Author Archive

Love the Wine You’re With

Friends of the Southwest Wine Center proudly present “Love the Wine You’re With” fundraiser.
Come join us on the Yavapai College Clarkdale Campus, 601 Black Hills Drive, Clarkdale Arizona.
Saturday, October 23, 2021, from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
Enjoy an afternoon in the beautiful Verde Valley where you can sample wines created by the Viticulture & Enology alumni of Yavapai College. We want to share their success with you! Current Culinary students will also be on hand to share tasty bites to pair with your wine.
There will be a Drive Thru Wine Pull – tickets available for purchase online prior to event at $25 per bottle. Value of the wines range from $25 (minimum) to over $100!
Looking for a couple of nights away in a Clarkdale bungalow? Interested in a fabulous wine dinner? Need some art for your bare walls? A Virtual Silent Auction will also take place online featuring all these things, and more! Items available for pick up by winning bidders during Saturday’s festivities.
Take a stroll through the campus buildings and listen to students talk about their college programs and experiences. We’ll have students from nursing, horticulture, the new skilled trade center, culinary, the new brewing program, and of course plenty of VEN students, past and present.
Visit www.yc.edu/foswcLoveTheWine for more information and to partake in the Drive Thru Wine Pull, bid on awesome items in our Virtual Silent Action, and reserve tickets for the complimentary walking campus tour featuring wine and food tasting.
Mark your calendar. You won’t want to miss this event!
For more information go to www.yc.edu/foswcLoveTheWine.

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Sedona Winefest Returns!

On September 25-26, 2021 the Sedona Winefest will be returning for its 12th annual celebration at the Sedona Posse Grounds Park (525 Posse Ground Rd., Sedona, Arizona 86336). A two-day wine festival featuring 30 Arizona wineries, music, food trucks, a Plein Air Painting demonstration on Saturday, the Sugar Thieves live on Sunday and a variety of artisan vendors.
Winefest Founder, Sandy Moriarty says “Wine, art and music lovers come from across the state to join us for this weekend among the red rocks, as there is truly something for everyone to enjoy. Sedona Winefest 2021 will adhere to the current CDC guidelines with respect to COVID 19, by continuing to follow safe practices for the health of our attendees and festival staff.”
The famous two-day festival among the Sedona red rocks, held from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 25th and Sunday, September 26th . In addition to tasting wines from 30 of the state’s best wineries, this year’s event ($35/person in advance or $40 at the door, which includes 6 wine tasting tickets and a commemorative glass) will also feature a Plein Air Painting demonstration from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, organized by the Sedona Arts Center, food trucks, a variety of artisan vendors from across the state, and live music on Sunday from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. featuring the The Sugar Thieves’ good old American roots music, a melting pot of styles including blues, jazz, country, folk, gospel, and rock and roll.
Wine lovers are invited to enjoy the latest award-winning wines from 30 wineries across the state, as well as meet with some of the winemakers who will be in attendance from each of the state’s wine growing regions.
Early bird online tickets $35/person include; full festival access, a commemorative glass with 6 wine tasting tickets (at the door, day of event Wine Tasting tickets will be $40)
Non Wine Drinkers will be charged a General Admission price of $10/person for festival access.
Kids under the age of 18, accompanied by an adult, no charge for festival access.
For more information on the 12th Annual Sedona Winefest, visit www.sedonawinefest.com or email [email protected]

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The Law Tigers & Main Stage Present: Miss TVR 2021 Pin-Up & Biker Babe Competition

The Law Tigers & Main Stage Present: Miss TVR 2021 Pin-Up & Biker Babe Competition

