Wineries, Museums, Apples and Spectacular Rock Formations
By GERRY BARKER
North Palm Beach Life
February 3, 2019
WILLCOX_ We first heard about this town back at the start of our trip. Remember Doug Quarles -- the Lizard Lounge artist in Tucumcari, New Mexico? He talked about how Willcox was the heart of Arizona wine country. So after leaving Palm Springs, we set a course for here -- a distance of some 460 miles.
A little research on Wikipedia and we discovered wine isn't the only thing that put Willcox on the map. Founded in 1880, it's also the birthplace of Rex Allen, a star in the Hollywood Westerns of the Fifties. There's a museum dedicated to "The Arizona Cowboy" in the middle of town. And speaking of Hollywood, it's also noted parts of the 1993 film, "Red Rock West," starring Nicholas Cage and Dennis Hopper, was filmed here.
But the big deal is wine. Almost 75 percent of all the wine grapes grown in Arizona come from right here. Who knew? Also, there are almost 20 wineries right in the Willcox area. More on those coming soon.
A major bonus for us was discovering that some 40 miles southeast of here is the Chiricahua National Monument. Located in the Chiricahua Mountains, it was established in 1924 to "protect its extensive hoodoos and balancing rocks." Spectacular doesn't do it justice. Wait until you see the photos.
We actually got a preview of the park when we parked at a I-10 rest stop on our way to Willcox. All around us were these large boulders, stacked like some kind of fantastic building blocks.
Another close-by attraction is Apple Annie's Orchard, where you pick your own apples, shop in their store, grab a cider donut, eat at their restaurant, check out the bakery or just admire the scenery. It's quite a family operation, and growing every year. Let's pay them a visit ...
We arrive, park and head to the orchards.
Grab a wagon and start picking!
The boulders pose for us at an I-10 rest stop
A scenic place to take a break from driving
Lots to do. Get a pie ...eat at the restaurant ...or try a cider donut.