10,000 step tour: Old Town Scottsdale

Wild horses seem to run through the center of Od Town Scottsdale. It's quite a striking sculpture.

Wild horses seem to run through the center of Od Town Scottsdale. It’s quite a striking sculpture.

You gotta like your Old West kitsch here in Old Towson Scottsdale. A cowboy welcome partner!

You gotta like your Old West kitsch here in Old Towson Scottsdale. A cowboy welcome partner!

Ten thousand steps, 90 degrees. Not a great combination, you think?

With a map and a Fitbit, I was ready for my 10,000 step tour of Scottsdale.

With a map and a Fitbit, I was ready for my 10,000 step tour of Scottsdale.

In Old Town Scottsdale, I set a goal to walk 10,000 steps in three hours — I wanted to be done before the desert sun fried me.

What fun it turned out to be! I wandered through the old shops, took a detour when I got to a shop selling cowboy boots (cute, tempting even, but really, not me) And then there were the shops selling Mexican blankets and Indian-inspired art and books about Arizona history and culture. Clearly, my Fitbit wasn’t going to register this as a high-level activity. But when fitness and travel get together it’s a beautiful thing.

I was tempted for a minute when I stopped in Bischoff's Shades of the West.

I was tempted for a minute when I stopped in Bischoff’s Shades of the West.

Just west of Old Town is Scottsdale's Arts District. Signs on the sidewalks and street art will guide you.

Just west of Old Town is Scottsdale’s Arts District. Signs on the sidewalks and street art will guide you.

To get to my steps goal, it took a bit of meandering. After my walk, I put my path on a map. My wandered  around all the shops of the Old Town where I perused a display of cowboy boots and found some books about Arizona for a loved one who plans to move here. I turned down Marshall Way — the ArtWalk — to peek into the galleries and admire the street art and then I wandered around the green space known as Civic Center Mall.

Winfield Scott founded this town when he purchased 640 acres to plant citrus. That's his wife Helen Louise Brown on the horse.

Winfield Scott founded this town when he purchased 640 acres to plant citrus. That’s his wife Helen Louise Brown on the horse.

Inside the old church, a rustic cross has been decorated with a colorful rosary.

Inside the old church, a rustic cross has been decorated with a colorful rosary.

I did stop in the Old Adobe Mission, the oldest in Scottsdale. Here’s an interesting fact. It’s not very old. Established in 1933, in fact. It makes you realize how “old” Scottsdale is, doesn’t it? And it wasn’t long before I needed to find a place for a cool drink. Midway through my trek I stopped briefly before pressing on.

The Old Town itself isn’t really big enough for 10,000 steps. I walked to the modern bridge over the Arizona canal to get in enough steps. I could have added a trip to one of the museums — and definitely would have if I had four hours.

Scottsdale's striking Museum of the West opened earlier this year. It's on my must-do list for my next visit.

Scottsdale’s striking Museum of the West opened earlier this year. It’s on my must-do list for my next visit.

I decided to leave the museums for my next visit. I really want to see Scottsdale’s newest museum, Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Beautiful architecture. The Museum of Contemporary Arts looked like fun, too.

This stark, modern bridge traverses part of Arizona's system of canals.

This stark, modern bridge traverses part of Arizona’s system of canals.

Before the noonday sun was high in the sky, I’d met my goal. The best part, I’d seen a fun part of Scottsdale, gotten a new perspective on “old” and enjoyed a bit of a Southwestern town.

On the sidewalk, markets help visitors find their way to historic sights.

On the sidewalk, markets help visitors find their way to historic sights.

Please note: Your results may vary from mine. You might be taller; you might have a longer stride. But I expect you’d have a good time, too.

You'll never forget its Spring Training in Scottsdale. Flags and signs are everywhere — although, the Orioles don't play here. (Still happy to see a flag for my favorite team.)

You’ll never forget its Spring Training in Scottsdale. Flags and signs are everywhere — although, the Orioles don’t play here. (Still happy to see a flag for my favorite team.)

© Text and photos
Mary K. Tilghman

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