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About Fountain Hills Around Arizona Community Engagement Culture Desert Plants and Wildlife Local Businesses Local Events Outdoor recreation Real Estate Schools The Verdes Things to Do Yard and Garden

Summer 2022’s Desert Vibe Magazine Is Here!

The second quarterly issue of Desert Vibe magazine is finally here, and it’s full of must-see information about local events, listings, and market information!

Here are some of the things you’ll see in the summer Vibe:

This Desert Vibe, as with the previous, is being released in an online-only format, with interactive links to everything you’ll need! To read the full Desert Vibe magazine, go to DesertVibe.com/Magazine.

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About Fountain Hills Community Engagement Culture Holidays Local Businesses Local Events Outdoor recreation Things to Do

2022 Turkey Trot Ticket Giveaway!

The 32nd annual Turkey Trot is kicking off Fountain Hills’ Thanksgiving! This year, the Sonoran Lifestyle Team is the Turkey Trot’s presenting sponsor, and we’ll be there the whole time

As presenting sponsors of the event, we have five extra tickets sitting around that we’d like to give away. If you’ve run the Trot in previous years and want a chance at a free ticket, your big opportunity is here!

Runners waiting for the 2021 Turkey Trot to begin.

Leading up to this year’s Turkey Trot, we’re going to be giving away five spots at the run FOR FREE! That’s right, if you want a chance to save $30 in registration, all you have to do is:

  • Send a picture of yourself at a previous year’s Turkey Trot to Sonoran@SonoranLifestyle.com,
  • or tag @sonoranlifestyle with your photo on Instagram.

There are only five free spots available, so don’t delay! We’ll reply to the FIRST five entries with instructions for receiving their free tickets.

The Turkey Trot will take place at 7:15AM on Thanksgiving morning, November 24th. We’ll see you there!

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About Fountain Hills Around Arizona Culture Outdoor recreation The Verdes Things to Do

How The “Beeline” Highway Got Its Name

For residents of the east valley, the Beeline Highway is an important part of daily life, the gateway to the Mogollon Rim. It’s the only modern highway that connects to Fountain Hills.

The official name of the road is State Route 87, so you might wonder: why is it called “The Beeline Highway?”

History of Travel from Rim to Valley

You can see in this 1937 map that the Bush Highway follows its modern route. This is 21 years before the Beeline Highway. You can also see that the only trail that passes through modern Fountain Hills is likely the Stoneman Road.

The first major car route between Mesa and Payson was the Bush Highway, named after Harvey Granville Bush. He was a lumberman by trade, and thus had homes in Mesa and Payson, where the tall pines grow.

Getting lumber to the Valley from the mountains was a huge challenge during the days of wagons and early automobiles, involving several disjointed trails that went through the dangerous Reno Pass. So, Bush pushed an initiative with the state and the lumber industry to create a unified road from the city to Payson. Completed in 1934, the path, named after Bush, was the best and most convenient route to get to and from the Mogollon Rim.

As Phoenix’s population boomed after World War 2, camping became a larger and larger pastime, and the traffic up the Bush Highway increased drastically. This came to the attention of Grady Gammage, president of Arizona State Teachers College in Tempe. Gammage lobbied the state government and worked with James G. Hart of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to begin the creation of an official State Route to access and pass Payson.

After receiving permission from the Salt River Indian Reservation and Fort McDowell Indian Reservation, construction began.

A new, more convenient route was then built west of the Bush Highway. It was a significant shortcut for most Phoenix residents, considering it connected to West Mesa on Country Club Drive instead of all the way in Apache Junction.

The shortcut was so obvious, that it was considered “taking a bee-line” up to the Rim, with the term “bee-line” being a slang term referring to a shortcut.

While the Bush Highway passes through scenic and mountainous terrain, the Beeline shortcut cuts distance and time and travels along mostly smooth ground.

From then on, the Beeline Highway was paved and expanded on top of, and sometimes next to, the old Bush Highway. The original “bee-line” shortcut ends where the modern Bush Highway meets the Beeline, just north of Goldfield Ranch. You can still see the original route along the modern Beeline to this day, all the way to Payson.

The Beeline Highway as we know it today was fully realized in 1966, with the merging of the old State Route 65 (which connected Winslow to Strawberry) and the ever-expanding path of Route 87.

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Around Arizona Culture Desert Plants and Wildlife Things to Do

3 Arizona Destinations to Beat the Summer Heat

It’s summer in the Valley, and it’s hot. If you have time for a day trip, or even an extended stay, up in a place with cooler weather, why wouldn’t you? Luckily, there are forests and high elevations in almost all directions, where the weather is significantly cooler and wetter and the views are second to none. The best part: you can drive to all these places in a few hours.

Big Lake

Located near the town of Greer and the Sunrise Ski Resort, Big Lake is just one of the dozens of natural lakes on the Mogollon Rim. The elevation in the Big Lake area sits around 9,000 feet, and the average high temperature in the nearest towns is a beautiful 75.6 degrees in July.

The fishing is great here, and the views of meadows, forests, and often perennially snowcapped mountains are stunning. There are lots of places to park an RV or go camping, and there are cabins available for rent in Greer all year round.

