During our stay at the We Ko Pa Resort in Fountain Hills, Arizona we were escorted by the lovely Gail Manginelli of GM and Associates PR to visit Fort McDowell Adventures. A sprawling adventure and entertainment venue set up two and half miles into the Sonoran Desert.
Set against beautiful mountains, there is something for everyone and I can't wait to share more this fall when we visit to experience what Fort McDowell Adventures has to offer hands on.
We started off our tour by visiting Rosa's Ranch, a charming Western BBQ cookout venue that can host 50-200 and can be rented for corporate events, family reunions, intimate weddings and more.
The authenticity was on point and I could picture shoot outs, wild horses, roasting s'mores over the open fire pits and the smell of BBQ wafting through the air. There were so many photo opp areas as well which would make for the perfect cookout keepsake.
The second venue we visited, La Puesta del Sol, was a breathtaking wedding, concert and corporate venue. The name means "the setting sun" and it's Arizona's best kept secret for one of the best places to watch the desert sunset.
Walking through you can envision a beautiful ceremony. Twinkle lights, built in stage and dance floor, bar and a fun and whimsical Dirty Docs saloon for photos or bachelor/bachelorette parties, the venue hosts up to 1600 guests.
Want to experience adventure in the desert? Beginning in the fall, you can choose where to begin. Take a horseback ride along the Verde River, participate in a real life City Slickers cattle drive, a drive through the desert in a Green Zebra Tomcar or cruise on a segway with a group of friends to experience the local desert plant life.
You can add a lunch or dinner option to any adventure to make it a well-rounded experience and the adventures are perfect for team building.
And for the full vacation experience, you can get a room at the WeKoPa Resort to enjoy a nice meal or a dip in the gorgeous pool to relax after your fun-filled day.
You can read our full post on our stay here, and view the highlight video we captured of the beautiful resort on our channel.
This post was sponsored by the beautiful WeKoPa Resort in Fountain Hills, Arizona. The review and all opinions are my own.
Walk on to the property at We Ko Pa Resort and Conference Center in Fountain Hills, Arizona and you feel as if you're truly transported to a luxury summer vacation alongside the Yavapai Tribe. Meaning "four peaks", We Ko Pa is set against peaked mountains that make for beautiful views morning or night.
You can watch our full We Ko Pa Resort VLOG highlight on our channel here.
The authentic music greets you as you head towards the lobby, taking in the sweeping mountain views. The summer smells of blooming florals and suntan lotion envelop you, and the taste of prickly pear jam comes to mind. A full sensory experience, our stay at WeKoPa was relaxing and fun and we can't wait to go back to experience the adventures available through Fort McDowell Adventures once the weather cools. We got to take a tour of the properties and excursions as a sneak peek - you can see those photos here!
The resorts attention to detail caught our eye as something truly unique. The homage to water and wood was breathtaking and was seen in the details from the rippled glass to the river stones leading from the pool, to the lobby and all the way up to the premier golf courses pro shop.
Upon entering our Junior Golf Suite, we felt at home. From the mini kitchen that made it easy to prep meals in room, to the cozy living room, the main living space made it nice to have a large expanse to play games, entertain our toddler and watch family movies cuddled up in the evening. The bedroom was a haven for good sleep with a luxuriously comfortable king size bed and black out curtains. The large chair and ottoman in the room was a dream for reading stories to our little guy to get him to sleep and for reading a novel once he was asleep in bed.
The bathroom included a lit makeup mirror which made getting ready a breeze and the jetted tub was the perfect touch for sore muscles after a day of exploring Fountain Hills.
You can view our view the full room tour on our highlight VLOG on our channel by clicking here.
After waking on day one, we headed to the resorts onsite restaurant, Ahnala. It was a large eatery that served southwest inspired breakfast, lunch and dinner and they were able to easily accommodate my allergies! For breakfast I got the Traditional Breakfast with eggs, gluten free avocado toast, plain breakfast potatoes and piping hot coffee. Doug enjoyed a breakfast burrito, (that was wrapped in egg instead of a tortilla!) and Grey had the kid's buttermilk pancakes. All of the staff we encountered, from check-in to check-out, were so friendly and helpful as well.
Before heading to the pool, I made a stop at the fitness center, which is quaint but offers treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and free weights. Enough to get in a great post-meal workout. I peeked in to the Amethyst Spa, and saw they had some amazing summer deals. You don't have to be staying at the resort to visit the spa, so if you're looking for a relaxing massage, a mani/pedi or a unique facial, give them a call.
