Spacious Western Villas in Cave Creek
Amid cacti and Sonoran Desert terrain, Rancho Mañana Golf Club can sometimes seem like a mirage—a glorious, green oasis found by wanderers hoping to quench their thirst for golf. Named 1 of America's Top 50 Courses for Women by Golf Digest, it's surrounded by sweeping views of Skull Mesa, Elephant Butte, and Tonto National Forest, with Rancho Mañana Resort as its next-door neighbor. The resort's adobe-style buildings blend into the arid landscape, which is rife with mexican palm trees, desert shrubs, and olive trees. The property is a tranquil, secluded spot north of Phoenix.
Inside each Western-style two-bedroom villa, a balcony or patio looks over the lush golf course or the landscape. A beehive chiminea fireplace dominates the living room, and plush leather armchairs, framed Western artwork, and pine furnishings lend the room a warm touch. A hand-carved wood coffee table makes for an artistic spot to set your tea or bubbling science beaker on a cool night.
After settling in, hungry travelers head to the onsite Tonto Bar & Grill, highlighted in the Arizona Republic for its half-pound organic burger. Tonto chef Eric Flatt shows his passion for local, sustainable fare, using native Arizonan fruits and vegetables in dishes such as tortilla-crusted crab cakes with roasted-chili slaw. After dinner, guests can watch the sunset from the resort's outdoor pool or hot tub, lined with palms and trickling stone waterfalls.
Cave Creek, Arizona: Culinary Haven with Old-West Roots
A small Western city 15 miles north of Old Town Scottsdale, Cave Creek was founded as a gold-mining town in the mid-1870s. Though most of its original 19th-century structures have vanished, Cave Creek maintains its old-west ambiance in the tourist district, where Wild West–themed saloons, Southwest-jewelry stores, antique emporiums, and tumbleweed-blowing machines can easily entertain visitors for an entire day. Cave Creek is known for its culinary diversions—it boasts barbecue joints, cafés that roast their own coffee beans, and Italian and French fine-dining restaurants.