College Bowl Trip: Fiesta in Arizona

The 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, was about the whole trip for me! Yes, the college football statistics and the bowl games are fun to follow, especially now that my kids and their friends attend colleges scattered across the country. How can I not cheer on a few teams, especially around bowl time?
However, truth is . . . my thoughts and feet wandered more toward a great restaurant, fun shopping (like how I snagged my recent purchased amazon tactical flashlight), and a nice place to stay. Admittedly, I am just a person who watches sports. I am a poor substitute for a real bowl fan.

Besides, the underdog lost. I always root for the underdog. The 37th Annual Fiesta Bowl matched University of Oklahoma Sooners head-to-head with West Virginia University Mountaineers. Sadly, my Sooners proved to be later. The Mountaineers proved the early birds, and grabbed the gold with a score of 48 to 28.

The game was only a snippet of the fiesta time for my college bowl trip. I needed lodging to fulfill my fiesta experience, so I chose the Fiesta Inn! It’s a natural choice by name and reputation. I have stayed there before, taking advantage of their special package deals, often including a fabulous breakfast in their full-service restaurant, Milagro’s. Also known as the Fiesta Resort Conference Center, Fiesta Inn is owned and operated by Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC. It is located in Tempe, close to everything in and around Glendale, and the greater Phoenix, Arizona area.

Glendale’s Historic Downtown shopping district is the best kept secret in the greater Phoenix, Arizona metro area. After a delightful breakfast back at the inn, my fiesta continued in a leisurely stroll through the Glendale downtown square. The lush park and one-of-a-kind shops surrounding it are fabulous. Bargains and eclectic treasured surprises are everywhere. Keeping in the spirit of the old town ambiance, lunch at Bitzee Mama’s drew this hungry traveler into a fiesta of Mexican and American food. My only disappointment was that they only offer live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and my Fiesta Bowl travel window wasn’t open for the weekend.

The Fiesta Bowl game was held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. However, Arizona State University is close by and is traditionally an important site for some festivities leading up to the actual football game day. The full schedule of events was convenient and easy to follow on the Official Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Schedule of Events online. Even though those ASU events took place before my arrival to the Phoenix area, I could not resist a visit to ASU’s campus, Sun Devil Stadium, and surrounding area, including Tempe’s Mill Avenue District and Tempe Beach Park.

Admittedly, I’m biased because I have assumed a respectful amount of pride in the area, from living in Arizona nearly a decade. I have no doubt ASU and it’s Tempe town neighborhood played well as complimentary hosts to the 37th Fiesta Bowl events. They are both a joy to spend time in during special events and on lazy days just the same.

Before leaving Mill Avenue and the whole Fiesta Bowl trip behind me, I naturally had to break bread once more. The historic Monti’s La Casa Vieja is the oldest hacienda in Tempe. It is an icon of the old west, serving mouth-watering steaks and southwestern hospitality at its finest. The food is a tasty testament to why the hacienda has been feeding travelers and locals for nearly a hundred and fifty years. The Fiesta Bowl experience is not complete without paying homage to Monti’s fiesta style.

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