A Fabulous Fall Visit

by Jenn (eating bender) on November 15, 2013

Last week, we celebrated one year in our house.

I know it’s a cliché, but I honestly can’t believe how fast time flies. I still remember weekends spent touring dozens of homes, the bummer of being on the losing end of our first offer and the overwhelming joy we felt when we realized that house wasn’t meant for us.

Our house was meant for us.

Being homeowners has been a big responsibility for us over the past 12 months, especially coming from apartment living in Chicago. But we’ve enjoyed every minute of the learning process and consider ourselves very lucky to have found not only a house we love, but a neighborhood that has welcomed us and made us feel like we belong from day one.

We’ve enjoyed getting to know our next door neighbors, as well as the previous owners of our house (who still live nearby). We’ve also been fortunate to find friends who live just down the street, including two in particular who were willing to host a recent Harry Potter party. :)

It has also been nice to have space for visitors! I try to convince as many family and friends to move here as possible. I’m not sure if Lauren is on board with this idea (yet), but she definitely had a chance to see what Arizona has to offer when she came to stay with us last weekend.

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Her first request was a bucket list trip to the Grand Canyon. It was tough to convince me, and by that I mean she didn’t have to convince me at all. The night before our road trip, we made a stop at her favorite: In-N-Out Burger. Can’t get this goodness in Chicago!

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As you can imagine, their delicious burgers and fries sufficiently fueled us all the way through the morning, though we I couldn’t resist making a quick pit stop at Starbucks en route.

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The Grand Canyon is roughly three and a half hours away from Phoenix, so we passed the time with a variety of music and a “guess the song” game, where one person picks a random lyric and says it out loud with no inflection (so as not to give away the beat) and the other person has to figure out what song it’s from. Not to brag or anything, but I definitely won. 😉 My favorites: “How was I supposed to know that something wasn’t right here?” and “Don’t try to fight the feeling because the thought alone is killing me right now.” Any guesses?

It was a fun road trip, but we were excited to stretch our legs at one of the world’s natural wonders.

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Silly photos ensued, of course.

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I showed Lauren the Bright Angel trail that Bobby and I hiked for our first anniversary (just realized I wore the exact same shirt when we went there – I am so original).

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It was an absolutely beautiful day, and I’m so glad she got to see the GC at its best!

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We stopped to say hi to Smokey the Bear on our way out of the park.

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On our way back, we grabbed lunch in Flagstaff. We then met up with Bobby at the Benders for some homemade pizza before making our way to a Cave Creek classic: Buffalo Chip Saloon!

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Lauren was treated to several talented cowboys – the most I’ve ever seen stay on long enough to qualify for the grand prize. I was also in awe of the two cowgirls this time. They rocked it.

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We enjoyed ourselves outside, but I think what Lauren loved most was the live music and line dancing going on inside the saloon. We had a great time and I promised that when she comes back, we’ll return with our cowboy hats and boots in tow.

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The next morning we met up with Lauren’s aunt – who lives nearby – for breakfast before heading up north again. Our mission? To take photos of as much fall foliage as possible in Oak Creek Canyon! Bobby wanted in on this adventure, too.

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Since all three of us had been to Sedona before, we wanted to explore a new area. I’d heard great things about the West Fork Trail, so we made our way there to start. Unfortunately a lot of the leaves had already fallen, but it was still gorgeous.

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We snapped a few fun photos along the way.

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Our trek even took us over the creek. Trying to jump from rock to rock with camera in hand is a dangerous endeavor, but we made it back and forth without getting our feet soaked!

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It was totally worth it for the amazing scenery.

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Including this super cool cave with a fancy front door.

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After exploring the trail, we hopped back in the car and searched for more autumnal amazingness.

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I think I may have screamed, “Look! It’s a waterfall!” I mean, it was no Niagara Falls, but still.

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The rushing water was pretty amazing. It came gushing over the street.

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Apparently it isn’t normally so flooded. At one point a man drove past and came to a stop to tell us it was unusual. Then suddenly, he spotted something on the ground next to my feet.

“Look! It’s a vortex!” A what…? “You know, like a whirlpool!”

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Photos can’t do justice to how cool it was. Just a whirlpool chilling in the middle of a creek. No big deal. I captured it on video to give you a better sense of the tornado of water beneath the surface.

After we finished ooh-ing and ahh-ing, we made our way back toward town for some apple cider.

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There was a bit of a traffic jam heading south, so we turned around and headed back north to get to the highway. It was about a half hour out of the way, but that doesn’t feel like a big deal when you get to stare at this view the entire time.

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I’m so glad that Lauren was up for a weekend full of fall adventure – Arizona style.

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As always, the visit was too short. Come back again soon, Laur!! Can I call you Laur? 😉

Abrazos,

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1 Erica November 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm

gah! I so want to come visit you after this post!!!! Love the pictures with smokey the bear. Such beautiful views

2 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner November 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm

That first picture of Oak Creek Canyon is a framer! Looks like a beautiful fall weekend. I’ve got a light dusting of snow here already in Wisconsin!
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3 Shannon November 15, 2013 at 10:21 pm

gorgeous! guess you’ll have some great ideas for where we should go hiking 😉

4 Jeanne Adam November 16, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Beautiful pictures, Jenn! I think you better patent that game quick! You could make millions and retire!

5 kathy gomez November 27, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Great info. Lucky me that I discovered your blog by chance. I have saved as a favorite for later! Keep sharing 

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