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Where to Enjoy Fall in Arizona

There is no better time to be in Arizona than during the beautiful fall season. Whether you’re looking for a fun outdoor activity or some sightseeing around the Valley, we’ve put together some of the best places for locals to enjoy fall this season —from apple-picking to ski lifts to corn mazes and more.

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Apple Picking in Willcox

Nothing says fall like the smell of freshly-picked apples and yummy apple-themed treats. Collect some apples for your delicious apple pie recipe or just spend a nice day out with family at Apple Annie’s Orchard this season. Apple Annie’s is located on 2081 W. Hardy Rd. in Willcox. Go to http://www.appleannies.com/apple-annies-orchard/ for more information.

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Sightseeing at Sunrise Park Resort and Arizona Snowbowl

Catch a glimpse of the changing fall leaves on a scenic lift ride this fall. Take a ski lift up to the top of the mountain, spotting your favorite colors as you go, and then take a scenic hike through tall aspen and spruce trees. Sunrise Park Resort is located in Greer; check here for more info. Arizona Snowbowl is located in Flagstaff; lift opens on Sept. 19; get more information here. Lift ticket prices for both resorts range from $15 for adults to $10 for juniors.

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Bisbee 1000

If you’re feeling up for a challenge this fall, take on the Bisbee 1000 Great Stair Climb. Get some fresh air and exercise as you run through the most scenic parts of Old Bisbee on Saturday, Oct. 18. For more information on the event, check out http://www.bisbee1000.org/index.htm.

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Corn Mazes at Tolmachoff, Mortimer Family

See which member of your family or group of friends is the best at getting themselves out of a maze —a maze made entirely of corn that is. Each year, Tolmachoff Farms in Glendale offers a new maze theme, as well as train rides, a petting zoo, feeding the chickens and more. Admission is $9; get more info here. For the folks up north, Mortimer Family Farms in Prescott features a 25-acre corn maze, barn dance and other farm games every weekend in October. Admission is $13 per person; check http://mortimerfamilyfarms.com/events/upcoming/ for more information. 

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Schnepf Farms Tour

Ever wondered what life on a farm would be like? Schnepf Farm, named an Arizona Treasure, takes guests on a guided hay ride through the farm and offers them a fresh lunch. The tour is only $5 per person and takes about a half hour. The farm, located in Queen Creek, also has a museum, bakery and gardens to explore while you’re there. Find out more information here.

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Bearizona Wildlife Park

We can bet you’ve never been through a drive-thru wildlife park before. Well, now’s your opportunity to experience animal life in the most natural setting possible courtesy of Williams. From bison to bighorn sheep to bear cubs, see what animals you can spot as you drive through the gateway to The Grand Canyon. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children. Get more info at http://www.bearizona.com

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Patagonia Fall Festival

Sometimes small towns have the best hidden treasures. Patagonia’s annual fall festival is filled with everything you’d expect from the “Best Small Town Festival in Arizona”: arts, crafts, food, music and more. The event brings more than 16,000 visitors each year and runs from Oct. 11 through Oct. 12. Check out http://www.patagoniaaz.com/attractions/25th-annual-patagonia-fall-festival/ for more information.

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Payson's Rim Country Quilt Roundup

Take a fall getaway trip and head to Payson to see a unique collection of southwest, wearable art from across the country. Payson is popularly known as the “Rim Country”as it is located in the largest Ponderosa Pine Forest of North Central Arizona, a perfect place to go during the fall season. The event will take place the weekend of Oct. 10. Go to http://www.quiltroundup.com/Pages/default.aspx for more info.

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Tempe Town Lake Oktoberfest

Look no further than Tempe Town Lake for your free Oktoberfest activities during Oct. 10 through Oct. 12. This fun weekend event features everything from beer gardens and live music to eclectic German food and a polka stage. The kiddos can have their own fun with a carnival and other kid-friendly activities. Go to http://www.tempeoktoberfest.com for a full rendition of the event.

 

Fall Phoenix Arts Roundup

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While fall is usually a time for changing colors and beautiful scenery outdoors, there is some beauty happening indoors too. Museums and venues around the Valley have prepped for fall by bringing you everything from arts festivals to fashion exhibits to Spanish markets and much more. Come see for yourself what arts events are going on each month until the end of the year.

 

September

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“National Geographic Presents: Earth Explorers”

Arizona Science Center

Sept. 21 - Jan. 4

Take a trip with modern-day explorers, scientists and adventurers to learn about the world’s most remote places and unique technologies. This interactive and educational exhibit will leave guests feeling like an explorer ready to take on the world. For more information, go to http://www.azscience.org

 

October

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“Jimmy Choo with Asian Arts Council”

Phoenix Art Museum

Oct. 1; 5 p.m.

