanser – c/o

The Outdoor Amenities

Duuuuuuuuuuuude. As I mentioned before, the courtyard pool is one of the dreamiest features of the Clarendon. After a day exploring the city, coming back to luxuriate in the hot tub was the best. There was always the option to make a visit to the rooftop deck with a view of downtown Phoenix instead. I would recommend both at least once. 🙂

The Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona

And that is the Clarendon Hotel Phoenix Arizona! As a person who visits the state at least once a year, I love continuing to discover new spots to share. For more Arizona related content check out my posts here. And for more travel in general, peep my travel section.

photographs – Jesse Sand + Sandy Joe Karpetz

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Harrison Hot Springs Travel Guide

Harrison Hot Springs Travel Guide

Harrison Hot Springs Travel Guide

It wouldn’t be a trip to the Fraser Valley without a stop in the Harrison area. After flying into Abbotsford courtesy of Swoop (see my Abbotsford BC Travel Guide) we took the scenic ride to Harrison Mills and then Harrison Hot Springs. Our drive was peppered with some thrift stops and a lot of gorgeous scenery thanks to the Harrison River. Food was eaten, nature was enjoyed, and sights were seen. With that said, keep scrolling for my Harrison Hot Springs Travel Guide.

EAT

Between Harrison Mills and Harrison Hot Springs, there’s no shortage of food options. From sushi, to pubs, to a full on fine dining with a live band and dance floor experience… the fare was most agreeable. Here are a few of the places I had the pleasure dining at.

Breakfast

The Clubhouse (Harrison Mills)

While staying at Rowena’s Inn on the River (more on that later) in Harrison Mills, we dined at The Clubhouse on the golf course. It overlooks the course as well as the Harrison River, a view that cannot be beat. And the breakfast was delightful – any type of Mexican option is always a yes for me. 

Muddy Waters Cafe (Harrison Hot Springs)

Breakfast burritos!!!! Need I say more? Well yes, yes I do. Here’s another breakfast option that’s right on the water. The Muddy Waters Cafe is located across the street from the lake in Harrison Hot springs. It’s a cozy cafe that has ample seating and a delightful London Fog. A drink that I enjoyed so much that I drank it all before realizing I should have photographed it. Whoops. Their nachos are pretty dope too.

Treats

Rocky Mountain Chocolate (Harrison Hot Springs)

I am not one to say no to chocolate. Ever. And in Harrison Hot Springs, you can get chocolate Sasquatch feet at Rocky Mountain Chocolate. So obviously I did and it was epic. 10/10 would recommend. 

Dinner

Morgan’s Bistro (Harrison Hot Springs)

First of all, the view of the lake is epic. It also didn’t hurt that we stayed in the hotel directly above this fine establishment so the commute was more than manageable. There were several vegetarian options (fried eggplant / tomato bisque soup / a fresh salad) so we were well covered on that front.

The Copper Room (Harrison Hot Springs)

In all honesty, the vegetarian options were very sparse at the old Copper Room. And what was available was absurdly dairy heavy (hello 5 cheese ravioli in a cheese sauce?) But what it lacked in veggie fare, it made up for in entertainment. This should probably be in the to-do section… but I make the rules around here! I would recommend this evening for anyone who enjoys people watching and cover bands. And that my friends, is me. 

SLEEP

Rowena’s Inn on the River (Harrison Mills)

Driving up to Rowena’s encapsulates the image I have whenever I longingly think about visiting the PNW. It was a misty day with the smell of wet cedar hanging in the air. The tall trees dwarfed our car by comparison but the drive down the long elegant road to the inn was verdant and inviting. It was both a place of enchanting beauty of a romantic comedy but also maybe the start of an episode of the X Files. Both of which I adore deeply. We slept in a log cabin with a wood burning fireplace and woke up to the birds singing in a blossoming tree right outside our window. IT WAS TOO PERFECT! Not to mention a Hallmark movie was being filmed on location while we were there!

