Where To Get The Best Coffee In Arcadia & Camelback Corridor

Arcadia and Camelback Corridor have some amazing, locally owned coffee places!

Best Coffee Arcadia, Best Coffee Camelback Corridor

The iconic Hava Java is one of the most awarded coffee houses in Arizona. I love this place! Have Java is as small town local as you’re ever going to find. This local legend serves some of the world’s best (literally) coffee in a friendly, inviting atmosphere. The baristas are experienced, service is superior, and the customers are loyal. The morning “brew crew” (Jake, Meghan, and Lance) remember you and your order by name! Their tagline is “chains are for bikes” (ha!). Owner “Mr Hava Java” (a.k.a. Justin Shafer) has created a gourmet coffee house that has a wonderful community feeling. And while I wanted to mostly focus on coffee shops, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t let you know the baked goods here are incredible (you’re welcome). For those with food allergies – Hava Java has gluten free pastries and soy milk.

Another stand out in local coffee culture is Carmel’s Breakfast House (you may remember Carmel’s from the Arcadia Sunday Brunch Spots blog). A little local trivia for you – Carmel’s owner Pat Flanigan was a weatherman on TV for many years before deciding he never wanted to wear a suit again and opened up Carmel’s (thank you, Pat!). Pat was kind enough to sit down with me and chat Carmel’s and all things Camelback Corridor – see the video here.

From its beginning, Carmel’s has been an Arcadia coffee favorite, with coffee purists enjoying locally roasted coffee (along with a full menu of breakfast food options). The atmosphere at Carmel’s is cool, inviting, cozy, and retro (though the VW permanently parked in front lets you know to expect the cool & retro part). All baristas go through Carmel’s training so you can always expect a perfect cup of joe. Tip: try their iced toddy (you’re welcome).

Arcadia Coffee Houses

Black Cat Coffee House is another Arcadia/Camelback Corridor coffee house favorite. Don’t want to instigate competition, but they make a fantastic iced toddy as well (guess you’ll have to try both Carmel’s and Black Cat’s iced toddy to find your fave). Inside local art is displayed, and there is an indie, hip vibe. The food at Black Cat is as amazing as the coffee (seeing a trend here?). Friendly baristas can initiate coffee newbies and can also knowledgeably discuss specialty coffees with aficionados. For those of you with food allergies – there are non-dairy milks available (rice, almond, etc.).

Visitors to Arcadia’s Terra Java quickly convert to regulars. With a chef co-owner, it’s no surprise customers rave as much about the coffee as they do about the world-class cuisine. Their coffee is locally roasted, and the coffeehouse is very involved with the local community – including hosting a monthly Arcadia book club. Baristas are experienced and passionate – a Terra Java barista even took part in an international competition!

One of the things that really impresses me about many of our neighborhood businesses is that supporting the local community is such a large part of who they are and what they do. If you haven’t had a chance to grab a cup of coffee (and pastry or baked good) at any of the Arcadia and Camelback Corridor coffeehouses above, stop in and support these great local businesses!

Want to know more about why I love Camelback Corridor and Arcadia? Check out my video here.

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My Top 3 Favorite Things About Arcadia & Camelback Corridor

Someone asked me the other day what my top 3 favorite things about Arcadia are. If you’ve stumbled across my blog you find yourself wondering “Are Arcadia and Camelback Corridor really so cool they deserve their own blog?” Absolutely! And residents agree. Without further ado my top 3 absolute favorite things about Arcadia and the Camelback Corridor:

Best Community Arcadia and Camelback Corridor

1. The community.

Arcadia is such a hidden little gem! Many people familiar with Arcadia and Camelback Corridor comment that it feels like a city within a city – and it really does! When people move in to the neighborhood they fall in love with the area and don’t want to leave, so there isn’t the typical real estate churn found in most communities. There is a close-knit community feeling, and everybody knows everybody (not in a scary “The Truman Show” kind of way, but rather a place where block parties still happen and you’re genuine friends with your neighbors).

