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AFAR Explorer’s Arizona

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15 N Leroux St, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA
Going to or from the Grand Canyon, you're likely to pass through Flagstaff. Don't just stop here to fill up your gas tank; linger in its 19th-century downtown just off old Route 66, and you'll find farm-to-table restaurants, microbrews, and...
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Arizona, USA
Few cities in the U.S. can claim to be 'sandwiched' by a National Park; Tucson might well be the only one. Saguaro National Park is divided into Eastern and Western divisions that flank the city--plenty of wilderness hiking within a half-an-hour's...
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5501 N Hacienda Del Sol Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718, USA
The Grill is the only restaurant in Arizona to receive the “Award of Ultimate Distinction” from Wine Enthusiast. History, quiet service, and the most romantic dining in Tucson are all here. For the best dinner-with-a-view, ask for a table in the...
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Jerome, AZ 86331, USA
Jerome commands big-sky views from its mile-high perch on Cleopatra Hill: look out over red rock mesas and volcanic peaks while standing above a network of 88 miles of mine shafts descending over 4,000 ft. Founded in 1876, Jerome's population fell...
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6300 N Swan Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718, USA
At the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains is the ten-acre complex, the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun. A national historic district, the grounds are a blend of natural desert garden, adobe architecture, and museum—all the vision of one man. Ettore...
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5700 North Sabino Canyon Road,, Tucson, AZ 85750, USA
One of the best things about Tucson is what's all around it: desert and mountains. It's anything but barren, if you know where to go. All along the northern edge of the city are the Santa Catalina Mountains, rising to over 9100ft/2770m. Hikers,...
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1232 E Fry Blvd, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635, USA
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People come to the SE corner of Arizona for its Wild West vibe: the saloons of Tombstone, the mining town of Bisbee, the Apache stronghold in the Chiricahua mountains...But German food? Unexpected--but deliciously present! On a nondescript side...
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Tumacacori, Tumacacori-Carmen, AZ, USA
Want hot chiles? mild peppers? powder? paste? Across from the old Spanish mission in Tumacácori, you'll find it. For decades, family-owned and family-run Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Co. has been providing flavors in Southern Arizona. There's even a...
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A, 2221 I-19 Frontage Rd B102, Tubac, AZ 85646, USA
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Tucson is predictably well-endowed with Mexican restaurants...But it's still worth driving about an hour south to the little town of Tubac for a meal at Elvira's. Upon entering the cool space, you won't be surprised to learn that the chef/owner...
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Payson, AZ, AZ, USA
Petroglyphs are always worth a stop. About 40 minutes north of Globe, on US 60/AZ 77, as the highway winds down through its hairpin curves to the bottom of the Salt River Canyon, stop at 'Hieroglyphic Point.' (It'll be on your left.) This pull-off...
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Payson, AZ, AZ, USA
Driving between Globe and Show Low in the White Mountains east of Phoenix, US 60 curves and descends dramatically into the Salt River Canyon. Some call it the 'mini Grand Canyon.' The highway snakes down some 2000 feet before climbing back up......
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5700 North Sabino Canyon Road,, Tucson, AZ 85750, USA
Many who have not visited Arizona think that its saguaros grow in a Sahara-like setting...but the mountainous desert around Tucson hides many lush spots, like this riparian canyon on the NE edge of the city. Late fall paints the cottonwoods along...
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3061 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA
Cholla (pronounced "choyah") cactus are common in the American Southwest, but not many outside of the region know that you can eat the flower buds. They're high in calcium, and even help balance blood sugar. Many Tucson residents have never tried...
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Gates Pass, Arizona 85745, USA
Residents and visitors alike drive out to the western edge of Tucson on most evenings. The area averages 350 sunny days a year, so viewing the sunset is almost always a possibility. Summer evenings are predictably hot, but you're in for a...
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Dateland, AZ 85333, USA
In an otherwise flat and forlorn section of desert between Tucson and San Diego, exit 67 on I-8 is a sweet pit stop: Dateland! A grove of date palms was planted beside the railroad tracks here in the 1920s. Today, it's more than just a typical...
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Hotel Congress, 311 E Congress St, Tucson, AZ 85701, USA
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A destination since 1919, Tucson's Hotel Congress is home to the Cup Café—one of the best places in town from breakfast to happy hour and on into late night. Look up when in the restaurant. A couple of 'dead soldier chandeliers' will light your...