This year’s Miss Thunder Valley Rally encompasses both the classic “Pin-Up” as well as the “Classic Biker Babe”. Girls will be competing for the title of Miss TVR 2021. The competition itself will be held at Main Stage Bar, 1 S Main St Cottonwood AZ on Saturday at 2:30 PM. You must arrive and be checked in at Main Stage by 2 PM. Miss TVR will be given her title on the Main Stage at Riverfront Park before the main act between 8:30 & 9:30 PM following the competition. The contest is designed to find a contestant that exemplifies what it means to be a strong beautiful woman in today’s world. This competition is welcome to anyone 18+. We are looking for a pin-up, or biker babe that can carry herself in a crowd, but who also shines within. She must be positive, kind, and full of personality. Whether you identify with that of Pin-Up style, or you’re a classic biker chick that loves to ride some show us what you’ve got. This contest is not one that is based solely on popularity or cosmetic appeal. We want to see you work a crowd, and strut your stuff, but overall this contest is all about having FUN! We only welcome positivity and women empowerment shown for yourself and the other girls “competing”. *Vintage bathing suits, any pin-up or biker chic attire is welcome. No nudity allowed, as this is a family friendly event.
  1. Miss TVR Contestants will be judged on a 1-10 scale from the following categories: 1. Hair/Makeup and Overall Look (No hair or makeup is provided, contestants must do their own and come ready in full look. No dressing rooms available) 2. Personality: Each contestant will answer at least 1 question from one of our judges on stage. 3. “Pose Off” Each Contestant will pose with either a motorcycle or “prop” on stage for 30 seconds to 1 minute while a professional photographer takes shots. Girls will be judged on poses and how they work the camera and audience.
Competition: Saturday Sept 18th: Miss TVR Competition will take place at Main Stage Bar 1 S Main St Cottonwood, AZ at 2:30 PM sharp. You must arrive dressed with full make done and ready to be checked in at least 1 hour before the competition. There is no dressing room available at Main Stage. All Miss TVR contestants must them meet back at TVR at 8 PM for winners to be announced on Main Stage at Riverfront Park. After party at Main Stage Bar with The Ryan Chrys & The Rough Cuts 10:30 PM. No talent required, and no song and dance necessary. We encourage entries of all shapes and sizes, from anywhere around the globe! We look forward to reading all about you and hearing from you. Good Luck! Rules for Online Entry *All Contestants MUST be 18+ and over. You MUST be 21+ to be at the after party at Main Stage. (The Main Stage bar is 21+. You are still able to compete in the competition if you are 18+ however you will only be allowed at the bar during the competition itself) *Photos may not contain any nudity *All contestants must pay a $25 Non-Refundable entry fee * All Contestant MUST be present at Miss TVR Competition at Main Stage Venue and at The Main Stage at TVR at Riverfront Park for winners to be announced. You MUST be present to win. All contestants that enter will receive goodie bags for participating. Prize List 1st Place: $500, trophy and tiara 2nd Place: $200, trophy 3rd Place: $100, trophy   Click here for the form.

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Verde Valley Farmer’s Market

From May to October, Camp Verde hosts the Verde Valley Farmers Market, the Valley’s oldest and largest “farmers only” market. The market is located under the ramada next to Fort Verde State Historical Park on Hollamon Street. This is an old-fashioned farmers market that focuses on homegrown produce and food products, and it attracts dozens of local vendors. The Verde Valley Farmers Market is open every Saturday morning, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., from May to October.

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Verde Ranch RV Resort Wins Award

At the recent Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (AZ ARVC) Conference, Verde Ranch RV Resort received the prestigious honor of being named the state’s “Large Park of the Year.” This award reflects Verde Ranch’s commitment to creating an exceptional, clean, and exciting experience for its campers.
 
The AZ ARVC recognized Verde Ranch RV Resort for its consistently high park ratings on services such as Good Sam and Campendium, as well as previous awards and honors. The park was also rewarded for its well-maintained facilities, beautiful landscaping, and overall amenities. As a park that’s been described by campers as “impeccably clean” and “lovely” with “fantastic accommodations,” it’s no surprise that Verde Ranch received this recognition.
Verde Ranch RV Resort is well regarded for its beautiful appearance and high level of care for the property. The management team, led by Cali Hildebrandt, is eager to create a truly relaxing and luxurious resort. To accomplish this, they’ve put a lot of effort into keeping the entire park clean and making sure that everything is perfect for their campers
 
Verde Ranch RV Resort is the winner of five national accolades in 2020/2021, including No. 1 Luxury RV Resort in Arizona by Outdoorsy, No. 6 Best RV Resort by USA Today 10Best, as well as esteemed awards from Tiffin Motorhome, Campendium, and Good Sam. For more information, visit verderanchrvresort.com.

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22nd Annual Fantastic Family 4th of July in Cottonwood!

City of Cottonwood will be holding the 22nd Annual Fantastic Family 4th of July event this year on Sunday, July 4, 2021. Join the celebration at Cottonwood Kid’s Park from 4 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Enjoy free food from 4-6 p.m., the VFW Patriotic Salute, Verde Valley Wine Consortium Tent, kid’s games (with wristband purchase), music, and fun times all around! Fireworks will begin at 8:45 p.m. For more details, visit the Parks & Recreation Department online at or on Facebook.

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Forest Closure

The National Forest Service has closed the Coconino National Forest indefinitely due to persistent wildfires in the Northern Arizona wilderness and the ongoing threat of fire caused by dry conditions. This map shows the closed area, which includes land encompassed by the Red Rock Ranger District  surrounding Sedona. The public is prohibited from entering any part of Coconino National Forest at any time, and the Forest Service advises cancelling plans for visiting the Coconino National Forest for the next several weeks. There is currently no proposed reopening date. You will find more complete information here. The Grand Canyon remains open. Red Rock State Park remains open for the time being. State Parks, such as Red Rock State Park and Slide Rock State Park, are adapting to road closures and fire conditions and may or may not be open.  You can check state park status here. Our SedonaWebCam offers a real time view of the area. Despite the closure, there are still plenty of relaxing, adventurous and enjoyable things to do in and around Sedona.  Here are 77 ideas for you to enjoy a stay while avoiding closed USFS forest areas.

