Reedy Press is pleased to announce the release of their new guidebook, 100 Things to Do in Mesa Before You Die, by Teresa Bitler. This comprehensive list celebrates the top ways to connect with the city and nearby surroundings with exciting and unique activities.
From kayaking on the Salt River to listening to a symphony play from the stage of the state’s largest performing arts center, there’s always something new to discover in Mesa, Arizona. As Phoenix’s largest suburb, Mesa is a city of limitless adventures, just a short trip from its exciting neighbors: Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, and Queen Creek. 100 Things to Do in Mesa Before You Die explores Mesa and the East Valley, taking you to the places most area guidebooks overlook as well as covering the top attractions.
Learn about a little-known botanical garden showcasing Native American canals at Mesa Grande Cultural Park, have a spiritual awakening at a Greek monastery in the desert, and take a leap of faith at the largest skydiving center in the world, Skydive Arizona. Not to mention, you’ll find information on spring training in the Valley and different ways to explore the Sonoran Desert.
Whether you plan to spend a few days or a month, award-winning travel writer Teresa Bitler has enough ideas to keep you busy your entire stay. Entertaining facts and information on tours and itineraries make this guide an invaluable resource.
Teresa Bitler sat down with us here at AZFoothills.com, for a brief interview about the launch her latest publication!
Hi Teresa, please give us a brief background about yourself and where the inspiration for this book came from:
I moved to Arizona before my first birthday and have spent most of my life in the East Valley: Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek. This is home, and even though I’ve been around the globe as a travel writer, there’s no place I’d rather be. So, it only seemed natural to write about where I live, especially amid a pandemic and when I couldn’t travel. I wanted to remind people there are some incredible places to discover right here.
Why did you choose to write this book on Mesa and the East Valley?
Mesa is the third-largest city in Arizona, and there is so much going on in downtown Mesa right now. If you haven’t been lately, check it out. But I think Mesa and the East Valley are often overlooked in favor of Phoenix and Scottsdale, and that’s too bad. Where else in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area can you go root for the Chicago Cubs, kayak past wild horses, and take a flight in a historic aircraft? That’s all in Mesa.
What differentiates this book from other travel guides?
Many guidebooks are endless lists of where to stay, where to eat, and things to do. My book isn’t. It focuses on 100 things that make Mesa and the East Valley great, and since those things are divided into sections, like Sports and Recreation, you can easily find what you’re looking for.
Downtown is a must. That’s where you’ll find the Arizona Museum of Natural History and Mesa Arts Center. Plus, there are several great restaurants, breweries, and a cidery. If you’re a baseball fan, there’s nothing like watching the Cubbies play at Sloan Park during spring training. Then, of course, there’s the Apache Trail, which is usually associated with Apache Junction, but several attractions and activities, like the Desert Belle, actually have Mesa addresses.
Looking at the broader East Valley, there’s plenty to do, too. I had a blast on a Segway tour of the Sonoran Desert out at Ft. McDowell, and I always make it a point to pick peaches at Schnepf Farms every spring. If I had the money, I’d splurge on a course at Bondurant High Performance Driving School (now Radford Racing School). I drive a Dodge Charger, and they use Dodge Challengers at the school. I’ve always wanted to drive a Challenger as fast as it could go.
What are some of the overlooked attractions that make Mesa so unique and entertaining?
Mesa Community College has an amazing rose garden, one of the largest in the Southwest. Go in the spring or fall to see it at its peak. The city has some great parks, too: Riverview Park near the Cubs’ stadium and Eastmark Great Park out in the massive new development on the east side. The Revelry isn’t necessarily overlooked, just new. It’s an entertainment and gaming venue at Mesa Riverside with a virtual shooting range, virtual golf game, and retro arcade.
Are there any fun facts about the City of Mesa that most residents don’t know about?
I didn’t realize Waylon Jennings, the guy who sang the Dukes of Hazzard theme is buried in Mesa Cemetery. So is Ernesto Miranda, whose Supreme Court case led to that infamous line, “You have the right to remain silent,” your Miranda Rights. And a section of the cemetery is British sovereign ground, the final burial place of Royal Air Force pilots who died while training for World War II at Falcon Field. I learned all this on the cemetery tour offered every fall by the Mesa Historical Society. Take it if you get the chance.
Does your book feature itineraries for a range of travel time? Or is it mostly just fun facts and attractions throughout the city?
There are several itinerary suggestions at the back of the book. For example, I’ve got a list of places to visit if you’re interested in Native American culture. There’s also a list of suggestions by season.
Where can our readers purchase this book? Do you have any events coming up?
You can purchase the book on Amazon, although I am working on setting up a site 100thingstodoinMesa.com where you can buy directly from me.