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Popsicles that are prickly? Well, prickly as in 'prickly pear' juice from the cactus fruit that ripens into a sweet, amethyst treat in midsummer in the deserts of the Southwest. They're called tuna in Spanish. Stop by the Farmers' Market on a...
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4280 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85718, USA
When you hear the phrase, "summer in southern Arizona," naturally your thoughts will tend toward heat and sunshine. Most wouldn't think of mounds of fresh produce at a farmers' market in the desert city of Tucson. But the arrival of the monsoon...
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1100 W Ruins Dr, Coolidge, AZ 85128, USA
Don't go looking for Casa Grande, the national monument of pre-Columbian ruins, in Casa Grande, the sprawling exurb of a town about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson. You have to drive about 20 miles away to the small town of Coolidge to find the...
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Montezuma Castle Rd, Camp Verde, AZ, USA
As Anglo settlers arrived in the 19th century, several sites throughout the Southwest desert were named, erroneously, for the Aztec emperor Montezuma (Moctezuma). The most famous one—and the one to keep this name officially—is Montezuma Castle...
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North Rim, AZ 86052, USA
If you know your flight path is going to go over the Grand Canyon, get a window seat. Even from thirty-some-thousand feet above, the chasms within chasms stretch on to the horizon...
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311 E Congress St, Tucson, AZ 85701, USA
This small historic hotel in downtown Tucson wears many hats: a "best bar in America," serving drinks continuously since 1919; site of the 1934 capture of infamous bank robber John Dillinger; dance club; and the longest-running music venue of its...
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Tanque Verde, AZ, USA
"Monsoon." The word evokes images of the endless summer rains of South and East Asia...But in the American Desert Southwest, 'monsoon' means scattered but intense thunderstorms from late June through September. The hottest part of the year can...
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Tanque Verde, AZ, USA
Late June in southern Arizona: the 'snowbirds' have fled, but for the hardy souls who endure the heat, the promise of rain eventually appears...Saguaro blooms morph into crimson fruit, harvested by the native Tohono O'odham people who turn it into...
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1891 I-19 Frontage Rd, Tumacacori, AZ 85640, USA
The wording is irresistible: "Get a taste of history." On the grounds of one of the oldest Spanish missions (est. 1691) in Arizona, tortillas cooked over a mesquite fire, in the shade of mesquite trees, steps from an adobe church--this is...
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1950 San Xavier Rd, Tucson, AZ 85746, USA
Just to the southwest of Tucson, on the San Xavier Reservation, sits the late XVIII-century Mission San Xavier del Bac, one of the finest examples of Spanish colonial architecture in the U.S. The combination of late Baroque and Moorish-inspired...
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Hohokam Road, Tucson, AZ 85745, USA
Just beyond the western edge of Tucson, you'll find these Hohokam petroglyphs in Saguaro National Park. No one knows precisely when they were carved into the rocks, but Hohokam settlements in the Sonoran desert date back almost two thousand years....
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11570 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85737, USA
When the southern Arizona desert gets just the right mix of rains at the right time in fall and winter, the following spring can produce a riot of wildflowers. People around Tucson said that the spring of 2010 was one of the best displays in...
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Catalina Hwy, Arizona, USA
Downpours are isolated but intense during a Tucson summer. The mid- to late-summer "monsoon" in the Desert Southwest of the U.S. can be the most uncomfortable time to visit, if you're only considering the thermometer. So often, though, the vast...
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11570 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85737, USA
There's more than sand in the southern Arizona desert. Come mid-winter through spring, or after the mid-summer monsoon rains, and you'll find flowing water and reflecting pools among the cacti-studded hills. On the northwest flank of the Santa...
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Arizona, USA
Few things are as evocative of the American Desert Southwest as the saguaro cactus. One of the best places to get up close to these spiky giants (as tall as 60 ft, as old as 200 yrs, as heavy as 2 tons!) is near Tucson. Arizona's second largest...
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Archaeological evidence shows human presence around this warm-spring-fed oasis NE of Tucson going back thousands of years. The grounds were a ranch from the late 19th through the mid-20th centuries; today it's free and open to the public. Weekends...
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15 Main St, Bisbee, AZ 85603, USA
In the old mining town of Bisbee, a mile high in the mountains near the Mexican border, we found a place for lunch just as it began to snow. Not all of southern Arizona is hot desert... The patio of "Poco's" restaurant is tucked into a shady alley...
