Why You Should Include Volunteering in Your New Year’s Resolution

When you go to write out your New Year’s resolutions, volunteering may not come to mind right away – if at all. In fact, most people think about goals like healthier eating, exercise, sticking to a budget, and spending time with loved ones, which are all important. But whether you’re retired and looking for activities for retirees or jobs for retirees, a recent empty nester, or a career-minded 30-year-old resolving to begin volunteer work, this might just be the one resolution that you end up sticking with and getting the most from.

It’s obvious that volunteering helps the cause you choose to serve, but did you know it also helps you? The best volunteer jobs keep the brain active, boosting your mental health and giving you a positive outlook on life. To that end, serving others can prevent depression by giving you a sense of purpose in life and can actually lower blood pressure and improve health.

Furthermore, depending on the type of volunteering you choose to do, it can also give you a great outlet for physical activity. If you help paint a children’s shelter or participate in a fundraising 5K, you’re doing something positive for your mind and body. And lastly, the best volunteer jobs keep you socially connected to others of all ages. You’ll make new friends that care about the same causes you do and enjoy the rewards of making a difference together.

Places to Volunteer

Now that you might be eager to add volunteering to your New Year’s resolutions, where do you start? Here are a few places to volunteer in the Valley that can use your help:

  1. Foothills Animal Rescue – If you love animals, and want to make a real impact, FAR could be a great fit for you. With plenty of opportunities to foster pets or volunteer in another way (e.g. become a “cat cuddler!”), you can’t go wrong furthering this charity’s mission.
  2. The Fetch Foundation – This innovative organization was created to help first responders increase their ability to save pets in fires and other emergencies. They also help rescue organizations and shelters identify dogs that could be trained to become ‘search and service’ dogs or a therapy dog for veterans or people with disabilities. You can help by purchasing a “Fido bag,” volunteering to clean kennels or in numerous other ways.
  3. Foothills Food Bank – When it comes time for the holidays, there’s a part of our community that may not able to enjoy the season quite so much. For our neighbors in need, food banks like this one can use a lot of help coordinating donations, handing out food and more.
  4. Winged Hope – This Gilbert-based nonprofit provides resources and support to victims of family violence (including domestic violence and child abuse), and education to the community for prevention. This 100% volunteer-run organization also regularly revamps shelters and family advocacy centers and can use monetary donations as well as helping hands to accomplish it all.
  5. Desert Foothills Library – The only nonprofit public library in the Cave Creek area, this beautiful facility is always looking for community members to volunteer with them. Fill out an application and learn how you can help with their different programs and events.
  6. Salvation Army – Who doesn’t think of the holidays and the kind individuals in red vests who collect money for those in need? Those are Salvation Army volunteers, and you can be one too. Whether you help collect money outside of stores or volunteer in their storage areas or kitchens, your help is always welcome with this organization.

There are nearly endless opportunities for volunteer work in Phoenix and its surrounding areas. As long as you choose an organization that speaks to your heart, you will end up enjoying the best volunteer jobs and all the benefits that come with volunteering – and make a real difference in the community. So, get out that pen and start writing down your new, favorite resolution for 2019: volunteering!

Hosting Family for the Holidays? Check out These Winter Activities Your Family Will Love!

It seems like it was just the beginning of the year and now the holidays are upon us. As crazy as it might be to have time fly by so quickly, it’s also exciting. After all, who among us isn’t excited about the winter fun and winter activities we can enjoy during this festive time of the year? If you’re looking for things to do in Arizona for the holidays, here are some ideas to keep your guests entertained:


If you’re a resident of Arizona, you know ZooLights is one of those must-do winter things on your list every year. Starting the week of Thanksgiving and available through the first two weeks of January, you have plenty of time to schedule a family outing to take in the breathtaking millions of lights around the zoo. Beyond the lights, there’s also a 200-foot long Polar Slide™, live reindeer, Stingray Bay, and a 4-D Theater. All of that fun is available with admission so ZooLights is definitely one of the best things to do in Phoenix with visiting family.