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Rhythm on the Rails

The pulsing tempo of steel wheels on an iron track make for the perfect percussion to accompany live music amidst wild Arizona scenery. Back by popular demand, Verde Canyon Railroad proudly presents “Rhythm on the Rails” on select evenings during the 2021 summer season.
Several musical groups representing diverse melodic genres will rotate throughout the train, performing private concerts in each of the historic passenger cars after the train rolls out of the Clarkdale depot at 5:30 p.m. SATURDAY AT 5:30 PM MST – 9:30 PM MST
The euphonic adventure through one of the West’s most scenic inner canyons is heightened by plush furnishings, fresh appetizers, and an extensive selection of wine, beer and chic cocktails served at one’s seat … savored to the sophisticated sounds of accomplished musicians.
While melodies reverberate inside, the Canyon takes center stage outside the panoramic windows or from the vantage point of an outdoor-viewing car. Throughout the journey, the soaring red rock walls are painted with a sunset radiance that gives way to a sky punctuated with vibrant stars and a romantic moonglow. It’s Arizona’s longest-running nature show, the perfect venue for live entertainment. Click here for tickets.

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Camp Verde looking forward to Corn Fest

Corn Fest is back for 2021 on Saturday July 17 in Downtown Camp Verde. Enjoy this one-day event featuring fresh roasted Hauser & Hauser corn in a Street Fair type setting. Lots of other good eats with food trucks and live musical entertainment plus vendors with all types of products for sale. Gates open at 11 am with free admission and the fun continues until 8 pm. After missing last year the event will be returning for its 27th year celebrating Camp Verde agriculture and hometown fun. Fresh local corn for purchase to benefit a local non-profit and take home will also be available. There is still outside vendor space available through www.visitcampverde.com.
According to Michael Marshall, Parks & Recreation Manager, “Shifting the event to a Street fair style was a huge success in 2019 and means we can beat the heat inside the Gym, shade trees outside and improve the resistance to afternoon monsoons” says Marshall. “This year we will be expanding to include the shaded Town grounds around the building” he added. “Also new this year will be a large pavilion shade tent with tables and chairs to enjoy a snack while listening to the local bands” said Shawna Figy, Recreation Supervisor. The Community Gym will offer inside vendor space as well as tables and chairs for attendees to rest out of the sun.
Local community groups are encouraged to become vendors to promote and support their organizations. “I think most attendees would rather support a local non-profit when possible” says Marshall. Non-profits get their first space free as an extra community support. Also available to a non-profit is the opportunity to sell the raw corn by the dozen as a fund raiser. Parks & Recreation provides the corn, a shade tent and tables. All a group has to do is show up and run the corn sales and earn money for their non-profit. “In 2019, Meals on Wheels raised $1,000 for their efforts that day” said Shawna. “This is one of the ways the Town works to support our community partners” she said. Interested non-profits should contact Parks & Rec at [email protected] or (928)554-0820 Option 3. Outside and limited inside vendor space is still available and can be done through the VisitCampVerde.com website.
This event will include the Verde Valley Ranger’s beer garden and a co-located kick boxing event in the evening. The kick boxing event will have an admission charge and returns after a successful premier in 2019. Volunteers are also being recruited to help with set-up and tear down as well as gate keepers. Community involvement and participation is key to this event remaining vital and alive.
Contact Camp Verde Parks & Recreation at 395 S. Main St., [email protected] or (928)554-0820 Option 3 to volunteer, more information or vendor application.

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Verde Valley BioBlitz

Join Friends of the Verde River, Science Vortex, and our partners for the first annual Verde Valley BioBlitz! A Bioblitz is a community effort where volunteers find and identify as many living species as they can during a designated window of time. The Verde Valley Bioblitz starts on Earth Day, April 22nd and continues for two weeks through May 7th.
We’re inviting community members and teachers to participate in this event! Once you have registered, you will receive an email that explains how to download, create an account, and add observations in the iNaturalist app. You will also receive a map of suggested locations.
BioBlitz participants are invited to go out along the river or anywhere in the Verde River system, like Oak Creek or West Clear Creek, and use the iNaturalist app to take photos of plants, animals, birds, and insects to gather species data for the Verde River. Your observations will help our efforts to document native and invasive plants along the river. You do not have to be a biologist, the identification of species can be done later on as long as you submit quality photos.
Whether you are a regular user of iNaturalist or you’ve never heard of it, you can participate in the bioblitz as long as you have a smartphone or tablet.
This event will benefit our community AND it can also have benefits for your own individual health. Spending time outdoors and volunteering are two activities recommended to boost mental health and build a feeling of connection to the community. We look forward to seeing you on the river. If you post photos throughout the event please be sure to use the #purdyverde and tag @friendsoftheverderiver!
Here is a link to the project titled Verde Valley Bioblitz 2021, in iNaturalist: click here.