Harrison Beach Hotel (Harrison Hot Springs)

First things first…. THE VIEW! There is nothing quite like watching a sunset over a body of water. The Harrison Beach Hotel has a front row seat to one of the most spectacular views in Harrison Hot Springs. In addition to the spectacular view, the location could not be any better. The hotel was right smack dab in the middle of all the local hot spots (hiking trails, restaurants, the actual hot springs!) We parked our car and didn’t use it again until we had to drive back to the airport. 

DO

While we were only there for a few short days, we managed to pack in quite a few excursions. My favourite of them were quite simple and most likely obvious for the area….. but here they are!

Sasquatch Museum + Statues (Harrison Hot Springs)

The visitor centre in Harrison Hot Springs has a sasquatch museum in the back and it is totally worth popping by. First of all, the price is right – it’s free. There’s the classic film of the female sasquatch wandering through the bushes and if that’s not enough to pique interest, there’s also some great information on the history of the sasquatch and how it relates to the area. Who doesn’t want to find out about the place they’re visiting? 

The Harrison Hot Springs Pool

It’s in the name of the town so naturally it’s an attraction that one should visit while in town. The public pool is a chill indoor space with a massive picture window overlooking the lake. It was quaint and dreamy – a location you would see on Accidentally Wes Anderson for sure. I love hanging out at any type of hot spring, they’re just so dang relaxing. 

Sandy Cove Whippoorwill Point Hike (Harrison Hot Springs)

The Sandy Cove Whippoorwill Trail is a 4km hike is a nice loop trail that goes along the Harrison River that leads to the lake. I say easy but the beginning of the trail is somewhat intimidating as it’s quite uphill for a little bit. I am by no means a serious hiker and I was able to do it with improper footwear so there’s that. At the point where the river meets the lake, there’s a nice little bench to take a rest on so pack a snack and savour it there. 

The Hot Springs Source (Harrison Hot Springs)

If a hike is a little too intimidating, take a leisurely walk to the Harrison Hot Springs source. It’s an easy walking path that’s more like a gravel/dirt road. Watch the steam rise out behind the breeze blocks and breath in the sulphury goodness! (Check out the embedded Google Map for directions)

Just Go Walking

No matter where I visit, I always make a point of walking. It’s a great way to check out the area and find things that aren’t necessarily on tour guides. Even the time of day can change what you notice…. like the lighting from this motel really called me while we walked home from our dinner. And Harrison is a very enjoyable town to walk whether it be following the river in town or strolling along the beach. Just go walking!

Harrison Hot Springs Travel Guide

That concludes my Harrison Hot Springs Travel Guide! If you enjoyed the accompanying vlog, feel free to check out my YouTube channel. For more city guides, check out the Travel Section of my blog. 🙂 

Photographs – Jesse Sand + Sandy Karpetz

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Many thanks to Swoop Airlines & Harrison Tourism for arranging this amazing trip!

Fraser Valley BC Travel Vlog

Fraser Valley BC Travel Vlog

Fraser Valley BC Travel Vlog

I had such a swell time on my trip that I even made at Fraser Valley BC Travel Vlog to accompany my Abbotsford BC Travel Guide! It was a whirlwind trip filled with fresh blooms a la the annual Abbotsford Tulip Festival, delicious food, and curious sightings. We had a major Twin Peaks moment too! A mysterious man had a face tattooed on the back of his head (more on that in the vlog!) We also spent a couple days in Sasquatch country which was a lifelong dream come true. There’s even a museum devoted to the elusive sasquatch! 

Other Travel Posts

If my Fraser Valley BC Travel Vlog hasn’t sated the desire for travel content, feel free to check out the travel section of my blog. Or even head to my YouTube Channel for more travel vlogs. Exploring offbeat travel destinations is one of my specialities. Especially if it involves an oddity I’ve discovered firsthand or from Atlas Obscura! With that said, I’m slowly making my way through the 411 oddities available in Canada alone!

