Better than what? It doesn’t specify, yet it makes its point.
Taking the t-shirt’s opinion to heart, my wife and I decided to travel down to Tucson for a weekend of relaxation, culture, and local libations. Tucson is about two hours south of Mesa, where we live. The drive is straight and easy, traveling through agriculture fields and the occasional mountain up-cropping.
As we approached Tucson, we could see the Santa Catalina Mountains growing larger on the horizon. The Santa Catalina’s tower nearly 7,000 feet above Tucson and the surrounding desert, and create a “sky island” with its own unique ecosystem. We arrived at Loew's Ventana Canyon Resort which backs up to the Santa Catalina’s and does an excellent job of incorporating the natural environment into the property; so much so that at one point we found ourselves hanging out with one of the local residents, the javelina “don’t call me a pig” peccary.
Aside from our weekend wildlife watching we also spent plenty of time at the pool, and at times, getting out and exploring. The first night we had dinner at a local brewery. As we are both big fans of the craft brews, we were pleased that the Nimbus Brewery did not disappoint. Later that evening we sat by the pool and watched the monsoon clouds roll in, giving us an impressive lights show and eventually a shower. The next morning we participated in a 5K run/walk that benefited a local charity, what better way to follow-up a night at the brewery. On the drive to and from the event it was great to see all the road cyclists enjoying the rolling hills and wide bike lanes. Hmm, maybe that t-shirt is onto something.
Inevitably, Sunday arrived and we packed up for the trip back to Mesa. On our way out of town we stopped at Tohono Chul Botanical Gardens for breakfast at the Tea Room and a little more of that culture I spoke of previously. After finishing a spinach feta omelet, which apparently are better in Tucson, we set off to explore the gardens and left with a broader understanding of the ecology of the Sonoran Desert and the cultures that inhabit it.
Glenn Schlottman serves as the Community Relations Manager for the Arizona Office of Tourism. He conducts education and outreach programs for communities around the state.