Hop aboard an antique tractor to take a hayride tour of The Windmill Winery, which spans more than 100 acres of Arizona countryside, boasting historical buildings and breath-stealing scenery. Visitors can wind through the working farm to see a collection of early 20th-century buildings plus a host of farm animals humming nursery rhymes under their breath. Wine sippers can then drink in views of two lakes, the Gila River, and the Superstition Mountains before heading into the 1920s dairy barn to test palates with five signature wines culled from small and organic wineries. Learn about each wine's origin and how to pair it with the right culinary sidekicks, then sate grumbling bellies with a freshly grilled meal served on the back porch of the First Pinal County Sheriff's House. The night will wind down under the stars with a bonfire, s'mores, and bone-chilling stories about pairing fish and red wine.
Blackbird's owners, Robb and Melody Smith, provide a creative haven for artists and musicians of all ages and abilities in the 4,000-square-foot Blackbird Music & Art Center, which boasts seven music studios, two classrooms, and an art gallery showcasing the work of their students. In groups of 5–24, students can learn to accurately portray the essence of a loved one's alter ego in the cartooning course, where an instructor teaches students the basics of characters, cartoons, and comic strips. After School Art Club, appropriate for ages 12 and up, challenges brush wielders to learn drawing skills and various art techniques, and The Art of Sketching class demonstrates the different drawing and shading techniques needed to decorate paper and metallic public-bathroom stalls. Though some supplies are provided, students should check with their instructor about the necessary equipment to bring.
Dos Boot Computer Store's tech-heads get to the heart of the problem with free diagnosis on all PCs, laptops, and software. Then, whether it's nefarious spyware or a burnt-out part mucking up the works, they get to work restoring computers to their former glory. That is, once they consult clients on necessary repairs and services. Sometimes repairs may be so extensive that it's best to simply get a new machine. They have customers covered there, too, as they sell refurbished notebooks and PCs.
Bead Bar's bead baristas guide jewelry crafters with a wealth of bauble knowledge, provisioning projects from the amply stocked store. Students can bring their own spirited refreshments to make sessions merrier, journeying past bead-bedazzled walls and cascades of clasps to reach the workshop, where they'll discover the basics of jewelry creation during basic stringing and crimping classes (click here to view the schedule). After pupils choose one of five bracelet kits—which include a clasp, four fire-ball beads, finishing beads, wire, wire guards, and a strand of firepolish beads—instructors model foundational stringing techniques and imbue new crafters with a sense of symmetry and color combinations. Bracelet makers learn how to highlight feature beads and artfully select accent beads, then take an oath to use filler beads only for fighting crimes of bare-wristedness. To bring closure to both classes and adornments, the staff imparts advice on selecting clasps to make sure bracelets can't leave wrists or ankles without asking permission first.
Winner of the Phoenix New Times Best Exotic Nursery award, Tropica Mango nursery fosters a forest of tropical and subtropical fruit trees and oversees a wide inventory of plants suitable for desert climes. Take home a banana ($35–$45), pomegranate ($35), or avocado ($49) tree to provide shade and edibility in your back yard, or watch mango ($55) and guava ($49) trees flourish under the blazing heat of the Sonoran sun. If you have gardening inquiries, Tropica Mango can dole out advice on fertilizing, nurturing, raising fruit trees in a desert environment, and burying VHS tapes in an eco-friendly manner.
At Hot Ace Comics and Collectibles, friendly archivist Joe Clark keeps cape-chasers up to date on the exploits of their favorite characters with an ample stock of titles from well-known and independent comic labels. The tidily stocked emporium of serials celebrates the adventures of characters from the heroic annals of the Justice League, Superman, The Avengers, and the X-Men, to the gritty chronicles of The Walking Dead, along with family-friendly titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog. With each subscription, customers maintain membership in The Agency, which adorns them with a personal in-store delivery box plied with their new issues, as well as a newsletter heralding upcoming comics events and chances to win prizes. As clients join the ranks of Hot Ace's exclusive subscribers, they also receive security-clearance badges, a personalized secret-agent number, and a quirky sidekick.