You really have the best of both worlds with this little city within a city. You get the wonderful smaller town community feeling, but you’re pretty much 10 minutes away from everything.

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2. The homes.

Yep, I love the homes in Arcadia and the Camelback Corridor. And no, that isn’t just the realtor in me talking. The ranch style homes are quintessential Arizona. The large, grassy lots have a little bit of an east coast feel for me.

There are many neighborhood homes I’ve had the opportunity to view the inside of, and the external charm is only surpassed by the charm on the interior. Homes in the neighborhood make such an impression that years later I can still walk by a home and remember the layout. Every aspect of the neighborhood is home to me. I know it like the back of my hand.

Arcadia and Camelback Corridor Favorites

3. The vibe.

Arcadia and all of Camelback Corridor have a consistent, cool vibe that never changes with times. The vibe really ties back in to the community. The independent businesses in the area are a big part of the cool community vibe as well. My grocer, coffee shop, and more are all right at 32nd St & Camelback. When you live in the neighborhood you not only run in to your neighbors at these area businesses, but you’re also supporting your neighbors – many of the area’s independent business owners also live in the neighborhood.

Arcadia and Camelback Corrior residents are proud to call this home. What are your favorite things about living in the neighborhood? What area businesses do you frequent? You’ve read my favorite things about Arcadia and the Camelback Corridor – share yours with me!

Look out, world! In addition to talking about Arcadia and Camelback Corridor here on my blog I’m also doing it on video. Check it out here.

Arcadia & Arcadia Lite Named Hottest Neighborhoods To Live In

That’s right, in this month’s Phoenix Magazine both Arcadia and Arcadia Lite were named among the hottest neighborhoods to live in the Valley. And this isn’t the first time our beloved Arcadia has been recognized among the very best neighborhoods.

Arcadia Lite NeighborhoodIf you’re new to Arcadia, you might be thrown by the name “Arcadia Lite.” Is it Aracadia with less calories? Well, in a way, yes (if calories were the price of homes compared to those in full calorie Arcadia). Arcadia Lite lies within Campbell to Indian School and 32nd St. to 40th St. (give or take). Want to live near La Grande Orange? Love The Vig? Arcadia Lite is also home to the widely acclaimed Beckett’s Table. Are you hungry? I’m making myself hungry listing all these great restaurants (ha!).

In their article, Phoenix Magazine named Arcadia Lite a hot neighborhood for “trendsetters” wanting to “move up” (i.e. you did the starter home, now you’re ready to “move up”). Many small families and couples (trendsetters or otherwise) enjoy calling Arcadia Lite home.

The sense of community in Arcadia Lite is strong, and the area has a reputation (rightly so) for being very safe. Luxury homes exist in Arcadia Lite, but the area is better known for its variety of median priced homes. The neighborhood lets you take advantage of living between Downtown Phoenix and Scottsdale’s nightlife at a fraction of the cost it would be if you lived in either of those.

If you know me (or you’ve been reading my blog) you know the Camelback Corridor and Arcadia always rank #1 to me as the best neighborhoods to live in.

In the Phoenix Magazine August issue, Arcadia is named one of the hottest luxury neighborhoods to live in, and the article states (correctly) that Arcadia has long been a coveted place to live. They even likened Arcadia to having “your own private island in the city” (what a great image!).

While the article points out the home prices are higher than those in Arcadia Lite, there are still some great deals to be had in Arcadia if you know the right realtor (one that is, say, real estate agent for all things Arcadia? *wink*).

I love seeing Arcadia and Arcadia Lite getting the accolades both these unique communities deserve. If you live in Arcadia or Arcadia Lite what do you love about your neighborhood? Would you give it the same rating Phoenix Magazine did?

Want to know even more about these hot communities? I love Arcadia and Camelback areas so much, I made a video about it! View the video here.