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Dark Denim Cowgirl at Schnepf’s Farm

Dark Denim Cowgirl at Schnepf’s Farm

Dark Denim Cowgirl at Schnepf’s Farm

Perhaps you may recall this look from my Mesa Arizona City Guide? If not, here’s the full meal deal, the dark denim cowgirl at Schnepf’s Farm! I probably should have titled this post Heavy Western Parking Lot. Anyway, keep scrolling for the look details. 🙂

OUTFIT DETAILS

BAILEY’S OF HOLLYWOOD black hat – c/o (similar here)
RAY BAN aviator sunglasses – c/o Shopbop
UNKNOWN bandana 
LEVI’S customized trucker jacket – c/o
THRIFTED vintage beaded bag 
VINTAGE western belt
THRIFTED black dress
ALDO  Drerissa boots – c/o

photographs – Jesse Sand

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Abbotsford BC Travel Guide

Abbotsford BC Travel Guide

Abbotsford BC Travel Guide

Abbotsford has been a town I have known about for ages but always treated as a pit stop on the way to Vancouver Island. Not anymore! Had I know what magic was waiting for me just off the side of the highway, I wouldn’t have waited this long to explore. For this visit, we were kindly flown out by Swoop airlines. (It was one of the easiest check-ins I’ve ever experienced to date.) For those planning a trip to the Fraser Valley region here’s my Abbotsford BC Travel Guide.

EAT

There was no shortage of amazing places to eat. In fact, there were such a plethora of choices, some of these recommendations are of places I wish we could have gone had we stayed longer. Did I know there would be such diverse food options available in Abbotsford? No, I did not. Was I pleasantly surprised there were vegetarian AND plant-based options? Yes, words cannot describe my joy when we began sussing out the area.

Cafes & Bakeries

The Polly Fox

The Polly Fox is a delightful cafe that has vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free friendly fare. Located on the main street of the historic downtown strip in a dreamy heritage building space. We had the Vegan BLT and a London Fog with soy milk – both were something to write home about!

Oldhand

Another delightful cafe in historic downtown Abbotsford is Oldhand. Their decor is like a breath of nostalgic air with old wooden chairs one would find themselves sitting in during a gym assembly back in the day. And I love it. Their London Fogs are also a true delight along with the vast array of delightful pastries. 

The Habit Project

There is nothing I love more than a juicery that has both amazing juice and minimal design decor. The Habit Project is a breath of fresh from their incredible in house made juices to the bright white surroundings.  We had the Jade and Ruby cold pressed juices as well as their chickpea caesar salad. SO GOOD. Just wow. 

Ivana Teahouse

Though we didn’t actually go inside to enjoy the Ivana Teahouse, it looks like a place I would love. It’s inclusion on this list is to remind me to check it out next time. And hopefully this time we’ll be there not on a holiday weekend when its closed! 

Sit Down Dining

Little Brother

Little Brother was another place that looked delightful but was closed due to the long weekend. It’s a cute brunch spot right on the corner for optimum people watching. What else can I say? The menu looks dope.

Brodeur’s Bistro

DUUUUUUUUDEEEEEE. I don’t know if this is just a phase but the call of the buffalo cauliflower has been strong. I can’t seem to get enough of it. And Brodeur’s Bistro delivered the vegetarian goods! Their mac and cheese deserves a chef’s kiss too. The menu is heavily populated with meaty dishes; there are a handful of veggie options to choose from. Did I mention they have buffalo cauliflower? 😎 

SLEEP

Brookside Inn Boutique Hotel

Located amidst rolling hills and few vineyards for good measure, the Brookside Inn Boutique Hotel is a relaxing getaway spot. Run by Chris & Sandi Buis, the most lovely hosts of all time, this quiet inn has everything including film themed rooms. We stayed in the Midnight in Paris suite which overlooked the Pepin Brook Vineyard Estates. While dining on a delicious breakfast made by Sandi, we spotted multiple American Goldfinches flitting from tree to tree. Their impeccably kept garden was the perfect spot to channel my inner Disney princess surrounded by cute critters. Also it’s 5 minutes from the Abbotsford airport so that’s rad too.

SHOP

Historic Downtown Abbotsford

Hemingway’s Books

It was steady drizzling the day we spent in downtown Abbotsford so naturally we dipped into a used bookstore in between feeding times. Hemingway’s Books is a treasure trove of antique and contemporary books all priced reasonably. We took our sweet time wandering up and down every single aisle. A used bookstore on a rainy day is basically a scene in an indie movie I would watch. 