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E Bonita Canyon Rd, Willcox, AZ 85643, USA
A couple of years ago, on Black Friday, my wife and I headed away from the malls of Tucson and into the mountains: Chiricahua National Monument, just west of the New Mexico border in SE Arizona, was one of the last strongholds of the Chiricahua...
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Elgin, AZ, USA
Wine in the western U.S. You inevitably, and justifiably, think of California, Oregon, Washington...but southern Arizona? The high grasslands of Cochise county have seen a handful of wineries spring up in the last few decades. In a scene more...
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4070 S Avenida Saracino, Hereford, AZ 85615, USA
Last April, I spent a morning hiking along the San Pedro River, just NW of Bisbee, AZ; the caterpillars were astoundingly abundant. When I stopped, I could hear them munching on leaves all around--a surround-sound of crunching, the aural fecundity...
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In Bisbee, Arizona, a quirky mile-high mining town not far from the Mexican border, you'll come across this façade on winding Tombstone Canyon Rd, just north of the Victorian center--unlikely art including etch-a-sketches and firemen's helmets....
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33 Subway St, Bisbee, AZ 85603, USA
A mile high and just up the road from the Mexican border, the Victorian mining town of Bisbee has no shortage of galleries. Artist and gallery owner Poe Dismuke often works by the light coming in from the streetfront window. Here, his easel holds,...
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Bisbee, AZ 85603, USA
In Bisbee, the quirky Victorian-era mile-high mining town in SE Arizona's Mule Mountains, we saw this car parked on the street...Gnome and countless figurines, always wondering: "are we there yet?" Once you do get there, wander the...
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Bisbee, AZ 85603, USA
Above this delicious selection of hot sauces, this tongue-in-cheek 'retablo' (altarpiece) says: "My God, thank you, because Poco is open, and I don't have to wash any more glasses and forks..." If you're in this Victorian-era mile-high mining town...
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6 Main St, Bisbee, AZ 85603, USA
In the backstreets of the mile-high mining town of Bisbee, Arizona, some unlikely art: a stencil of Mona Lisa? blindfolded? framed by Buddhist philosophy? This is some of the street-art that inspires residents in this SE Arizona town to display...
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4050 Red Rock Loop Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336, USA
The red rocks around Sedona are a trekker's dream, and if you know where to go, you can jump in a creek as well. Just to the southwest of Sedona, check out Red Rocks State Park. Take a short hike then cool off with a swim below Cathedral Rock. (By...
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Clifton, AZ, USA
A century ago, these arches were the façade of the Lyric Theater in the mining town of Clifton, AZ. Countless road trips in the American Southwest include detours to visit ghost towns. The term itself conjures up romantic if desolate images from...
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Jerome, AZ 86331, USA
"Big Sky country"may well be the moniker of Montana, but the phrase describes northern Arizona just as well. Here, looking north from the mountainside mining town of Jerome, my wife and I could see across to the red rock country near Sedona, and...
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Sedona, AZ 86336, USA
Color, shape, and naked geology: Northern Arizona appeals to the senses in the most elemental ways. Agnostic hikers, secular scientists, souls searching for spiritual energy — all end up in Sedona, seeking and finding. Mid-week in this red-rock...
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Page, AZ 86040, USA
I saw this place in so many photos before but when I got there and saw it in person it was such an overwhelming experience. Getting there is easy. You take the Interstate 89 South from Page and after 7 minutes you get to the parking lot. The road...
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Antelope Canyon has been on my "must see" list for a very long time so you can imagine my excitement when I got there. I love how the lighting and shadows made the most interesting palette of colors hug the sexy curves of the canyon. The land...
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37615 E US Highway #60, Superior, AZ 85173, USA
An hour east of Phoenix, or just 90 minutes north of Tucson, is the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Arizona's oldest and largest botanical garden. No matter which city you might be visiting, this desert oasis is one of the best day-trips you can take....
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1185 Airport Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336, USA
Escaping the lower elevation heat of a southern Arizona summer, my wife and I headed up to the mile-high red-rock country around Sedona. This was the view from our hotel: red rocks all around... Sky Ranch Lodge is perched on the summit of...
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Arizona, USA
If, like most visitors, you head for Tucson between Thanksgiving and Easter, you're probably seeking sun and warmth while the rest of the country deals with the winter blahs. And you'll most likely find what you're looking for. There's a reason...
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2021 N Kinney Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743, USA
Mountain Lion. Cougar. Puma. Panther. Any way you call it, it's majestic but fear-inspiring... At the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, on the western edge of Tucson, you can get face-to-face with one of these massive felines; their well-designed...
