Vino, Vis­tas & Ad­ven­ture (Ari­zona)

Snowbirds & RV Travelers - - Contents - Story and pho­tos cour­tesy of Visit Ari­zona, Edited by Perry Mack

North Cen­tral Ari­zona could be your fi­nal des­ti­na­tion, or a fan­tas­tic place to en­joy en route to an­other snow­bird des­ti­na­tion. For thou­sands of years, peo­ple have shared this beau­ti­ful re­gion of Ari­zona with wildlife - and for good rea­son. The lush river trib­u­taries give life to hun­dreds of species of plants and wildlife, which is just one rea­son to visit this en­chant­ing area. Breath­tak­ing scenery, a wide-va­ri­ety of winer­ies, and au­then­tic cow­boy cul­ture also help to make this a premier snow­bird des­ti­na­tion.

Here’s a five-day itin­er­ary to help you ex­pe­ri­ence the tastes, sights and sounds of North Cen­tral Ari­zona.

Day One

Be­gin your ad­ven­ture with a Jeep tour of one of the scenic trails in and around Se­dona. Sev­eral lo­cal com­pa­nies pro­vide guides with tremen­dous knowl­edge of the area’s flora and his­tory. En­joy a pic­nic lunch at the beau­ti­ful Red Rock Cross­ing then spend the af­ter­noon vis­it­ing winer­ies near the banks of Oak Creek, where you will taste wines that are grab­bing the world’s at­ten­tion. From Page Springs and Javelina Leap to Echo Canyon and Oak Creek Vine­yards, you’ll be sure to find a new favourite. In the even­ing, dine at the En­chant­ment Re­sort. The cui­sine is sec­ond only to the jaw-drop­ping views of Boyn­ton Canyon. Overnight in Se­dona at; Ran­cho Se­dona RV Park http://ran­chose­ (888) 641-4261

Day Two

In the morn­ing, visit Mon­tezuma Cas­tle Na­tional Mon­u­ment, one of the best-pre­served cliff dwellings in North Amer­ica. The site tells an an­cient story of in­ge­nu­ity and sur­vival of the Si­naguan peo­ple. Then drive to Clark­dale but on your way, stop off at the Al­can­tara tast­ing room and try an­other area wine. When you ar­rive in Clark­dale, have lunch in the town’s his­toric down­town prior to board­ing the train. The Verde Canyon Rail­road is a four-hour train ride that takes you past Na­tive Amer­i­can ru­ins and his­toric sites. Keep your eyes open for bald ea­gles, herons and other wildlife along the way. After your train ride, head up the hill to Jerome for din­ner. Jerome, once a thriv­ing, hill­side, copper min­ing camp, is now a haven for artists, mu­si­cians, writ­ers and pho­tog­ra­phers - and some ghostly types as well. For din­ner, try The Asy­lum res­tau­rant where the fare and the spir­its are as tasty as they are “other-worldly” while the views of the Verde Val­ley are “to die for!” Opt to stay in town for mu­sic and danc­ing at one of the town’s in­fa­mous wa­ter­ing holes.

Day Three

Grab your walk­ing shoes and spend the morn­ing brows­ing the bou­tiques and artist co-ops in Jerome to find that unique gift (for your­self or some­one else). Jerome is also home to a winery so have a glass while you rest your feet and your wal­let. Take a leisurely drive south on His­toric High­way 89A over Min­gus Moun­tain to Prescott Val­ley, travers­ing a road that is vis­ually and phys­i­cally en­closed by the vege­ta­tion and canyon walls. Take a mo­ment to stop at one of the many breath­tak­ing over­looks. Ar­rive in Prescott, Ari­zona’s first ter­ri­to­rial capi­tol. Des­ig­nated a ‘Dis­tinc­tive Des­ti­na­tion’ by the Na­tional Trust for His­toric Preser­va­tion, Prescott of­fers a his­toric view of the area. Walk the his­toric down­town area and down Mt. Ver­non Street to see beau­ti­fully re­stored Vic­to­rian homes. In the even­ing, dine at the his­toric and el­e­gant Has­sayampa Inn or try any one of the many restau­rants and mi­cro­brew­eries in Prescott’s great his­toric down­town. End the even­ing with a visit to one of the old sa­loons on Whiskey Row. Overnight in Prescott at; Point of Rocks Camp­ground www.pointofrock­srv­camp­ (928) 445-9018

Day Four

En­joy a lit­tle recre­ation in Prescott Na­tional For­est, which boasts nearly 725 km (450 mi) of scenic trails that are used for hik­ing, horse­back rid­ing, and/or moun­tain bik­ing. The for­est also con­tains one Na­tional Recre­ational Trail (Gran­ite Moun­tain Trail) and one Na­tional His­toric Study trail (Gen­eral Crook Trail). For the more dar­ing vis­i­tors, this Na­tional For­est of­fers op­por­tu­ni­ties for hang glid­ing and rock climb­ing. Five lakes in the area al­low for kayak­ing, ca­noe­ing and some boat­ing. After such an ac­tive day, un­wind with a glass of vino. You may choose to visit yet an­other Ari­zona winery at Gran­ite Creek Vine­yards in Chino Val­ley, about 20 min­utes north of Prescott. An­other fine din­ner awaits you in his­toric down­town. Overnight again in in Prescott.

Day Five

To­day, the past is in your fu­ture as you ex­plore the Old West. Lo­cated ap­prox­i­mately one hour south of Prescott, Wick­en­burg of­fers you a taste of na­ture, his­tory and the Wild West. First visit the Na­ture Con­ser­vancy’s Has­sayampa River Pre­serve. A lit­eral oa­sis in the desert, this lush, stream­side habi­tat is home to some of the Sono­ran Desert’s most spec­tac­u­lar and en­dan­gered wildlife, in­clud­ing 230 species of birds, such as the rare Wil­low Fly­catcher and the Har­ris Hawk. Larger res­i­dents in­clude mules, deer, wild pec­ca­ries, bob­cats, ring­tails, and even moun­tain lions. In the af­ter­noon, visit the Desert Ca­balleros Western Mu­seum, con­sid­ered one of the finest mu­se­ums in the coun­try fea­tur­ing western art and fron­tier his­tory. Take a walk­ing tour of down­town Wick­en­burg, which is proud to in­clude ten build­ings on the Na­tional Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places.

Now you can con­tinue on your jour­ney to more southerly points in Ari­zona, like the Del Pue­blo RV Park in Yuma, with a cam­era full of new mem­o­ries to share with your snow­bird neigh­bours.

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