Enchantment ResortEnchantment ResortBet you didn’t know you can do some of these things in Arizona. The state is full of surprises, some that have been hidden for years, others that seem to pop up on a regular basis to supply new experiences and adventures.

A date shake? You bet. It’s de rigueur for those travelling the stretch of I-8 between Gila Bend and Yuma, which can be a bit desolate. For a break, stop at Dateland Palms Village where the friendly folks will mix up a creamy, sweet concoction unlike any other. They take dates from the adjacent farm, cook them into a sweet paste, then mix them with ice cream. Yum!

The forest is fragrant, the sun is pleasant, and you're hiking unencumbered and hands free because the lovely, long-lashed creature beside you is toting your lunch and gear. We’re not talking about your significant other. Your companion is a llama. The advantage of taking a hike with one of these docile creatures is that they are sure-footed, with legs set well under them. This allows them to walk on narrow trails and turn in tight quarters. They can carry loads as heavy as 32 kilograms an average of 16 kilometres per day. Llama day hikes and overnight forays are offered in Strawberry and Sedona.

Mii amo, a destination spa at Enchantment Resort in Sedona, draws on one of the area’s enigmatic energy centres for its unique powers. One of these centres, known as vortexes, is located in Boynton Canyon, where Mii amo is niched a peaceful distance from other resort activities. The treatment called Mii amo Spirit begins with a release of negativity and ends with chakras, the body’s energy centres, being anointed with oils charged by the powers of Boynton Canyon. Do the vortexes really help tap into “the beyond”, or aid in mind-body healing? Visit Mii amo to check it out personally.

In Oatman, many generations removed from their ancestors, the descendants of wild burros that once were pack animals for miners now roam the streets. Not even the gunplay that’s part of every day’s staged shootout disturbs these gentle creatures. Bags of carrots are sold at local stores, providing the burros a healthful snack.

Take home a piece of Arizona that is richly authentic…a jar or two of Goldwater Salsa. The Goldwater name has been prominent in Arizona for more than a century. Goldwater’s Foods was founded by the daughters and granddaughter of well-known presidential candidate and senator Barry Goldwater, and many retail outlets offer jars and gift packs of a variety of salsas that range from mild and mellow to knock-your-socks-off hot. Paradise Pineapple, Rio Verde Tomatillo and Ruby Raspberry Fruit Salsa are among the tasty treats that those at home will truly appreciate.

In Arizona you can spend a night in an old school, a one-time jail and a land-locked 1947 Chris Craft. They’ve all morphed in to comfy accommodations that welcome guests to experience a historic night in an unusual setting. If you had a crush on perky Miss Blanders in third grade, here’s your chance to relive school days on your terms. Noftsger Hill Inn in Globe once was the Noftsger Hill School. Classrooms, now guest rooms, have high ceilings and original blackboards on which visitors have recorded their comments. Onetime coat closets now are bathrooms with claw-foot tubs and pedestal sinks. The entire inn is furnished with mining-era antiques and art. A full breakfast is included with the price of a room.

 Who knew being a prisoner could be so much fun? The OK Street Jailhouse Inn in Bisbee is a great place for home base while exploring the historic mining town. The unconvicted get the entire jail, upstairs and downstairs, with 1 1/2 baths, a kitchen, a two-person whirlpool tub. Another great reason to do time is that you don’t have to knock over a bank to afford it.

Also in Bisbee, guests can spend a night in a 1947 Chris Craft with no worries about mal de mer. The landlocked vessel sits immobile at the Shady Dell RV Park, surrounded by vintage trailers. It’s right at home with the Air Streams, a 1950 Royal Mansion, A 1957 El Rey and other throwbacks to an era of chenille bedspreads and figural cookie jars. Hungry? Next door is Dot’s Diner, a gleaming stainless steel monument to the 1950s. The classic Valentine Diner has a green malt machine and hand-lettered signs, as well as traditional diner fare.

Tequila Sunrise
The cocktail made famous in songs, movies and American pop culture was created at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa around the end of the ‘30s or early ‘40s. A frequent guest who loved tequila asked the bartender, Gene Sulit, to surprise him with a refreshing beverage he could enjoy poolside, and the iconic Tequila Sunrise was born. The Biltmore graciously shares the recipe.

Biltmore Original Tequila Sunrise
35.5 ml Premium Tequila
21 ml Creme de Cassis
Fresh Lime
Soda Water

Fill glass with cracked ice. Add tequila, Creme de Cassis and a squeeze of lime. Fill with soda. Garnish with fresh orange wheel and enjoy.

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