Calling all shoe lovers! Take this special opportunity to discover the Autumn/Winter 2014 collection by Jimmy Choo. Go here for more info.

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“ArtOberFest”

Mesa Arts Center

Oct. 10; 6 p.m.

October is a time for enjoying beer AND the arts. Mesa Arts Center is hosting a fundraiser to benefit arts education programs and encourages guests to dress up in their best Oktoberfest attire. Check http://www.mesaartscenter.com/index.php/events/free-events/artoberfest14 for more info.

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“Fashioned in America”

Phoenix Art Museum

Oct. 11 - Mar. 15

Ever wondered how economics and ethics drive fashion in America? Now is your chance to find out at this exhibit featuring more than 40 contemporary designs and exclusive interviews with the fashion designers responsible for them. Check http://www.phxart.org/exhibition/fashionedinamerica for more information.

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“PhotoBid 2014 Gala and Silent Auction”

Phoenix Art Museum

Oct. 17; 6 p.m.

For those photography and art collectors out there, the museum has pulled together more than 50 signed limited-edition prints and books available for bid. Share your passion for photography with other guests and enjoy a night of pure art appreciation. For more information, go here

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“MIMFest: Global Music Festival”

Musical Instrument Museum

Oct. 18 - Oct. 19

Celebrate all things musical with a two-day outdoor festival inspired by the cultures and traditions from around the world. This is your chance to see performers and dancers from around the world on one stage. Go to http://mim.org/events/mimfest-global-music-festival/ for more info.

 

November

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“Spanish Market: Mercado de las Artes”

Heard Museum

Nov. 8 - Nov. 9 

Stroll through the largest Spanish Market in Arizona and find rare artwork from more than 65 different artists. You can find everything from pottery, painting, tinwork and more here only. Check http://heard.org/event/spanish-market/ for more info.

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“Ornament Marketplace”

Heard Museum

Nov. 28 - Nov. 30

Stop by the Heard Museum Shops to pick up beautiful hand-made ornaments from local American Indian artists. There will be hundreds of pieces to choose from, so bring your family along. For more info, go to http://heard.org/event/ornament-market/

December

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“Mesa Arts Festival”

Mesa Arts Center

Dec. 13 - Dec. 14

Featuring original artwork from artists around the world, the festival is a great place to find special holiday gifts for your loved ones. The event will also include live performances and delicious treats. For more information, go to http://www.mesaartscenter.com/index.php/events/free-events/mesaartsfestival.

 

Discover Tucson’s Food Culture

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To start the morning off right, stop at the award-winning Cup Café inside the historic Hotel Congress on Congress Street in downtown Tucson. Options include traditional breakfast fare served from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., as well as crepes, quiche and the famed Congressional Omelet Bar. The “build-your-own” Bloody Mary bar is one of the best in town and offers up a bevy of condiment choices from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

 

Another must-eat hot spot, Café Poca Cosa where chef and owner Suzana Davila pairs her culinary genius with an upscale, yet casual, urban setting. A true master of chilies, chef Davila artfully infuses a wide range of Mexican flavors and ingredients into every dish, creating one of the most authentic dining experiences you’ll ever have.

 

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If ambiance is what you seek, be sure to make a point to dine at the AAA Four Diamond The Grill at Hacienda Del Sol. The Grill has won countless awards, including “Tucson’s Best Dining with a View” and “Tucson’s Most Romantic Dining,” as well as being recognized as a Gold Culinary Award Winner for its supreme Sunday brunch. Whether you’re there for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, opt for an elegant indoor meal or soak in the sun by dining al fresco on the patio.

 

Your last stop on this Southern Arizona food adventure should most certainly be dinner at El Charro Café. Savor traditional Northern Mexico Sonoran-style specialties from chimichangas and handmade tamales to the famous carne seca. Established in 1922, El Charro Café is the nation's oldest Mexican restaurant in continuous operation by the same family. El Charro Café is a Tucson treasure not to be missed.

 

Whatever your food favorite, there’s something for you in Southern Arizona so commit to spending at least one weekend on the road this summer to see all this great state has to offer. For more information on where to stay and play, visit summerinaz.com.

 

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Iconic Arizona Hotels: Best Places to Lay Your Head

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Arizona is full of sightseeing adventures but after a long day of exploring, weary travelers are sure to need a relaxing place to catch some shut-eye. Luxurious accommodations with everything from waterfront views and scenic desert surroundings to historic experiences are aplenty throughout the state.

