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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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Planning a Last-Minute Road Trip, Arizona Style

 

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Does this all-too-common scenario ring a bell? It’s mid-summer, and you haven’t had a chance to plan that summer vacation you’ve been dreaming about for months. Maybe work has been too busy for you to dedicate the time, or perhaps your family’s schedule has been up in the air with swim lessons and summer camp.

 

This is the situation for many Arizona residents – that is until they find a little free time and wonder how to plan a last-minute getaway, whether that would be for an entire week or a long weekend. Consider scrapping the idea of booking a flight and opt for a scenic road trip throughout Arizona.

 

This year, the Arizona Office of Tourism has made it easy to take a road trip around the state with pre-planned itinerary ideas based on different themes – water wonders, adventure, urban escapes, outdoor adventures and sightseeing excursions – on its summer-themed travel website,  www.summerinaz.com.

 

Below is a highlight of some of the itineraries available statewide that can help you drive to the vacation of your dreams, while also having some fun along the way:

 

1.  Explore History by Driving Route 66

 

For those feeling a little nostalgic this summer, head to northern Arizona and cruise Route 66, taking in the history and charm of this storied stretch of road. On your drive, stop at the Grand Depot Café for breakfast in Williams before boarding the Grand Canyon Railway and riding the rails to the Grand Canyon’s south rim. The next day, head to Bearizona Drive-Thru Wildlife Park to watch bears, bison, wolves and more in their natural habitat during the morning. Later, enjoy lunch at Cruiser’s Route 66 Café for chicken fried steak and don’t miss the restaurant’s souvenir shop full of Route 66 kitsch.

 

2.  Road-Trip to a Water Destination

 

If cooling off in the water after a day in the car is your cup of tea, road-trip it to Lake Havasu, one of Arizona’s most visited lakes. Jet Ski, boat or paddleboat to take in the lake’s beautiful scenery. Or, take an early morning stroll and visit the London Bridge, a landmark imported from halfway around the world, and have breakfast at Black Bear Diner, which is known for its sweet cream pancakes and housemade bear claws.

 

3.  Visit Sedona for Adventure and Hospitality

 

Mix outdoor excursions with the cultural side of Sedona by driving toward the beautiful red rocks. Once you arrive, hike or bike on Forest Trails or stroll through Slide Rock State Park. Choose to have an early dinner at Elote Café, where a line typically forms at the door before the 5 p.m. opening time, and try the famed elote appetizer. End the evening by splurging with a stay at Sedona’s five-star Enchantment Resort.

Whatever your road trip adventure may be, remember that getting there is half the fun, and a great way to see Arizona’s natural beauty. Find your perfect itinerary at www.summerinaz.com

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Fourth of July Getaways

Nothing says the Fourth of July quite like watching fireworks, cooking out on the grill and enjoying time with friends and family. For many this year, it’s also a three-day weekend and the perfect excuse to plan a long-awaited getaway.  With so many Arizona destinations to choose from, we thought we’d suggest a few favorites for friends, families and couples to consider as last-minute staycations.

 

Happy Independence Day!

 

Staycation with Friends:

 

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Staying close to home and enjoying the long three-day weekend might be just the thing to get you through the rest of summer. Why not staycation in town for an adventure with friends? Start by cooling off inside one of Phoenix’s art and culture destinations. Enjoy Phoenix Art Museum's world-famous exhibits, the Heard Museum's extensive collection of American Indian art or the Musical Instrument Museum, an inspiring venue sharing the world's music through instrument experiences. Then before heading out to watch the fireworks, check-in to one of the city’s new boutique hotels. Relax, unwind and sip cocktails poolside before dining at any number of five-star restaurants. End the evening, post fireworks, toasting the night at a rooftop hot spot or chic lounge.

 

Family Outings:

 

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Perfect for families needing a refreshing respite from the stifling summer heat, Flagstaff Extreme offers a wealth of activities for kids of all ages. Adults will enjoy testing their physical strength and balance as much as the kids with swings, bridges and zip line obstacles set high atop the Ponderosa Pines. After a challenging day, gather the family and head to Snowbowl for the Scenic Skyride where you can watch the sun set while catching native wildlife roaming below. When day turns to night, opt for a truly one-of-a-kind experience for the family at the Flagstaff Nordic Center and stay off the grid in one of several yurts. This is a trip the family is sure to remember for years to come.

 

Loves Looking to Getaway:

 

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Sometimes you need to get away, just the two of you. About two hours southeast of Tucson is a place called Chiricahua National Monument. Known as the “Wonderland of Rocks,” it’s a favorite among hikers, bikers and adventure seekers alike. While you’re there, take a tour of the historic pioneer homestead known as Faraway Ranch. The ranch house was once inhabited by the Erickson family, the region's earliest European settlers, and offers a glimpse into Arizona's pioneer history.

 

For more last-minute staycation road trip ideas, visit summerinaz.com. There are many places, just a short drive away, and even two-day weekend itineraries complete with what to see, and where to eat and stay.

 

 
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