Written by Niki D'Andrea Category: Lifestyle Issue: April 2012
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The founders conceived the town, which incorporated in 1984, as an upscale residential hub with a laid-back Old West vibe.

TALK ON THE STREETS: Carefree’s lackadaisical luxury is reflected in street names like Easy Street, Tranquil Trail, Lazy Lane, and Ho and Hum roads.

HOME STYLE: Architectural styles incorporate the natural desert landscape, and run the gamut from ranch and condos to customs and modular designs.

DICK WAS HERE: Actor Dick Van Dyke lived and worked in Carefree. The Dick Van Dyke Show was filmed there in the early 1970s at the now-defunct Southwestern Studios.


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Clockwise from top left:

English Rose Tea Room
From its floral print decor and English Bone China to customers’ quirky hats and pastel petit fours, the English Rose offers perhaps the Valley’s only authentic “English afternoon tea.” The menu brims with tea, including special blends such as “Paris,” an aromatic mix of vanilla, caramel and bergamot oil. The food befits any Briton or anglophile, offering finger sandwiches, bread pudding and scones. 201 E. Easy St., 480-488-4812,

Carefree Desert Gardens
These stunning gardens, opened to the public in November 2011, proliferate across four acres and feature hundreds of plants, including rare varieties like the boojum tree (a spiny-looking topiary that can reach 65 feet) and crested saguaro. On select Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., experts give seminars on a plethora of plant topics. Suggested donation: $5. 101 E. Easy St., 480-488-3686,

Carefree Sundial
Erected in the Sundial Circle Plaza on Easy Street in 1959, this towering structure dates back to the birth of Carefree and is the third largest sundial in the Western Hemisphere. Architect Joe Wong and solar engineer John I. Yellott designed the sundial, the gnomon of which stands 35 feet high and extends 72 feet over the plaza, making it visible from almost anywhere along Easy Street.

Giordano’s Trattoria Romana
This mom-and-pop operation, helmed by Anthony Giordano, serves traditional Italian fare – most notably delectable eggplant parmesan – but the specialties (including veal or chicken piccata, marsala, and saltimbocca) are tasty, too. The dessert menu includes Berto’s Raspberry Sorbeto, made with 100 percent natural ingredients. 7275 E. Easy St., 480-595-0233,