• Alessandra Parker

Our Spring Trip to Arizona

We were able to take a trip to Arizona with my parents to go visit my grandfather for his 95th birthday. We were so excited to be able to see him and were thinking about taking a trip to the Grand Canyon while we were in Arizona. THEN we found Under Canvas Grand Canyon and knew we had to do it!


Day 1: Travel to Phoenix



We fortunately didn't have an early flight and were able to get to the airport by 9 am. However, our trip unfortunately got off on the wrong foot. My dad booked my plane ticket with my old last name. Yup. And to put even more icing on the cake, the ticket counter agent at this little airport near our house didn't know how to change my name or really how to do anything at all. It took about an hour to get everything worked out, but I was eventually able to get through security. :) My dad had gone to AZ the day prior but thankfully my mom was traveling with us so she was able to help Josh with the boys while I got everything sorted out.


We hopped on our flight to D.C., had a two-hour layover, and THEN the real fun began. We had a 4 hour and 40 minute flight from D.C. to Pheonix. PHEW! That was a long one. I had brought everything possible on our flight to entertain my two boys and it was actually okay. I also brought Rory's car seat on the plane and installed it into his seat so he had somewhere to sleep/be constrained for bits at a time.



We finally got to AZ around 10 PM eastern, which was only 7 PM local time. We fed the boys and then put them to bed right when we got to my Grandpa's house & that was a wrap!


Day 2: Day at Grandpa's & Eating Out


The next morning we woke up and had breakfast and just talked to my grandpa. It was so nice to see him again. We also set up activities for the kids in the backyard and they played in their swimsuits for a loooong time. In the afternoon while Rory was napping, Rhett, my mom & I got out and went shopping for a bit.

When we got home, Rory was up and we played outside for a bit again. Then we all got ready to go and ate at this cute restaurant called Mochilero Kitchen. The food was superb but be sure to bring your ID if you go. I forgot mine and they wouldn't give me a marg. :)


Day 3: Pheonix Zoo & Grandpa's 95th Birthday


We started this day off by making a trip to the Pheonix Zoo with the boys & my parents. This Zoo was really nice & clean and the weather was not too bad for Pheonix, however, I was sure to cover the boys in sunscreen! Rhett's favorite animals were definitely the monkeys and the pelicans.

Soon after we got home we started getting ready for my Grandpa's birthday dinner. He wanted italian food (of course) and we made him a cake, however, my dad also went and got a ton of Italian pastries from the local bakery too!

We had so much fun singing and dancing to italian music, drinking wine, and eating food! It was also such a joy to see my little ones interact with my sweet grandfather. And of course, my mom made matching t-shirts for everyone! They said "Gennarelli" which is my maiden name and "family is everything" in Italian which is something my grandpa says often.

How cute is my grandpa!


Day 4: Trip to Grand Canyon & Under Canvas


The next day we left around 8:30 and headed to the cutest spot for breakfast, JD Campbell's. It has major desert cowboy vibes and had such yummy food. Josh got French toast & I got biscuits in gravy. Ah, so good. After we finished up there we drove straight to the Grand Canyon! My mom kept Rory and stayed with my grandfather so that we could have special time with Rhett and my dad.


It was such a beautiful drive & there were SO MANY Saguaro Cactus on the sides of the mountains and hills. Rhett & Josh had never seen anything like it and they stared out the windows a lot - ha! Overall it was about a 3 and a half hour drive, and some of the roads were VERY windy, but it was worth it.


Once we got to the canyon we ate at one of the restaurants inside of the park and they had really great food (which I have to say we were not expecting). We finally got to the canyon visitors center & just started walking.


We had packed a backpack with sunscreen and water bottles and a few other necessities as we didn't really know what to expect but we ended up just walking the rim which wasn't bad at all. It was also in the high 50s so we all had coats on - Josh & I ended up buying matching Grand Canyon jackets too.

The canyon itself was stunning. It's hard for you to wrap your mind around what you're seeing - it honestly looked like virtual reality. The first part of the rim has fencing along it, and as you keep walking it gets more and more nerve-wracking, at least for me, ha!

The second part of the rim that you can walk on is a fenced in ledge and then as you keep walking, the fence disappears. There were even people out on ledges without fences. I don't know what they were thinking ??? but it was a thing.


After about 2 hours, we decided it was time to go check into our tent. We got back in the car and drove out of the park about 20 minutes before reaching the Under Canvas destination. The first thing you see when you pull in is the Under Canvas lobby. When we went inside, there was a cute front desk, and place to buy items like shirts, cups, hats, and sunscreen, and then a spot to order & eat food.

We checked in and were given a little tour, and then we were taken to our tent via 4-wheelers. We stayed in tent #29 and it was SO cute. There was a bed, pull out couch for Rhett, coffee table, wood stove & wood, and then a full bathroom with warm water.

We got settled and then walked back to the lobby, which was about a 5 minute walk, to order dinner.


We then went outside and sat around the campfire. Josh got us Hot Toddy's and my dad and Rhett made s'mores. They had live music playing as well. The only thing at this point was that it was getting COLD - like in the low 40's/high 30s. We could only stay outside until about 7:15 - then we decided to head back to our tent.


The only light source in our tent after it got dark was the battery powered lanterns so we got our wood stove working for heat and then sat in our tent, drank our Hot Toddy's, and played with Rhett's game that we had borrowed from the front desk by lantern light. The boys also played shadow puppets on the tent wall. It was such a special night. My dad ended up heading to his tent around 9 or so and then we started getting ready for bed.

We made sure that the wood stove was good to go and then all went to bed. That night it got into the 20s, so Josh had to continue putting wood on the fire throughout the night and Rhett ended snuggling with us!


Day 5: Return to Grandpa's house


The next morning we all woke up with the sun which was about 6:30 am - we got ready and packed up our stuff and made our way to the lobby for breakfast. Once we ate our food, we got on the road about 8:45. We were able to make it back to my mom, Rory, and grandpa by 12.


The rest of the day we hung out and got things ready to go. I also had to finish up some schoolwork so I worked on that as well.

Day 6: Return home to NY


We got up early to catch our flight home. The way back went way smoother than getting there, and our 4 hour and 40 min flight TO Phoenix was only 3 hours on the way back to D.C. because of the tailwind - such a blessing!


This trip was such a special one full of sweet memories. Arizona is such a unique place to visit, and if you are ever going to visit the Grand Canyon I highly recommend staying at Under Canvas!