Editor’s Note: Your Highness

Craig OuthierMay 1, 2023
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Over the years and decades at PHOENIX, we’ve done multiple variations of the “stay cool” or “beat the heat” issue.  

In fact, one of these summer heat-avoidance guides was the very first thing I ever wrote for the magazine, way back in 2011, as a plucky freelancer. Can I do something obnoxious and quote my own copy? “Dungeons get a bad rap,” I wrote while extolling the crypt-like virtues of Richardson Browne’s Rokerij basement bar in Phoenix. “We associate them with shackles and iron maidens and medieval sadism, conveniently forgetting one important fact: Dungeons are fantastically well-insulated.” 

I can’t believe I didn’t win a Pulitzer, either. But the more salient takeaway is that coping with our famously oppressive summer heat is a big and enduring part of our collective cultural identity in Greater Phoenix, much as gridlock traffic serves as a weird bonding mechanism for Angelenos, or alligator attacks and missing limbs afford Floridians a certain solidarity.

Photo by Mirelle Inglefield
Photo by Mirelle Inglefield

“As you’ve probably guessed, this High-Country Arizona issue you’re holding is basically a ‘stay cool’ guide, presented in the ever-appealing context of in-state Arizona travel.”

As you’ve probably guessed, this High-Country Arizona issue you’re holding is basically a “stay cool” guide, presented in the ever-appealing context of in-state Arizona travel. Fanning out across the state, a team of PHOENIX editors and writers visited 11 different high-country vacation gems – all above 3,000 feet! – to experience the kind of heat-beating escapes you’ll be craving this summer. From fly fishing in Eagar to wine-tasting in Elgin, find it all starting on page 116.

And for those weekends and week-offs in which you choose to stay in town, we’ve also revived our annual Staycation Guide (page 152), capturing all the best deals and amenity programs at high-end Valley resorts this summer, neatly catalogued by geography, from Downtown to Cave Creek.

One other recurring theme you’ll notice in the May/June issue of PHOENIX: real estate and neighborhoods. In addition our annual Top Producers and Top Agents lists of the Valley’s most effectual home-sellers, we have two land-centric feature stories you’ll want to read: Robrt Pela’s humorously rendered profile of the long-stigmatized Sunnyslope district (page 164), and Jimmy Magahern’s rigorous undressing of the Rio Verde water controversy (page 148), which – true to Arizona tradition – has drawn a lot of misdirected flack from national media.

Now the PHOENIX team is off to tackle our next big summer project: Best of the Valley and its associated party in August. I’m thinking Best Dungeon might be a good category this year. But I’m not chained to the idea.

Craig Outhier


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.