09 Dec 2010

McCormick Stillman Railroad park holiday lights picking up steam

Comments Off Local Upcoming Events, Nearby Things To Do

The McCormick Stillman Railroad is literally 500 yards or so from our Sunny Scottsdale Condo Vacation Rental. Families love riding the train as it meanders through the beautiful display.

This just in…

Peter Kaczmarowski considers the holiday-lights display at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park his annual labor of love.

Kaczmarowski has fond memories of the tradition that blossomed from a small lights display into a premier annual event at the Scottsdale park, with train rides and costumed characters.

When the event was still in its infancy, Kaczmarowski had just joined the city as a railroad engineer.

“My daughter, who turned 21 this year, said she didn’t remember a year that (I) didn’t do it,” said Kaczmarowski, a volunteer.

Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park kicks off Friday with a tree-lighting ceremony and related festivities. The annual affair runs nightly through Jan. 1, with the exception of Dec. 24, 25 and 31.

The event already was running in 1986 when Kaczmarowski came on board.”It’s a great event, and the opening night is crowded,” Kaczmarowski said. “We run two trains every night. We bring in entertainment and characters to give people something to watch.”

Fond memories

In its early days, the infrastructure could not always handle the electrical demands of the display, Kaczmarowski said. Blackouts occurred, and “one year, it was actually snowing,” he said.

In the early ’90s, Kaczmarowski decided to string lights over the park’s 1907 Baldwin steam engine.

“That’s the first thing people see when they get out of their cars,” Kaczmarowski said. “I thought, ‘Let’s just cover this thing completely with lights.’ ”

Park recreation supervisor Bob McNair said there are tens of thousands of holiday lights on display, along with kid-friendly exhibits and characters. Santa will be on hand through Dec. 23.

The cost to stage the event is about $90,000, covered by approximately $100,000 in revenue, he said. The city-sponsored event also is supported by the Scottsdale Charros and Scottsdale Railroad and Mechanical Society.

This year’s event boasts a new Snoopy display and a 25-foot-tall inflatable sun with sunglasses. Organizers added costumed volunteers several years ago, he said.

Ann Achtziger, a volunteer and assistant principal of Mohave Middle School, said students and volunteers from the Scottsdale Unified School District dress up as Santa’s helpers and popular children’s characters. Families can take free photos with the characters, she said.

The cost for a train ride is $2 and $1 for a carousel ride.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/2010/12/08/20101208scottsdale-mccormick-railroad-park-holiday-lights.html#ixzz17a0X5INe

18 Oct 2010

Expanding Dining Options Continue in the Sunny Scottsdale Condo Vacation Rental Neighborhood

Comments Off Shopping, Retail, and Dining, Uncategorized

The neighborhood around our Sunny Scottsdale Condo Vacation Rental continues to grow with new and exciting dining concepts. In the past few months several new restaurants have opened up while others have had face-lift or just changed up the menu offerings. Scottsdale in general is very blessed to be home to many successful and well polished restaurateurs who know how to serve a great meal.

One of THE best features of our Scottsdale Vacation Rental is the proximity to Scottsdale’s best dining and things to do along ‘Resort Row;’ and now the options just continue to get better!

The great part of having a vacation rental with an awesome location is that you can cook something up on your own, you can head out for a night on the town, or you can do both (where you maybe just head out for dessert and scenery).

Below is a quick recap of recent openings in the neighborhood with links to the restaurants or news coverage. Enjoy and Happy Dining!

Rancho Pinot –  This restaurant has been in business for many many years, and has become well known for its unique southwestern style menu and and upscale atmosphere. Loca-vores (those who prefer to eat locally harvested foods) love this place, because Rancho Pinot offers what chef-owner Chrysa Robertson calls “a simple, quick, delicious menu featuring fabulous produce from our favorite local farmers.” Now they are open for lunch!

Eddie’s House – Local Celebrity Chef Eddie Matney does an amazing job at creating a unique menu, with interesting twists on known favorites in an warm, classy, and fun atmosphere. Be sure to say hello to Eddie if you make it to his restaurant, he is a great guy and always happy to say hello to diners. Eddie just updated his menu to also include lunch! Eddie just updated his menu to also include lunch!

Blue 32 Sports Grill – This new concept hails from Gilbert Arizona, and just opened a new location along Scottsdale Road, just north of Indian Bend. This is hands down THE best sports bar in Scottsdale. If you are on vacation and need to catch a game, this is where you will find THE most TVs, a great beer selection, and worthy eats good enough to occupy even the non-sports fan (perhaps your significant other?).

Jimmy Woo’s Chinese Food –  The creators behind Stingray Sushi, Geisha A Go Go, and Drift Lounge have just opened this new restaurant where traditional Chinese cuisine meets contemporary design. Daily happy hour, from 4 to 7 p.m., features half-priced cocktails, beer and wine, plus discounted appetizers. And for quick take-out, “Jimmy’s Back Alley” is open all day. I haven’t had the chance to visit and dine yet, and the reviews are still out. Though my hunch is that the experience is trendy, and the food is at least ok.

Wildflower Bread Company – If you’re a healthy eater then you’ll love this place. If you  just want a tasty sandwich or something for breakfast, then you’ll love this place.  You can bring your laptop and surf their free wi-fi while you nosh on your meal. The decor is bright and slightly modern. It’s a decent place, and does a lot of business. The best part is that you can walk here from your Sunny Scottsdale Vacation Rental Condo.

Starbucks within Walking Distance – Even though this Starbucks is walking distance, most likely you’ll want to drive. That’s just because the rule of thumb in Phoenix is that if it’s farther than 500 feet, you’re going to drive. Anyways, whenever I travel I always want to know if there is a Starbucks nearby. And in this case, even though they haven’t done anything new to report, I just wanted to report that a nearby Starbucks does exist, and they do a great job too!