“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life,” naturalist John Muir wrote. Cooler temperatures, cleaner air and a respite from daily obligations in the conifer-dappled sister towns of Pine and Strawberry will help you discover your own new way of life, if only for a day. Note: Look up business hours ahead of time. Weekends are your best bet.
3 Places to Eat
1. Old County Inn
Chef Michael Dahling’s passion for quality local ingredients shines through every wood-fired pizza and scratch-made sauce at this Pine hot spot. Enjoy local brews and gorgeous views, too.
3502 N. Hwy. 87, Pine
2. Pinewood Tavern Neighborhood Kitchen + Bar
The menu is more diverse at Dahling’s second venture, where grilled elote and seared ahi tuna salad share space with a pastrami burger and grilled pub steak. Signature cocktails are fresh and thoughtful.
6112 W. Hardscrabble Mesa Rd., Pine
3. THAT Brewery
This environmentally conscious brewery utilizes recycled products and donates 5 percent of proceeds from its Arizona Trail Ale to the Arizona Trail Association. A lengthy food menu complements THAT’s 14 craft brews.
3270 N. Hwy. 87, Pine
3 Things to Do
1. Tonto Natural Bridge
It’s an adventurous – perhaps strenuous – hike to this beautiful natural rock formation, but the amazing views of the bridge and its waterfall from one of four trails are worth the short, rocky jaunt.
Highway 87, Pine
2. Pine Creek Canyon Lavender Farm
Pine’s high altitude and mountain spring water make for a primo plot for growing lavender. Pop by the farm store to buy lavender products for cooking, bathing or aromatherapy.
4223 Pine Creek Canyon Rd., Pine
3. Pine-Strawberry Museum
See artifacts, furniture and structures (including Arizona’s oldest schoolhouse), and get a taste of what life was like as a Mormon settler in the 1870s.
3886 Hwy. 87, Pine
The Strawberry Inn
If your day trip becomes an overnighter, this is a fun option. Porch swings, posh renovations and patriotic curb appeal make this hotel a timely win for romance, family fun and backpacking adventures alike.
5073 Hwy. 87, Strawberry