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Sedona Car Show

         
The Sedona Car Club’s 38th annual Car Show is scheduled for 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2 at the Sedona Airport.
This year’s show will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the E Type Jaguar.
Check-in time for cars entered in the show is from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. Entry forms can be found on the car club website at sedonacarclub.com. Registration fees for Classes A-L are $25, non-judged display (all years) is $20; replicas, kit cars, homebuilts, etc. will be welcome in the Display Class. Trophies will be awarded for first place and second place, Presidents’ Choice, Best of Show, and Mayor’s Choice. Entries are limited to the first 110 cars. Mail registration forms to Sedona Car Club, 160 Rojo Vista Court, Sedona, AZ 86351. Entries must be postmarked by Saturday, Sept. 18. Questions can be directed to the car show committee at [email protected] or to David Lombardi, club president, at 928-300-4248.

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Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival

The Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival engages birders, photographers, and nature lovers by providing quality guided birding experiences and workshops across Northern Arizona.
The four-day festival is held at Dead Horse Ranch State Park on the banks of the Verde River. With close proximity to the Verde, Oak Creek, Sycamore Creek and other perennial waters, festival participants get to choose from over 80 field trips, hikes, and workshops in one of Arizona’s richest birding habitats.
Our experienced guides have extensive knowledge of birds and the habitat that make this region so unique. The more than 60 volunteers that work year round to coordinate the festival create a welcome and friendly environment for the more than 400 annual participants.
The Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival is presented each April by Friends of the Verde River, a purpose driven community benefit organization and 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, working to preserve one of the last perennial flowing rivers in the American Southwest. https://verderiver.org/about-the-festival/

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Camp Verde’s Pecan & Wine Festival April 17-18

The 20th annual Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival returns stronger than ever this year after being moved to April 17 & 18 from its usual March spot. Community Center Field in Downtown Camp Verde is the place to be on Saturday 11 -7 and Sunday 11 – 4.  With over 70 vendors including food, crafts, gifts and sales to benefit non-profit community groups and of course Pecan and Wine vendors this will be the premiere spring event. With wine tasting from 8 local wineries, a beer garden from the Verde Valley Sheriff’s Posse and live music this will be fun in the sun in Camp Verde. Admission to the event is free for all but there is a charge for wine tasting or other purchases.
The Town of Camp Verde, Verde Valley Wine Consortium and Yavapai College have teamed together to not only produce an exciting and diverse event for residents and visitors but to also support the local wine industry as it recovers from the effects of the COVID pandemic. Come grab a bite from a food truck, shop the wide range of crafts, gifts and other products, listen to live local music on the stage and see what your local community groups are doing. Fort Verde State Historic Park will be hosting their annual History of The Soldier event this weekend and thanks to underwriting from the Town of Camp Verde it will be free admission to the Park all weekend long. SRP, Larry Green Chevrolet, Allegra Marketing, and Nackard Pepsi are all sponsors of the success of this community-based event.
The improving COVID situation and increasing vaccine rate all help to make the event possible but people are still encouraged to follow the basic precautions: stay home if you’re sick, wash your hands often and wear a mask when close to other people. With increased vendor spacing, a wine pavilion shade canopy with improved circulation and additional hand sanitizer and washing stations available this should be a safe and relaxing event. Most of the event will be outside in the beautiful sunshine but there will be vendors in our Community Center Gym taking advantage of the spacious inside space. Wine tasting tickets are available for $20 in the large airy wine pavilion or have a beer from the Verde Valley Rangers.
Wineries include Alcantara Vineyards, Clear Creek Vineyards, Heart Wood Cellars and Salt Mine Cellars from right here in Camp Verde. Southwest Wine Center at Yavapai College is both an Estate vineyard as well as a teaching winery, functioning as a premiere wine industry and community resource. Offering both degrees and certificates in viticulture and enology, Yavapai College is also a Platinum level sponsor and partner in the Pecan & Wine Festival. Burning Tree Cellars, Carlson Creek Vineyards and Page Springs Cellars round out the list of award-winning wineries.
The Verde Valley Questers will be selling homemade pies to benefit the Hance House restorations. Sign up now to enter the Pecan Pie contest on Sunday at campverde.sportsites.com/player, through our website campverde.az.gov, using the Blue Book Now button on our Facebook page or get a paper application at the P&R office. Please register in advance to ensure enough entries to hold the contest.
Contact Camp Verde Parks & Recreation at 395 S. Main St., [email protected] , (928)554-0820 Option 3 or www.visitcampverde.com/events  as well as Facebook for more information.

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Vortex ATV Rentals

Vortex ATV Rentals is the top rental car organization that comes up with a number of exclusive cars for you at different locations. The cars are super comfort for drive in hilly areas, well maintained, properly sanitized before and after use as Covid-19 is the concern.

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Windmill Park Farmers Market in Cornville AZ

The Windmill Park Farmers Market offers area wide & Arizona grown produce: Veggies & Greens, Fruit, Mushrooms, Sprouts, Meals to go, hot sauces, vegan cheese, baked goods, coffees, cocoa treats, confections and much more. Windmill Park in Cornville, Mondays 2-Dusk, March thru December
 

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Collaborative Art Works

This multi-faceted company is devoted to enrichment of the Arts. It is an Arizona Benefit Corporation. People with no art experience and seasoned artists enjoy its diversity by purchasing art prints, receiving tutorials in art or music and/or participating in creating visual collaborations.