Arcadia Area Schools – Part 2

By and large, families looking to move into the Arcadia area want to do so their kids can attend Hopi Elementary School. Hopi has a following unlike any I’ve seen before.  The teachers are exceptional and they teach towards each individual child’s natural learning style. The parent involvement at this Arcadia elementary school is phenomenal (seriously!). Administration, teachers and parents work together for the good of the students.  I’ve also heard parents talk about the close-knit community fostered at Hopi, and the wonderful atmosphere that allows for.

Arcadia High School is consistently ranked among the top schools in Arizona, and even ranked in the top 20 high schools nationally by US New and World Report. And did you know Steven Spielberg attended Arcadia High School? (It’s true! Don’t believe me? Google it.) Several years ago the school got a makeover and the buildings are beautiful (sorry, that’s the architect coming out in me).

Back to info about the school – from the school’s website: “Arcadia offers unique opportunities for students in graphic arts, media communications, bio technology and AVID.” I’ll admit it – I didn’t know what AVID stood for either. Turns out it stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination (which doesn’t really explain it either) and it is a rigorous curriculum program for students in the “academic middle” to help prepare them for college.

While it can be harder for parents to be an active part of their children’s high school experience (lets face it, volunteering to be in the classroom was great in elementary but not so much in high school), AHS does have a PTO (here is the link to their website).

I’m proud to say that the Arcadia public schools are consistently rated an “A”. What do you think of the schools? Let me know how you like the Arcadia school your children attend. If you want to move to Arcadia to take advantage of the great schools, click here. Enjoy the remainder of your summer!

Want to know more about the Arcadia and Camelback Corridor communities? Check out this video.

Arcadia Neighborhood Schools

Arcadia Area Schools

I admit I still feel like the 4th of July was just yesterday, but as we reach the end of July we have to switch back to thinking about school. So I figured, what better time to talk about Arcadia neighborhood schools?

For children ages 18 months – 6 years old, Arcadia Montessori School offers an innovative and interactive environment. In addition to core Montessori curriculum, students can take part in cooking classes (each classroom has its own growing garden), zumba, yoga, swimming lessons, and more! There is also tuition assistance for families who qualify.

Arcadia area public schools fall under the Scottsdale United School District (or simply SUSD). The Arcadia Neighborhood Learning Center is a public school for grades K – 8. Parents and students alike have high praise for the school. Using a teaching model similar to those used in gifted programs, ANLC teaches children to ask questions and think critically. The multi-grade classrooms seem to have some Montessori influence, and are considered “progressive” by some. I have to admit one of the most important things to me is how happy kids are at school, and you certainly see many kids coming out of this school with beaming grins. Every student’s abilities are accessed, and curriculum can be customized accordingly.

The Arcadia charter school VERITAS Prep Academy has its own loyal following, and currently it is the RAVE of the neighborhood! In addition to having some of the best scores in the state, VPA has been recognized as being in the top tier of schools nationally as well. VPA’s challenging courses are taught “Socratically, emphasizing the essential dialogue between student and teacher.” Veritas goes beyond teaching basic knowledge and teachers strive to develop an “uncompromising integrity, creative imagination, and a lifelong quest for learning” in every student.

There are more great things about the Arcadia schools than I could fit into just one blog, so “stay tuned” for part 2 of Arcadia schools – I’ll share the school that is the reason most families want to move to Arcadia.

It isn’t just the great schools – there are so many reasons people move to Camelback Corridor and Arcadia. Want to know some of them? I run through them in a video I made – view it here.

Celebrate 4th Of July In Arcadia and Camelback Corridor

fireworksTime flies when you’re having fun and 4th of July is upon us – there are great ways to spend Independence Day right here in Arcadia!

Arcadia’s infamous Arcadia 4th of July parade is returning this year. The parade began when Arcadia local Johanna Boslin and her family members put flags in their neighbors’ front yards for Independence Day. One neighbor, Bud Katz, commented to Johanna that the flags were so beautiful that all that was missing was a parade. And with those words, the Arcadia 4th of July parade was born!

Whether you’re a spectator or participant the parade is worth it! Everyone is invited to let their creative side out, and you’ll enjoy seeing everything from pets to trikes to “parade floats.” The whole parade is super cute.