Montrose + George General Store // Yes Chef

Both of these shops were closed – Easter weekend is a tough one for non-essential services! But I pressed my nose up against Montrose + George General Store and Yes Chef. Can confirm they looked rad. I must stop by again and hopefully cross the threshold of each purveyor. 

Freewheelin’ Records // Confetti Floral Design 

Here are two more businesses that looked intriguing as I gazed through their inviting windows. Both Freewheelin’ Records and Confetti Floral Design were admired from the sidewalk but are two shops I would make the time to pop into. 

DO

The Tulip Festival

Did you even go to Abbotsford if you didn’t go to the Abbotsford Tulip Festival? Well, technically, yes… but why would anyone want to miss this?! It’s like going to the Netherlands but without the hassle of expensive flights etc. Beyond being complete eye candy, the tulip festival is a great way to kickstart spring and get in the mood for more blooms to come! And if you lived in the prairies, a great way to escape the dusty aftermath of winter. The dates vary season to season but you can usually count on it happening in April. 

Maan Farms & Winery

Petting cute animals and drinking a flight of wine created from berries are two experiences I never knew I wanted to combine, until now. The Maan Farms and Winery is a must when in the Abbotsford area. They champion a completely in house production of their wines from ‘ground to glass’. Assuming that their wine must be ultra sweet because it’s made with fruit is a miscalculation. Their selection of wine is a wonderful spectrum of sweet, dry, crisp and everything in between.

Castle Fun Park

Alas I have no photo of the Castle Fun Park because I still haven’t had the pleasure of going there – but this summer!!! Mark my words I will mini golf there. It HAS to happen. I cannot drive by that castle one more time without having experienced it from only the highway!

Abbotsford BC Travel Guide

The fun doesn’t just stop in Abbotsford, I’m also putting together my Fraser Valley travel guide too! If you’re in the Abbotsford area, the drive to Harrison Hot Springs is a definite must. With that said, I’m looking forward to my annual west coast road trip this summer. This time, I can stop by again and fill up on juice from The Habit Project and enjoy a quick round of mini golf at the Castle Fun Park! As always, I will continue to update my Abbotsford BC Travel Guide post and the Google Map as I continue to discover more with every visit. I’m always open to new recommendations so please leave those in the comments below! And for more travel content check out my On The Road section.

photographs – Jesse Sand + Sandy Karpetz

Many thanks to Swoop Airlines & Abbotsford Tourism for arranging this amazing trip!

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Mesa Arizona City Guide

Mesa Arizona City Guide

Mesa Arizona City Guide

Arizona is one of those states that you can visit several times and still not see everything. This is probably why I continue to return year after year. That and my parents are snowbirds so it’s one of the only ways to spend time with them. I digress. Mesa is a rad town nestled between Phoenix and the Usery Mountain Regional Park. It’s the largest populated suburb in all of the US and it’s the third largest city in Arizona. All those fun facts aside, I present the Mesa Arizona City Guide! This is one of those posts that will continue to be updated as I discover more. 

EAT

The Fresh Foodie Trail

Agritourism is easily the best way to experience cuisine within a region and Mesa has this sector on lockdown. The freshest food right from the source is exactly what the Fresh Foodie Trail is all about. 

Queen Creek Olive Mill

The Queen Creek Olive Mill was where I found out how magical olive oil can truly be. Who knew olive trees could even grow in Arizona!? I’m embarrassed to say I’ve visited the area several times and just found out. I digress. The tour opened my eyes to the meticulous and delicate process of creating award winning olive oil. This was one gift shop I was truly excited to exit through. Did I mention they also serve food and prickly pear lemonade? 

Schnepf Farm

We were fully immersed in the trail when we stayed at the Schnepf Farm at the Cozy Peach (more on that later). We dined adjacent to a field, just down the road from where their peach trees were just beginning to bloom. 

