Jan 7, 2018

Visiting Scottsdale

 When I realized that Scottsdale and Phoenix were about equal distance from the Phoenix airport John and I decided to stay in Scottsdale.  It was a good choice.  The Hotel Valley Ho is one of the Historic Hotels of America but vintage 1950s. It was a bit depressing learning that a hotel built in the 1950s
met the qualifications as an historic hotel.  The Hotel Valley Ho is considered by architects to be “one of the best examples of a mid-century hotel.”  It was a getaway for the Hollywood elite and is where Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner were married.  The hotel has beautiful gardens and two swimming pools. Sadly a cold front came through and it was too cold to go swimming but there is a lot to do in the area. The hotel has an excellent location on the edge of Old Town Scottsdale. In fact it is on the edge of the Art District.  

Old Town, as one would expect, has maintained its Main Street
look. Not far from the hotel we visited the Western Spirit: Scottsdale Museum of the West which is a Smithsonian affiliate. One of their current exhibits is The Rennard Strickland Collection of Western Film History, a collection of old west movie posters.  I was able to recall many of the old time movies.  It wasn’t surprising since, as a youngster, I was only allowed to go the movies on Saturday nights and it was when the cowboy movies were featured. Beside a great collection of artwork they had a wonderful collection of Hopi pottery that spans six centuries.

The Abe Hays Family Spirit of the West Collection of saddles, spurs, badges, and clothing was extensive. Plus there were mockups of a saloon, store and sheriff’s office.  I liked the factoid part. One said that the U.S. Calvary pursuing Apaches could travel 25 miles a day but the Apache, on foot, could run 75!  And, one time Geronimo wanted to see the “big water” so he ran all the way from San Madres to the Gulf of California. What a man! 

We visited the nearby Desert Botanical Garden. I wish there had
been tickets for their Luminarias which is featured every Christmas. In the evening 8000 luminaries are lit (most have candles) by 200 volunteers. At the entrance there was a Chihuly glass sculpture.  His work is easy to recognize. There are also unique sculptures scattered throughout the gardens. Docents were available to answer questions and give demonstrations. 

There is no doubt about it my favorite museum was the Musical Instrument Museum. We had to drive to it but most things we visited were easy to get to off the I-10. Near the entrance there were two impressive Vanuatu slit drums. There is a piano in the grand lobby where a young lady was playing – nice introduction to the museum. Qualified guests are invited to play. I could have spent hours in the Geographic gallery
– it’s a trip around the world through music with tableaus that not only featured the musical instruments of an area but also the clothing and other artifacts. Most vignettes had a video of the actual ethnic groups playing some of the instrumentation in native apparel. It seems humans must have music in their life and can make it out of anything in their environment from bones to fruit to oil drums.  “Music is the language of the soul” and something everyone can enjoy regardless of their culture.