The Best Little Mountain Bike Trail in Scottsdale, Arizona

Here is a cool post on the best mountain bike trail in Phoenix, Scottsdale or Fountain Hills.

MILES:  13

DIFFICULTY:  Easy with a few tricky spots

Just when I thought mountain biking in Scottsdale and Fountain Hills could not get any better, we discovered this great trail head that connects to Pemberton Bike trail system.  From Scottsdale, take Shea out to Fountain Hills and then head north on Palisades Road for about four or five miles until you see the signs for the Sonoran Trail Head.  Follow the road from the parking lot through the guard gate and pass a few incredible homes and LUXRY FOUNTAIN HILLS REAL ESTATE.

This trail head is a hidden gem for mountain bikers.  The facilities are probably the nicest of any trail head I have ever been to, and hardly anyone knows about it.  The parking lot is usually half empty.  From the trail head, just follow the signs for about a half mile to the entrance to Mcdowell Mountain Regional Park system.  Pay your $2 to help keep the trails open to all and maintain them and then head back into the trail and connect to Dixie Mine.  This trail is less traveled than the other main trails in the Pemberton Park, and you can connect to the rest of Pemberton with some killer views and a few great climbs and descents.  Follow Dixie Mine for a couple miles and then you will see the actual Dixie Mine.  Pretty cool little detour if time permits, but then connect back from Dixie Mine to Pemberton.  Today we took Pemberton West back into Coach Whip and then Coach Whip back to Dixie Mine.  Take a right at the Pemberton junction to add anywhere from another 8 to 12 miles of awesome fast single track.

Check out the whole article here:  http://topbiketrails.com/top-mountain-bike-trail-in-fountain-hills/

Lobster, Lobster, Lobster at the Rosewood Grille

What can I say.  If you love Lobster, go to the Rosewood Grille, and if you don’t like lobster – stay away from the Rosewood Grille.  The lobster is great, and is one of the best lobster houses in Las Vegas.  The ambiance however is average, and I feel less than one would expect for this price range.  The service and the rest of the menu go downhill from here.  The rest of the menu (outside of the lobster) is average at best and over priced.  The service was also poor.  I realize you can get a bad waiter from time to time, but this went all the way to the top.  The server dropped the butter dish for the lobster on the table and it splattered all over one of the guests in our party and their wife.  They were in town from out of the country and leaving Las Vegas the next day.  Their shirts were quite expensive and ruined!  The waiter didn’t act like this was a big deal and the manager offered to send their shirts out to dry cleaning.  What were they supposed to wear back to the hotel????  They were leaving the country the next day, and were not about to walk all the way back to the hotel to change shirts, only to walk back and leave their clothes for dry cleaning which wouldn’t even make it back in time.  When we said this wasn’t an option, the manager basically said (but not in these words)  ‘thems the breaks’!  Again if you like lobster the food is good (but there are many great seafood restaurants in Las Vegas – see Michael Mina), but for anything else stay away.

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Royal Links Golf Course in Las Vegas

If you have ever wondered how you would fare on the greatest courses in the United Kingdom, you can now play the Royal Links in Las Vegas, which is modeled after the greatest holes from the British Open courses. You get a great experience from 11 of the greatest courses from the British Open, including; Carnoustie, Saint Andrews, “Postage Stamp” from Royal Troon, Turnberry, Royal Liverpool, Prestwick, Royal Lytham, Muirfield and Royal Birkdale. I have played Carnoustie and Saint Andrews Old Course, and the courses did give you that true feel of what the famous British courses would be. Keep in mind that just because you master the Royal Links in Las Vegas, you are playing without the greatest difficulty from the original courses – the WEATHER. Many of the British courses are true ocean links style courses, where you could be hitting anywhere from a SW to a 3 wood from a 150 yard par 3, depending on how the wind is blowing. After playing you can head back to the British castle style (pretty true to real form) clubhouse and enjoy a nice lager and lunch. Anything can be rebuilt in Las Vegas! You just need to ask for that beer being stored on a back storage shelf and not in the refrigerator for that true British fell. If you call them, they will often provide free transportation to/from the Las Vegas strip for groups of four.

http://www.royallinksgolfclub.com/index.asp

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Michael Mina at the Bellagio

