Autumn Comes Early

Craig OuthierSeptember 9, 2021
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Very likely, this issue of PHOENIX will be resting on your coffee table, or upright in a rack at your favorite supermarket, as the Valley crosses into autumn.

And just as likely, it will feel nothing like autumn outside. The average high daily temperature in Phoenix on September 22, where the fall equinox falls this year, is right around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Sure, that’s nicer than the 107-degree average high temperature on July 5 – statistically the hottest day of the year in Greater Phoenix – but it ain’t cartwheeling-around-outside weather, by any means.

Yeah, yeah, I know: There’s nothing more tiresome than a Phoenician grousing about Phoenix heat. Which is why I’m done grousing, and ready to celebrate the remarkable, restorative Arizona destinations profiled in our 8 Perfect Places cover story. My mandate to our team of freelance travel writers: Find me some transcendent travel spots in Arizona – a few tailored to the still-warm late summer, and a few to the cooler, leaf-chasing idyll of mid-fall, so we might tactically serve our readers’ varied appetites with this September/October double issue.

So, in addition to the spectacular, autumn-specific aspen refuge in the Coconinos pictured on the cover, we also included some wicked-refreshing water retreats up north, best visited in September, the month when our collective sanity begins to fray a bit under the triple-digit onslaught. (Don’t believe it? Check out writer Jimmy Magahern’s classic June 2016 Summertimes Blues investigative feature about seasonal affective disorder in Phoenix. September is our second-most murderous month of the year.)

Sorry, musn’t grouse! Back to celebrating: Pegged to our second Best Agents/Top Producers list, writer Keridwen Cornelius’ splashy profile of hot (in a good way) Valley neighborhoods (page 160) is bound to pique your interest; as is art director Mirelle Inglefield’s photo essay about the year-long journal of an Arizona wine vintage (page 146); and Stephen Lemons’ snarky Halloween takedown of Arizona’s 10 scariest people (page 154).

photo by Diana Elizabeth
photo by Diana Elizabeth

“My mandate to our team of freelance travel writers: Find me some transcendent travel spots in Arizona – a few tailored to the still-warm late summer, and a few to the cooler, leaf-chasing idyll of mid-fall.”

“Halloween?” you might be thinking. Yes, it’s just over the horizon. Along with those golden leaves on the cover.

For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.