Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Litchfield Park

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AKA “West Side Mayberry”

RUBBER BARON: Litchfield Park was founded in 1926 by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company executive Paul W. Litchfield, who relocated from Ohio 10 years earlier to cultivate Egyptian long-staple cotton. Goodyear used the cotton to reinforce tires for World War I armed services vehicles. PARK AVENUES: The city’s signature pathways snake through well-manicured lawns, rows of palm and orange trees, scenic parks and sidewalk cafes. Most pathways are interconnected, letting you navigate the city by foot or bike without venturing onto a main street. FLY BOYS: Luke Air Force Base borders Litchfield Park to the north. Jets can be seen and heard flying overhead at Falcon Golf Club – named for the F-16 Fighting Falcon – on Camelback Road.

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Litchfield Park Historical Society
Volunteers from the Litchfield Park Historical Society run this petite museum, located in the fifth cottage built on Paul and Florence Litchfield’s sprawling Rancho La Loma estate in 1941. The museum displays artifacts from the city’s history, including Native American portraits and historical quilts, and sponsors frequent “Remember When...” events, in which descendants of early townspeople share memories of their relatives and life in Litchfield Park. Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday.   
13912 W. Camelback Rd., 623-535-4414, litchfieldparkhistoricalsociety.org

La Loma Mexican Grille
Order at the counter and seat yourselves at this casual, family-run haunt for locals – many of whom have been coming so long they’re on a first-name basis with the staff. The Valley brims with taco and enchilada joints, but how many boast bussers and cashiers who ask about your knee surgery or your kid’s college prospects? Try the signature pachanga, a mix of ground beef and onions stuffed into a burrito, or a green chili and chicken chimi with some of the best refried beans and moist rice in town. Closed on Mondays.  
4900 N. Litchfield Rd., 623-935-0981

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Ground Control
Sean and Tara Rassas opened their coffee shop/wine bar/gelateria/bistro in Goodyear in 2007 to preserve a bit of the continental sophistication they enjoyed in Europe, where Sean – an F-16 pilot in the Air Force Reserve – was previously stationed. In 2012, they relocated to Litchfield Park and turned Ground Control into a ’round-the-clock hot spot, from the early morning coffee rush to late-night live entertainment and rollicking beer- and wine-pairing dinners.  
4860 N. Litchfield Rd., 623-535-9066, groundxcontrol.com

The Wigwam
The undisputed hub of Litchfield Park is this historical 440-acre resort, which opened in 1918 as guest quarters for visiting Goodyear executives and has since blossomed to include 331 casitas and suites, three 18-hole golf courses, two restaurants, a farmers’ market and an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. Watch Chef Chris Knouse prepare Southwestern-inspired, farm-to-table dishes in the intimate dining room of Litchfield’s, or venture out onto the veranda for views of the resort and post-dinner cocktails by the fire pit.  
300 E. Wigwam Blvd., 623-935-3811, wigwamarizona.com


ITTY BITTY CITY:
In 1987, Litchfield Park was officially incorporated as a 3.3-square-mile city – the smallest in Maricopa County.

 

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