Once we had a light lunch in the room, we headed the pool! It was PERFECT weather, 100 degrees and sunny and the water couldn't have been more lovely. The crowds were light and we were able to secure a few chairs in a shady area by the edge of the pool. Grey had a blast splashing and swimming with Doug and I, and I had a chance to lay out and work on my tan a bit with a book.
Conveniently located near Fountain Hills, Scottsdale and Chandler - there are many dining options. Aside from the resorts own Anhala, and room service options, the resorts adjacent casino for the adult crowd, Fort McDowell Casino offers dining options as well that are just a few steps from the hotels pool.
For those who love to golf, the resorts two world class courses (and home to Arizona's #1 golf course!) at the We Ko Pa Golf Club are beautiful year round. The rolling green grass against the desert landscape and iconic Red Mountains lends a contrast that is a sight to see. The golf course also features an on-site pro shop and an eatery that features classic favorites such as burgers, sandwiches and entrees with patio seating that features postcard-esque views.
Our second morning was spent venturing out to fun family activities you can see nearby. The Fountain Hills fountain park is a MUST visit if you haven't been before. For littles, the BEST offsite activity we found was visiting the Crayola Experience, just 25 miles from the resort at the Chandler Fashion Center Mall.
Fall-Spring you can visit Fort McDowell Adventures, located right near the resort. Horseback riding, boat tours, segway desert tours, Green Zebra rides, cowboy cookouts and more can be enjoyed and we can't wait to experience some of what they have to offer come September.
You can view our full post on Fort McDowell adventures here. Stay tuned for our full VLOG as well!
After a day out playing, we returned back to the pool to cool down and take a dip and enjoyed dinner and a movie cozy up in our room.
The next morning we headed home, filled with a million memories. It doesn't take venturing far to adventure and connect with your loved ones.
We are staycation lovers through and through and I highly recommend WeKoPa Resort for your next family getaway in the desert.
View their Summer Staycation rates and packages (starting at just $99!) by visiting their website:
My husband has always been stellar at surprising me. When we were dating and newly married it was tickets to my favorite concerts, earrings hidden on stuffed animals, nice dinners and, the one thing I joke is my love language, travel.
Vacations, staycations - if you surprise me with a vacation I'm pretty much goo.
Since having our sweet Grey, its obviously been harder to surprise each other with spontaneous getaways. However, for my 36th birthday this past week, my husband was able to pull it off in grand style. And it was lovely!
He had gone early to Cibola Vista Resort and Spa one day after getting off work before coming to pick up Grey and I and set up the room to contain birthday decor, balloons, fresh red roses, a vegan cheesecake and had packed the refrigerator in our penthouse suite (Arizona hotel rates are AWESOME in the summer, so you can get BIG rooms for lower prices!) for dinner and breakfast the next day.
The dreamy decor was modern farmhouse which made me feel right at home! The penthouse suite contained a full kitchen, dining area, living room with pull out sofa, a balcony with grill a huge bathroom and a king bedroom with its own large vanity area.
The beds were soooo comfy and the place felt homey and luxurious at the same time. Having booked two nights, Doug planned on us spending the next two full days at the resort which was the perfect length.
It was nice having this room because we grilled steaks for my birthday dinner and it was nice to have him grill them right on our own patio while Grey was able to play in the living room with me and we didn't have leave the room. After dinner we explored the grounds a bit and made our plan for the next day.
We slept in a little, which was so nice, and woke up and cooked a fresh breakfast of eggs, bacon and fresh fruit right in our kitchen then we headed for the pool for the day! (The hotel also has on site games, tennis and a full service day spa.)
The resort has two pools (one that is adult only, and then the large family pool) however, even when Doug and I stayed here kid-free, we opted for the family pool because it's the larger of the two. The water was PERFECT and Grey loved that it was a wading style pool so he could walk around and play in the water. The water slide is for older kids but it is awesome and was busy all day!
They also hosted food trucks the weekend we were there and played a movie on the lawn the night before we checked out which was fun to watch while we were swimming!
It was such a fun filled weekend in the sun and we can't wait to go back.
Have you visited Cibola Vista or a Blue Green property? We would love to hear your favorites as we are Blue Green Sampler owners and have some points to use!
*this post is not sponsored. This was a vacation we paid for ourselves.
