Tag Archives: Southern Arizona

Hidden treasures

Folks can enjoy all sorts of art adventures south of the Gila River, many of them documented in Lili DeBarbieri’s “A Guide to Southern Arizona’s Historic Farms & Ranches” recently published by The History Press. It’s a fascinating mix of farming and ranching with history and culture.

DeBarbieri’s book profiles nearly two dozen “rustic Southwest retreats,” highlighting ties with agriculture, art, wildlife and more. Seems you can enjoy a nature museum at the Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, a sculpture path at the Triangle 2 Ranch Bed and Breakfast in Oracle, and exhibits of visual art at Rancho Linda Vista (also in Oracle). None of these hidden treasures had crossed my path before reading DeBarbieri’s book.

Several of the places DeBarbieri profiles have seen stagecoach, train and car traffic. One was once inhabited by Apache Indians, and another was once home to Pima Indians. One is considered the site where Geronimo was born. And another once hosted an intriguing visitor in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Seems the Simpson Hotel in Duncan even has ties to the case of the Great Orphan Abduction, which went all the way to the Supreme Court.

Many have welcomed famous guests through the years. DeBarbieri notes that John Wayne was a guest at the Hacienda Corona de Guevavi in Nogales. Guests of the 3C Ranch in Oracle included Mae West and Richard Nixon, and guests of the Kenyon Ranch in Tumacacori included Cary Grant and Ricky Nelson. President John Kennedy, Steve McQueen and Walt Disney all stayed at the Triangle T Historic Ranch in Dragoon.

Even fans of film, modern art and musical theater will find fascinating tidbits in DeBarbieri’s book, which explores the Oracle ranch where Andy Warhol filmed the Western movie spoof “Lonesome Cowboy” in 1968, the Amado farm boasting corn fields featured in the opening scene of the movie “Oklahoma” and the Tucson ranch where movies starring Ronald Reagan, George Clooney and others were filmed.

DeBarbieri also reveals getaways of famous folk like Natalie Wood, Paul Newman and Gene Kelly — and shares details about a ranch near Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s childhood home. She’s even uncovered tales featuring folks from Shirley Temple Black to Johnny Depp, making the book a compelling read for those who follow celebrity adventures. Clearly Southern Arizona trumps the Jersey Shore.

Folks who follow a different sort of wildlife will enjoy reading about all the desert critters spotted around Southern Arizona farms and ranches. Seems guests of the Triangle L. Ranch Bed and Breakfast in Oracle sometimes spot hawks, ravens, rabbits, roadrunners, quail, chipmunks and songbirds by day — plus owls, javelina, bobcats and coyotes after nightfall.

Guests at the McKenzie Inn Bed and Breakfast in Eloy sometimes spy buzzard, burrowing owls, coyotes, bats and rabbits. DeBarbieri’s book also recounts the sighting of a rare leopard frog by a guest at Across the Creek at Aravaipa Farms in Winkelman, and notes that the best Arizona place to view sandhill cranes is just two miles from Sojourner’s Homestead Bed and Breakfast in McNeal. Horseback riding is available at many of the farms and ranches she profiles, and one is set up for “BYOH” riders.

Folks can learn plenty of new skills while enjoying agritourism in Southern Arizona. Across the Creek at Aravaipa Farms in Winkelman offers jam-making classes, Simpson Hotel in Duncan has workshops in canning and drying garden produce, and Amuniyalde los Zopilotes in Patgonia will send you home with new gardening techniques. Just reading DeBarbieri’s book will introduce you to new recipes for blueberry pie, minted melon soup, green chili pie, desert Sonoran hummus and other ranch or farm specialties.

Some farms and ranches offer volunteer opportunities, and many help visitors up their knowledge and appreciation of organic foods. Some have special activities for children, and evening meals that make a perfect setting for family members to talk about each day’s adventures. While some have a more social feel, with plentiful opportunities for guests to meet and mingle, others feature more solitary fare. So ask about such things before you decide which places to explore.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about “A Guide to Southern Arizona’s Historic Farms & Ranches” by Lili DeBarbieri

Coming up: Madison meets Malibu

Odds & ends

I must have had a blast in preschool. Sorting shapes. Finding matching colors. Hunting different letters. Searching for related numbers.

My favorite posts are those that manage to weave seemingly disparate parts into a cohesive whole. When I got word of this weekend’s opening of “Little Shop of Horrors,” I imagined chasing down all sorts of monster shows or working the plant angle somehow.

But sometimes the piles of papers resist fastidious filing. So I have to live with throwing all sorts of goodies into a single post without much rhyme or reason.

I’m starting to wonder whether there’s a “Monopoly: Midlife Edition” of the classic board game. If so, I figure I’m due $200 for “passing go” by “letting go” and sharing news of nearing events “odds & ends” style…

Chandler-Gilbert Community College presents “Little Shop of Horrors” — which features book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken.

If you’ve ever swayed to “Under the Sea” from the movie “The Little Mermaid” or felt sentimental listening to “Beauty and the Beast” from the film of the same name, you’ve enjoyed some of their other collaborations.

“Little Shop” has more mature themes — like personal boundaries and blood-sucking plants — but it’s every bit as fun. The CGCC production runs March 4-11 at the Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center in Chandler.

I suppose I could have stretched the plant theme a bit with an “everything’s coming up roses” transition to this next event — a celebration of “Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children” taking place Sat, March 5, in Scottsdale.

The event honors founders Rosie and the late Woody Schurz. Others to be recognized include Alice Tatum (community honoree) and Judy Conrad (faculty honoree).

This party has plenty of appeal. Ticket prices are reasonable in fundraiser world — just $75 each. Featured entertainment includes jazz artist Tatum performing with Rosie House students. It’s happening at the Gebert Contemporary Art Gallery. And there’s a silent auction (just in time for teacher gift shopping).

Rosie’s House offers more than 300 group and private music lessons each week — and hopes funds raise from this celebration will “support the goal of teaching 10,000 music lessons in a single year.”

The Division of Fine & Performing Arts at Paradise Valley Community College is also raising funds for music education this weekend — with an event titled “Stompin’ at the Savoy: A Tribute to Swing.”

The fundraiser —  which features a silent auction, musical performance and video clips documenting the Savoy Theatre’s role in the swing jazz movement — takes place March 5 & 6 at the PVCC Center for the Performing Arts.

The goal of this shindig is to “raise $15,000 to provide full-tuition waivers for five students” — one each in creative writing, dance, music, theatre and visual art. Adults tickets are $20 — but senior, staff and student tickets are less.

It just so happens that these shows and events fall at times that allow the most dedicated among you to attend all three in a single weekend.

It’s a quick and fun fix for those of you struggling with a high G.Q. (guilt quotient) because you support youth arts in theory but rarely find yourself out there in the audience.

— Lynn

Note: Remember too that plenty of theater productions open this weekend — including Greasepaint Youtheatre’s “Disney’s Jungle Book” and Actors Theatre’s “Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?Click here for a comprehensive calendar of family-friendly events from Raising Arizona Kids magazine. Click here if community college news is of special interest.

Coming up: Art meets democracy, ASU Gammage unveils new season, Tucson meets Yonkers, More community college offerings

Update: I just learned of another weekend event — the 8th annual “Jewish-Muslim PeaceWalk” taking place Sun, March 6, in Tucson. Learn more at www.peacewalktucson.org.