Magical Getaway

If you want to treat those in your life to a special experience that’s out of the neighborhood, but not terribly far away, take a little getaway to Christmas in Carefree. Just north of North Scottsdale, this winter wonderland starts November 30 with a tree lighting ceremony and lasts until January with the Carefree Desert Garden “Glitters”. It’s a celebration of the season with a light display, real snow, a Christmas market, a parade, a Chanukah celebration, fireworks, live performances, and more.

Things to Do in Scottsdale, AZ

If you want to stick around Scottsdale this year, you have plenty of fun winter activities to choose from. Looking for something to do with the kids? Go to the iconic Phoenician and experience its magical Christmas experience. You can either grab a bite to eat and walk the grounds or stay a night for a staycation. Either way, you’ll encounter Mrs. Claus story time, elf magic tricks, and games and treats in Santa’s workshop! Another fun idea for the little ones (or even a date) is to go to McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park for live music, holiday lights, a visit from Santa, and a spectacular train ride. Make sure to get your tickets in advance, though, as this is a popular activity every year.

Maybe you want something a little more geared toward adults. If that sounds like what’s on your wishlist, check out the Musical Instrument Museum. This year, they’ll be hosting the 14th season of the “Irish Christmas in America” show. It features top Irish music, song, and dance in an engaging performance rich in history, humor, and boundless energy. Produced by Oisín Mac Diarmada of the award-winning Irish group Téada, the 2018 tour brings back the amazing Séamus Begley, along with the vocal talents of Sligo’s Niamh Farrell.

As you can tell, there are nearly endless options for what you can do to stir up some magic and winter fun with your friends and families this holiday season. The hardest part might be narrowing it down to just a few activities!

Retirement is a Lifestyle, Not a Destination

For some, early retirement is an incredible achievement to strive for, but oftentimes this life goal is achieved with little idea of what retirement life will look like. Many wonder what to do when they’re retired, but remember – retirement is a lifestyle, not a destination. It’s a new chapter in life full of amazing possibilities. This can include things you’ve always wanted to make time for, or completely new activities you hadn’t considered trying.

With its abundance of good weather and golf, Arizona is known to be one of the best and most exciting retirement destinations in the world. If you live here, or are interested in moving to Arizona, review our suggestions for fun things to do when you retire and fill up your newly freed schedule!

Fun Things to Do in Arizona            

  1. Grand Canyon National Park: This world-famous canyon provides endless views and hiking trails. Chances are you’ll probably want to visit more than once!
  2. Sedona: This red-rock surrounded town is a great stopping place on the way to the Grand Canyon. There are numerous hiking trails with access to Red Rock State Park, plenty of bird watching, and picnic destinations with beautiful views.
  3. Arabian Horse Show: In Scottsdale, the Arabian Horse Show takes place every February at Westworld and offers a chance to see some of the most beautiful Arabian horses from around the world. Thousands attend every year, and there are hundreds of accompanying activities.
  4. Culinary Festival: In April, the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, one of the longest-running festivals in the U.S., arrives with six days of gourmet food and celebrity chefs for every palate.
  5. Musical Instrument Museum: The relatively new Musical Instrument Museum in North Phoenix has close to 7,000 instruments on display from all over the world. Guests can see and hear instruments and their sounds; many of them in their original contexts. The art gallery showcases instruments from the likes of John Lennon and Taylor Swift.
  6. Enjoy Outdoor Activities: Beginning this new journey in life might get you thinking about starting up a past hobby or even starting a new one. And with optimal golfing weather almost year-round living in Arizona is the perfect place for spending your days on the links. If golf isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other outdoor activities Arizona caters to such as tennis, swimming, hiking, biking, taking a trip to the Phoenix Zoo or the Desert Botanical Garden, and much more!

Finding a New Purpose

Re-connecting socially with friends is key during retirement. Research shows that many retirees miss the social connections they’ve made at work, which underscores the importance of maintaining a social life during retirement. Social activities like golf, tennis, and joining group fitness classes are all things you can find in an active community like ours. If you are interested in learning more about community living, contact us today!