I heard about Vimbly not too long ago and decided to try it out. You find your city (they currently offer things to do in 18 U.S. cities, but are shortly going nationwide.) and then search things to do. It's that simple. Classes, activities and date ideas are all at your finger tips, allowing you to schedule right on the site. No thinking, plan made, done and done.
Since we are currently in Arizona and haven't started our major yearly vacation travels yet, I wanted to see what was offered close to home, so I chose Phoenix. I noticed most of what they offered were scenic jeep, boat and helicopter tours of Sedona, and as I was looking for something more indoors, I switched my search to the dining and watching option and found a Murder Mystery Dinner! This is something Mr. Charming and I have always talked about doing and it was a fun date night match for us.
And since we scheduled a California Coast vacation next month, I also headed over to the Los Angeles and San Diego pages and set up some fun sunset sails and other excursions for us to try on our trip. Now those are pre-booked, all contained in one organized place and I even saved money off of the price of admission had I waited until we were in California to book it.
Once the site grows more, I will be excited to see all of the attractions, classes and experiences they will add, as my home town didn't have as much to offer as some of the coastal cities, but all in all still a cool tool to have when we need a fun Friday or Saturday night adventure.
This post sponsored by Vimbly. All opinions and experiences using the service are my own.
Mr. Charming and I are always looking for new, exciting fun things to do for "date night". When our future littles come this will remain an important part of our relationship. But sometimes, with busy schedules, tired bodies and social commitments, when it comes time to pick something fun to do, sometimes we fall short of being creative and end up hanging out at a local store to browse or on the couch to watch movies.
Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE these activities with him. I can have fun with him doing, well, anything, that's a perk of marrying your best friend. But sometimes, we like to get out, have adventures and get inspired by trying new things. Enter Vimbly.
Mr. Charming and I have been talking about going on a Wellness Retreat for a while now. These past few months have lent a bit of stress, through a career change on my part, to a new job with increased hours on his part, and we have been feeling a bit stretched and frazzled.
Always a fan of traveling whenever humanly possible, I finally made it a point to sit down and decide how we were going to use our timeshare points this summer. (we are NOT timeshare holders normally, I want to buy a house first and have a couple of littles before we think about something like that), however, we did purchase a "sampler package" that allows three getaways in a year for a lot less than what we would have spent taking them on our own.
Anyways. After booking an out of state resort for our wedding anniversary in the Fall, and another weekend away for my birthday with Mr. Charming and our closest friends, I was left wondering where and when we could use the third vacation. Use it to escape the Arizona heat in July or August? Save it for if we feel spontaneous? But then I remembered that we've been needing to disconnect from the daily stressors and connect to each other, so I booked us a room for this past weekend. There is a local resort in Arizona, that we love, and I thought what better way to spend a long weekend with my love.
I thought about how important this is to do, and the fact that it really doesn't cost a whole lot to do this, since we already had the points to get the room. Read on for tips on how to have a R&R Retreat for less.
1. Travel Bargains & Accommodations :
Look for travel deals ahead of time if you can. I love Kayak.com for hotel and flight deals that I have found to be cheaper than most other travel sites. If you are a last minute get-away girl like myself, an app called Hotel Tonight shows you discounted rooms for that night, as hotels just want to fill rooms. Also, when we want to stretch our traveling dollar we opt for places we can drive to, for us, living in AZ those places are within the state, California and Vegas. Leaving us plenty of fun options. We bought our car with traveling in mind and good gas mileage, and gas and healthy road trip food is a lot cheaper than flights. If you want to save this expense all together, your home can be a wellness sanctuary. Light candles, clear an area, throw down a yoga mat, soak in a tub and use fresh, soft linens in the bedroom. For our retreat we chose Cibola Visa Resort and Spa in Arizona. I highly recommend.
One thing I love about giving myself a chance to retreat and relax is cooking healthy, detoxifying food. I booked a room with a kitchen and took my own groceries so I could prepare the freshest meals. This also saved me a lot of money from having to dine all weekend at high-end or vegan restaurants where I could get food. If you're road tripping look for roadside farmers markets or fruit and veggie stands to stock up for cheap on the way to your destination. If you don't have the option to prepare your own food however, opt for lean meats, veggies tossed in olive oil and salads rich with fruit and veggies as your primary menu items during your stay when dining out. And remember, lots and lots of water. You can view my weekends menu and see photos, here.