Flagstaff

Flagstaff is the biggest city in northern Arizona, known for being the gateway to the Grand Canyon, home of Northern Arizona University, and the Sno Bowl Ski Resort. Arguably the best features of Flagstaff are its beautiful ecosystem and cool temperatures, all while being only a 2.5-hour drive from the Phoenix area. The average high temperature in July is 82 degrees.

There are countless resorts, hotels, and B&B’s in and around Flagstaff waiting to take in flatlanders trying to escape the heat. In the downtown area, there are several great food options and bars.

The nature in Flagstaff and the surrounding area is absolutely amazing, with stands of ponderosa pines mixed with aspen trees, occasionally separated by meadows.

Mount Lemmon

Mount Lemmon is one of the most prominent “Sky Islands” in southern Arizona, and the weather does not disappoint. Situated just north of the city of Tucson, a drive from Fountain Hills to the resort on top takes about 3.5 hours.

While Mount Lemmon is best known for its ski resort that runs throughout the winter and spring, the surrounding village is full of cabins to rent, trails to hike, an observatory to tour, and a few cute restaurants to enjoy.

The drive up the mountain and what you’ll see from the top are some of the best views you can find in the state. With an average July temperature of 76.5 degrees and an elevation of 9,171 feet, Mount Lemmon is a place you’ll want to see – and feel.

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Community Engagement Culture Local Events

Ballet Returns to Fountain Hills on September 8th!

Ballet Under the Stars is back! On September 8th, 2022, Ballet Arizona is commencing its 2022-23 ballet season. The season kicks off with “Ballet Under the Stars,” a free, public event at the amphitheater of the Fountain Park here in Fountain Hills!

The performers of Ballet Arizona are some of the most skilled dancers in Arizona, and their broad range of skills will be put into the spotlight at Ballet Under the Stars. You’ll be able to witness an assortment of genres, both classical and contemporary.

Get ready for a night of great music, fantastic dancing, and family-friendly entertainment. Be sure to bring a blanket or some chairs so you can enjoy the evening to the fullest. There will be food trucks behind the stage as well.

This show is totally FREE and will be fun for the whole family! The performance begins at 7:00PM. We’ll see you there!

To learn more about Ballet Arizona’s 2022-23 program, click here.

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Community Engagement Culture Local Events

Back To School Bash 2022!

Fountain Hills Community Services has provided so many fun activities for the kids of Fountain Hills this summer. The re-opening of the Noon Kiwanis Splash Pad inaugurated the season of summer fun, with weekly and semi-weekly events such as Wacky Wet Wednesdays, Splash Pad Summer Series, and the Summer Games. As summer comes to an end, a grand finale is in order: The annual Back 2 School Bash!

The first day of school in the Fountain Hills Unified School District is set for August 9th this year. Ten days later, on August 19th, the Back 2 School Bash will take place at Four Peaks Park.

The Back 2 School Bash, which is proudly sponsored by the Sonoran Lifestyle Team at RE/MAX Sun Properties, is truly a grand display of fun summer activities capping off every activity the town provided over the summer and more. Water slides, dunk tanks, kettle corn, water games, and cornhole are just some of the things you’ll find this time around. MCSO and the FH Fire Department will also have vehicles on display for kids to check out.

No matter how old your kids are, there will be something there to enjoy. The event is totally free and will go from 6:00PM through 8:00PM. To learn more about the activities and amenities at this year’s Bash, head to fountainhillsaz.gov.

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Community Engagement Culture Things to Do

FH Theater Presents “Solitary Confinement” and more!

Fountain Hills Theater announces the opening of the mystery comedy-thriller “Solitary Confinement,” along with the hilarious musical satire “Urinetown!”

Solitary Confinement

When eccentric billionaire Richard Jannings discovers that someone is trying to murder him in his high-rise, security-controlled penthouse, it becomes a deadly game of cat and mouse between the paranoid Jannings and the mysterious would-be assassin. This wildly unique murder mystery by Rupert Holmes (Say Goodnight, Gracie, Curtains and The Mystery of Edwin Drood) becomes a thrilling and funny whodunit.

            “Solitary Confinement” will play from August 19 through September 4, 2022. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30PM and Sundays at 2PM.  

Urinetown

Winner of three Tony Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards, and two Obie Awards, “Urinetown: The Musical”, is a hilarious musical satire of the legal system, the political system, and musical theatre itself!

“Urinetown” takes place in a Gotham-like city, where a terrible water shortage, caused by a 20-year drought, has led to a government-enforced ban on private toilets. Amid the people, a hero decides that he’s had enough and plans a revolution to lead them all to freedom!

“Urinetown” will play from July 8th through 24th, 2022. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30PM and Sundays at 2PM.  

The Theater

Individual tickets are $35 for adults and $18 for youth 17 and under. Seniors receive a $5 discount on all Thursday performances. Group, Active Duty, and Veteran discounts are available.
All performances are at Fountain Hills Theater at 11445 N. Saguaro Blvd. Tickets are available at fhtaz.org.