Spring into Scottsdale!

The winter air has given way to warmer temperatures, which means spring has sprung in Scottsdale! Spring is the perfect time to enjoy some of Scottsdale’s most exciting restaurants and activities.

Living in Scottsdale, Arizona means there is never a dull moment, especially during March and April. Baseball’s Spring Training season is in full swing, and the Cactus League is not to be missed with almost half of Major League Baseball teams in Arizona to participate.

The newly remodeled Scottsdale Stadium is the exclusive home of the 2014 World Champion San Francisco Giants, and it offers some great views of Camelback Mountain. Of course, baseball is not the only “game” in town, so check out our “must do” list of things to do in Scottsdale this Spring: 

Scottsdale’s Best Restaurants

Over the years, Scottsdale has become a fine dining mecca. We’ve highlighted a few of below and sprinkled in some casual spots as well.

  1. For special occasions, Café Monarch in Old Town Scottsdale is the place to be. Aside from its reputation as one of the most romantic restaurants in America, the four-course prix-fixe dinner menu changes weekly. Per to the restaurant’s website, the food “revolves around local, organic, sustainable and overall responsible procurement.” Highly trained sommeliers offer expert wine pairings with each course.
  2. Virtù Honest Craft, Chef Gio Osso’s Scottsdale dining destination, offers a mostly Mediterranean-inspired menu using locally grown produce and a modern space to enjoy some of Scottsdale’s most exquisite cuisine. The James Beard-nominated menu changes frequently, but some staple must-try dishes include grilled octopus, a variety of scallops, duck, and daily fresh pasta offerings.
  3. In the mood for brunch? Arcadia Farms is a local favorite known for its rustic and welcoming atmosphere. This part café part gourmet marketplace is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and offers freshly baked goods, organic salads and gourmet sandwiches to satisfy any palate.
  4. Love the Hamptons? The Montauk, one of Old Town’s newest spots, is a casual dining experience that will take you right back to the Village of the old days. The menu offers Hamptons-inspired cuisine, from sliders and fries, to lobster rolls and fish tacos. Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m.
  5. If you’re in the mood for simple but tasty cuisine in an intimate setting, Sel is worth a try. Prix-fixe menu items are locally sourced and the menu changes frequently, but often includes filet mignon and seared tuna. Also recommended is Sel’s strawberry marzipan shortcake for dessert.

Must-Do Activities

Once you’re ready to work off that meal and you’ve had your fill of Spring Training games, Scottsdale provides limitless entertainment options. Here are some of the activities we recommend adding to your to-do list:

  1. Hike Camelback Mountain: One of the most popular hikes in the valley is Camelback Mountain. The mountain offers four different trails of varying difficulty and of course, breathtaking views of the city.
  2. See Incredible Architecture: Check out a masterpiece in Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home from the 1930’s. Visitors can view the estate up close and walk the grounds. Reservations are recommended.
  3. Wildlife and Botanical Beauty: Take a trip to the Phoenix Zoo, or the world-renowned Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens, which offers a variety of family programs, its music in the garden program, and a host of trails to explore.
  4. Tee Up: We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention golf! Certainly, Scottsdale boasts some of the most beautiful golf courses in the country. At Terravita Golf and Country Club we have a private, award winning course in North Scottsdale known for its beautiful desert landscape combined with the fun and challenging golf course.
  5. Hit the Courts: With the weather ranging from mid 70s to low 80s in Arizona, it’s no surprise that Scottsdale is also known to be a premier tennis destination. Outdoor activities such as tennis are a great way to get an exercise in with friends all while soaking in the Arizona sun.
  6. Shop Until you Drop: For those looking for a great shopping experience, Scottsdale Fashion Square will not disappoint. Flagship Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom stores anchor a slate of luxurious stores like Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Burberry and more. The shopping center is currently undergoing a facelift of sorts, and will debut a fresh look in Fall 2018. 

Now that spring has sprung, we hope you’ll enjoy exploring all the city of Scottsdale has to offer! At Terravita Golf and Country Club, our community loves being able to call Scottsdale home. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our private community that includes country club living in Scottsdale!

