Cactus, Baseball, Old Towns and Art … Arizona in a nutshell.

img_0096.JPGcal2nhyv.jpgI have fallen in love again … with our neighboring state of Arizona.  Our travels last week took us to Phoenix for both research and pleasure.  One in the same for me!  

 Did you know that Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the country?   I hope as the city continues to grow, it doesn’t lose its charm and culture.   img_0090.JPGIt’s a place where rock formations rise up from the flatest of land, jutting with rich red color and names that describe their uncanny shapes like  Camelback Mountain and img_0079.JPG Pinnacle Peak. 

Can you guess which is which? It’s a place where Old meets New.  Scottsdale, the adjacent city next to Phoenix shares a rich history as well as art galleries, modern adobe mansions, golf and country clubs and beautiful architecture. 

We took a drive to see the sights, familiarizing ourselves to the modern culture and the one time old town.  img_0089-5.JPGThe city is more new than old now, but I managed to find a few places to venture that spoke to my love of history.   The art galleries were in abundance and so was the shopping!   One of my favorite places was the old state capital building and museum.  Whenever I visit a new state, I try to see their capital.  The buildings in themselves speak of the culture of the state, and often you get a rare glimpse to the inside workings of how the state came to be.  For a lover of the old west, it’s an undeniable pleasure to see the restored buildings and artifacts from a time when the state was beginning to take shape.Here’s the four story state capital building in downtown Phoenix.  I was enthralled with the artifacts and the restored rooms of the lawmakers.  Is this not a gorgeous building? img_0021.JPG

Here’s the House Chamber where the laws were made.  Engraved on the school-like desks were congressmen’s names and occupations in brass. I went around the room to find the lawmakers held other jobs that brought them their livelihood, such as sheepherders, ranchers, gentlemen, attorneys at law and various other occupations. Note the gorgeous chandelier and the seating for townsfolk that circles the room above.  




I loved this Bola tie, the State tie, if you can believe that and this stunning piece of turquoise that is the state img_0029.JPGgemstone. It’s actually the size of a notebook, or maybe even a bit bigger! 



Ostrich plumes created a very unique form of ranching in Arizona. In 1910 plumes from 4,000 ostriches sold for over one million dollars.  Sadly, women’s fashions changed in 1914 and plumed hats were no longer in vogue.  Ostrich ranches ceased to be big money makers.  Today the plumed birds are raised for meat and leather in a resurging ostrich market.img_0040.JPG



We learned one other thing about Phoenix – it’s a big sports city and baseball is the name of the game this season! There are stadiums galore, many within just miles of each other.  It’s the spring training home to the Oakland A’s and soon to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  We had a good time, going to three games in five days.  I’m a big Angels fan and they played (and beat) the Dodgers.   We also spent time at Sun Devil Stadium, home of the ASU’s team.   My nephew’s #5 ranked UCI team played three tournament games and he now leads the league in saves this season (pitching).  It’s fun to see him play in different cities!

But while we were watching the pro teams play their spring training games, all the ladies in the group gasped when they saw a very handsome, very famous celebrity.   I’m not one to go up and ask for a picture or autograph, but we did get a picture of me, with him in the background! img_0078.JPG


See if you can recognize him … the Arizona mystery man.  If you are the first one to guess right, I’ll send you a signed book from my backlist and this lovely metal art Saguaro cactus bookmark. And be sure to check back for the results.   img_0100.JPG



Hint:  He’s on a very popular series and is standing behind me, wearing a blue hat and tank, speaking with the young boy.

So- do you have a favorite city to visit and who is that mystery man?  

Happy Trails and Happy Reading!!






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30 thoughts on “Cactus, Baseball, Old Towns and Art … Arizona in a nutshell.”

  1. Not even with my glasses on can I figure out the answer, Charlene. But boy does he have great shoulders.
    I love the Southwest and have set a number of stories there. I especially like the area around Tucson, but more for the desert and the town. Thanks for a fun blog (and you’re lookin’ good, lady).

  2. James Dent from Desperate Housewives?

    My favorite place to visit is Tampa, FL. We used to live there and have so many friends and family still there.

  3. I too am a fan of Arizona…Sedona and its glorious red rocks always calls out to me. Right now though my favorite city (it changes LOL) is Boston; therefore I’m loving John Adams. I very much enjoyed driving through Phoenix–the saguaro cacti are something out of a storybook! As always, a great post, Charlene. (as yet I can’t figure out the celeb but I’ll be back later.)

  4. I can’t recognize him, Charlene. As Brushes with Greatness go, well, you’re standing in front of a famous though unrecognizable person.
    Or so you say!!!

    Still, you’ve got me beat.
    I once sat in a hotel talking with someone and at some point they said, “Hey, that’s Rob Reiner.”
    I turned around but he was gone.
    That’s it. I got nuthin’

  5. Years ago my husband and I were driving across southern Arizona. And it rained. This little rainstorm in the middle of these terrible stark dryland.