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Sedona Sacred Journeys

Our Mission on Sedona Retreats is to empower you on your spiritual journey. We offer customized, individual, couples, family spiritual retreats. We have 30 years experience helping client create breakthroughs.

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Birding 101 Comes to Camp Verde

Northern Arizona Audubon Society (NAAS) presents Birding 101, a backyard birding class and field trip. Start inside the Library’s 1st Floor Terracotta Room on Friday, April 9 at 1:00p and then meet Saturday morning, April 10 at 8:00a under the Ramada near Moser Lane at Rezzonico Family Park for a bird walk. Never been birding before? Ask at the front desk to check out one of the four Birdwatching Backpack Kits at the Library to try it out.
Here is your chance to learn to identify the birds in your own backyard from one of the best, Dr. Richard Armstrong. Rich Armstrong earned his Ph.D. in Nuclear Inorganic Chemistry from Stanford. He retired from the Army as a Major, spent 20 years working at Texaco, and has been married to Nanette for 34 years. He and his wife have birded together in Texas, Oregon, most of North America, and now in Arizona for 9 years. He is the NAAAS steward of the Sedona Wetlands where he has led many field trips for NAAS.
Friday, attend the class in-person at the Library or virtually via Eventbrite, click here for details. This is a two-part class. Friday afternoon learning inside the library or virtually and then the next morning take a walk outside to practice what you learned (no virtual meeting on Saturday).
For the outdoor bird walk on Saturday, April 10:
• bring your own water
• wear sturdy shoes
• wear a hat or sun visor for shade
• don’t forget the sunscreen
Camp Verde Important Birding Area: The 17 mile stretch of the middle section of the Verde River from Parsons Park just west of I-17 to Rockin’ River Ranch State Park provides important habitat for resident and migratory birds. The Verde River is one of Arizona’s last remaining perennially flowing river systems, with healthy riparian vegetation, including the extremely rare Fremont Cottonwood-Gooding Willow gallery forest type. It provides a unique habitat that is preferred by bird species of concern, such as Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Common Black Hawk, Bell’s Vireo, Yellow Warbler, and Lucy’s Warbler.
Currently, the best access points to this IBA are Rezzonico Family Park in Camp Verde and the Clear Creek campground area in Coconino National Forest.
Camp Verde Community Library is located just off of Montezuma Castle Highway at 130 Black Bridge Road, Camp Verde AZ. For more information about this or any other library program, call 554-8380 during library open hours Mon-Sat 9:00a-5:00p.

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Annual Campout at Out of Africa- May 22, 2021

   
If you’ve ever wondered what happens at a wildlife park after the last guest leaves, this is your chance to find out firsthand — the perfect opportunity to see animal behavior under a canopy of stars. Bring your sleeping gear and join us for a limited-engagement campout at Out of Africa Wildlife Park as we witness this spectacle together alongside lions, tigers, hyenas, and bears. Oh, my!
This unforgettable family adventure is not like that of a typical zoo sleepover.  Here, your nighttime activities include a Tiger Splash™ show, a cobra show, Out of Africa movie time, and a particular walk down memory lane where park founders Dean and Prayeri Harrison recount their previous 30 years of wildlife adventures. Their recollections of relationships with the animals, and how the park has evolved over three decades will captivate you.
What campout would be complete without a campfire, away from city lights underneath a humbling plenitude of stars? And in the morning, you’ll wake up to the roar of lions and the aroma of a delicious hot breakfast. It’s an experience that will immerse your senses into the sights, scents, and sounds of the wild. Best of all, you won’t have to travel halfway across the world to take your family to this exotic sleepover.
The Jungle Hut Eatery is open for dinner. The park provides an evening ice cream social and a hearty breakfast in the morning with plenty of hot chocolate and coffee. You are welcome to explore the park on your own when the park opens at 9:30 a.m. to see all of your favorite animals in the light of day. Plus, the gift shop will open early at 9:00 a.m. Enjoy a 10% discount on all gift shop purchases. Click here for more information.

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Leave No Trace

Visiting Sedona Verde Valley is an exciting and often bucket list experience. There’s nothing like capturing that view you’ve been dreaming of and sharing the memories of the epic experience with friends and family online or in person. The only thing that can take away from that moment: when there’s garbage, feces, graffiti, or other damage to the natural surroundings.
We want to make sure the epic views and beautiful surroundings are here for your grandchildren, great grandchildren, and their offspring. So, let’s share some ideas for what can be done from Leave No Trace:
  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors
“Pack it in, Pack it out” is a familiar mantra to seasoned wildland visitors. Any user of recreation lands has a responsibility to clean up before he or she leaves. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash and garbage. (Leave No Trace) By planning ahead, bringing bags for dog waste, carrying all of your garbage out, it’s a small but easy way to make sure you leave no trace. It may sound simple and a bit like common sense, but our trails are being loved, loved to the point of damage, and these reminders are more important than ever.
We ask you, visitors to Sedona Verde Valley, to help ensure the views remain as beautiful for the next person and their bucket list when they visit. Explore the Leave No Trace website, make plans with your friends and family to care for the environment, and make it a part of your travel plans.
We can’t wait to welcome you to Sedona Verde Valley!