The Magic of the Holidays in Arizona

With the dusting of snow gracing several states across the U.S., Arizonans are enjoying gorgeous sunny days and cool evenings. The holidays are just around the corner, and despite the desert that surrounds us, Arizona holidays are a surprising oasis of winter wonderland. The fall and winter weather alone in the Valley is the envy of the country, with temperatures ranging as high as 70°F in daytime to as low as 40°F at night. Whether traveling solo, with the whole family, or hosting friends and family, there’s an endless supply of fun things to do in Phoenix that make Arizona holidays magical.

  • Northern Arizona: If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, take a short drive north of Phoenix and, Jack Frost will be nipping at your nose. There are some of the best cold-weather destinations in the mountains of Arizona that house vertical drops that allow for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.
  • ZooLights: Beginning November 22nd and running through January 14th, take a stroll through the Valley’s brightest tradition of the year at Phoenix Zoo. This beautiful showcase of lights, music, food, and festivities bring joy to all ages during Arizona holidays.
  • Glendale Glitters: Another award-winning festival of lights is the incredible Glendale Glitters. This is the largest free holiday light display in Arizona, illuminating 16 blocks of Historic Downtown Glendale with 1.5 million LED lights. The display runs from November 24th, where they host a big kickoff, through January 6th.
  • Sedona in northern Arizona, is a holiday dream with top resorts, hiking, fun, and entertainment. Sedona world renowned for its magical vibe, and the holiday magic is no exception.
  • Polar Express: Experience the classic children’s book, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, with this magical Polar Express-themed train ride to the enchanted beauty of the “North Pole” and Santa makes a jolly appearance spreading joy and cheer to all on board.
  • Lake Havasu Christmas Boat Parade of Lights: On December 1st and 2nd, two fun events combine, camping and a Christmas light parade on water, with the Lake Havasu Christmas Boat Parade of Lights. It’s sure to delight and impress the whole family. With more than 50 boats decorated in Christmas shine, the London Bridge channel brings the spirit of Christmas.
  • CitySkate Holiday Ice Rink: Ice skating and sipping hot cocoa are practically synonymous with holiday fun. CitySkate is Downtown Phoenix’s signature holiday destination where ice skating outside in the middle of the Saguaro Desert becomes a reality.
  • Holiday Golfing: What golf lover wouldn’t enjoy a nice round for the holidays? Arizona is a top golf destinations and you can’t afford to leave your clubs at home. With breathtaking views and weather to please, it’s no wonder why Arizona is a magical destination for the holidays.


The holidays in Arizona is sure to be a magical time at one of the top winter destinations. Contact us to find out more about our community and what Terravita and our surrounding area has to offer.


The Beauty of Fall in the Arizona Desert

Do you know where to find the beauty of fall in Arizona? If you hop in the car and drive a few hours in just about any direction you’re going to find more beauty than you ever imagined. The best time to view fall foliage in Arizona, and to experience desert life in fall, is mid-September through October. The Arizona desert begins cooling down, making day and evening adventures enjoyable. Whether you have a few hours or a few days, there’s no shortage of things to do in Arizona, and a uniquely Arizona adventure is just around the bend.

Prescott National Forest

To the north of Phoenix, the Prescott National Forest provides gorgeous scenery and a precious resource – the Verde River. The beautiful fragrant pine trees, lakes and rivers, and archaeological sites make this a must-see for fall sightseers. The elevation is about as high as Denver so be prepared for cooler weather. As far as national park passes are concerned, it’s best to decide whether you will be visiting more than one park and how often. There are annual pass or day pass options for most parks.

Sedona and The Red Rocks

Then comes the famed Sedona Region and its West Fork Oak Creek Trail. At 10 miles north of Sedona proper, it’s a 3 hour hike so make plans to stop off at a local winery afterward. When you have finished enjoying the art, hop on up a half hour to Flagstaff and enjoy the view for the weekend.


