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Arizona Road Trips for Two

By: Teresa Bitler

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Some lovebirds are adventurers at heart. Others prefer luxe leisure all day long. These three Arizona itineraries take you on romantic getaways that are alternately restful, refined and rugged.

About the author

Teresa Bitler

Teresa Bitler

Teresa Bitler is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in Sunset and Valley Guide magazines. She is the author of two guidebooks, as well as four Arizona-related iPhone travel apps. She can be reached at

Getaway Style: Restful

Destination: White Mountains

If strolling under Ponderosa pines or watching snowflakes drift outside the window while you curl up by the fireplace sounds like heaven to you, head to the White Mountains in northeastern Arizona.

Eat: Open for breakfast and lunch, What's Cooking Kitchen and Bakery in Show Low makes almost everything from scratch, from the giant cinnamon rolls to in-house brined and smoked pastrami. The friendly staff at this family-owned restaurant will make you feel right at home.

What's Cooking Kitchen and Bakery
5171 Cub Lake Road, Ste. A-120, Show Low
(928) 537-0673
What's Cooking's Facebook page

Stay: The cozy cabins at the 13-acre Whispering Pines Resort in Pinetop come furnished and stocked with the essentials, including wood for a crackling fire in the fireplace. Start and end each day on the porch: sipping coffee and watching wildlife in the morning, toasting cocktails and stargazing at night.

Whispering Pines Resort
237 E. White Mountain Blvd., Pinetop
(928) 367-4386

Play: Few things are as rewardingly relaxing as the gentle sway of a horseback ride, so saddle up at Porter Mountain Stables in Lakeside for a leisurely excursion along creeks, through meadows and under treetops. The stables offer outings that range from 60 minutes to six hours; reservations are required during the winter.

Porter Mountain Stables
3092 Jacks Road, Lakeside
(928) 368-9599


Getaway Style: Refined

Destination: Verde Valley

In Central Arizona, the Verde Valley boasts stunningly beautiful resorts, award-winning wineries and chef-driven restaurants—enticements that attract visitors from around the globe. Only the area's red-rock vistas rival the high-end offerings.

Eat: A favorite with foodies, Nic's Italian Steak & Crab House in Cottonwood serves classic Italian fare (perfectly layered lasagna, lightly breaded eggplant Parmesan), premium steaks and fresh seafood. The ideal drink pairing? A deftly made martini, up, with a twist.

Nic's Italian Steak & Crab House
925 N. Main St., Cottonwood
(928) 634-9626

Stay: It's all about exclusivity at Sun Cliff Sedona. This romantic one-bedroom home sits on 24 private acres and features patio loveseats, outdoor fireplaces, a soaking tub perched on a cliff's edge and a Jacuzzi that overlooks Sedona's famed Cathedral Rock. Not to mention the five-star touches throughout like luxury linens, his and hers robes, and evening turn-down service.

Sun Cliff Sedona
3400 Red Rock Loop Road, Sedona
(928) 282-4355

Play: Ever had a massage at a vineyard? The Winter Massage Package at Page Springs Cellars pampers couples with a 60-minute creekside session, followed by a chef-crafted meal paired with Page Springs Cellars wine. Upgrade to the Premier Package by adding a winery or vineyard tour before your massage.

Page Springs Cellars
1500 N. Page Springs Road, Cornville
(928) 639-3004, ext. 226


Getaway Style: Rugged

Destination: Willcox

Explore the great outdoors when you venture into the Southern Arizona wilderness surrounding Willcox. From remote camping to farm-fresh eats, the region is ideal for couples wanting to go off-grid.

Eat: Although the farm is closed during the winter, the Country Store at Apple Annie’s Orchard welcomes visitors year-round. Shop for picnic-friendly goodies such as fruit, nuts, sandwiches and slices of made-from-scratch apple pie. Or dine on-site Monday through Friday.

Apple Annie’s Orchard
1510 N. Circle I Road, Willcox
(520) 766-2084

Stay: Camp at Pillsbury Wine Company's 100-acre vineyard. It's rustic—no hook-ups, bathrooms or water—but you can pitch a tent under pecan trees and enjoy mountain views. Members of Harvest Hosts (a company that arranges agritourism overnighters at farms and vineyards) stay for free; non-members pay $15 per night. Call Pillsbury Wine Company at least 24 hours in advance; upon arrival, check-in at the tasting room.

Pillsbury Wine Company
6450 S. Bennett Place, Willcox
(520) 384-3964

Play: Chiricahua National Monument has some of the best hiking in Southern Arizona. Tackle the 7.3-mile Heart of the Rocks Loop Trail to see the unique rock formations the monument is known for. Or attend Wings Over Willcox, a birding festival featuring wildlife tours and seminars Jan. 17-20.

Chiricahua National Monument
12856 E. Rhyolite Creek Road, Willcox
(520) 824-3560

Wings Over Willcox
(520) 384-2272

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