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Desert Plants and Wildlife Outdoor recreation Things to Do

Desert Belle Cruises: The perfect Fall adventure!

Fall is the perfect time to visit the upper canyon of Saguaro Lake, one of the series of lakes of Arizona’s Salt River.  Located only 20 minutes from Fountain Hills, the mountains and vistas include stunning views of Four Peaks and many of the Superstition Mountain vistas. 

Originally launched in 1964, the Desert Belle has been cruising the waters of Saguaro Lake for over fifty years. 

Choose from the upper viewing deck or downstairs in air-conditioned comfort and you won’t be disappointed! There’s always a combination of exotic Arizona wildlife, towering canyon walls and dramatic desert vistas.

This is the perfect spot for both Arizona residents and out-of-town guests. The Desert Belle is a unique way to enjoy all the beauty that Arizona has to offer.  The Belle offers bar service with food and an impressive line of beverages. 

Choose from a variety of cruises! The popular 80-minute Narration Cruise suits all family members. Cruises suited to a bit older crowd of 13-years and older include the Music Cruise, Wine and Music Cruise or Craft Beer & Music Cruise. 

Be sure to reserve early….they book up fast!  Check them out at desertbelle.com

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Local Events Schools Things to Do

Back to School Bash: IT’S ON!

Back to School Bash August 26, 2022
Bring the Kids down to this FREE End of Summer Event: Saturday August 26; 6-8 pm

Sonoran Lifestyle Team, The Town of Fountain Hills and lots of local kiddos will be celebrating the end of summer with a free Fountain Hills Back to School Bash event!

There will be inflatable water slides, a dunk tank, inflatable games, yard games, food trucks, a DJ, MCSO and Fire Department vehicles and more!

Join us for the all-ages event at Four Peaks Park on Friday, August 26 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Categories
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 Local Events Outdoor recreation Things to Do

The Spirit of Bavaria Lives at Oktoberfest 2022!

Can you hear the polka music playing? For several years now, Fountain Hills has been home to an annual Oktoberfest for the whole town to participate in some classic Bavarian festivities.

Oktoberfest has been a tradition in South Germany for over 200 years, beginning in 1810 as a celebration for the Bavarian King Ludwig I’s marriage. Since then, Oktoberfest spread across what would become Germany, and eventually to the United States.

Oktoberfest in the United States stayed concentrated to regions with high German populations until after World War II, when it finally began to spread to the rest of the country, eventually including Fountain Hills.

This Bavarian-style celebration features live music, costumes, German foods, and of course: Beer! You’ll see authentic details such as long tables decorated with blue and white paper, perfect for meeting friends and enjoying your beer and pretzels.

Participate in various themed contests for prizes, such as the Beer Stein holding contest, the Alphorn blowing contest, and the Bavarian Costume Contest.

While you do have to be 21 or older to purchase the beer, there is a free Kidz’ Zone full of activities for young Oktoberfest fans.

This year’s Oktoberfest will take place on the evenings of September 23rd and 24th, 2022 from 5:00PM through 10:00PM. Pre-admission tickets cost $5, and tickets purchased at the gate will cost $10.

For more information on how you can get into the Bavarian spirit this fall, go to fountainhillschamber.com

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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!

Categories
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.

Categories
Around Arizona Things to Do

Must-See Mountaintops in Arizona

Arizona has a lot of mountains, some that are high in the forest and others that tower over the low deserts. The views on top of many of these mountains are so good, you’ll have to see them all.

Here are five mountains in Arizona that have particularly standout views:

Kitt Peak

Parts of the summit of Kitt Peak were damaged by a wildfire in June, but the view is still fantastic.

Kitt Peak is one of the sky islands of southern Arizona, located in the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation. While its peak is only at 6,883 feet, the views from the summit are stunning.

On a clear day, you can see for hundreds of miles in any direction, and at sunset, you can look down as the sun sinks below the horizon to the west. The Kitt Peak National Observatory sits at the top but is currently temporarily closed due to damages from the Contreras Wildfire in June of 2022.

Mt. Lemmon

Mount Lemmon is another sky island, located just north of the city of Tucson. It sits at over 9,000 feet in elevation and is known for the Mount Lemmon Ski Resort.

From the summit of this beautiful mountain, you’ll have views overlooking almost every ecosystem in Arizona, from the high forests of the sky islands to the chaparral transition zones to the Sonoran and Chihuahua Deserts.

Piestewa Peak

Piestewa Peak is the twin sister to Camelback Mountain, right in the middle of the Valley, and it does not disappoint. This peak requires a hike through a beautiful desert preserve to reach, so be sure to bring sunscreen and a lot of water.

At 2,610 feet, you’ll still be in the Sonoran Desert ecosystem at the summit, and you’ll have a fantastic view of the entire Phoenix area in all directions. One of the mountains you’ll be able to see from here is the next entry on this list.

Thompson Peak

Thompson Peak is “the antenna mountain” of the McDowell Mountain range that towers over Fountain Hills and east Scottsdale. This peak also requires a hike, and at the top, you’ll be able to see the entire Phoenix metro area to the south and west, vast swaths of Tonto National Forest and McDowell Mountain Regional Park to the north and east.

While the trail to Piestewa Peak is only open from sunrise to sunset, a big standout feature of Thomspon Peak is that it is a popular destination for night hiking. Start your hike at sunset (with lots of water and flashlights) and in 2 or 3 hours you’ll be overlooking the brilliant glimmering city lights in one direction, and the quiet darkness of the forest in the other.

Mount Ord

Mount Ord is a tall peak in the Tonto National Forest that typically marks the halfway point between Fountain Hills and Payson during a trip to the Mogollon Rim. You’ll have to drive a dirt road to get close to the top, before hiking the final half mile to the summit. The road is well maintained, but if there’s been rain or snow, you should avoid taking a city car up the very curvy path.

At the top is another radio tower, and some amazing views to the south. From Mount Ord, you can see all of Roosevelt Lake, the Reno Pass, Bartlett Lake, Fountain Hills, and much of the Phoenix area. If you have a Tonto Pass and decide to camp near the top, you’ll be able to see both city lights and shooting stars from the same peak, thanks to its altitude and distance from Phoenix.

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
Local Events Things to Do

Jurassic-Themed Family Fun Night 7/21!

“Word on the street is that we may even see some real dinosaurs!”

Next Thursday, Fountain Hills Community Services is bringing Jurassic Park to the Community Center! This year’s Family Fun Night is the climax of the FH Summer Recreation Program for local kids.

This free event begins at 6:00 PM at the Community Center and will be filled with fun Jurassic-themed activities and entertainment for the entire family to enjoy. Some of the highlights expected at Thursday’s party will include:

  • The “Dino Crew”
  • Fossil Dig
  • Inflatable
  • Reptile Encounters
  • Food Truck to purchase dinner or a treat
  • Jurassic Crafts
  • and more!

If you are interested in going to the 2022 Family Fun Night, click here. Bring your kids and get ready to beat the heat with some dino-sized fun!