    And a rainbow came out. A fully double rainbow, the most vivid, strong colors I’ve ever seen EVER.
    It remains to this day, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
    We pulled over and just stared at it for a long, long time.
    My husband is no huge ‘the wonders of nature’ guy. He’s a farmer so he battles nature for a living, trust me, the thrill is GONE.

    But even he was absolutely enthralled by that rainbow.

    That’s my memory of Arizona. That beauty.

  6. Hi Mary – Loved the story about the rainbow. Once in a while we get lovely rainbows here in CA, and I call my neighbors and tell them to go outside to check it out!
    Living close to Hollywood, we see lots of famous people in grocery stores, parks and restaurants, but this one surprised me because we were in a small stadium in Arizona.

  7. Tanya, Elizabeth and all – Well now, I thought if I made the picture bigger, it’d be way to easy to figure this out. Sorry, but seems my other pictures are too big. Gotta figure out how to make them smaller. 🙂

  8. Why did you do this to me? Even blowing it up to the size of my screen and squinting, I can’t bring him into focus. Picture me now, looking like a dork, okay? Could be James Dent. Since someone said that already I’ll say Michael Weatherly from NCIS.

  9. My eyes aren’t that good! Can’t wait to find out who the mystery man is.

    A lot of MLB teams are moving their spring training facilities to Arizona. Less rain than in Florida, and travel time is apparently less for teams when they play road games. The Dodgers are going to Arizona next year – and I heard the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds are following in 2009? Not positive on that though….

  10. Hi Wendy – There’s so many stadiums in Phoenix and outlying areas already. It’s amazing to me. And many of them are within just a few miles of each other. The Dodgers are building their own new stadium in a town called Surprise, I believe. I love the names of the towns there, Avondale, Goodyear, Scottsdale and Chandler. So much history, it’s truly where old meets new.

  11. I love visiting St. Augustine Florida. It is such a beautiful and historic city. I have no idea who the celebrity could be so I’m going to guess George Eads from CSI. That is the only T.V. show I really watch.

  12. I can’t tell who the mystery man is, even with my glasses on! LOL

    My son and a childhood friend visited Arizona when they were teenager, a about ten summers ago. They both fell in love with the place. His friend ended up moving there (he has family there), and I’m looking for my son to do the same sometime soon. I’ve never been, but I’d love to visit.

  13. Okay, Inspired by Cheryl, I went and blew it up too. It’s like one of those horrible pictures you get shown on the evening news,like that one of the unibomber…you know, hood, sun glasses, totally TOTALLY unrecognizable. And they say, “If you see this man, phone 1-555-I-AM-GUESSING to receive a $500 reward.

    I’m going to guess David Duchovney, but honestly I think that’s because, once I blew him up, he resembled an alien. Something out of X-Files.

  14. Hi Lori, Maureen. Andrea and Elizabeth- Hope you’re having a great Friday!

    Keep Guessing everyone! I knew if I blew the picture up more, you’d all know immediately.
    (sneaky, right?)

  15. Charlene, you’re quite the tease. It’s strange what you can learn about a person over time. lol I’m like the rest and haven’t a clue who the mystery man is. I’m guessing Charlie Sheen though for some reason.

    I think Arizona is very pretty. I used to go through there regularly when my grandparents lived in California. Love the mountains up at Flagstaff and Sedonia. Didn’t much care for the desert part since I grew up in one. I’ll take trees any day. But Arizona has it all.

  16. Hi Rebekah and Linda — Hope you both are having a great Friday too.

    I haven’t been to St. Augustine, but I’ve been to Orlando with our kids years ago and liked it. What’s not to like in Disney World, right? But I did research St Augustine for a book because it’s where my hero’s mother retired.

    I’ve been to Flagstaff and Sedona, both gorgeous places. You’d never know you were in Arizona, when in Flagstaff, but it is beautiful. We do like the desert and are big goers to Palm Springs, here in CA.

  17. I don’t know how to make it bigger but I’ll guess Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs 🙂

    My father-in-law used to live in Phoenix so we got to make a couple of trips and it was gorgeous.

  18. Charlene, I can’t guess celebrities to save my life! How fun for you though! And Mary, loved the rainbow story! Very very cool!

  19. To me the mystery man will have to remain a mystery, because I have no idea who it is. I have look at the photo several times today and could not figure it out. Good luck to whoever figures it out.

  20. A mystery forever! Or at least until the competition is over. Could be Dent, could be
    Quaid, could be David Boreanaz! Even after
    enlarging the photo, there is absolutely no way
    I could tell who it is!!

    Pat Cochran

  21. If it was Deavid Boreanaz, I would have to give Charlene a piece of my mind for not leaping that tree, getting back there and getting a pic for me!!

    Why I almost said Charlie Sheen I’ll never know. My desperate thought was Mark Harmon. But just for good measure I’ll throw in Jack Shepherd and James Ford, because thngs like this drive me crazy.

    You know, I’m staying up until you post the answer – and I’m TIRED. LOL

  22. Ok even seeing who he was i was clueless as we dont watch Desperate housewives in this house anyway. the channel its on we only recently started getting.
    I do love to visit Perth Western Australia. I just love the people and the climate and the area.
    Arazona sounds good too i have a friend in mesa.

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