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A Love Letter to Cottonwood

A Love Letter to Cottonwood
By: Roger Naylor
I’m not sure what drew me to the Verde Valley. The first time I drove through Cottonwood was 1975 while a college student at Northern Arizona University. There was only one stoplight unless my memory deceives me.
In the ensuing years I passed through the burg a few more times. I camped at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, stopped for an occasional meal, that sort of thing. I felt no special attachment to the town yet when my wife and I were preparing to make a permanent move to Arizona a quarter of a century ago, Cottonwood dominated our discussions. It had everything we were looking for—a small town with charm, beautiful setting, good climate, and good location.
Turns out it was the best possible decision we could have made. It meant giving up a few conveniences of city living but I like the slower pace of Cottonwood, the sparse traffic, the quiet and the friendly atmosphere. I like being so close to the land, with open country and trails just minutes away, and wildlife showing up on my doorstep. Most of all, I love having my own personal mountain right outside my window. Mingus Mountain defines our western skyline and serves as launching pad for an array of astounding sunsets.
We’ve seen plenty of changes over the years but most of them positive. Cottonwood has grown but has lost none of its charm. Old Town, which was very run down when we first arrived, is now thriving. There are so many great restaurants that it’s hard to choose where to eat. And wonder of wonders, Cottonwood even has a bit of nightlife. The sidewalks aren’t rolled up at 5:00 p.m. anymore, and that’s impressive for a small town.
Yet small town it remains. It’s the kind of place where you can’t go to the grocery store without running into friends and acquaintances. It’s the kind of place where you know your neighbor, and often your neighbor’s dog. And even though Old Town may have gotten a little hipper as a wine destination, it’s still relaxed enough where you occasionally see horses tied up right on Main Street. If that’s not the essence of an Arizona town, I don’t know what is.
“Location, location, location” is the real estate mantra, and I can’t imagine that a better neighborhood exists in the entire state. Cottonwood nestles in that transition zone between desert and high country, reaping the benefits of all four seasons. We can see some of Arizona’s most popular tourist destinations from our porches. Jerome clings to the mountainside—how I love those twinkling lights at night—Sedona sits across the valley and we’re bookended by Clarkdale and Camp Verde. We’re an hour from Flagstaff, Prescott and the northern edge of ever-creeping Phoenix. And oh yeah, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World lies just up the road. I very much like knowing I can get up in the morning and be hiking into the Grand Canyon before lunchtime.
It was love at first sight for me when I arrived in Arizona way back in 1975. I spent those early years rambling around this remarkable state, first for fun and later as part of my job. For the past 15 years, I’ve been a full-time Arizona author and travel writer. That means I there is hardly a corner of this state I haven’t explored and written about. But I’m always happy to return to Cottonwood. In all my travels, I have yet to find another community that I want to call home.
Visit: www.RogerNaylor.com for more information and to purchase Roger’s books.

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Violette's Bakery Cafe

What to do in Clarkdale, AZ

Clarkdale may be a small destination, but it’s packed full of fun to explore and discover. Here are a few highlights we recommend:
  1. Verde Canyon Railroad: The casual grace of train travel never goes out of style. From the moment you step aboard the renovated vintage train, you are whisked back to a time of luxurious and leisurely train travel. This  3.5 hour excursion takes you on a 20-mile journey through 110 years of history.  verdecanyonrr.com
  2. Violette’s Bakery Cafe: sit outside of an old train car in Clarkdale, watch the world go by, and enjoy a pastry that is out of this world. We kid you not, you will be thinking of it for days, weeks, and months after you enjoy one. Violette’s Bakery Cafe
  3. Clarkdale Kayak Co.: grab some friends, slap on the sunscreen, and rent some kayaks to float the Verde River. You’ll be amazed at the red rock walls, bird watching, cool water, and the peacefulness surrounding the high desert. clarkdalekayak.com
  4. Arizona Copper Art Museum: Starting in towns like Clarkdale, copper leaves, and then blossoms into an amazing story of the worlds’ most beautiful metal.  It is told through a wonderful idea of combining history and stunning artifacts into truly enjoyable exhibits. Visit and explore the history and beauty of copper in Clarkdale. copperartmuseum.com
  5. Chateau Tumbleweed: wine is a thing in Arizona and it’s found a home in Clarkdale too. Get ready to sit, sip, and enjoy at one of the coolest wineries in Arizona. Their logo matches the vibe and you’ll feel at home while you sip and savor. chateautumbleweed.com
  6. Smelter Town Brewery: delivers finely crafted beers, brewed with passion and creativity, all while representing the community of Clarkdale, Arizona. With each innovative beer poured, Smelter Town Brewery remembers the commitment, creativity and passion that goes into the craftsmanship of brewing. smeltertownbrewery.com
Clarkdale may be small, but they are mighty in entertainment, history, wine, food, and so much more. Clarkdale welcomes you and you’ll soon find it’s a place to plan to visit again and again. For more trip planning information and ideas, please visit: experienceclarkdale.com.

