Two and a half years ago I spent a week in Sedona AZ and dropped down to Page Springs AZ to visit the wineries and do some tastings. The result of that was a few bottles of wine in my trunk to bring back home with me. But I was too conservative. Those few bottles of wine were excellent and didn't last long. And these wines are from small batch wineries, their products not sold outside of AZ.
With this trip to Scottsdale for the Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon, I had another chance.
But before I put too many more miles on my Mazda, I needed to get it in for a service, so before I left home for this trip I got on the internet and found a Mazda dealer not too far from where I'd be staying at the Villa Mirage Resort. I called and made an appointment and this morning I got up early and drove over there, stopping at McDonald's to pick up a Sausage Egg McMuffin and large Latte to take with me.
The folks here were great...so friendly and efficient. They had me done within an hour and I even got a Holiday goody bag from them. A nice Mazda tote bag, a drink cup with lid and straw, a large notepad, couple of sticky notes pads and some logo pens.
This Mazda dealership was convenient to I-17, exactly where I needed to be, since I planned to drive up to Page Springs after getting my car serviced.
I-17 between Scottsdale and the exit for Cornville is about as entertaining a drive as an interstate can get. Within 70 miles, it gains 3,000 feet elevation through some very rugged and pretty terrain.
I had two wineries in my crosshairs: Oak Creek Winery and Page Springs Winery. These are two of several wineries in this area, but are the two that I was the most impressed with. They are boutique-sized, their tasting rooms surrounded by vineyards and creating unique and clever blends using grapes that do well in this area.
|Page Springs Winery|
Case of wine safely stowed in the back of my SUV, I continued up the road about 1/2 mile to Oak Creek Winery.
|Labeling a batch of wine...at Oak Creek.|
|Oak Creek Winery|
It was a little after noontime so I headed back to my car, stowed my new purchases in the back of the SUV alongside the other wines.
A little bit of internet research resulted in a potential good "find" for lunch. I often rely on the website TripAdvisor when I'm planning a trip. It has helped me find places to stay and to eat and the reviews are reliable.
My "find" was a place called Harry's Hideaway, located at the junction of Cornville Rd and Page Springs Road near Cornville. The restaurant has received numerous glowing reviews and the website showed a menu that seemed too good to be true for such an out-of-the way restaurant. But it is within striking distance of Sedona and Prescott, so it could be true.
I stepped inside and immediately felt comfortable. It's a small little place and the ambience is that of a small country restaurant somewhere in Europe.
The owners and the waiter were a delight to talk to. I learned that they are from Chicago and had a place down in this area but decided to move down to this area permanently. They had a 220-seat restaurant in Chicago so are obviously experienced restauranteurs. The menu at Harry's Hideaway is exquisite! I wish it wasn't so far away from where I'm staying. I'd eat here everyday if it were closer, just to have the opportunity to work my way through this menu. They make everything themselves. The pizza dough is cooked over a wood fire. They smoke their own duck for the one of the pizzas. Everything is made fresh right there. Oh, and the aromas were heavenly!
I had one of their specials of the day - Cape Capensis, a South African white fish, lightly floured and fried and served over a lightly flavored rice - and followed it up with what appears to be their signature dessert, a chocolate mousse cup. Delicious!!
On my way back to the Scottsdale area, about 15 miles north of the city, I spied a very large outlet mall and made the spur-of-the-moment decision to get off at the exit and see what they had to offer. I had a pleasant hour or so poking into some of the stores that interested me: Nike, The Gap, Pearl Izumi, Columbia Sportswear. But nothing caught my fancy so it was back on the road toward "home:" My Villa Mirage Resort condo and to enjoy a glass of wine on the balcony and enjoy the very pleasant late afternoon light and breeze.