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Any itinerary suggestions?

Annapolis
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Any itinerary suggestions?

I will be meeting my SO in Tucson on 6/12, landing at 1:00pm. We fly back out at 6:00am on 6/16. We would like to venture outside of the Tucson area. We like to take in the natural beauty but it sounds like it will be too hot to plan much hiking during the day. We also like unique attractions. In Tucson, I want to see the Center for Creative Photography, the Arizona-Sonora Dessert Museum and the Mission San Xavier del Bac. I was thinking of a trip to Bisbee, but they have a Gay Pride festival and rooms are sparse.

So I am looking at many attractions, but we don't want to spend too much time in the car. The main interest for me in the Phoenix area would be Taliesin West. I also like the idea of visiting an observatory at Mt. Lemmon or Kitt Peak. Tombstone and Kartchner Caverns are also appealing. Nothing is a "must see" for us. I am looking for ideas on how to arrange the 3-1/2 days to keep it interesting and still fairly active. Is it feasible to take in both Taliesin and Tombstone or are they just too far apart? If we stick with just one direction from Tucson, what would you recommend?

Any recommendations on how to arrange the trip to optimize a variety of interests would be greatly appreciated.

Tucson, Arizona
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1. Re: Any itinerary suggestions?

If you want to minimize driving you might want to spend some time on Mt. Lemmon, where it will be cool enough to hike. Then you could take in the Sky Nights program at the observatory on top of the mountain, If you're interested at all in astronomy, you will love that program - my wife and I have been twice and will definitely be going back again. Looks like they still have openings on the 14th, 15th or 16th but you definitely need to reserve in advance.

With your limited time, I'd probably skip Bisbee, Tombstone and Phoenix, but if you wanted to make a trip in one direction, I'd take a day to go to Kartchner Caverns and then from there you could go to Bisbee and/or Tombstone if you wanted and still get back to Tucson that night. Make sure to make advance reservations for the cave tour.

Another day you could hit the Desert Museum as early in the day as possible and then afterwards you could drive through Saguaro National Park, go to the Mission and then hit the Center for Creative Photography during the heat of the day.

That would leave another full day to do something in town in the morning and spend the afternoon and evening on Mt. Lemmon.

Tucson, Arizona
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2. Re: Any itinerary suggestions?

Good on you for choosing to visit CCP, as well as the Desert Museum and the mission; so many people skip the museums, and CCP is especially nice with its fabulous archives. If you still want to see some natural beauty, and are early risers, you would probably enjoy a hike at Sabino Canyon. On my favorite trail I often see desert White-tail deer, cottontails, the occasional jackrabbit, Gambel's quail, and roadrunners. There are also some excellent hikes on Mt. Lemmon if you want to escape the desert heat, or make it down to Madera Canyon, south of Tucson.

Tombstone is pretty touristy-kitschy (and combining it with Taliesin would be too much driving), but Kartchner is really nice and of course another good way to escape the heat.

tucson, az
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3. Re: Any itinerary suggestions?

Phoenix is north and a two hour drive from Tucson; Tombstone is roughly 90 minutes to 2 hours in a different direction (southeast). I'd skip Phoenix. Tombstone to me is skippable but others love it.

Kartchner Caverns is unique- it's a live cave system and they only allow so many entrants per day.

If you are going down to San Xavier you might be interested in going further down I-19 and visiting Tumacacori as well; it's the ruins of the first mission and church founded by Father Kino. Their museum has been recently redone and is quite good.

Uden, The...
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4. Re: Any itinerary suggestions?

I agree, Taliesin West from Tucson and back with the visit will take most of the day and probably you will want to see a bit of old town Scottsdale as well. If you go make sure youll have a reservation for Taliesin. Great visit though.

tucson, az
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5. Re: Any itinerary suggestions?

You can always take a trip to Wisconsin and see Taliesin East, handpickd!