Agritopia

Agritopia is the utopia of agriculture communities. It seamlessly mixes residential with farming right in the heart of Mesa! It also happens to be the home of the original stand-up mixer!? They also house a plethora of dining establishments. Pick from the Joe’s Farm GrillThe Coffee Shop, The Uprooted Kitchen (all plant-based and seasonal!) Garage-East wine bar, and 12 West Brewing. There is surely something to please every person in your party.

The Orange Patch

Our final stop on the Fresh Foodie Trail was The Orange Patch – a citrus dream in the form of a classic wooden roadside fruit shop. First of all: ⚠️!CUTE PHOTO ALERT! ⚠️This place is adorable. I could have spent the afternoon relaxing beneath the citrus trees. It smelled delightful. In addition to its cuteness, the orange juice made my eyes roll to the back of my head it was so good. 

SLEEP

The Cozy Peach at the Schenpf Farm

Whenever I think of “glamping” it will forever be synonymous with sixties camping trailers. What a treat it is to roll up to such a picture perfect scene: the sun setting on glistening Airstream trailers. And if that wasn’t dreamy enough, the warm cookie waiting instead our aluminum suite was enough to send me straight into a coma.

SHOP

Mesa Farmers Market & Flea

This is one stop you won’t want to miss. The Mesa Farmers Market & Flea happens every Saturday from 8am-1pm in Pioneer Park on the Main Street. It’s a perfect mix of food and fashion. My personal favourite was Cote and Co, a shop within a gutted school bus cutely named Birdy. IT WAS SO COOL. 

Barnone

Another lovely corner of Agritopia is Barnone, a retail space for local makers. My personal favourites were the Prickly Pear Paper shop – little pleases me more than cute stationery, and the vintage photobooth. I did not hesitate to jump in that booth and capture some shots to remember the day. In addition to that, in Johnston Machine Co. there was a machinist working away on metal while we looked on behind the safety of a glass wall. It was mesmerizing. 

DO

The Dolly Steamboat 

Step back in time and take a cruise around Canyon Lake on the most adorable tug there ever was, The Dolly Steamboat! It’s a great opportunity to sit back and watch the stunning rock formations of the Tonto National Forest. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some critters along the way. 

Goldfield Ghost Town / Superstition Mountains 

What’s a trip to Arizona without a high noon shootout? Did you even visit Arizona if you didn’t see a Ghost Town? The answer is no. Goldfield Ghost Town is one of the first stops on the Apache Trail and it boasts one of the most magnificent views of the Superstition Mountains. Not to mention, the various curios one finds in an old-timey western town – a mystery shack, gold panning, a reptile exhibit, mine tours, and so much more (including the off-themed zipline). 

The Apache Trail

While you’re cruising to the Goldfield Ghost Town and Dolly Steamboat, you’re already on your way up The Apache Trail. Might as well go all the way to Tortilla Flats and put a dollar on the wall of the restaurant by the same name. In fact, best to check out the washrooms in this joint too, there’s a photo opportunity not to be missed so bring a friend. 

Goat Yoga

Now hear me out, Goat Yoga something that everyone should do at least once. There’s something enjoyable and hilarious about having goats jumping around while trying to do yoga poses. Plus they are cute as heck. They even had a couple of stoic alpaca friends hanging out at the center of the yoga circle. My only advice is to wear a t shirt vs a tank and leave the shoes on. These are live animals and they do go to the washroom whenever nature calls. 

Neon Signs of Gilbert

My love of neon will never die. Thank goodness for places like Arizona who appreciate it as much as I do! Be sure to head down to Gilbert Road to check out there dining district and spectacular specimens of neon. It’s a feast for your eyes….and well, mouth too. There are several dining options to choose from.

Mesa Arizona City Guide

I will continue to update my Mesa Arizona City Guide post and the Google Map as I continue to discover more with every visit. I’m always open to new recommendations so please leave those in the comments below! And for more travel content check out my On The Road section.

xo SJ

Photographs – Jesse Sand + Sandy Joe Karpetz

Many thanks to Flair Air & Visit Mesa for arranging this amazing trip!

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