Saint Mary's Basilica
St. Mary's is the oldest Catholic Church in the Salt River Valley, founded in 1881, and staffed by Franciscan Friars since 1895.
The Basilica sits over the site of the original Adobe church.
The present church was dedicated in 1915, declared a National Historic Landmark in 1978, and designated a 'Basilica' in 1985 by Pope John Paul II
Hike up Piestewa (Squaw) Peak
This "mountain" has long been called Squaw Peak, but was recently renamed Piestewa Peak in honor of Pfc. Lori Piestewa, who is believed to be the first native American to be killed in combat while fighting for the US military.
For someone from the Northwest, who is used to being rewarded with expanses of natural beauty for reaching the top of the mountain, looking out over the city is a little strange.
The hike is short but steep - elevation gain of 1200 feet in 1.2 miles. ALL climbing on the way up. It's also pretty busy. You will run into people on this trail that have never been on another hike, as well as those running up and down the trail.
There are other, less intense trails in the area, as well.
Car Rentals is the Way to GO
Because of the huge area to cover in the Phoenix SMSA metro area, a vehicle is the best method of transport. The signs to find the rentals and return must be read carefully, though. They are off site from the airport, and shuttles needed to get to the 3 mile away destination
Wonderful Wine and Food, too!
Postino ("post office" in italian) is in a space that once was the post office for the Arcadia area of Phoenix. It no longer resembles its past except for the giant windows (garage-style doors) where the postal trucks used to load up, that are opened up to the spring breezes and summer nights. The colors are dark wood, aged cement floors, olive, ochre, & red walls -almost oriental feeling, not Italian,yet modern. They always display fresh flowers (even the restrooms have flowers in them) The space could feel very industrial yet, somehow the colors, the flowers, and the lighting make it feel more intimate.
Between 11am and 3pm is "happy hour" when all the wines by the glass are $5. And these are large "pours" - 6-8 oz - which are normally priced $7-$12 the rest of the day.
Postino only serves wine & beer (no hard alcohol). Oh, and food!
The bruschetta ($10) is fantastic. Crusty Italian bread spread with olive oil and rubbed with garlic topped with your choice of about 10 different things -- choose 4! They'll slice them into 2 or 3 or 4 pieces so that each and everyone in your group can sample. Other appetizers include a cheese plate, antipasto, NY grilled cheese, and of course, more olives! They also serve FRESH salads ($7 - $8) . Add the prosciutto or turkey (a buck or $2 extra) and you have a meal! Served on fococcia or ciabatta (get the ciabatta), the excellent sandwiches to choose from include prosciutto, or turkey, or artichoke, or there's the "grosso" or big, if you can't decide. They're served with a side salad or incredible homemade chips. If you have room, the deserts are all sweet, but not too sweet and seem to have a lightness about them (not in calories, but "feel") I'm particulary fond of a chocolate hazelnut torte.
Split anything with your dining partner(s) -- they'll even bring you an extra plate and don't mind cutting it into the appropriate number of pieces, etc.
You'll also find a variety of soft-drinks, coffee, tea, iced tea, mineral water (San Pelligrino), and real lattes & espressos. I really like it here on a Saturday afternoon. I come with hubby and friends and enjoy the wine, the food, and the conversation. I feel good when I'm done, never stuffed or bloated. Just satisfied and content and relaxed. Life is good.
Open 11 -11; closed Sundays.
Day trip to Sedona
It was a scenic 110 miles drive to Sedona from Phoenix in Arizona.
Surrounded by red colored sandstone cliffs and hills, Sedona is a great nature getaway.
If you are a fan of the cartoon "Peanuts", look out for the rock formations resembling "Snoopy" lying on the dog house with the ever present "Lucy"
There are spas, golf resorts, art galleries and souvenir shopping. It is a place where the photos do not do justice. There is like a panaromic view of the red rocks in the horizon.
Great place to revitalize the spirits.