Though glimpsed by many people for the first time on an episode of The Amazing Race, the desert acres traversed by Fort McDowell Adventures are steeped in millennia of Yavapai Indian history. Guides lead visitors across the Arizonan foothills on a range of outdoorsy and sometimes anachronistic adventures, such as cattle drives and Segway tours through the Sonoran desert, kayaking adventures on the Verde River, and nature walks with Yavapai Indians. These excursions often end in nighttime wiener roasts, s'mores, and cocktails, a break from the frontier tradition of telling campfire sci-fi stories.
Activities at Fort McDowell Adventures’s four venues further immerse guests in the American Western experience. They gather for Dutch oven–style cowboy cookouts and depart for wilderness excursions from The Stables. At La Puesta del Sol, guests pass through a Spanish mission entrance into a dining hall, saloon, stage, and dance floor, and at Rosa's Ranch, they gather under the stars and around cookout fire pits nestled between rustic wooden ranch buildings. Groups dine at The Boulder House, named on the National Registry of Historic Places, whose rock walls bear evidence of petroglyphs, Native American occupation, and ancient spelunking expeditions.
Blessed with picturesque desert landscapes and year-round warmth, Scottsdale and its surroundings have long drawn an elite crowd of fans. In the winter of 1937, renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright succumbed to the region's charms, beginning construction on a Scottsdale winter home and architecture campus he dubbed Taliesin West. For the next 22 winters—up until Wright's death—the architect and his apprentices migrated to the Arizona compound, built in Wright's famed organic architectural manner using stones quarried from the site. Guided tours lead visitors traipsing over the grounds, instilling an appreciation how Wright's design resembles the natural surroundings, with sloped roofs mirroring the nearby McDowell Mountains and a southwestern color palette of oranges, reds, and browns.For an up-close interaction with the source of Wright's inspiration, McDowell Sonoran Preserve Trails in the McDowell Mountains wind through more than 60 miles of cactus-freckled slopes with routes rated from easy to very difficult. The Gateway Loop Trail sends amblers down a gravel path in a 3.6-mile loop, past towering cacti and a near-halfway marker at Gateway Saddle, a scenic vista perched 2,375 feet above sea level. The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix offers a tamer, shadier glimpse of desert flora and fauna, with themed trails and 50,000 plants including desert marigolds and fairy dusters. Squawks and squeaks from swooping birds punctuate the garden's quiet hum, and intrepid black-tailed jackrabbits occasionally dart across the path. Less than a mile from the resort, golfers tee off on the two verdant courses comprising We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, whose name translates to "Four Peaks" in the Yavapai language. Designed by Scott Miller, the Cholla course is the older of the two courses, stretching 7,225 yards. Golfweek lauded the newer Saguaro Course as the Number One Public Access Course in Arizona in 2010. Both courses sprawl across a landscape forever protected from residential and commercial development, ensuring listless duffers can always console themselves with views of the striking desert scenery and mountains beyond.
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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.
Larry Rubino focuses 25 years of professional experience through his camera lense as he snaps planned and candid portraits that reveal each subject's uniqueness. During 60-minute photo shoots, up to 10 models can strike poses together at a memorable location of choice, such as the site of a family reunion or the spontaneous combustion of an uncle. Larry then deftly edits each snapshot before hosting perfected portraits on a private online gallery, and clients recieve three larger prints to decorate blank walls or mantels and eight wallet-size prints to adorn pocket billfolds. Larry Rubino has captured the likeness of many celebrities throughout his nine-year tenure at New York's Friar Club, as well as high-profile commercial superstars such as Johnson & Johnson, BMW, and Duff Beer.
There's nothing humble about Humble Pie's pizza crust: Pulled from wood-fired ovens with a light, bubbly texture that crisps at lightly charred edges, it cracks to release a subtle aroma of smoke and yeast. For owner Tom Kaufman, the recipe demanded two months of tinkering and one month of building an underground vault to keep it from prying eyes. Customers tend to think the time was worth it as they bite into delicate slices topped with careful combinations of veggies, meats and cheeses, often locally sourced.
The potato-and-roasted-garlic pizza, for example, happily marries the fragrances of gorgonzola and rosemary. Retaining a botanical touch even on a meat-lover's pie, the Schreiners Sicilian Sausage sprinkles homemade mozzarella with "sprigs of roasted fennel [that] add another aromatic dimension," according to Phoenix New Times.
While the pizza may push some of the other menu items out of the limelight, fresh salads, grilled sandwiches, and traditional and twisted pastas earnestly pine for appetites' affections. The Our Way" Mac & Cheese adds aged white cheddar, italian bacon, and bread crumbs, distinguishing itself from its boxed brethren while forming an equally fun medium for kids' art projects, while wine, beer, and seasonal cocktails pair well with plates and pies alike.