Friday, December 20, 2013

Central Arizona

      The colors of fall certainly arrive late to the Sonoran Desert areas of Central Arizona.  But fall activities, perfect for short, daylong road trips, are abundant when the summer heat gives way to the spectacular weather of autumn.  Since there are some many possibilities of places to visit and enjoy, we have listed here are a few of our favorites…

    - Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior is once of the great places to discover fall. The 23rd Bye-Bye Buzzards celebration occurs on September 21st marking the annual migration of the arboretum’s flock of Turkey Vultures to Mexico.  The cooler weather of autumn also means another series of arboretum classes dealing with photography, cactus-jelly making, lizard walks and more begin again.  Such a great place to visit and enjoy -

    - Do something really special this fall and make reservations to hike Aravaipa Canyon located southeast of Winkelman. It has been called one of the “last great places on earth” and fall is surely the most beautiful time of the year to make this 11-mile hike through this riparian ecosystem.  Your feet are sure to get wet as much of the hike is through the perennial stream.  This canyon is truly special and one of the great scenic wonders of Arizona -

    - The Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon area is always beautiful and no time more so than in autumn.  A Red Rock Pass is required to visit many of the natural sites so be sure to acquire one.  The ruins of Honanki,, are easy to access and amazing to explore especially when decorated with the colors of fall.  Hiking the trails of Red Rock State Park,, are equally colorful and enjoyable during the fall season.  And if you are looking to escape for a couple of days, there is no place finer to bed down than the cabins of the Briar Patch Inn,, as the autumn leaves come floating to the ground along the bubbling waters of Oak Creek.
    Finally, if you want to know where to find the best hiking trails around Sedona, check out this App for your smart phone.   It lists and gives information on 56 Sedona trails rated easy to hard.  It will help you discover the natural wonders of Sedona like few have seen before -

    -The autumn season is a big and scary deal in Jerome.  Not only are the monthly First Saturday Art Walks,, downright delightful in the colors of fall, but no place celebrates Halloween quite like Jerome.  The mid-October Ghost Walk and the annual Halloween Dance Party are classic!  And if you want a real ghostly experience, spend a night or two at the Grand Hotel,, and join the festivities of the best Halloween Party in Arizona at the hotel’s Asylum Restaurant,
    A great web site for all the events across the Verde Valley can be found here -

Other nearby Jerome attractions:
-Verde Canyon Railroad -
-Tuzigoot National Monument -
-Montezuma National Monument –
- Verde Valley Wine Trail -

    - Prescott, “Everyone’s Home Town” is always a great place to visit in the fall.  The deciduous trees across town turn this mile-high city into an autumn scene fit for any New England magazine cover.  The flower gardens and trees surrounding the Sharlot Hall Museum,, are a wonderful entry into the museum and a great place to spend an October afternoon.  The area around Prescott contains 48 miles of hiking and biking trails that includes both urban and wilderness trails - Lynx Lake, Goldwater Lake and the Granite Dells are beautiful, small lakes in every season but never more than in their splendor of fall.
    Fall horseback rides are also a great way to enjoy Central Arizona’s fall.  The good folks at the Pot A Gold Stables run some great fall rides in this part of Arizona -

    - Mortimer Family Farms in Dewey is a really busy farm when the fall season comes around once again.  Their annual Pumpkin Festival is open every weekend in October for kids of all ages to find that perfect Halloween pumpkin -  Another great family farm is Tolmachoff Farms in Glendale.  The farm reopens for guests October 1st and their Pumpkin Days & Corn Maze runs from Oct. 1st – Nov. 10th.  Great fun and great, fresh produce -

    The list of places to visit and things to do surrounding the season of fall is almost endless. Local television and newspapers highlight autumn and autumn travel continually.  So make yourself a promise to take the time to get out and discover for yourself not only the great events but also the marvelous highways, charming small towns, long and varied history and unmatched natural beauty that is just waiting for all of us to discover in Arizona!

Wonderful Boyce Thompson!

Aravaipa Canyon

Red Rock State Park, Sedona

Our favorite - Briar Patch Inn


Whose hands before us?

A real Kokopeli

Jerome Art Walk

A haunted Grand Hotel in Jerome

The Dells of Prescott

Tolmachoff Farms, Glendale, Arizona

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Southwestern Arizona

Southwestern Arizona…

    Most of us only speed through southwestern Arizona on our way to the cool weather and sandy beaches of California.  And even though the towns tend to be small and distances far between, there are still many places worth stopping to see if your fall road trip takes you to this part of Arizona. Fall colors tend to come late to these desert areas but the cooler weather makes for an ideal time for a road trip.