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7301 E Tanque Verde Rd # 191, Tucson, AZ 85715, USA
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Far from his native Bologna, gelato master Nazario Melchiondo crafts tastes that have found a ready home in the desert city of Tucson, Arizona. Always fresh, it's made on site, and the flavors change seasonally. One decadent way to enjoy the...
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Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Every March, a temporary tent city sets up for one weekend on the grassy Mall in the center of the campus of the University of Arizona. Over 100,000 people gather under the palms. In just five years, the Tucson Festival of Books has grown to...
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N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ, USA
Come here and you'll find a solar-powered bookstore, a Guatemalan restaurant, pubs, galleries, cafés, and this brick wall tribute to Gregory Colbert's "Boy Reading to Elephant." (The words that come to mind when I pass this street art are "tell me...
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1060 S Kolb Rd, Tucson, AZ 85710, USA
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Breakfast at a mom-and-pop-restaurant. There's just no better way to get a local-flavor start-of-the-day when you're from out of town. In Tucson, you can't go wrong if you get a hearty plate at "Poco & Mom's." Yes, "New Mexico food" may not be...
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50 E Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85701, USA
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Chile en nogada is a poblano chile pepper, stuffed with peccadillo (shredded meat, aromatic diced dried fruit and spices), topped with a walnut-cream sauce and pomegranate seeds. This dish from Puebla is not often found on menus of Mexican...
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1859 W Grant Rd #103, Tucson, AZ 85745, USA
A husband-and-wife team have brought Canada's national junk-food, born in Québec in the 1950s, to Tucson—finally, you can eat "poutine" in southern Arizona! And it's even "local"...the "Zany Beaver" food-truck gets its cheese curds from local...
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1859 W Grant Rd #111, Tucson, AZ 85745, USA
Tucson may well be in the desert, but it's got a handful of good microbreweries—including Dragoon Brewing on the west side of the city. From their tasting room, you can get a view of the tanks as you sample their offerings. My favorite was the...
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9121 E Tanque Verde Rd, Tucson, AZ 85749, USA
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Le Buzz is the place to hang out and caffeinate on Tucson's northeast edge. They roast their own coffee, bake their own pastries, and they're on the way if you want to pick up something for a picnic on your drive up to Mount Lemmon above the...
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2081 Hardy Rd, Willcox, AZ 85643, USA
"Orchards" is not the word that comes to mind when most think of southern Arizona...but less than 2 hours east of Tucson, up in the high desert, Apple Annie's is a family farm destination for fresh summer fruit. At an elevation of 4400 ft (1300m),...
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1013 E University Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
On the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson sits the largest and oldest anthropology museum in the SW United States. If the history and culture of the region interest you, this is the place--the museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian...
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25 Tuzigoot Rd, Clarkdale, AZ 86324, USA
A stone village crowning a hilltop above farm fields and a meandering river--sounds like Tuscany, but you're in northern Arizona. Dating back to about 1000 A.D., Tuzigoot was a stronghold of the Sinagua people, who abandoned the site about the...
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20 Main St, Bisbee, AZ 85603, USA
As "killer bees" (or, more accurately, "Africanized honeybees") continue to make a home in North America, most news stories about them are scary... ...but in Bisbee, you can taste their sweet side. You may have seen the man behind this diminutive...
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Kitt Peak, Arizona 85634, USA
About an hour and fifteen minutes southwest of Tucson rises Kitt Peak—a 6875-ft mountain crowned with the world's largest concentration of optical telescopes, radio telescopes, and the world's largest solar telescope. And just south of Kitt Peak,...
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Mt Lemmon, Arizona 85619, USA
On the northern edge of Tucson, you can drive through a condensed version of western North America's ecosystem in about half an hour. On the way up the Mount Lemmon Highway (also known as "Catalina Highway" or "Sky Island Scenic Byway"), you...
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336 AZ-179, Sedona, AZ 86336, USA
Named after an artistic city in central Mexico, Sedona's Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village is one of the best outdoor shopping spots in Arizona. Sycamore-shaded fountain-filled courtyards and vine-covered colonnades are home to over forty...
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1221 E Fry Blvd, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635, USA
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Unless you are a soldier or an avid bird-watcher, you have probably not heard of Sierra Vista. At the base of the Huachuca Mountains in southern Arizona, this unprepossessing town, attached to Fort Huachuca, is not exactly a tourist magnet...But...