For fireworks, the Arizona Country Club has an AWESOME fireworks show every year! Non-members, don’t despair. Non-members gather in the street around the Club (56th & Thomas) to watch the show.

If you’re looking for an entire weekend of Independence Day activities for the whole family, you may want to consider a staycation at the nearby Arizona Biltmore. Activities start on 4th of July and extend throughout the next few days (July 4 – 7, 2013) – everything from outdoor movies next to the pool to cigar rolling classes, wine tastings to water balloon games are on the agenda.

If Independence Day finds you outside of Arcadia, each city in the Valley has their own fireworks display – you can find details on the official website for each city (but why leave Arcadia when everything you need for a great 4th of July is already right here?!).

Many Camelback Corridor restaurants and bars have 4th of July events and specials. On Independence Day at Chelsea’s Kitchen you buy one entrée and get the 2nd one for only $4. At La Grande Orange, enjoy 4 cent sangria! Last year Fox Concepts restaurants offered 25% off all day – so be on the lookout for that possibility.

Do you know of Arcadia and Camelback Corridor 4th of July activities/events that didn’t make it in to this blog? What Independence Day traditions do you and your family love? Please share by leaving me a comment. Wishing a happy and safe 4th of July to everyone – special thanks to veterans for your service.

Arcadia Brunch Places I Love

I love Sunday mornings, and Arcadia offers up so many possibilities for ways to spend the perfect Sunday morning.

I’ll preface this by saying my Sunday mornings are divided into two categories – those where I want to start the day active and those where I want to lounge around. For the active Sunday mornings starting the day with a yoga class or a hike are ideal.

This last Sunday was a morning for lounging so I found myself mentally searching through the Arcadia brunch options (don’t worry, in another blog we’ll talk all about great Arcadia yoga studios and hiking trails). There are many great Arcadia breakfast and brunch options, so let me share a few of my favorites with you.

Le Grande Orange (LGO) and Chelsea’s Kitchen are owned by the same company, and each offers different but equally yummy options. The outside mural of a lemon kissing an orange is constantly photographed, and inside you’ll find a fabulously funky grocery, café, and bakery. The ingredients are clean, simple, and often seasonal. I’ve tried many dishes on the menu, and still can’t pick just one favorite. If you eat gluten-free or vegan, there are delicious menu options for you too!

Chelsea’s Kitchen is just down the street from LGO and where LGO is always open for breakfast and is more of a casual “sit-where-you-will” atmosphere, Chelsea’s has a fantastic weekend brunch that is more of a sit down affair. Don’t confuse this with stuffy because the vibrant ambiance of Chelsea’s is anything but that. Friends rave that the French Dip is incredible, and the Eggs Benedict is served on an LGO-made English muffin. While the weather is still cool enough, take advantage of eating Sunday brunch on the patio.

Arcadia Farms is not to be missed, and certainly is a must for Sunday brunch! Charm exudes here, and Arcadia Farms is one of the most popular Arcadia dining experiences. In addition to the incredible food and atmosphere, I love that they support local vendors and farmers. Some menu items may be seasonal as a result, but you’ll always find the current menu full of mouth-watering breakfast options (if you’re not counting your calories, dive into the crepes!).

To find Carmel’s Breakfast House look for the vintage VW van stationed out front (yes, it is always there). I love the charm of Arcadia, and Carmel’s is housed in a cute, cozy 1940’s home. In addition to the wide variety of baked goods, the bread in all the meals is homemade (yum!). Part of the charm of Carmel’s on Sundays is that even if you don’t find yourself out and about until the afternoon, they serve breakfast all day. I was lucky enough to sit down with Pat, Carmel’s owner and talk about the best of Arcadia – watch the video here.

There are so many great Sunday brunch spots in Arcadia! These are just a few of my favorite Arcadia brunches – leave me a comment and share what your favorite brunch place is. In future blogs I’ll share more great Arcadia dining experiences, Camelback Corridor activities to burn off those brunches (hiking, anyone?), and much more!