Archive for the ‘Arizona Attractions’ Category

Things to do in Tucson

September 20th, 2018 by samhughesinn

Things to Do, plus Places to See, Food to Enjoy

Tucson, AZ

Downtown Tucson
by John Burcham for The New York Times

Things to Do in Tucson

Travelers search for Things to Do in Tucson and the The New York Times posted a wonderful article in today’s paper. Subtitled 36 Hours in Tucson, it includes recommendations for sightseeing, most importantly, architecture & historical treasures.

Besides the usually available tourist information the article also touches on great food, the proliferation of new restaurants & local food. Also featured are biking & hiking plus some of the treasures of the University of Arizona including the Mirror Lab, and two small museums, (The Center for Creative Photography and the University of Arizona Art Museum). It describes two of our observatories (Flandrau Planetarium & Kitt Peak National Observatory). Shopping areas (like 4th Avenue) and the lesser known Mercado San Agustin on the west side of town are profiled as well.

Many lovely photographs of the places featured, accompany the article. There are too many wonders to be enjoyed in just 36 hours but if visitors reach even half of these great recommendations, they will have a terrific first taste of Tucson, AZ.

The full article (including links to all their recommended sites) is available at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/20/travel/what-to-do-in-tucson.

Some of the “must do” adventures in Tucson are not mentioned in the New York Times article, but there are only so many things a person can see in 36 hours. A more textured visit would have to include the Sonora Desert Museum on the West side of town, Pima Air & Space Museum, and DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun to cite only a few. The Mission of San Xavier del Bac (the White Dove of the Desert) is only twelve miles south of Tucson and is one of the most historically significant remaining pieces of early Tucson. Begun in the 17th Century, the complex stands in the middle of the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation. (Constant renovation has kept this beautiful building looking exactly as it did upon completion in 1797.) And with ample time it’s possible to combine your lodging in Tucson (hopefully at Sam Hughes Inn Bed & Breakfast) with a trip to the old mining towns of Bisbee and the cowboy historic Tombstone, AZ.

Thanks to the New York Times for this great advertisement for our sweet little city in the desert Southwest.

 

Important Birthdays August 20

August 19th, 2015 by samhughesinn

Tucson celebrates two important birthdays on August 20 each year.

Tucson began with the fort Tucson Presidio San Agustin, founded on that date in 1775 and it stood through the 1880’s. Only a portion of the wall remains today on the original site as the city has grown up around it. A territorial museum with courtyard and exhibits from early Tucson history has been created on the spot at the corner of Washington & Court Street. It comes to life during Living History Days (the second Saturday of the month, October through April) with performers in period dress going about the duties of early daily life, baking bread, blacksmithing, etc. There is a self-guided tour of the museum including a munitions room, tower, commissary & living space for the soldiers who lived here then. An open Hohokam pit house is also featured. Winter hours are 10AM-4PM and an hour less in the summer.

1775 Birthday Tucson

Presidio San Agustin

A 240th birthday celebration is held annually with birthday cake, cannon fire & living history demonstrations along with local groups and dignitaries making an appearance. Check the website for information about upcoming events and exhibits.

 

Reid Park Baby Elephant

Nandi’s First Birthday

And the second important birthday this August 20 is the very first one for the Reid Park Zoo’s famous baby elephant, Nandi.  A special birthday breakfast will be held for her at 7AM, and tickets sold out very quikly. Another event will be held on August 22 where the public can watch Nandi receive birthday treats and sing Happy Birthday along with the staff. Nandi  is a big baby now, weighing more than 900 pounds, but somehow she still appears tiny next to her much larger brother and parents. If you missed her birthday she’ll still be available during regular zoo hours, usually 9AM to 4PM. Don’t miss a visit to this special baby.

Mini Time Museum of Miniatures

January 27th, 2015 by samhughesinn

Catherine wearing diamond

Catherine the Great
with Orlov

The Mini Time Museum of Miniatures in Tucson, presents a special exhibit of replica diamonds displayed on miniature historical figures representing their original owners. The exhibit (beginning January 27, 2015 through April 19, 2015) features the work of two famous artists. The replica diamonds were created by Scott Sucher of Tijeras, New Mexico and the historic figures were designed by artist, George S. Stuart of Ojai, CA.

The exhibit, called Diamonds Are Forever (The Incredible Journeys of World-Famous Diamonds & the People Who Owned Them), comes to the Tucson Mini Time Museum of Miniatures courtesy of the Museum of Ventura County California, which developed and produced it. This exhibit tells the story of famous diamonds and their famous owners. Their stories are told with 18 quarter-life-size historical figures and 10 replica diamonds.

George Stuart has created more than 400 historic figures, famous and infamous, in incredible life like miniature sculptures. He also describes them in regular monologues presented near his home in Ventura, CA.

Scott Sucher, through exhaustive research, creates world famous, historically accurate diamond replicas for museums and educational purposes.

Louis XIV with diamond

Louis XIV – French Blue diamond tie tack

According to the Mini Time Museum of Miniatures website, the exhibit includes figures of Catherine the Great, Louis XIV, Napoleon and the Shah Jahan. The historic diamond replicas feature the Hope, the French Blue, Regent, Beau Sancy, the Koh-i-Noor, the Orlov and the Mirror of Portugal. Many of these jewels were incorporated into crowns, scepters, pendants & hair ornaments and were usually in the hands of royalty. However, over time, some have been lost, stolen or broken up and re-cut. Diamond connoisseurs will be familiar with all or most of these stones and will find the exhibit fascinating. Gem Show visitors will want to add this exhibit to their schedules during February for a great change of pace from shopping or selling.

The Mini Time Museum of Miniatures regular collection features over 275 miniature houses and box rooms in three main areas: the Enchanted Realm, History Gallery and Exploring the World. This is not just a destination for children; in fact many exhibits are better understood and appreciated by adults. You will never be too old to enjoy this wonderful museum. Many fine artists are represented and their work is perfection in every tiny detail, from real silverware & china in table settings to fine furniture, carpeting and paintings hanging on the small dollhouse walls. Many periods of history are replicated in the various houses and boxes, along with fantasy representations of fairy tales. You’ll find old and contemporary houses, houses from other countries, an airplane café, stores, western scenes, castles and re-creations of existing or formerly existing buildings. You’ll wish you could touch these tiny treasures but they are protected from harm yet beautifully displayed and lighted so that every small marvel can be easily observed.There are docent led and self guided tours to the Mini Time Museum of Miniatures and you will want to come back many times to revisit the permanent collection as well as to take advantage of the special temporary exhibits like Diamonds Are Forever.

The museum, although now in its sixth year of operation, still remains a hidden treasure, a Tucson Special Attraction. You’ll find the museum at 4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive in Tucson, about 20 minutes drive from downtown. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 9 AM – 4 PM. Sunday, Noon – 4 PM. Closed on Mondays and major holidays.

Historic figure photos and artist photos courtesy of Museum of Ventura County.

Scott Sucher

Scott Sucher

George Stuart

George Stuart

 

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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