The landscape architects and gardeners at Kingston Nurseries have a passion for creating crisp outdoor designs. Randall Wieting––one of the nursery's principal horticulturists––boasts more than 30 years of experience in the designing and building of landscapes, and works to meld mass, scale, color, line, shape, contrast, rhythm, and texture into each unique outdoor space. The garden center provides helpful advice for home gardeners looking to stock up on greenery or inquire about the latest new plant species available for purchase. Still, staff members can't help but exercise their design muscles daily, so they also invite customers to bring in their home containers, then draft seasonal green displays to suit any budget or occasion.
Clasped between Saguaro National Park and the Ironwood Preserve, Double R Ranch appears as though it were plucked straight from the frames of an old Western movie. The windswept grounds stand as a gateway to the thousands of untouched acres that quietly stitch together the Northwest side of Tucson. The ranch gives visitors a chance to explore that land with horseback rides and birthday parties. It also offers weekend getaways and RV hookups to city-dwellers in need of an escape from the crowds and door-to-door minivan salesmen that come with urban living. Double R also accommodates guests who have their own horses with overnight stabling services.
As a child, Louis DiCrescenzo wandered between rows of vines, toddling along behind his grandfather as he walked through the family vineyard in the Italian countryside just south of Rome. Today, DiCrescenzo is following in those footsteps in a more figurative fashion. With four generations of winemakers behind him, DiCrescenzo and his peers craft wines in the European style at Altamont Vineyard & Winery. There, more than 20 types of grapes flourish on the vines before being transformed into a handful of carefully curated reds and whites. Visitors can take meandering tours of the picturesque winery and vineyard, cruising through the vines, heading to the wine room to see how it's all made, and sipping samples of the final result: adult juice boxes.
There’s a fire in the field and only one way out. Unfortunately, that way is twisted and riddled with dead-ends. But at the end, past 5 acres of carved paths and corn-themed puzzles, past thousands of stalks of corn swaying in the wind, past delirious visions of poker-playing scarecrows, is a fire hose. Such is the theme of Ellms Family Farm’s interactive Hero Rush Amazing Maize maze, an obstacle that carries on pastoral autumn traditions with roughly 90 minutes of music and fun. Yet this maze is just one way that the Ellms family celebrates the changing season—it also serves up crispy apple-cider donuts, lobs wee ones into the air on the farm-favorite Jumping Pillow, and treats guests to a number of other themed activities it has developed over the years.
The farm’s history stretches back to 1984, when Chip and Sally Ellms planted their first batch of Christmas trees and began inviting visitors to stop by and admire the easy wind and downy flakes of winter. As the family grew, the farm kept pace, expanding to cover more than 200 acres and incorporate activities that help guests celebrate autumn as well. Throughout the harvest season, guests flock to the fields to play conductor or coal shoveler on the MooMooChooChoo train or pick out fresh pumpkins in the patch.
Lynn Gorman Bakos harnesses more than 30 years of riding experience—including time studying under an Olympic rider—as she presides over Renegade Farm. Certified by the American Riding Instructors Association, Lynn trains many of her own horses to help to ensure that the animals are gentle in demeanor. During lessons, Lynn teaches students in either the outdoor riding ring or indoor lighted arena, beyond which lies more than 40 acres of lush, tree-lined pasture where riders have the chance to take a long enough running start to create the first Pegasus.