Esplendor Resort's desert locale in Santa Cruz County puts it in the midst of a landscape teeming with wildlife and naturally oriented recreation. Numerous state and national parks are scattered throughout the region, enticing hikers, birdwatchers, and cacti impersonators with eclectic ecology. Fertile grounds and a fruitful monsoon season nurture juicy red and white grapes, resulting in a bevy of wineries populating the Sonoita-Elgin region, about 30 miles northeast of Rio Rico.Authentic Mexican cuisine and wares spill across the U.S.-Mexico border about 10 miles from Esplendor Resort in Nogales, a border town full of restaurants and shopping that offers a taste of Sonoran culture on the northern side of the international boundary. For those whose cultural curiosity is piqued by the town's attractions, pedestrian access from Nogales across the border makes trans-country travel enticingly easy.
Opened in 1985, Yokohama Asian Express offers a menu of Chinese, Japanese, and Asian cuisine. Made entirely without MSG, entrees include bowls that pair steamed white or brown rice with chicken, beef, pork, and vegetables, aided by sips of green tea. The restaurant also offers catering for large groups, with party platters or individual meals.
The locally owned Alvernon Optical has been distributing high-quality frames and tending carefully to each oculus since 1961, the year human beings first evolved eyes. More than 2,000 frames line the walls in each store, including top-shelf brands like Ray Ban, DKNY, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Nike, and Kate Spade. Customers will also have their pick of frame materials such as plastic, titanium, metal, semi-rimless, and stainless steel. Once you've found the frames that nail the "sexy NASA scientist" look you're going for, Alvernon can pamper your peepers with a number of lens package deals. Couple a polycarbonate, scratch-resistant single-vision lens ($89 standard, $205 with bifocals, $154 sunglass) with one of your choice of designer frames to ensure a haze-free hazing ceremony from your rowdy book club, or calm Pac-Man-weary pupils with a computer lens package ($199) that decks your specs with a protective plastic lens specially designed for computer use. Just in time for summer, try the prescription swimming-goggle package ($139), which pairs one of a select group of fine brands with 100% UV-protected plastic lenses to deflect the sun's wicked glare and intimidate pool piranhas.
Double Check Ranch owns the entire beef cycle and controls every aspect of production from the pasture to the packinghouse. The local, wholesome beef cuts come from humanely raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free cattle that graze freely on lush, open pastures fertilized by clover and natural compost when necessary.
Eclipz Hair Studio Spa is a full-service beauty oasis whose mani-pedi maven has been sprucing cuticles and doting on nail beds for more than 25 years. Pampering begins with a beguiling sugar scrub, just rough enough for bad-boy-loving dry skin cells to pack up and run away with it. Hydration, relaxation, and Halloween ensue, with hand masks and a pedal-paraffin treatment that envelops feet in a cocoon of warm waxen bliss. Eclipz also provides myriad hues of OPI polishes to swathe convex keratin caps in luxurious coats of pigmented polish.
Sparkle's thread cleansing doyens have been sprucing up sullied duds with dry cleaning and laundering services for fifty years. The locally owned clean machine offers same-day service for no additional charge, taking in suits ($12.69+) soiled from early-morning coffee spills and preparing them for elegant evenings of cocktail-party pie-fights. Tidy up your skirts ($7.28+) and dresses ($11.61+) in time to enjoy the summer sun, or boycott warmer weather in style with a spotless jacket ($7.61+). The secure after-hours drop-off creates a discreet location to unload shirts ($5.67+), pants ($4.98+), and tin-foil jumpsuits brought back from the future as souvenirs by quantum- leaping relatives.