things to do
best arizona vacations – 33 summer getaways
Things To Do
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Things To Do
Best Arizona Vacations – 33 Summer Getaways
June, 2011, Page 106
116 Main St., Duncan
Once a buzzing little copper burg by the New Mexico border, Duncan is now a quiet, un-rediscovered farming hamlet on the sunset-strollable Gila River. The Simpson Hotel opened here in 1914 and fell into disrepair until 2005, when owner Deborah Mendelsohn did a down-to-the-studs renovation, updating the B&B with chic accents, modern comforts (energy-efficient A/C and Wi-Fi) and a back-to-basics green sensibility.
Guests sleep in antique beds cocooned by the sun-fresh aroma of line-dried sheets and munch on a breakfast of free-range eggs, seasonal produce from the on-site garden and toast drizzled with local desert flower honey. No worries if your eyes are bigger than your stomach – as part of Mendelsohn’s commitment to keeping things natural and organic, all table scraps, coffee grounds and tea leaves go into the hotel’s compost heap (after giddy little goats Thelma and Pepper pick away at the leftovers), which helps fertilize the herb and vegetable garden for the following year.
The in-town itinerary is refreshingly low-key: Chat up friendly locals in old-style taverns and shop for cowboy-crafted leather goods at Big River Saddle Shop. More ambitious travelers can cruise the Salsa Trail, float down the Gila River or bump along the scenic Black Hills Back Country Byway.
: Regular rates range from $80 to $105 and include full breakfast. Check the hotel’s website for updates on interesting activities, such as a summer workshop on canning and drying garden produce.
Photo by Nicole Roegner
La Posada Hotel
303 E. Second St., Winslow
In the 1930s and ’40s, stars such as Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne and Shirley Temple escaped the limelight by whisking along the Santa Fe Railway to Winslow, where they stepped off the train and into the finest hotel in the Southwest: La Posada.
The brainchild of railroad restaurateur/hotelier Fred Harvey and architect Mary Colter (of Bright Angel Lodge and Phantom Ranch fame), the hotel evokes a historic hacienda: Southwestern furniture, hand-painted glass windows, tin chandeliers, vintage photos and American Indian handicrafts.
Today, owners Allan Affeldt and Tina Mion have renovated the hotel, adding Mion’s Frida Kahlo-esque paintings to the eclectic mix (a 3,000-square-foot gallery dedicated to her art debuted on the second floor in April).
But the hotel’s deeply steeped nostalgia still makes you half expect to see Clark Gable saunter out of the Amtrak station and into the hotel’s Turquoise Restaurant for a tipple. Speaking of which, chef John Sharpe’s spectacular Southwestern specialties – cassoulet of local churro lamb or prickly pear cornbread pudding – are worth the trip alone.
If you can tear yourself away from the hotel, crank up The Eagles on your iPod as you visit Standin’ on the Corner Park, just down the street, and switch to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” for the short drive to spacey Meteor Crater.
: Year-round rates start at $109 for a standard room, $129 for a standard with balcony or whirlpool, and $149-$169 for deluxe rooms.
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