3. Fun & Relaxation:
This is where all-inclusive retreat hotel packages get you on cost. I was thinking of signing up for a retreat put on by a company, but when I saw the hefty $3,000.00 price tag on just 3 days away, and staying in a room not even as nice as the one I booked myself for much, much, much, much less I knew it was the "in room massages" "yoga on the lawn" and the fact they take your cell phone forcing you into a tech-free zone that hiked the price up so much. So, I was determined to save. Some ideas to turn your hotel room into your retreat away from home.
- Bring your yoga mat and yoga DVDs. Set aside each time during your stay for "class". Our hotel even had a nice lawn that I planned on doing some poses on, but it was quite warm when I was there, so I opted to read on the lawn and did yoga in my room with the doors and windows open for fresh air.
- Most hotels have very nice bathtubs. Toss some LED candles in your luggage and set them around the tub, use lavender and epsom salt for a nice detox soak, and have a plush robe waiting for you when you emerge.
- Read or immerse yourself doing something spiritual. Whatever your belief, take time to just be. Being quiet and meditating can be so healing and rejuvenating. For me that meant starting each morning with breakfast in the quiet, with my devotional and in prayer before I started my day.
- As for the massages, resort spas charge a hefty amount for massages, pedicures, etc. Check for nearby spa, like an Elements Therapeutic Massage, who provide quality massages for considerably less, and for nails, I invited a girl friend to lay by the pool for part of the day, soaking up girl time that we get so rarely, and we kicked back in the room and did pedicures ourselves with my new Pixi polish. Not only did we save around $100 by opting out of pro pedi's, but we got to bond, chat and catch up on Cougar Town episodes that we never have time to watch.
4. The Extras:
- You can set the rules however you like. I didn't take the computer, because as a writer, I would have been too tempted to turn it on and work, check email or write. I took my phone for emergencies because I do work with a lot of staff, but I informed those who may need me that I needed some time away, and I turned my phone on silent while I slept, during meal times, meditation, devotionals and yoga.
- If you want to add adventure to your getaway look for nearby hiking trails, or excursions offered in the area. The resort we were staying at was near a lake with water toys, and offered horseback riding. This weekend for us however was about rest and relaxation, so we opted to stay in, watch funny movies and catch up on our reading.
To see the menus, recipes and photos from our retreat click here.
So, this past weekend Mr. Charming and I embarked on a Wellness Retreat. Read my post here on how to have a Budget Friendly Retreat.
There were definitely things I'd do different in the future, (this is the first one we've planned on our own) but it was nice to get away. I share below some of the activities, some photos, and of course, the food. The yummy, healthy, amazing, food.
I adored the quality time with my husband, and my friend Kym came by to lounge and swim and do mani-pedi's for girl time while Mr. Charming had to work. The food was delish, and the grounds were an amazing place to read. I could have done without the horrible cramps that threatened to ruin my entire weekend, and though I turned off the phone and left the computer at home, I'm going to aim for less TV time and complete removal of phones from the room next time to be 100% tech free. But all in all, a nice getaway.
We stayed at the Cibola Vista Resort in Peoria, AZ, near Lake Pleasant. The grounds were so pretty. I adore the expansive lawn and I spent time reading and catching up on books that inspire my writing. I also love fountains. So calming and serene. I thought about doing yoga down here, but it got quite warm out, so I opted to stay in and do yoga in my room.
This was the view from my rooms balcony. I left the doors and windows open while doing yoga and enjoying our meals. The weather was beautiful and we swam and soaked up some sun for natural vitamin D.
And of course, onto the food. Click each title to be taken to the recipe. Would love for you to share how you rejuvenate or what you do on your little weekend getaways in the comments section!
And of course I had to plan one decadent dessert. Completely refined sugar free, this deconstructed apple pie uses Nana's Cookie Bars crumbled to mimic a pie crust for a topping that is heavenly. Click here or click on the photo for the recipe.
Nosh & Nurture was born of this journey I am on to better the health of myself, my family and those around me. What started as a simple compilation of recipes has grown to a all-around lifestyle journal with ways to incorporate organic products into your home, pantry and beauty cabinet. I also include stories on pregnancy, new motherhood, travel, Proverbs 31 marriage, and spiritual health, as I am a Christian who couldn't do any of this without my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. For more of my story you can click here.
All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free with a lot of soy-free, grain-free, sugar-free options.
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