Explore Your Surroundings
August 1st, 2012
Peggy Fiandaca

I have friends that take the same vacation each summer and absolutely love it. I am the type of person that takes a different way home from downtown Phoenix just to discover a new neighborhood, store, or restaurant. Maybe it is because I grew up in the early 1960's and dad would take us on a Sunday drive around the neighborhood without any particular destination in mind. Or because I am an urban planner and curious about the natural and built environment. Or maybe I just get bored easily.

Arizona has beautiful and quirky places, expansive open spaces and varied geography, weather extremes, incredible history, and interesting people.

I live two totally different Arizona lifestyles. My urban life in Fountain Hills, a Phoenix suburb, has one of the world's largest fountains, over a 100 public sculptures, the McDowell Mountain preserve where wildlife and hiking opportunities abound, and a small town atmosphere close but far away enough to be a respite from urban life.

Every day feels like a vacation at a resort.

  Fountain Hills, AZ

Finding Treasures

In contrast, our vineyard is 40 miles from the Mexico border at 5,000 foot elevation in the foothills of another mountain range - the Chiricahua Mountains.

No Starbucks, the grocery store is an hour away, and at night you cannot see your hand when you hold it up.

I channel the spirit of Martha Stewart as soon as I arrive making homemade granola and batches of cookies or crafting art from old farm equipment and treasures pulled from our creek.

Arizonans go north to escape the heat when southeastern Arizona rarely gets above 100 degrees because of its altitude. The area is perfect for wine grape growing with its temperature shifts and rich soils (i.e. the terroir).

The area's rich history is all around. Interesting places such as
Benson's Kartchner Caverns,
Amerind Museum,
Cochise Stronghold,
Tombstone and the OK Corral
(Johnny Ringo was buried within a few miles from us),
Historic Bisbee, and the
Chiricahua National Monument
are just a few of the area destinations. And of course, there are the vineyards and wineries in the Greater Willcox area.

  Chiricahua National Monument

I am truly blessed to live in two special Arizona places. They seem very different yet the natural beauty of both places inspires and grounds me to my natural surroundings. Late August is LDV's Grape to Glass Symposium at the vineyard where we celebrate the annual harvest and our incredible piece of paradise in Cochise County. It is a perfect time to discover this incredible part of Arizona. If you can't make it, take that Sunday drive or weekend trip and discover a new adventure in your own backyard.