May 7-13, 2017 marks National Travel and Tourism week and this year we are celebrating the faces of travel. Check out these faces that have a love for Mesa, Arizona and the adventure and opportunities it provides visitors.
Heather & Court Fetter, No Snow Paddleboard Shop
After work brought them to the U.S. from Canada more than 20 years ago, the Fetters decided this was the life and planted roots in Mesa, Arizona. Their board shop, conveniently located on the pathway to the Salt River basin, draws visitors in looking to learn to stand up paddle for the first time as well as seasonal SUPers that can’t wait to get back on the water.
Why did you locate in Mesa from Medicine Hat?
Who doesn't want to be on the water year round!? (Hence the store name, No Snow) There are four lakes within minutes of Mesa, so you get to experience the outdoors any time you want.
Where is your favorite launch point?
Without question it is the Boulder Recreation parking lot at Canyon Lake. This is a boat-free zone and sheltered from wind and lake traffic. The canyon walls make for the most amazing scenic paddles!
When you have visiting guests, what’s the first place you take them for a night out?
Our summer nights start with a Happy Hour Stand Up Paddle on the Salt River followed by dinner and then we head to Downtown Mesa to enjoy the scene at Desert Eagle Brewery.
What is your favorite reaction from guests that rent your boards?
We love when we get the hesitant first timer, who returns to the shop and says, “That was a blast, way easier than I expected, and we saw the Salt River wild horses!"
How would you describe Mesa as a vacation destination in one sentence:
Mesa is a very active community. We go hiking, biking, SUPing, horseback riding, golfing, you name it, it’s all here!
Jarrod Martinez, Jarrod’s Tea & Coffee Gallery
As the new kid on the Main Street block, Jarrod Martinez took a gamble and it paid off. He is now the proprietor of the coolest hangout in town. With cold brew on tap and a menu of fine coffees and teas, the uber-cool ambience of the gallery invites visitors in and encourages them to stay and linger. Eye candy in the form of fine art – both classic and contemporary – adorns the galleries walls, with vintage jewelry and other keepsakes for sale in cases. Wandering guests will even notice art taking shape in the back of the gallery, an extension of studio space where artists are free to create.
Why did you relocate your business in Downtown Mesa?
It simply felt right, positive and this location gave me all the right feelings I needed to make my crazy idea come together. I was trying to create something fun, interesting and different. I’ve always had a passion for art and culture so I reached out to artists of every kind to give them a place to show off their work.
What can you tell us about community on Main Street?
Our regular art shows and poetry nights and even when we have live music and author readings, draw a crowd. I wanted to create a space for everyone to come and express who they are without judgement. Art off all forms is calming, healing, and takes the busy mind off the stresses of everyday life. Every day I meet amazing people coming to my shop. The positive vibes we serve up can be felt by anyone that walks through our doors.
You have created a show space for artists - why is this important to you?
This was just another door that opened for me and I wanted to reach out and make it the best for everyone. A lot of these artists have said this was there first time showing work in a gallery and some told me they did not think they were good enough. I wanted to create a place for newcomers and trained artists because we all deserve a chance to express who we are.
Mandy Snell, Meaning in Motion
The granite-covered ground that lines the path of Mesa’s Wind Cave Trail knows when Mandy Snell is heading up the hill – the desert denizens recognize her footsteps by now. The daily grind to the top is her constant, a chance to plan the day ahead, unwind and reconnect with nature. As a working mom to two daughters, Mandy knows how the desert heals. She founded Meaning in Motion to share the power of the desert with visitors. Guests can sign up for guided vision hikes on many of Mesa’s trails helping guests set intentions and find clarity. As for kids, Mandy is a pro at getting young ones disconnected and re-wired, too.
As a working mom, why is it important to expose your kids to nature?
Nature breathes life into kids. Through a child’s eyes, nature allows them to connect to the broader world. Curiosity is peaked, history comes alive and connections to their inner being start to form. My kids stand in amazement, they ask questions, they recognize the beauty in the little things. Making time to adventure as a family keeps us grounded, grateful and it opens our eyes to possibility.
What makes Mesa landscape so inviting to your children?
The Mesa landscape is more than just eye candy. It’s been one of our family’s most important teachers, offering something for both of my learners. I’ve watched them stand in awe when they spotted the wild horses. Even at a young age, they understand the magic of where we live. It was the day they asked to wake early to catch the sunrise on their kayaks on the Lower Salt River that I knew it had clicked for them.
What advice can you give to parents traveling with kids that want to explore our desert?
Preparedness is key when you come to the desert to explore. If you prepare, you will have an incredible experience. Easing kids into adventures is a good thing, especially if they are new to this type of landscape. I'd suggest starting with a short outing and building up to bigger adventures. As I would recommend to any of my hiking groups, to get the most out of your family experience, be present and mindful with yourself and your kids. Take a slow, deep breath and feel the ground beneath your feet before you start. Take it all in and appreciate every step of this special journey together.