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The Farm at South Mountain (Phoenix, AZ)

The Farm at South Mountain (Phoenix, AZ)

One of the great things about the Phoenix metropolitan area is the abundance of unique weekend destinations for both food and fun. While I love all that my home city of Scottsdale has to offer during the week, I like to load the family into the car on the weekend and visit one of the many attractions that the rest of the Valley has to offer.

The Morning Glory Cafe at the Farm at South MountainThe Farm at South Mountain is one of my favorite spots to enjoy healthy breakfast fare which consists of fresh local produce, herbs, citrus and dairy. I wolf down the Southwestern breakfast burrito with a medley of fresh vegetables on most occasions. Located right next to the organic garden, the outdoor seating area commands instant relaxation.  Even if your eldest child is actively trying to stab your youngest with a fork.

The 12 acre expanse of The Farm includes three separate restaurants. The Morning Glory is, predictably, a breakfast cafe. The Farm Kitchen is the original restaurant, and primarily serves lunch along with morning snacks. With park bench seating under the shady branches of a pecan tree grove, you’ll forget that you are in the desert while enjoying a made-from-scratch treat. The Quiessence Restaurant and Wine Bar is what you think it is: upscale dining. Phoenix Magazine tagged it as “the best restaurant in Phoenix” in January, 2007. Contemporary American farm cuisine is the moniker given to the menu. I don’t know what that means, but the organic, locally produced dishes are amazing.

Pecan Grove at the Farm at South Mountain

Other attractions on The Farm include:

The Retreat: Straight from their website, The Retreat invites (by appointment) patrons to “Deeply relax and rejuvenate with massage. hot and cold stones, shiatsu, vibrational essences, facials, tea ceremonies, intuitive readings, healing sessions and more.”

The Artist Studio: Also according to their website, “The Artist Studio at The Farm is a new cultural/educational center working to promote creativity while connecting with deeper values in the natural environs of The Farm. Visit The Cottage, home to ever changing art mediums featuring the fine art of Artist’s in Residence. Relax and enjoy shopping for original gifts created by local artists. In The Studio we offer art classes, writing workshops, educational lectures, youth home school classes, field trips and staff retreats.”

The Doctor’s Office, likewise by appointment only, is home to a resident practitioner of naturopathic medicine.

Maya’s at The Farm is the organic garden which produces many of the fresh vegetables and herbs used by the three restaurants. Named for Maya Dailey, who tends the garden, Maya’s holds a farmer’s market every Saturday between 9 AM and 1 PM. In adjunct to the garden is a greenhouse and the chicken coup (my boys’ personal favorite). Watch those little fingers, though, as the chicken wire enclosure is electrified!

The Farm at South MountainThe Farm is a magical place to visit for special occasions as well as laconic Sunday mornings. I have been fortunate to enjoy birthdays, Easter brunch and just-because mornings within its friendly confines, and have never left in a bad mood.

Private parties and weddings are available for booking as well.

Whether you are new to the area, visiting for the season, or one who simply doesn’t often venture outside of your comfort zone in Scottsdale or Paradise Valley, I urge you to make a trip to this special place. The coffee is good, the mimosas are great, and the setting is out of this world!

For hours and upcoming events, please visit The Farm at South Mountain.

6106 S. 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85042

Pecan tree at The Farm at South Mountain

Paul Slaybaugh with Realty Executives is your guide to Scottsdale Real Estate. A Scottsdale native, Paul has been selling homes in Scottsdale, Phoenix and Paradise Valley since 1999, and selling the virtues of Arizona living even longer. If you are looking to buy or sell  in the greater Scottsdale area, or just wondering where to get a decent cup of coffee and an omelet, Paul’s your guy.

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The Phoenix Mountain Preserve

The Phoenix Mountain Preserve

As part of my continuing series of things to do in and around Scottsdale, Phoenix and Paradise Valley, Arizona, today’s edition is devoted to the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

As the Valley has been beset by rapid expansion and development, political forces have been at odds over the preservation of our native land.  Victories for conservationists have produced a series of preserved mountain areas within the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.  Encompassing approximately 23,500 acres (non-continuous) in total, and open to the public for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, the preserves offer an amazing opportunity to experience raw Arizona without leaving the confines of the city.

Phoenix Mountain Preserve

There are seven primary mountain preserve areas in Phoenix:  Lookout Mountain, Shadow Mountain, North Mountain/Shaw Butte, Stoney Mountain, Stoney Mountain South, Piestewa Peak (formerly Squaw Peak) and South Mountain.

This past Sunday, I took the family to the Piestewa Peak preserve area.  Instead of accessing the preserve from the South where there is a direct route up the peak, we decided to stomp around the open area to the North.  Not quite ready for mountain climbing, the boys were much better suited to scampering along the relatively flat trails.  On this day, the desert was surprisingly green and vibrant with undergrowth.  With sunshine on our faces and just the slightest nip in the air, it could not have been a better morning for communing with mother nature.

Piestewa Peak Preserve Area, Phoenix AZ

Look, there goes a group of middle-aged mountain bikers.  Up ahead is a gaggle of high school girls chattering away about nothing and everything.  To my left is a couple with three exceedingly happy Labrador Retrievers.  In the distance to the right, I can even see the silhouette of a man on horseback.

Yet, despite the traffic, I do not feel imposed upon.  The preserve so open and expansive, the mountain vistas so spectacular, that it never feels crowded.  Quite the contrary, we trade genuine smiles with each person we encounter.  Eager for the chance to express feelings of contentment with fellow revelers.  Every eye sparkles.

While fruitlessly trying to teach my toddler to identify a “mountain” and “cactus,” I can only laugh as he instead opts to inspect every single rock at his feet.  Trust me when I say that is a lot of rocks.

Jack in the Mountain Preserves Brandi & Wyatt - Phoenix Mountain Preserve

An hour later, tired but refreshed, we found our way back to the parking area.  The paved parking lot which I should note was not paved the last time I utilized this point of entry.  In fact there were no restrooms when I was here last either.  What does this tell me?  That it has been far too long.

Paul & Jack - Phoenix Mountain Preserve

When you need to step away from the rat race, don’t forget this haven is only minutes away.

For access to this part of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, go West on Shea Boulevard from Tatum.  Follow 40th Street South from Shea until it terminates in the public parking area.  Leave your worries with your car, and enjoy an enchanting day in the mountains.

Leaving it all behind in the Phoenix Mountains

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