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Culture Desert Plants and Wildlife Outdoor recreation Yard and Garden

Edible Plants in the Sonoran Desert

Most of us don’t pay much attention to the edibility of the many plants in our backyards. Most people just see spiky plants and assume that they’re poisonous or otherwise inedible, beautiful scenery only to be admired. In reality, the desert is full of fruits, beans, and other edible materials that you can find right in your own backyard.

Palo Verde Beans

Palo Verde beans are at their best when they look like this.

Palo Verdes are some of the most common trees in the Sonoran Desert, and they are actually in the legume family. The bean pods, which are currently falling off the trees in droves as of late June, are currently just past their prime. They are best eaten when still soft and green. If you harvest them while they are still in their most easily-edible condition, usually around April or early May, they taste quite similar to snap peas.

Prickly Pear

This prickly pear was prepared by putting a lighter to its thorns and then splitting it in half with a knife, scooping out the contents with a spoon.

Prickly Pears are some of the most famous edible plants in the Sonoran Desert. Prickly Pear pads can be de-thorned and cooked, turning them into “nopales,” a signature ingredient in many Mexican foods. The fruits of the prickly pear, after being carefully picked with tongs and de-thorned either with flames or towels (or both), can be eaten, juiced, or made into syrups. Often foods made of/with prickly pear fruit are served at restaurants as one of Arizona’s classic endemic flavors.

Wolfberries/Goji

Desert Hackberries (pictured) taste good and are filled with antioxidants.

If you’re ever out hiking and you see large bushes with red or yellow berries on them, you’re most likely looking at hackberries, wolfberries, or goji berries. Before eating random berries in the wilderness, be sure to do what you can to ensure that what you’re looking at is one of these three edible options and not something poisonous. Once you’re sure, you can pick these berries and eat them with no special preparation. They are in the same family as tomatoes and tomatillos (which also grow out here if you know where to look), so you’ll taste something reminiscent of tomato when you try these native berries.

Ocotillo Flowers and Leaves

These ocotillo flowers are edible and taste super sweet.

Ocotillos, contrary to popular belief, are not cacti, but rather drought-deciduous bushes endemic to the American southwest and Mexico. After significant rains, ocotillos often become covered in small leaves, which taste like spinach when consumed. Every spring, ocotillos bloom brilliantly with bright red flower stalks at the top of each branch. These flowers can also be harvested, and taste quite sweet.

Saguaro Fruit

Saguaro fruits are traditionally picked with one of these long sticks.

Saguaros are one of the most popular symbols of Arizona. Their fruits are quite delicious as well, and they usually become ripe over the course of June. It’s illegal to harvest saguaro fruits out in the wilderness, so be sure to stick to saguaros on your own property or on another property where you have been given permission to harvest.

Barrel Cactus Fruit

Barrel fruits last a long time on the cactus before they begin to decompose.

The Compass Barrel is another of the most common cacti in the Sonoran Desert. They produce bright yellow fruits that are ripe by June most years. These fruits are edible, but most people claim that they don’t actually taste very good. This might be something worth trying, but maybe only consider adding it to your diet in a survival situation.

Cholla

These are the young buds of a Buckhorn cholla.

This one surprises a lot of people. Most people look at cholla as the most painful of the cacti, the ones to stay away from at all costs. However, if you can successfully collect some young pieces of cholla (especially ones with flower buds), you can boil them and scrub them with a toothbrush and steel wool until the spikes fall out.

After it’s cooked and the spines are all gone, the meat of the cholla cactus is similar in taste to the nopales of the prickly pear. Most people only try to consume the buckhorn cholla, as its thorns are the easiest to remove during this process and it is the least likely of the cholla varieties to cause digestion problems. This is another option that might be best left for survival situations.

These are just a few of the many plants of the Sonoran Desert that are edible. For a few more items on the menu, check out this article from Phoenix.org.

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Community Engagement Culture Local Events Things to Do

April 2022 Concerts Finale Recap

The Chuck Hall Band performing on April 28th, 2022.

The night of April 28th, 2022 saw the final night of three Concerts on the Avenue for the spring. This series of events has become a tradition, taking place on three evenings in November and three evenings in April every year.

This spring’s concerts had a great showing, with hundreds of people gathered around the two performances happening on either side of the Avenue of the Fountains.

Some played cornhole and hula-hooped along the green, others came to our office for charcuterie cups and SonoraRitas. Overall, everybody had a blast spending time with friends and family at this free event.

The Concerts will resume in November after the summer heat subsides.

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About Fountain Hills Community Engagement Culture

RE/MAX Awards Night!

Last Night, RE/MAX Sun Properties held its Awards Night for the achievements of its agents in 2021. It was a fun night at the Desert Canyon Golf Club’s Bar and Grill!

Anita, Cyndi and Michelle

While everybody had appetizers and socialized, Dori announced winners one by one of plaques and trophies representing various milestones in Real Estate Sales.

Toni LePoer
John Weil
Debbie Weinrich
Kristy Coup was the big winner last night, entering the RE/MAX Hall of Fame and selling more than $25 million in 2021.

These are just a few photos from an absolute blast of a night!