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Gratitude in Sedona Verde Valley

It’s that time of year, Thanksgiving. While this year may be very different for all of us in terms of work, school, and home life, we have plenty to be thankful for and we’d like to share why that includes Sedona Verde Valley.
Sedona Verde Valley is located in the heart of Arizona. It’s centrally located and easy to get to. Whether you’re hopping in a car from the Phoenix area, flying over from California, or traveling across country in an RV, it’s the destination when you arrive. You can settle down in one of the communities: Camp Verde, Cottonwood, Jerome, Clarkdale, or Sedona, and find yourself marveling at some of the most amazing views in the world.
The views in Sedona Verde Valley are at the top of our list of gratitude this year. When times have been challenging or troubling, a look outside can help take us away for a minute, five, or even longer if we need it. Letting the mind wander over these incredible rock formations, changing leaves along the River, or the vast open spaces offer a therapeutic quality we can’t find anywhere else.
Even if we find ourselves troubled by 2020, we can take comfort in knowing these views and the magic of Sedona Verde Valley are not going away. If anyone cannot travel here soon, we invite you to escape through the pictures, videos, and connect on social media about what is missed, loved, and will be enjoyed in person one day soon.
We’re also grateful for the ability to get outside and enjoy these views up close and personal. We can get out on a trail in any of our communities on foot, bike, horseback, or even ATV and enjoy adventure without seeing anyone. The wide open spaces have been a big gift in 2020 and we’ve welcomed more visitors on our trails than ever before. While we love that and sharing our spaces, we’d like to remind everyone to show appreciation and gratitude by leaving no trace. It’s so much more special when we leave only foot prints and take only photos and memories.
As we approach Thursday and celebrate Thanksgiving in what may be the most different way we have ever done, we ask everyone to stop, take in the view and let’s all be grateful for that.

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New Ryal Canyon Trailhead

Are you ready for a new hiking adventure, specifically one that’s off of the beaten path and maybe is not as well known? Maybe you’ve tackled Devil’s Bridge, Doe Mesa, the Jail Trail, and you’re ready for something new. Want to feel on top of the world with plenty of views? Ryal Canyon Trail is for you! Located in Camp Verde, easy to find, and well marked, the Ryal Canyon Trailhead is scenic, will take your breath away from the views, and a little bit because of the elevation climb. It’s one of those hikes you’ll need to be prepared to take and will be glad you did. Lace up the hiking shoes, pack your snacks, water, sunscreen, and the camera. As you arrive, you’ll find a well marked trailhead, plenty of parking, and even a restroom before you set foot on the trail. Make note of the facts about the trail, familiarize yourself with where you are, lock the car, and off you go.
Open the gate, the climb has begun, and as you keep your eyes on the trail, don’t forget to look up and turn around. You’ll soon see why you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world! The view will take you all the way to the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, the red rocks of Sedona, Mingus Mountain with Jerome and Cottonwood, and the meandering trees from the Verde River. You’ll feel like you’ve viewed all of Sedona Verde Valley in less than an hour of hiking time. But, don’t stop there. Make it a goal to get to the top and relish in the accomplishment and crossing a new hike off of your ever growing list. Not to mention, you’ll have bragging rights for conquering one of the newest hikes in all of Sedona Verde Valley.
Take your time as you hike your way down and see if you spot any of the fossilized bones or fragments known to be found in the area. Imagine what it was like when camels, sabertooth tigers and mammoths once roamed the area. Keep your eyes open for a possible sighting of a javelina, turkey vulture, or coyote heading home after a hunt or exploration.
As you return to your parked vehicle, take advantage of one of the shaded picnic tables and unpack a lunch, enjoy the peace and quiet of the area. Then, head into downtown Camp Verde for some antique shopping, a massage, a stop in at the visitor center, or even some wine tasting. For more information about Camp Verde, click here for their website.  

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Tlaquepaque & The Marigold Mural Project

“Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.” – Emily Dickinson
Loss is personal and can sometimes be hard to express just how to share those feelings or what to do. We’ve found, often when visitors explore Sedona Verde Valley, they want to remember lost loved ones even more. This time of year can stir up feelings and draw on the desire to create lasting memories, but what to do? Visit Tlaquepaque and discover a new way to remember those loved ones.
This week at Tlaquepaque from November 4-7, the “Tree of Life: Messages of Love” mural to honor lost loved ones is available to share messages to those lost. Everyone is invited to bring or share a contribution for the mural. Suggestions include a letter, photo, drawing, painting, or even just a name. Submit yours to [email protected], or stop by in person from 11:00am-5:00pm daily and use the note cards and markers supplied.
When you visit Sedona Verde Valley, may you find peace, comfort, and the ability to remember and honor your loved ones in an inspiring way.    

