Almost smack dab in the middle of Arizona lies Camp Verde, an outdoors enthusiast's dream situated on the idyllic banks of the Verde River, whose lush greenery lives up to its verdant moniker. The town has a handy app (visitcampverde.com) to help visitors navigate local attractions, but these three newish ones are top on our radar.
Moscato Ristorante Italiano
Executive chef Salvatore Moscato and sous chef Jenny Robbins' Italian trattoria has become the destination for fine dining in Camp Verde since it opened in 2015. Regulars from throughout the Verde Valley indulge in traditional Italian dishes like costatella (braised short ribs in red wine sauce over polenta), risotto al burro (creamy Arborio rice with butter and Parmesan) and linguine with pesto. All of the pasta is made from scratch, and the wine list is stellar.
396 S. Main St., 928-567-7417, moscatoitalian.com
Clear Creek Winery
Ignacio and Sue Mesa have been harvesting grapes and making wine in Camp Verde for 10 years under their Rio Claro label. In 2016, they finally opened their much-anticipated, Spanish Mission-style tasting room. The Mesas use 100 percent estate-grown grapes and Ignacio personally makes each bottle of Rhône, Bordeaux and Spanish varietals, along with a selection of Ports.
4053 E. Hwy. 260, 602-859-7418, clearcreekwineryaz.com
Geology freaks from around the world migrate to the Verde Valley Archaeology Center, which serves as an official tour vendor of the National Parks Service and offers tours of Tuzigoot National Monument, Montezuma Castle National Monument and Montezuma Well. The center was founded in 2010 but recently expanded its tour menu to include close-up and informative tours of lesser-known Verde Valley archaeological sites.
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