In the northern section of the Coconino National Forest is where you’ll find Flagstaff. The best fall hike is arguably the Aspen Nature Loop. It’s a short 2.5 miles and relatively easy, but its view of Kendrick Mountain and San Francisco Peaks is worth the trip. Flagstaff is at 7,000 feet so be prepared for significant temperature change from the Valley. Expect a 20 degree drop for the day, and even more during the evening. The Wine in the Woods Festival in early September at the Arboretum or the Cornucopia Fall Festival, both in town, are good places to stop after your hikes.

Grand Canyon

Since you’re in Flagstaff and enjoying the colors and the cool breeze, why not scoot another hour up U.S. 180 to the Kaibab National Forest and the beginning of a rather large famous hole in the ground called the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River took its time to paint a very nice landscape there. Truly one of the world’s wonders, there’s no better time to visit this amazing site.

Tonto National Forest

Heading east from Phoenix, and just outside the eastern border of the Phoenix-Scottsdale metro area, is the Tonto National Forest. In the town of Payson, you will find colors galore. Travel a little north on highway 87, and you will find the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. Filled with aspen, cottonwood, and alder trees, the colors will be glorious. Enjoy local beers and wine from THAT brewery at the Taste at the Bridge event on September 23. 


You can also head due south via I-10 through the desert to the Sonoran National Monument where the giant Saguaro cacti are known to bloom year-round. They are a sight you can walk right up to and enjoy, just watch the spines.

Finding fun things to do in Arizona is as easy as a hopping in the car. It does not take much effort to find the beauty of fall in the Arizona desert. For other fun things to do, check out this list of Arizona fall festivals.

We also have many great fun things to do here in Terravita. If you’re looking for a private golf and country club community, living alongside your peers in a private community includes a multitude of fun events and activities. Please contact us to find out more about the perfect place part-time or full-time place to enjoy your active lifestyle.

5 Fun Winter Events to Attend in Scottsdale, AZ

With winter approaching fast, people everywhere are preparing for the holiday season, winter events, and Christmas activities. Don’t let the desert landscape fool you – Scottsdale, Arizona has a lot to offer during the holidays. If you are searching for fun, unique and spectacular events, this article will share with you 5 fun winter events to attend in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Winter Wonderland Arizona

Every winter season Birkett, a local DJ, puts on an impressive and outstanding show with Winter Wonderland Arizona. Winter Wonderland Arizona is a Christmas light show that spreads holiday joy among families and Scottsdale visitors. The spectacular show features 250,000 lights choreographed to flash along with music. Admission is free and the exhibit runs through the month of December.


Check out this fantastic month-long celebration in the heart of Downtown Scottsdale. The one-of-a kind Arizona tree, imported from Italy boasts over one million customizable lighting options and will glow nightly on the Soleri Bridge. There’s plenty of free public parking in the public parking garage located South of Camelback Road next to Nordstrom. There will be a host of signature activities, events and local merchants and restaurants will offer specials, discounts and more.

Las Noches De Las Luminarias

The graceful Desert Botanical Gardens glow with candlelight during this outstanding event. Garden pathways are lit by volunteers with over 8,000 luminaries. The divinely beautiful display draws in sell-out crowds year after year. Mariachis and musicians perform during the event which also includes gourmet refreshments and beautiful restaurants. Tickets are on sale now.

Christmas at the Princess

It’s the 7th Annual Christmas at the Princess in North Scottsdale. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is a spectacular AAA Five Diamond award-winning resort. Witness the transformation into an enchanting winter wonderland through January 1, 2017. The gorgeous tree’s synchronized lighting and music show happens every night from 6 pm. What better way to create special holiday memories with your family?

Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Choo choo! The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park lights up Scottsdale with one of the most unique holiday events in the Valley. Take a ride on the Paradise and Pacific Railroad through a winter wonderland of lights and displays. Festivities will include live music and a tree lighting ceremony and a visit from Santa. Santa will be at the park nightly through December 23rd.

Winter is full of many spectacular events that make wonderful memories. These are just a few of the many exciting events that take place in Scottsdale, Arizona during the holidays.

Contact us to find out more about our neighborhood and what Terravita has to offer.