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Camp Verde Sports Complex

The Town of Camp Verde and Parks & Recreation are excited about the continued progress at the new Sports Complex, which is located on about 100 acres of Town land behind the Verde Ranger Station off SR 260, and want to update everyone on our plans and progress.
Construction on the Sports Complex began back in April of 2018. The initial work included; clearing and grubbing, mass grading, drainage improvements, underground utilities, and a paved access road. All of this work was completed on schedule and under the engineer’s original cost estimate. However rising construction costs due to the improved economy resulted in bids that were well above our available funding which ultimately led to a pause in construction during much of 2019.
During the pause Town staff and our design firm Kimley-Horn “value engineered” the plans in an effort to reduce costs prior to re-bidding the project in early 2020. This effort resulted in a contract award to Tierra Verde Builders of Camp Verde in February. The current work which started in late March includes; finish grading for the parking area, 2-baseball/softball fields and 2-soccer/football fields; the installation of field drainage and irrigation lines, electric work for field lighting, and soon the placement of grass on the playing fields.
Earlier this year, the Town Council approved borrowing an additional $2.5 million dollars for necessary improvements that were not included in the current project. Those improvements include; field lighting, a restroom/concession stand facility, waste water lift station, potable water well, and A+ reclaimed irrigation water from the Waste Water Treatment Plant. The funding was available to start the work in July and it was our intent to begin work on those improvements immediately until the Town learned that it was eligible for a grant funding opportunity that had not been previously available in an amount that would fund our improvements.
In May Town staff attended a meeting where they found out that grant funding was available for Park projects that could be granted in much larger sums than previously allowed. The funding source, called the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Grant, was available through the Arizona State Parks & Trails Grant program in partnership with the National Park Service. The Town applied for the LWCF Grant in July which required a dollar for dollar match. The Town decided to maximize the grant amount by putting the recently acquired $2.5 million up as a match for $2.5 million in grant funding. If awarded the funding could have been available as early as October of this year. Unfortunately the program was suddenly shut down by the Federal government due to complications from COVID-19. However the U.S. Congress recently reauthorized the funding and will begin accepting grant applications in January for award in March 2021.
The Town will be applying for $2.5 million in LWCF Grant funds in January requiring us to hold on to the same amount for the match. Any of the match funding expended by the Town prior to the award of the grant cannot be used as a match. With the first scheduled use of the fields now slated for early spring of next year there is plenty of time to complete the construction after the award of the additional grant funds.  The Town is confident that we have a great chance to be awarded this grant and want to be sure to have as much match money available as possible. Obviously an additional $2.5 million will go a very long way in completing amenities at the Sports Complex. The Town staff and Council feel this it is worth the wait in order to potentially secure additional funding making for a more successful project. In the event the grant is not awarded to the Town, we will use the current funds available to complete the priority portions of the project in time for baseball in the spring.
Our contractor, Ben Bassous with Tierra Verde Builders, had the following comments; “This is a great opportunity to have more funding for a great project for our Town. I am fully behind putting the project on pause, as these opportunities are very rare.” And “As a resident of Camp Verde and a father to children who will use this park, I want it done just as much as the next person, but I want a premier facility more than that.”
The Town’s Council and Staff are committed to getting this Sports Complex constructed. This is a lifelong, generational facility and we feel it is worth the wait in order to have the best project we can. We are just as excited as the community to get the Sports Complex open for our community. If you have any specific questions please contact Parks and Rec at 928-554-0820 ext. 3. We will be more than happy to speak with you.
Photos FINAL

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Dead Horse Ranch State Park

The Little Things…

Just because we’re wearing masks, socially distancing, and maybe not boarding a plane to reach exotic destinations doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy what is some of the most beautiful terrain and unique opportunities in all the world. Right here in Sedona Verde Valley we have a treasure trove of gems to be discovered behind every turn. Here are just a few to get out and discover today.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park: Don’t be fooled by the name, the horses are very much alive and available for trail rides along the banks of the Verde River and the ponds full of bass. It’s a perfect spot less than two miles from Old Town Cottonwood to lace up the hiking shoes, cast your line into the river or ponds, and maybe even pitch a tent for an overnight escape under the stars. It’s a must for anyone and if you’re and Arizonan, what are you waiting for?!
Clear Creek Vineyard & Winery: It’s located in Camp Verde and it’s an oasis with flowing wine. It is, trust us. You can sit outside under the shade trees, enjoy the cool breeze through the fall leaves and sip one of their blends or 2020 debuts. It’s a grape, we mean great escape and you’ve got to visit soon.
Ghost Town Tours: It’s almost October, almost Halloween and let’s face it, 2020 is strange. Why not discover the spooky side of Jerome with a ghost tour? Jerome is full of haunted history and who knows what you can and will discover. When you’re done you have a chance to keep the haunt going when you visit the Haunted Hamburger for a bloody Mary and a cheeseburger.
These are but a few interesting places to discover and will take you around the Verde Valley. Come back and visit this site often for more ideas, wonders, and delights from Sedona Verde Valley!

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