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Adventures in Arizona

From the Painted Desert to the architectural hub of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West school, there’s much to get lost in across the mountainous southwest state.

Words & Images by Greta van der Star

Drawn back to the desert again, the arid landscape and wide horizons imbue peace in my body — perhaps the physical space allows for mind expansion and musings. I spent a month in Tucson, going slow, sipping coffee, looking at plants, waking early to hike before the heat descended. The saguaro cacti tell stories through comical poses, running alongside the trail. The smell of a storm coming, fat raindrops hit the dust, and plants breathe a sigh of relief, stirring up smells of dirt and Frankincense. I hired a car and mapped a journey to fulfill a longtime dream, a pilgrimage to the Painted Desert. The trip included a stop at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West on the way there and the experimental town of Arcosanti on the way back. If you can, make a detour to Sedona to visit an energy vortex, swim in the river, and dry off on the red rocks. The Painted Desert throws breathtaking colors across large mounds of earth. I left with burnt cheeks, dusty eyes, and a full heart.


Stay at — The Arizona Inn, a pink adobe dream built in the 1930s — retreat to the pool in the heat of the day.

Eat at — Five Points Market & Restaurant — best breakfast in town.
Cafe Poca Cosa — South Mexican-style food, a local fave.
The Coronet — mom-and-pop restaurant with a great wine list and al fresco eating.

Thrift store — Savers, worth the rummage for vintage CK Jeans and silk tees.

Drive through — The historic Barrios and admire the colored adobe houses.

Visit — The Arizona State Museum to view the large collection of artifacts and pottery from the southwest.

Stock up on — Supplies for your road trip at Time Market: salads-to-go, wine, cheese, and fresh produce.

Cure your hangover — With Huevos Rancheros and the Bloody Mary bar on Sundays at Hotel Congress.

Don’t miss — A drive out to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter architecture school in Scottsdale. Be sure to book a tour in advance — if you’re lucky, you’ll meet one of the fellows still living on site.

Visit — Arcosanti, Paolo Soleri’s experimental city in the desert. Built to human scale, it’s a stunning piece of architecture that brings the community together and hosts public concerts. 

What To Pack —
Light cotton dresses that only graze the skin, a notebook for desert musings, flat covered shoes for impromptu explorations, a lot of water, and a good facial oil to rehydrate in the dry climate. View the LG Arizona Packing Edit here

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