Spend some of your vacation time taking in the sights right here in the state, and enjoy deals at many attractions and resorts.
You may not know the name Rudi Gernreich, but if you lived through the 1960s, chances are you witnessed the stir he created in the fashion industry. Instrumental in popularizing pantsuits for women, developing thong underwear, bringing drama to dresses, and creating a unisex look that seems straight out of the original Star Trek, he was quite a pioneer. The Phoenix Art Museum has assembled the exhibition Rudi Gernreich: Fearless Fashion, cleverly intertwining examples of some of his most notable designs with video and audio interviews, footage of a runway show of his work, and items such as original sketches. A trip back through time, the exhibition will surprise you at how far we’ve come since the days when the image of women in pantsuits was considered shocking. You’ll also marvel at how fresh some of his works — like the dress with spring closures — still is. The exhibit runs through Sept. 26 in the Steele Gallery.
The Town Too Tough to Die is famous for the rough customers who once upon a time called it home. At the Gunfighter Hall of Fame, you can see items belonging to, or associated with, notorious outlaws such as Johnny Ringo and John Wesley Hardin, along with a treasure trove of memorabilia associated with Western movies, such as Tombstone with Kurt Russell, and TV series like Have Gun Will Travel, with Richard Boone. Displays of Uberti/ Cimarron replicas of famous side arms along with actual period pieces drive home the point that the Old West could be a very dangerous place. Speaking of which, the nearby Birdcage Theater positively resonates with tales of lawmen, desperados and dark deeds. An estimated 26 people met their untimely end within its confines. It’s easy to imagine that the spirits of some of the folks who crossed its threshold may have decided to stay … permanently. If you’ve ever wanted to experience how creepy the old theater — which opened in 1881 — can be after dark, there are ghost tours every night at 6:15 and 8 pm.
About a four-hour drive northwest of Tucson lies Prescott, a small town oasis that is renown for everything from being a major filming site for Billy Jack (more about that in a future issue); to headquartering the Phippen Museum; to generating a burgeoning foodie vibe. A what? Indeed, several recently opened dining establishments, together with a growing craft brewery scene, have secured this town a place on people’s palates.
One of the hot spots is La Planchada, a gourmet taqueria where you can enjoy a craft cocktail, share some mini green chile cornbred muffins, and then bite into a carnitas taco, or a vegetarian potato/black bean/ poblano variation. Finish off your visit with fresh churros and you’ll be ready to explore the town.
Or, you can drift over to The County Seat on West Gurley Street, on the top floor of the Burmister Building. Across the street is the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza, ensuring that you can get a bite to eat, and then immediately stroll over to the action. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, with offerings ranging from sweet potato and zucchini hash, to a pork loin and apple sandwich, to a vegetarian white bean cassoulet.
Arizona’s White Mountains have a reputation as a great place to unwind — long strolls, boating, mountain biking … and golfing! At 8,500 feet above sea level, Alpine Country Club is not the sort of desert course that Tucsonans are used to playing. The highest elevation golf course in the Grand Canyon State, “the Alps” offers an executive-style, nine-hole course that won’t take you all day to play, so you’ll have plenty of time left for other activities. Inexpensive and laidback, this is a fun course for casual players.
Pinetop Lakes Golf & Country Club also is open to the public, and offers an 18-hole executive-style course that’s more challenging than it seems. Don’t let the lure of the pines distract you, or you’ll end up in a lake!
Silver Creek Golf Club is another option that’s open to the public, with 18 holes of championship golf designed by Gary Panks (who has created courses all over the world, including many throughout Arizona).
You don’t necessarily think of going to Safford to see the stars — or, at least, the instruments we use to observe them — but it’s a unique and fascinating option. Mount Graham, the highest point in the Pinaleño Mountains, is the site for an international observatory that’s a division of Steward Observatory, well known to UArizona alumni.
Containing the Heinrich Hertz Submillimeter Telescope, Large Binocular Telescope, and the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, the Mount Graham International Observatory is a major research facility.
Whether you are an amateur astronomer, a science and tech whiz, or just like having rare experiences, thanks to Eastern Arizona College you can enjoy a weekend tour that includes the observatory. The tours are scheduled mid-May through October, and reservations are required due to the endangered red squirrel refugium near the observatory.
The tours focus on the area’s history, its geography, and the flora and fauna. A sack lunch at the U.S. Forest Service’s Columbine Visitor’s Center is included.