 

If you find yourself exploring Arizona this summer, be sure to check out some of these iconic stays:

 

The Nautical Beachfront Resort. Views of Thompson Bay, an infinity pool and an island-style bar and grille make this Lake Havasu resort a not-to-miss spot. There are plenty of comfy guestrooms and suites, all with patios or balconies overlooking the water. Best of all, you don’t have to leave your four-legged friends at home to enjoy a piece of paradise.

 

Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Located just a block from downtown Williams, this relaxing retreat provides a picturesque Western setting. Designed to resemble the century-old train depot that housed the original Fray Marcos Hotel, this is the place to stay if you’re hoping to catch a train to Grand Canyon National Park.

Hassayampa Inn. History buffs will love this first-class hotel near Courthouse Square in Prescott. Open since 1927, the 67-room inn offers guests a charming piece of nostalgia paired with modern amenities and a full-service restaurant.

Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort. Originally a school for the daughters of society’s elite families, Hacienda Del Sol is now a luxury resort nestled in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains in Tucson. Surrounded by more than 34 acres of desert, resort guests are treated to an oasis of luxury with elegant guestrooms, award-winning dining and a full-service spa.

Enchantment Resort. Set in secluded Boynton Canyon of Sedona, the five-star Enchantment Resort expertly combines tranquility with sophistication. Visitors are sure to receive world-class service and breathtaking red-rock views.

Visit summerinaz.com for more ideas on where to stay and what to do this summer.

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A Slice of History with your Colorado Mountain Vacation

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If you are in the Dillon/Breckenridge area of Colorado and perhaps want a day off from hiking, fishing mountain biking or shopping why not take a trek into South Park for a view of Colorado that is a bit off the beaten path?

Looking for a bit of history with your mountain adventure? If you are in the Dillon/Breckenridge/Frisco area, consider driving a loop from Breckenridge to South Park over Hoosier Pass and returning via Boreas Pass. Take SH 9 (exit 203 on I-70) and proceed south out of Breckenridge over Hoosier Pass toward the towns of Alma and Fairplay. The drive time is about 35 minutes. You may need a bit of patience here if you find yourself behind a horse trailer or mega camper as there are quite a few hairpin turns at the beginning.  As you drop into Fairplay, you will be in South Park – a vast area known for mining and ranching (think taxidermy, not ski resort). This is where you will find South Park City – an historic preservation of the town from the 1880’s with restored buildings and homes. To use the cliché, here history comes alive. It is wonderful for kids as one can wander in and out of the buildings, ring the old school bell, visit the stables and glorify modern medicine after seeing the antiquated doctor’s office. The Saloon is not to be missed with its quintessential western bar and spittons – as if the owner closed the door in 1885 and did not return.  There are a few places to eat in town. The Brown Burro with a Tex-Mex menu, Millonzi’s for bar and pub fare, and Silver Scoop with ice cream and sandwiches.  

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Leaving Fairplay, take SH 285 north toward Denver and Jefferson. After 10 miles or approximately 15 minutes, you will see the sign for Como and Boreas Pass Road at mile marker 192. Take a left onto the road and into Como. The “almost ghost town” of Como was named by Italian miners that immigrated to the area in the 1860’s. There are still a number of historical properties trying to hold on, some privately owned and in the process of restoration. It was also a hub for the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad which operated into Denver and over Boreas Pass. The last passenger train departed for Denver in 1937. If you are a railroad buff, you will be interested to see the impressive stone Round House built in 1881 that was a maintenance and repair facility for the railroad.

As you leave Como, the road becomes a gravel and dirt mixture. Look for and follow signs for Boreas Pass and Breckenridge. In good weather, most types of vehicles can easily manage the road but in wet weather four-wheel drive is recommended. Stay alert for dirt bikes and mountain bikes that seem to appear out of nowhere. You will pass through glorious stands of Aspen as you climb. As you approach the summit you will see Mt. Silverheels in the distance to your left; named for the local dance hall girl, Jesse Silverheels, who nursed miners through the small pox epidemic of 1861. At the summit is the Section House, another vestige of the railroad, where trains could re-supply.  Almost at timberline, the views are stunning both of the mountains and the expansive vista of South Park. From here it will be about 15 minutes down before the ski slopes of Breckenridge come into view. Approximate total drive time is: 2.5 hours. South Park City is open from May 15 to October 15. More information can be found at www.southparkcity.org.

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