Cottonwood

A big deal small town Story and photos by Niki D’Andrea   Known as “The Heart of the Verde Valley,” Cottonwood packs a lot of culture into a so-called small town (pop. 12,000). Art galleries, antique shops, book stores, wine tasting rooms and restaurants line Main Street (aka the commercial historic district), and parks populate the surrounding Verde Valley, from state parks to out-of-this-world animal ...

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Bliss Out!

Find paradise in the Pacific Northwest By Alison Bailin Batz   Earlier this year, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) made international news by launching Bliss, the largest ship ever to cruise through Alaska. Embarking and disembarking from Seattle — with a bevy of options to enjoy beforehand in the Emerald City and/or right after sailing — the NCL Bliss visits three must-see Alaskan cities as well as British ...

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The “Suitest” Thing

Rooms with a view...and so much more. It's no secret that Arizona boasts some of the most luxurious resorts in the world. Here's the insider's guide to some of the most jaw-dropping, sweetest suites at our favorites: JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa This nearly 2,300-square-foot presidential suite offers some of the most stunning views-and the most luxurious balcony-in the Valley, not to mention oc ...

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Fall Into Flagstaff

A foodie, foliage, and fun lover's paradise.    By Alison Bailin Batz Photos courtesy Flagstaff Convention and Visitor's Bureau It will be well into October before the Valley has seen the last of its 100-degree days for the year. For those yearning for a true fall, this can be the most frustrating time of the year. But it need not be. Less than two hours north of the Valley is Flagstaff, and while ofte ...

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Wander Around Willcox

Wander Around Willcox Summer is for sipping down south. By Alison Bailin Batz Less than two years ago, Willcox Wine Country, a consortium of Arizona Farm Wineries located in southeastern Arizona, was federally recognized as a unique and distinctive wine-growing region in the United States. The Willcox area leads the industry’s grape production by growing nearly three fourths of the state’s wine grapes, and ...

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For an authentic western experience, head to Tucson’s Tanque Verde Ranch

Old West Charm For an authentic western experience, head to Tucson’s Tanque Verde Ranch. By Sondra Barr Looking for the West’s most authentic western experience. Hint, you’re not going to find it in Scottsdale or Cave Creek. If it’s a truly immersive cowboy adventure you’re seeking, grab your boots, don a Stetson, and head to Tucson’s Tanque Verde Ranch, one of America’s old-time cattle and guest ranches. E ...

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Mesmerizing Moments to be had in Mt. Hood Territory

Visit “The Hood”  Mesmerizing Moments to be had in Mt. Hood Territory. By Alison Bailin Batz This year marks the 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail. We mean the actual trail that helped populate the western half of the country, not the iconic computer game of the same name that helped every child of the 1980s learn how to use technology. Though at times treacherous, the reward for making it to the end of ...

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Mendocino: Northern California’s crown jewel has a lot to offer

Make it to Mendocino  Northern California’s crown jewel has a lot to offer. By Alison Bailin Batz Just two hours north of San Francisco, Mendocino County needs to be on your bucket list. The county’s 90 miles not only includes some of the most gorgeous coastline in the world, but more than 90 wineries and 24 state/national parklands. It’s the perfect marriage of wine, waves, and wilderness. Stay The Madrone ...

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What a Catch! A Scottsdale couple runs a lodge…in Kenai, Alaska

What a Catch!  A Scottsdale couple runs a lodge…in Kenai, Alaska By Michelle Talsma Everson To say that local businessman and entrepreneur Terry Johnson has lived an adventurous life would be an understatement. Alongside his wife Angelyn and family, Johnson spends part of his year in the North Valley and part in Kenai, Alaska, where he owns and operates the award-winning Salmon Catcher Lodge. “I opened the ...

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Inspired by history, steeped in luxury, what’s old is new again at two reimagined resorts

Modern Luxury  Inspired by history, steeped in luxury, what’s old is new again at two reimagined resorts. By Becky Antioco With approximately 450 hotels and resorts in the greater Phoenix area, totaling more than 62,000 available rooms, there’s no shortage of places to stay for visitors and stay-cationers alike, no matter your style or budget. Many have storied histories, playing host to presidents and cele ...

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A Grape Winter Escape: Taste around Temecula in style

A Grape Winter Escape  Taste around Temecula in style. By Alison Bailin Batz Though technically winter, Temecula Valley Wine Country, which is less than an hour from San Diego Airport or a quick five-hour drive from the Valley, will spring to life in January. “Every year, we put our growth––not to mention our grapes––on display during grand Temecula Valley Barrel Tasting Weekend,” says Cori DeHore of the Te ...

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Hub City: Lubbock, Texas, delights with unexpected charm

Hub City The unexpected charm of Lubbock, Texas, delights writer Kristin Caliendo. In the back of a charming wine and gift shop in Lubbock, Texas, Jimmy and Christi Henderson are opening a bottle of 2015 Trilogy Cellars Reserve Merlot at The Wine Nest, a premier boutique wine and gift shop in the heart of what’s frequently referred to as Hub City. Perhaps West Texas is not considered by most as wine country ...

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Sierra Vista delights with unexpected sights

Hidden Gem One of Arizona’s best-kept tourism secrets, Sierra Vista delights with unexpected sights. By Alison Bailin Batz   Just three hours southeast of the Valley is Sierra Vista. To most, the area is known as a global leader in military intelligence as well as a bustling hub for cyber security research, workforce development, testing, and certification. And it’s no wonder as it’s home to Fort Huach ...

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Rich in art, artsy in attitude, and rich in culinary tradition, Santa Fe offers a lot to savor

The City Different  Rich in art, artsy in attitude, and rich in culinary tradition, Santa Fe offers a lot to savor. By Alison Bailin Batz     Given its unique historical combination of Native American, Spanish, and Anglo cultures––and the resulting influence of each of them in the art, food, architecture, and entertainment of the region––Santa Fe is often called The City Different. And while crowd ...

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Beyond basic tasting and touring, Sonoma County offers the ultimate Wine Country destination

Sensational Sonoma  Beyond basic tasting and touring, Sonoma County offers the ultimate Wine Country destination. By Alison Bailin Batz Though Napa often gets the acclaim, the true birthplace of California wine is actually its gorgeous neighbor, Sonoma, where the first winemaking grapes were planted by Russian colonists in 1812, and then developed and truly farmed by the Franciscan mission fathers in the 18 ...

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