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Fort Tuthill County Park, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA
Aside from climbing a small apple tree, I've never been 30' up in the trees before. I really thought I was afraid of heights but I got a taste of the starter course and I couldn't get enough. Adrenaline pumping, heart racing, and my body swaying...
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Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403, USA
After the Grand Canyon, Arizona's second-biggest sightseeing destination is...London Bridge. And unlike many 'world landmarks' from up the road in Las Vegas, this is actual Old World stonework, meticulously de-constructed, transported, and...
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Romero Canyon, Arizona 85619, USA
One of the best day-hikes from Tucson is just north of town, on the 'back side' of the Santa Catalina Mountains: Romero Canyon. Drive up to Catalina State Park for the trailhead, and you'll begin trekking through mesquite woods and towering...
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Ventana Canyon, Catalina Foothills, AZ 85750, USA
The foothills around Tucson are home to some of the best spa-golf-resorts in the U.S. and you don't have to go far for a taste of the wilderness before you turn in. Just behind the Loews Ventana Canyon resort on the edge of the city, an unspoiled...
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2400 N Gemini Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86004, USA
Flagstaff, Northern Arizona's winter-playground-college-town, is often overlooked as visitors drive through it on their way to or from the Grand Canyon. But if you have time to linger, this town will reveal its charms. In recent years, it's become...
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12 E Aspen Ave, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA
In downtown Flagstaff, check out out the sandstone building from the 1880's on the corner of Aspen & San Francisco--you'll find out where the Girl with the Pearl Earring gets her outdoor supplies... As the gateway to northern Arizona ski country...
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3 Walnut Canyon Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86004, USA
A ten-mile drive from downtown Flagstaff will take you back about a thousand years if you take a quick hike down into Walnut Canyon National Monument. From about 1150 AD to the early 1300's, this meandering section of forested canyon was home to a...
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17843 E Peak Ln, Picacho, AZ 85141, USA
As you speed through the desert on I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix, consider getting off at Exit 219, especially if you have kids in the backseat... ...and even if you don't have kids in the backseat, feeding ostriches and lorikeets is FUN! This...
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120 N Leroux St, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA
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I hate wimpy hamburger buns--you know the kind: pickle juice and grill marks bleed through the sad white carbs...Downtown Flagstaff's Diablo Burger rejects mushy bread in favor of hearty "db"-branded English muffins. Their beef patties are from...
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1580 Duval Mine Road, Green Valley, AZ 85614, USA
Visitors flock to southern Arizona for sun and saguaros... ...but for a hole in the ground? Other than the ones on golf courses? From the 1960's to the 1980's, Tucson was ringed by eighteen steel-and-concrete-reinforced holes in the ground--highly...
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27 E Ramsey Canyon Rd, Hereford, AZ 85615, USA
When people think of southern Arizona and its border with Mexico, cactus and sun-baked sand may come to mind — but a mountain canyon with fall foliage, homestead cabins, and deer? Go high enough, and you'll find this and more. The Huachuca...
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900 Meadowood Ln, St Helena, CA 94574, USA
In Napa, you want to be in the club. And if you’re in the club, you’re at Meadowood.
Set on 250 sprawling acres of picture-perfect wine-country land just off the Silverado Trail outside St. Helena, this country club and resort is where...
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1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
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Grant Achatz outdid himself as usual. What a wonderful sensory experience in indulgence. Surrounded by other food lovers and watching courses come out in sequence we were always balancing whether to enjoy our own course or be excited about what...
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6640 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599, USA
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There was a time when the French Laundry actually washed shirts. Now, that is just a bad joke (as in "They were a bit heavy on the starch; I don't think I'll be going back"). There are those who say Thomas Keller's famous flagship restaurant that...
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2, 54 Pearl St, New York, NY 10004, USA
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Want to eat where a historic event of the American Revolution took place? Try Fraunces Tavern in downtown New York City. After defeating the British, it was here that George Washington gathered his officers for a farewell speech before heading...
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47900 California 1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
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Described by devotees as the most luxurious, one-of-a-kind lodging experience in all of California, the Post Ranch Inn was purpose-built to blend in with the Santa Lucia Mountains. Opened in 1992, and designed by famed Big Sur architect Mickey...
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Big Sur lies along what is surely one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in California, if not the world.Skip the famously fabulous and outrageously expensive hotels, and head to Deetjen's. It's a ramshackle but romantic historic inn on...