Arizona trip highlights

As you may have guessed from recent blog posts, our family just spent a week touring around Arizona. We explored the state from Flagstaff south to Nogales, soaking up the history, scenery, hospitality and southwestern cuisine. I’ll be writing about our wild (west) times in an upcoming travel story for the Calgary Herald. In the meantime, here’s a quick round-up of some of our trip highlights.

1. Sedona

The jeep tour highlight was the sort hike we took to this viewpoint.

The highlight of the jeep tour was the short hike we took to this viewpoint.

The red rock scenery around Sedona surely inspired those coyote and roadrunner cartoons of yore. It’s breathtaking. Jeep tours are a great way to explore those formations off-road, and our two-hour excursion along Mogollon Rim with A Day in the West did not disappoint. The kids loved bumping around in the jeep; we loved the views.

2. Jerome

I loved the painted cow skull decor and also the guacamole with corn and pomegranates!

I loved the painted cow skull decor at Quince and also the guacamole with corn and pomegranates. The ground elk tacos were delicious too.

To think we almost didn’t visit this ghost town that’s perched vertically on a mountainside just 30 minutes from Sedona. Once a bustling frontier city thanks to a copper mine, Jerome’s population plummeted from 15,000 in the 1920s to about 500 today. It’s got character to spare  — stores include a head shop, tattoo parlour, and adult boutique located inside a former brothel — and it was also the site of our best Mexican food meal of the trip at a little gem called Quince.

3. Saguaro cacti

A saguaro cactus towers over Avery and Bennett. A saguaro grows its first arm between 50 and 75 years of age. This plant is well over 100.

A saguaro cactus towers over Bennett and Avery. A saguaro grows its first arm between 50 and 75 years of age. This plant is well over 100.

Cactuses, cacti… no matter. It’s not a trip to Arizona unless you walk among the stately plants. They were especially prolific at Tanque Verde Ranch, a dude ranch that’s adjacent to Saguaro National Park. There we hiked past them and rode horses around them. They are awesome!

4. Prickly Pear Margaritas

A Prickly Pear Margarita from Tanque Verde Ranch. Ole!

A Prickly Pear Margarita from the Dog House Saloon at Tanque Verde Ranch. Ole!

Leave it to Arizonans to learn how to harvest fruit from a cactus and then turn it into a sweet — if blinding-coloured — syrup used to sweeten margaritas. Thanks, Grand Canyon State, I owe you a debt of gratitude for introducing me to this interesting twist on my favourite cocktail.

5. Hacienda Corona

The rambling hacienda includes a huge courtyard, gorgeous tastefully-themed rooms and even some chickens wandering around.

The rambling hacienda includes a huge courtyard, gorgeous tastefully-themed rooms and even some chickens wandering around.

One of our favourite accommodations was Hacienda Corona, a restored hacienda near Nogales that served as the administration building for the first cattle ranch in Arizona. Famous muralist and bullfighter Salvador Corona painted the courtyard walls with scenes of Mexican peasants going about daily life. It’s charming and I wish we could have stayed longer.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s