Every once in a while I grab a neighbor (or she grabs me) and we head out into the valley to do some exploring. I think of these days as the grown-up version of a play date.
Most recently, a friend I’ve known since I was 13 moved here. She and I hopped into her car and we headed to Cave Creek. Her parents live here but she (and they) had never been to this nirvana of fun and shopping. I took her to my favorite stores, we grabbed lunch at El Encanto, another favorite of mine, and we chatted and laughed the day away.
The neighbor to one side had never been to “At Home” until the first time we went together. We spent three hours wandering the aisles of the home goods retailer and only left when we decided we simply had to get something to eat and drink.
On the other side, my neighbor and I discovered our mutual love of artistry. She heard about Cosanti bells and wondered if I’d like to go with her to see the artist colony where they originated. “Sure!” was my response and we came home hours later with beautiful bells to adorn our patios.
My neighbor across the street is a whole other matter. When she sold her home in Oregon and faced the daunting task of downsizing, I volunteered to help. My play day with her turned into a weeklong vacation to Oregon’s Rogue Valley where we worked on paring down her belongings amid shopping excursions and an afternoon at Dancin’ Winery.
She returned the favor when we traveled back east for a long weekend. The primary reason? To go to my dentist. Kathleen calls it the “tooth spa!” We visited Washington DC after dark, stopped in at an east coast winery and grabbed Chesapeake blue crabs for dinner while overlooking the Potomac River
She and I even discovered a local chocolate factory and, after touring the Cerreta Candy Company, created our own “masterpieces” to bring home to our husbands.
There’s a lot to be said for play dates, especially when you’re older and there are no kids to chase after. When it’s a girl’s day out, it lasts a lot longer than a kid’s play date, too.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Grab a friend and explore something new.
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