Day 21 – Phoenix

We started our day by heading northeast to Scottsdale to visit Taliesin West, the part time home and architectural center for Frank Lloyd Wright.   Wright took the proceeds from completion of Falling Waters and bought about 600 acres of desert outside of Phoenix.  He and his students then used the local rocks and timber to build this center for architectural study and learning.  Wright and his wife lived here during the winters and she lived here after his death.

The buildings here represent Wright’s personal desires andideas.  He had no client to please, so he tried whatever design he wished, often using scraps of wood instead of the elaborate materials he used for his clients. Most of the buildings are stone, roughly mortared together.  Up close, it looks crude, but as a whole it’san architectural masterpiece.  What makes this place even more amazing is that Wright didn’t start the project until hewas in his 70s, long after most of us retire. In the early years of the project he and his students had to camp out onthe desert…and again, he was in his 70s!


There are numerous buildings in this complex and apprentices of Wright still live here…some have been apprentices for over 50 years.  Their lives have been devoted to architecture and maintaining what Wright created.  This is a working school, fully accredited, helping to train about 24 architects from around the world each year.  (4 to 7 new ones each year)
We have toured many of Wright’s creations, from homes in Oak Park, to the Guggenheim in New York City. All have been wondrous and truly unique pieces of art andarchitecture.  This creation follows suit, but one of the simplest, but coolest, things here impressed us….you get to sit on the chairs!  In fact, they almost insist that you sit in each room as you tour it.  Amazing, sitting on a Frank Lloyd Wright chair!!!  So cool!


During the tour, our guide showed us a sketch of a building Wright designed as a proposal for the Arizona State Capital.  The proposal was rejected as too radical, butin 2004 the spire of the design was constructed by the city of Scottsdale as the cornerstone of a new city area.  The spire was just a few miles away so off we went.  You start seeing it from about a half mile away and it just gets better and better as you draw near.  This 172 foot masterpiece is comprised of over 1700 pieces of glass and steel and weighs in at a modest 45000 pounds.  It’s a wonder of design and art and is a must-see if you are in the Phoenix area!  That’s an actual photo to the right…surreal, isn’t it?


Next on the agenda is a spring training baseball game between the Cubs and Brewers at the Brewer Park. We are Cardinal fans, of course, but thought it would be cool to see a spring training game. Cool it was! We parked in a field near the small stadium andgot the priciest tickets, $22, which landed us close enough to home plate to call balls and strikes. No outfield bleachers here, from left field to right field people laid out their blankets and had picnic lunches.
The game was fun and it was a good-natured crowd with a healthy balance between Cubs and Brewers fans. Fun, except it wasn’t our Cardinals and we just couldn’t whip up the enthusiasm we normally have for Cards game.  But, we DID get to see the classic sausage race!!!!  We’re ready to head to Jupiter and cheer on our Cards!
On our way to dinner we decided to geocache a bit.  Gotta keep that streak going!  Near the cache we saw this huge palm tree, perhaps the biggest we’ve ever seen.  Or was it?  You be the judge.  (We love all the cool and interesting things we get to see while geocaching!)


Ahi Tuna at Corbin’s
Finally, it’s dinner at Corbin’s, “Where the neighborhood bar and grill meets the 21st century.” This contemporary little place mixes eclectic sculpture, exotic lighting and high end food into a homey atmosphere where everybody knows your name. We landed here just as happy hour began so dinner turned out to be appetizers…shrimp cocktail and onion rings for M&A….ahi tuna on wontons plus filet sliders for us.  All were perfect…just exactly what we were hoping for. Corbin’s is a unique little place and worthy of a repeat visit.  Next time we’d like to sit outside under the unique propane heaters.  But we are done for today…we’re tired and ready to restup for tomorrow’s adventures!

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