We suggest that you stop and see…

    - Yuma!  Get off the freeway and spend some time exploring this old Colorado River town.  Mother Nature created a large, natural outcropping of granite on each side of the river that has always held strong against the once swift flow of the Colorado River and provided for the Yuman Indians and the early European explorers, an easier way to cross the once mighty river.  The Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park preserves artifacts from five centuries of human interaction with the Colorado River.  
    - The infamous 1880s Arizona Territorial prison is now home to Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park.  You get a real quick understanding as to why being assigned to this prison was once the worse experience in the Arizona Territory.
    - In and around Yuma are 13 fine museums that preserve the military history, mining history, natural history, Native American history and more of this old Arizona community.  Here is a link that will give you information about them all -
    You will be glad that you took the time to get to know Yuma.  It is one of the oldest towns of our state and the folks who live there are friendly and welcoming.  Another link to help you with your visit -

Other nearby Yuma attractions -
- Dateland’s “World Famous Date Shake -
- Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area, CA
- St. Thomas Indian Mission, CA

    - One of the great autumn road trips into southwestern Arizona can involve you meeting a fisherman –the Bouse Fisherman that is.  The Bouse Fisherman is an intaglio (also called a geoglyph) and is as located off AZ Highway 95 about 6 miles north of Quartzsite. Intaglios (in tar yoes) are large geometric designs, animal or human figures constructed by early people upon the local desert floors.  The most famous intaglios, also known as geoglyphs, are the Nazca Lines on a high plateau of Peru.   The GPS reading for the Bouse Fisherman is N33.4745 W114.0557. 
    This ancient intaglio may have been carved into the desert soil some 2000 years ago.  It is believed to be of the god Kusmastamo who is about to thrust his spear into the earth and create the Colorado River.
     The Bouse Fisherman is just one of many intaglios found in this area, and the only one known to be in Arizona.  Other nearby intaglios are located on the California side of the Colorado River 15 miles north of Blythe, CA.
    - When you go through Bouse, be sure to check out the display of World War II tanks and trucks along AZ Highway 72.  This desert land was once where General Patton trained with his 1st Armored Division before the invasion of North Africa. 

Other nearby Bouse attractions:
- Hi Jolly’s Tomb in Quartzsite –
- Palm Canyon Trail, Kofa National Wildlife Refuge-
- Swansea Ghost Town –

    - Since you travel through Wickenburg to reach Bouse, we thought we would include this close neighbor of Anthem in this section.  Because the annual fall migration of birds has begun again, its time to stop by and check out which feathered friends are hanging out at the Hassayampa River Preserve.  If you like easy hikes along a flowing river and the sound of cottonwood leaves crumbling under your feet, you will get that experience again when you hike the riparian pathway of this wonderful preserve.
    - Autumn leaves will be falling once again from the “hanging tree” of the Vulture Gold Mine, some 12 miles south of Wickenburg. Visiting the historic mine along with the adjoining ghost town of Vulture City involves some easy hiking but are full of photographic opportunities and the bright sunshine and cooler weather make October the perfect month to visit.
    - Wickenburg has long been known for its extraordinary dude ranches and cowboy way of life.  Trail rides are popular and fall is the ideal time to saddle-up and discover the natural autumn beauty found in and around Wickenburg.  We recommend the wranglers from Cowboy Way Adventures who reopen again for their classic Wickenburg trail rides on November 1st.
    - And just north of Wickenburg, along Az Highway 89 is that famous, 60-ton rock, green frog named Rocky. He is always worth a road trip visit.

Other nearby Wickenburg attractions:
- Desert Caballeros Western Museum -
- Henry Wickenburg’s Grave Site -
- Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream -

    So even though this part of Arizona may not be a tapestry of autumn colors, there still are plenty of places to get out and to discover and enjoy a fall road trip.  Where else but southwestern Arizona could you meet an ancient fisherman and a giant green frog while enjoying some great homemade ice cream?

Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park

Yuma Territorial Prison Cells

St. Thomas Indian Mission

Date trees of Dateland

Bouse Fisherman

Camp Bouse Memorial

Hi Jolly gravesite - Yuma

Almost dry Hassayampa River

Fallen head frame of the Vulture Gold Mine

Truly great museum in Wickenburg

Best ice cream in Wickenburg

Arizona's Rocky

Friday, November 15, 2013

Southeastern Arizona Road Trip

        The Wild West happened in southeastern Arizona.  These are the lands where the Spanish priests and soldiers first entered; where the cowboys stood guard over their large herds of cattle; where Cochise and Geronimo fought to save their people and their way of life; and where rip-roaring mining towns sprang up in almost every canyon to bring us such names in history as Tombstone and Bisbee, the Earps and the Clantons.
    This is the land of the Gadsden Purchase and a place where a series of magnificent Sky Islands rise up from the Sonoran Desert floor to create unique and diverse landscapes and ecosystems.  

