Posts Tagged ‘tour’

Summer in Tucson

May 24th, 2015 by samhughesinn

Summer Sun

Summer in Tucson:

Arizona enjoys more than 300 sunny days a year and in the summer months it’s important to find ways to endure and also enjoy, summer in Tucson. A little creativity is necessary and it’s always good to remember that even though it may be beastly hot outside, it will never prevent you from pursuing activities the way winter in colder climes does. You don’t have to shovel it and you don’t have to scrape it off your windshield and if you’re lucky, summer will only last until mid-October. After that, it’s heavenly here. You just have to find places and things to do that keep you out of the blazing sun during the hottest hours of the day.

Until the middle of May the nights and mornings in Tucson are cool and pleasant. As June, the nastiest month, approaches, night and morning begin to come close to daytime heat, minus the sunshine. Air Conditioning is our salvation, in the house, in the car, in stores & theaters; it’s everywhere you want to be. You just have to figure out how to navigate from air conditioned place to air conditioned place and remember to drink lots of water.

One new reason to spend part of summer in Tucson is the Summer in the City Discount Card. About 130 merchants in the five shopping and entertainment districts are offering discounts up to 50 percent with the card.You can order it online for $5 and there is no limit to the number of times you can use it. Stay at Sam Hughes Inn Bed & Breakfast and two people can use the inn’s cards to receive discounts on food & drink, to purchase something special, or take a yoga class. The possibilities for savings are at least 130. Cards are valid through the end of August. Check the website for the list of merchants participating.

COOL PURSUITS:

Mt. LemmonMt. Lemmon Sky Center
has the largest public viewing telescope in the Southwest. They offer nightly presentations by gifted astronomers at an always cool altitude. Check the website or phone 520-626-8122, Mt. Lemmon at any time of day will be considerably cooler than Tucson.

DeGrazia Gallery

DeGrazia Gallery

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun occupies ten acres created and built by late Tucson artist Ted DeGrazia. Multiple cleverly conceived buildings house the huge collection of originals: oils, pastels, metalwork, pottery, ceramics & sculpture all designed by this incredibly talented artist. Some of the interesting creations are outside but you can spend almost all the time indoors in the labyrinth of rooms housing his works. 6300 N. Swan Rd. 520-299-9191.

La Vida Fantastica

Unknown Artist, Kuna Culture

The Tucson Museum of Art at 140 N. Main Ave. in downtown Tucson, is located in the El Presidio Historic Block of early Tucson architecture.. This summer will feature several interesting exhibits. The WPA Connection: Selections from the Modern Art Collection and La Vida Fantastica: Selections from the American Folk Art Collection. Along with its vast permanent collection  you can spend many happy hours in the cool of the museum and grab a bite to eat at their yummy Cafe’ a la C’art. No sweat guaranteed!

Summer 2015 Exhibit

Summer Exhibit Mini Time Museum of Miniatures

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures offers 10,000 square feet of air conditioned wonder as you peek into the fascinating tiny world of hundreds of different miniature art displays. Antique & contemporary miniatures are sure to please young and old. Closed on Mondays so check the website for hours on the other days. 4455 E. Camp Lowell Dr., 520-881-0606.

Field, Pima Air & Space

Pima Air & Space Museum

Pima Air & Space Museum has five air cooled hangers featuring commercial, military and civil aviation exhibits. You can also enjoy a toasty tram tour of its 80 acres of famous and not so famous aircraft and/or tour the Boneyard with its hundreds of mummy wrapped aircraft lined up by type. These tours are true examples of a Summer in Tucson experience and are not likely to be cool, so bring a spray bottle of water or a hand fan if you decide to indulge. 520-574-0462

Queen Mine

Queen Mine

 

And if you’re spending a few days of Summer in Tucson and want to venture a little further out, visit the cooler old world town of Bisbee (at an altitude of more than 5500 feet), and its Queen Mine,once a busy working copper mine. The mine is an always chilly 47 degrees so you’ll need a jacket. You’ll ride the mine train deep inside the tunnel while wearing miner’s hats, slickers and lanterns. The tour lasts about an hour & fifteen minutes. Call 866-432-2071 for reservations.

 

Cave interior

Cave stalactites, stalagmites

And for another cool subterranean adventure, don’t miss Kartchner Caverns State Park to witness a still forming, water dripping, perfect cave, undisturbed by man until its discovery in 1974 and featuring awesome stalactites and stalagmites. Great care is taken that nothing harms the interior of this cave so no cameras, or equipment of any kind, purses, backpacks, etc. – all must be tucked into lockers before the tours begin.Reservations are a must so check the website to make online future or same day arrangements. For those wanting to experience the cave the way its discoverers did, Helmet and Headlamp tours are also available but only on Saturdays. Kartchner Caverns Park is located near Benson, AZ, about an hour & a half from Tucson. (520) 586-2283

 

Arizona Wine Vineyards

January 20th, 2015 by samhughesinn

Arizona Wine Vineyards

Most  Arizona wine vineyards are located south of Tucson in the Elgin/Sonoita area and a few have tasting rooms located within the city. Although the first wine vineyards were planted by Jesuits in the 16th century, it wasn’t until the end of Prohibition in 1933 that serious grape planting began. It would prove to be a slow start in Arizona since many vineyards have come into being only in the past ten years. But these wineries have every reason to be proud of their products.