Marina, California
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6. Re: Any itinerary suggestions?

The problem with heading to Tombstone is that, not knowing much about you, you may get down there and say "Wow, this sucks" and be very disappointed that you drove that far. Then again, you may get down there and say "Wow, this is great! I'm so glad we came down!" It's polarizing, at least to an extent. Since it doesn't require any reservations, see how your other times work out and, if you have time after Kartchner, and are up for the extra driving, do it that day. But don't make it a must. I mean, for one, it's going to be very hot there and there won't be as many of the amateur actors out.

Another option after Kartchner is the winery region, which would make a nice loop, as they're over by Sonoita and Elgin. Fewer are open in the summer, and most that are have limited hours, but there are always some open.

So, as a suggestion:

6-12: Drive around Downtown, Barrio Viejo, 4th Avenue, up A Mountain (you'll probably be tired), Mount Lemmon in the late afternoon and into the evening (…arizona.edu/programs/public/skynights)

6-13: Desert Museum, Gates Pass, lunch, CCP, maybe the Arizona State Museum (since you're on campus already)

6-14: Kartchner, other Cochise County attractions of your choice

6-15: Early hike (since this is a Saturday, I would suggest Pima Canyon, Ventana Canyon or Romero Canyon), Mission San Xavier, Tumacacori

For the hike, note that you'll need to get there around sunrise, should dress in layers (the sun doesn't come over the canyon walls for some time after rising) and will not be able to hike for that long. Bring lots of water and put on sunblock. However, I think it's still worth it to try so that you can get some outdoor time exploring a riparian canyon.

Annapolis
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7. Re: Any itinerary suggestions?

Thank you everyone for the help and the suggestions. You have convinced me to cross Phoenix off the list, even though I might be at Taliesin East in July! I have reserved Mount Lemmon. We will leave Tombstone as a maybe. Hopefully we can get several hikes in. We will stay put in Tucson. I look forward to reporting back in a few weeks to let you know how it turned out.

tucson az
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8. Re: Any itinerary suggestions?

Be sure to take one of the extended tours at Taliesin at Spring Green WI. In the visitor center there was once a nice restaurant until 1992 called the Spring Green, but there is still a small one, Riverview Cafe, for lunch with some of the furniture still there designed by Mrs. Wright. Ask your docent lots of questions when on the Taliesin property. A few have actually been around as long as knowing Mrs. Wright! I used to live in the area in the 70s when she was alive, and had a private unsanctioned tour arranged before she returned from AZ in the spring of 1976 when the home was not open for tours. But she returned early, and I did not get to go in the house until 30 years later after moving to AZ in 1977!

If you get back to AZ, take an extended tour or night tour of Taliesin West. Tours can be booked in advance, and some days it is a long wait for tours unless reserved. Occasionally there are some very special tours that you don't know about unless you get on their mailing list. You can also join the FLW Foundation and get a quarterly magazine. A few times over the years I have seen dinner tours. You can also arrange your own private tour and see anything that you want. Today the Taliesin Architects offices have been removed from the Wright residence several years ago, and the complete residence can be toured. It has Wright's original furniture, and also more of it in other buildings. If this is tempting to reconsider going up there, it's 3 hours from Tucson to TW so would make a very long day. Save it for another time when you can give it the time it deserves.

In Maryland, you're also a day's drive from Fallingwater SE of Pittsburgh, which is spectacular, and there is another Wright-designed house close by called Kentuck Knob in the Usonian style but expensively finished which is also very beautful.There are crowds at Fallingwater on weekends during good weather.

Edited: 5:35 am, June 01, 2013
Union, Oregon
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9. Re: Any itinerary suggestions?

We loved the Pima Air Museum. It can take a half day to a full day to see it all. Very interesting.

Tucson, Arizona
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10. Re: Any itinerary suggestions?

Since you will be on the UA campus for the CCP, I would suggest you also visit the Arizona State Museum there.