    Point of Travel – this part of Arizona is now under the watchful eyes of the U.S. Border Patrol.  Travelers through this land should expect to encounter Border Patrol checkpoints with courteous agents and their faithful drug-sniffing dogs on most major highways.  If you choose to travel the back roads of this land, we recommend traveling only with local and knowledgeable guides. 

    While looking for fall in southeastern Arizona, we suggest visiting…

    - Kartchner Caverns State Park is a living cave and is located on Az. Highway 90 just 52- miles east of Tucson.  An annual autumn treat is the reopening of the Big Room Tour on October 15, making both the Rotunda/Throne Tour and the Big Room Tour once again available to the public.  We believe that Kartchner Caverns is the #1 must see destination in Arizona.

     -  A visit to Patagonia is like traveling away from Arizona.  Located on a high mesa along AZ Highway 82, Patagonia, along with the nearby towns of Sonoita and Elgin, make up what is known as the Mountain Empire,
    Here each fall, rolling, grass covered hills with herds of grazing horses make for a landscape more reminiscent of the Great Plains than the Sonoran Desert.  This is a land of ghost town tours, daylong horseback rides, bird watching, hiking, biking, wine tasting and so much more.  The 24th Annual Patagonia Fall Festival is scheduled for Oct. 12 – 14 and is known as the best small town celebration in Arizona. -

Other nearby Patagonia attractions:  
- Ghost town tours -
- Horseback riding -
- Patagonia State Park –

      - The crown jewel for hiking/biking/horseback riding in southeastern Arizona must surely be found on the Sky Island that is home to the Chiricahua National Monument.  In this land of Dr. Seuss-like balance rocks, visitors can explore the 17 miles of hiking trails or simply enjoy an 8-mile scenic drive through this rock wonderland.  Seven species of oak trees are found within the monument and make for a colorful display when fall arrives each October. -

    -   Willcox is a great place to stay while visiting southeastern Arizona.  It is a small town but can be a base camp for visiting many nearby attractions.  Apple Annie’s, one of the great, family-friendly farms of Arizona, is just 10-miles outside of town.   Apple Annie’s will be in full autumn celebration as it is open every day during the month of October.

Other nearby Willcox attractions:
- Fort Bowie -
- Rex Allen Museum -
- Amerind Museum -

    - The many attractions in and near Tucson,, could fill more than a couple of autumn weekend get-a-ways.  Fall in lovely Sabino Canyon is even more sensational and visiting the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in the cool weather of October is equally magnificent! and .

Other nearby Tucson attractions:

- Tohono Chul Park -
- Reid Park Zoo,
- Ted DeGrazia’s Gallery of the Sun -
 - Presidio Turquoise Trail -
- Arizona State Museum -
- San Xavier del Bac -
- Colossal Cave Mountain Park -
- Saguaro National Park -
- International Wildlife Museum –

    - The top fall festival along the I-19 Corridor occurs once again at Tubac Presidio State Park, on October 19.  The annual De Anza Days commemorates the 1775 journey of Spanish Conquistador Juan Bautista de Anza’s journey from Tubac to the San Francisco Bay area.
    Just 4.5 miles further down I-19 is Tumacacori National Historic Park.  The De Anza Trail runs along the Santa Cruz River connecting the Mission of Tumacacori with the Tubac Presidio.  The cottonwood trees in this riparian environment will be in full autumn colors in mid-October for anyone who wishes to walk in the footsteps of the early Spanish soldiers, explorers and priests. 

Other nearby I-19 Corridor attractions:
- Titan Missile Museum -

    - Tombstone and Bisbee are mining towns that refused to die when the 1880 – 1930 mining boom of this region ended.  The 84th annual Helldorado Days of Tombstone occurs October 18 -20.  The 132nd anniversary of the Gunfight at the OK Corral occurs on October 26. Both events will be decorated with the natural autumn leaves of the season.

    Nestled in a canyon of the Mule Mountains is lovely Bisbee, once known as the “Queen of the Copper Camps.” There is never a bad time to visit Bisbee, but the cool nights and autumn splendor of the Bisbee canyon make October the perfect time to spend a night or two at the Copper Queen Hotel or the Shady Dell.  On October 19th the 23rd Annual Bisbee 1000 Great Stair Climb will kick off once again as the most unique and challenging 5K run in America. and

    So it is pretty easy to find a reason to get out and spend some time each fall in southeastern Arizona.  Men and women from around the world made a lot of history by gathering in this corner of Arizona and the amazing stories of their lives await your autumn visit.

Pictures 5, 6 and 7 were taken by Susan Moody of the Chiricahua National Monument.

Patagonia, Arizona

Patagonia Fall Festival

Ruins of Fort Bowie

Mural at Presidio of Tucson

Sabino Canyon

Tohono Chul Park, Tucson

Chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Gallery of the Sun

Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona

Into Colossal Cave

Tumacacori National Historic Park

Allen Street of Tombstone, Arizona

Shady Dell of Bisbee