Michael Mina at the Bellagio may very well have the best seafood in Las Vegas. It is fantastic. We have been a fan of this restaurant since it opened and was orignaly called Aqua. It is back in the Atrium area of the Bellagio, so there is always something to look at special here (For example the Thanksgiving flower arrangement, the Train and small town scale model set up in exquisite detail – I mean it is the Bellagio). The food in this place is awesome. My favorite dish (if you like shellfish) is the lobster pot pie. I like lobster by itself and was unsure about this one baking it in a pot pie with vegetables, etc…, but it is probably the best lobster dish I have ever tasted. This is the specialty of the house. This place is also for those that don’t love seafood. The vegetarian tasting menu is truly something special. Vegetarian’s don’t usually have lots of choices in upscale restaurants, but Michael Mina prepares a five course vegetarian tasting menu that could be the best and most upscale vegetarian meal I have ever seen. My wife loved it!

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Noodles at the Bellagio

Looking for GREAT Asian food at a mid level price? Everytime we go to Las Vegas now, we make sure to eat at least once at Noodels in the Bellagio. If you take our advice and go, be sure to go for lunch on the weekend, as they have some of the best Dim Sum we have ever tasted. We are hooked! Be careful if you go for a soda, as there are no free refils (don’t they know that this is a US tradition now), and at $4 a piece, this can add up fast if you take the kids, so tell them to drink slooooowly. The appetizers are awesome (especially the calamari), and the noodle dishes are great. This is one of our favorite Asian themed restaurants anywhere!

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Circo at the Bellagio

There are not too many choices for great upscale Italian food on the strip, but there are a couple worth KUDOS. Circo, which is located in the Bellagio is a great choice! Circo is a part of the Maccioni family restaurant tradition with a great upscale Tuscan menu, and some of the best views of Las Vegas strip. The restaurant is actually right on Lago di Como (the lake in front of Bellagio with the water show). With a window seat, you get about as good a view of the dancing water as anywhere at the Bellagio.

The service was a bit slow (true to Tuscan and European form), but the food was worth it. The Mozzarela Caprese was very special. I know they have this everywhere, but theirs was different and special (in fact the best that I have had outside of Italy), and the main courses were great. The menu is attached in the link below for you to take a look at, but whatever you do, make sure you save room for desert. Their house specialty is warm freshly made dipping donuts with caramel and a strawberry sauce. I know this sounds a bit strange and not like something you would find in an upscale restaurant, but we were talked into them by the waiter, and they were the table hit!!!

http://www.bellagio.com/restaurants/circo.aspx

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Delmonico’s Steakhouse in Las Vegas

I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to eat at Delmonico’s Steakhouse in Las Vegas, and as a result I have been back almost every trip since. The atmosphere is great, and the food is superb. It is located in the Venetian, and was recently awarded Wine Spectators Grand Award. This is one of Emeril’s restaurants, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see the creole influence. Be sure to order the Lobster Bisque while there, or even better – order the Ceaser’s salad (they make it fresh for you at your table).

The wine list is superb, and I can see why it rated so highly with Wine Spectator’s magazine (even with those selections of Chateau Petrus on the menu for those with unlimited funds). This is consistently one of the top steakhouses in Las Vegas – and I couldn’t agree more. Make reservations early, it gets crowded.

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Single Track Trails at Mount Schweitzer

Digging Schweitzer Mountain

Idaho’s Schweitzer Mountain is a great spot in the summer time to hike and “diggle.”  Our first experience with a diggler was here and what a fun surprise it was to rent these mountain scooters and soar down the hills.  Not much experience is needed to make it down the hill but can be a little rough on the fingers if you use the brakes a lot.  Hiking the trails is also great exercise and offers breathtaking views of Lake Pend Oreille – one of the largest freshwater lakes in the West (110 miles of shoreline).  After you try this, trade in the Diggler for a mountain bike, take the lift up, and then enjoy some of the best downhill single track trails I have ever seen.

We hear the skiing is great too!

http://www.schweitzer.com/mountain/

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Get the most out of your frequent flier miles

Using your frequent-flier miles to get to Europe can save you a bundle, if you know the ropes and plan ahead.   Click ‘read more’ below to read the article from CNN with some great ideas on maximizing your frequent flier miles, whether it is to Europe on British Airways to US travel through US Airways, United, Delta or others.

read more | digg story

5 great tax-rebate getaways

Here are some great ideas  on how to spend that tax rebate for a quick vacation.  From laid-back Florida beaches to guided mule rides in the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, our editors picked these getaways with the average American family’s tax rebate of $1,200 in mind.  To read the entire article with suggestions, click “read more” below!

read more | digg story

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