Wine Prohibition

Prohibition Begins
1920

People generally associate good wine with California and the west coast but Arizona’s soil, climate and elevation are uniquely suited to certain types of grape growing and more than 50 Arizona wine vineyards are well known producers of fine vintages. The following vineyards represent just a few of the grape growers you might like to visit in Arizona. (Check individual websites for the best time to visit).

Charron Vineyards (pictured above) has been owned and operated by Milton & Susan Craig since 2009. One of southern Arizona’s oldest vineyards, it planted its first Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines in 1994 and has produced several award winning vintages. In 2000, its White Merlot won the Governor’s Award and has sold out every year since then. They offer 14 unique wines in their tasting room, open Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.. Charron is located less than 30 minutes from downtown Tucson between Vail and Sonoita. From Interstate 10 take Exit 281 to Hwy 83  (approx 25 miles East of Tucson).  Signposted Sonoita & Patagonia, the Charron Vineyards Attraction sign is at mile marker 53.

Sonoita AVA area

Sonoita Elgin Area Map

Family owned Callaghan Vineyards was established in 1990 in Sonoita, AZ. Le Monde, the Parisian newspaper, listed Callahan as one of the six most interesting wineries in the US. Dubbed an Arizona Treasure by former Governor Brewer, Kent Callahan has won numerous awards for his wines which were also served at President Clinton’s last state dinner in 2000, and at Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement dinner in 2006.

The Sonoita AVA (American Viticultural Area) is one of the first wine-growing regions in the United States to be granted AVA status, and the area is currently the only federally recognized wine growing region in the state of Arizona. USA Today listed the Elgin/Sonoita area as one of the top ten wine trails in the US.

Sonoita Vineyards is the oldest commercial vineyard and winery in AZ. It opened in 1983 and incorporates 30 acres of vines. Festivals here include the Blessing of Sonoita Vineyards, April 25 & 26, 2015 – with tastings, pairings, & tours of the vineyard.The Harvest Fest, July 25 & 26, 2015, features wine stomping competitions and horse drawn vineyard tours.

The Village of Elgin Winery claims to be the largest producer of wine in the Sonoita AVA. Also family owned, this winery produces in the traditional manner, aged in European wood. Visit the vineyard and beautiful grounds, tour the bottling process, and see the on-site chapel, La Capilla de Santa Maria. The Harvesting of the Vine Festival is scheduled September 19 and 20, 2015. Tickets include admission, wine glass, food, music and arts & crafts.

Dos Cabezas Wineworks has been producing wines in Arizona since 1995. Famed Arizona winemaker, Kent Callahan, (see Callahan’s Vineyard above) was the original winemaker for Dos Cabazas. The winery was moved to Sonoita close to the current family owners’ Pronghorn Vineyard in Elgin in 2003.They are exceptionally proud of the wine produced here and invite you to visit their tasting room year round. The fee includes a souvenir wine glass.Locally the wine is available at AJ’s Fine Foods and Whole Foods in Tucson.

Wine Tasting Rooms:

Wine tasting

Wine Tasting

And for those less inclined to drive longer distances, you can sample Arizona Wine Vineyard products in these three Tucson wine tasting rooms. For twenty years Bear Track Winery has provided wines they make themselves from freshly harvested grapes to produce full bodied wines unique to the Sonoran Desert. You’ll find them in the Catalina Foothills at 4743 E. Sunrise Drive. Open Tuesday through Friday 5-9 PM. Phone 520-975-0050 for information.

Flying Leap Vineyards, with two vineyards in Elgin, operates one of its four tasting rooms in Tucson at St. Philip’s Plaza, 4330 N. Campbell, Suite 48. Hours vary according to the day but they serve Saturdays from 9 AM to 8PM. Call for details 520-299-VINE. Their award winning wines are sold in specialty stores and at major wine retailers.

Sierra Bonita Vineyards is named for its location near the historic Sierra Bonita Ranch established in 1872. A more recent addition to fine southern Arizona wine making, Sierra Bonita released its first wines in 2011, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Syrah.They describe themselves as an eco-friendly vineyard. Their tasting room is at 6720 E. Camino Principal, Suite 101. Hours are Thursday – Saturday, 4-8 PM. Saturday & Sunday, 12PM to 6PM. Phone 520-296-0674

Wine barrels

Aged in Oak

And if you’re visiting Sam Hughes Inn, most of these vineyards are located only an hour or so by car from Tucson.Put wineries on your to-do list while searching for interesting attractions. Soak up the atmosphere at one or more of these vineyards while touring southern Arizona, Raise a glass and toast the great weather, the beautiful scenery and sample an award winning variety of locally crafted wines.

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