Posts Tagged ‘Around the Tucson Area’

Weekend Wanderings: What’s Going on in Tucson?

Monday, December 8th, 2014

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Realtors and other volunteers wearing a red Santa hat in front of stores ring their bells for the Salvation Army, Christmas lights and icicles adorn the fronts of homes, the vendors of Christmas Trees have replaced their pumpkins with balsams and firs, and the stores are ready for another Christmas shopping weekend.
Less than three weeks until Christmas! Oro Valley celebrates its tree lighting ceremonies at the Oro Valley Market at 12155 North Oracle tonight between 5:30 and 8:00 pm. Santa will arrive to greet residents at this festive occasion.
Luminarias which line the paths at the Tucson Botanical Gardens will be on display this weekend and next weekend for a nominal fee. There will be refreshments and musical entertainment for your body and soul as you wander the pathways of this magnificent garden, home to lush and often rare plants.
For those with a bent towards animals, check the Reid Park Zoo’s animal light sculptures from 6 to 8 pm. Here is an opportunity to see the zoo and it’s animals at night…hmmm, wonder if the animals sleep as we do? This extends to December 23.
San Xavier Del Bac, the Mission Church, south of Tucson, stands as “the white dove in the desert” and can be seen in the midst of the desert from Interstate 19. Originally built to convert Native Americans to the ways of Christianity, the Baroque architecture is among the finest in the US. The interior art work in is stunning.
El Naciemento, the intricate Mexican Nativity Scene, is on display at La Casa Cordova in the Historical Block of the Tucson Art Museum. Displaying this nativity scene has been a tradition for decades.
Decorating gingerbread cookies and making ornaments out of candy canes are on the agenda for children attending Winter Wonderland, a program from 10 am to 2 pm at the Children’s Museum.
Unique stores line downtown Tucson, a place for gastronomical delights, music of all genres, and theaters to present entertainment from Broadway to the ultra modern. And now, stores are decked out in holiday decorations – competing for the best of downtown. Take a gander downtown, ride the trolley, and enjoy the December spirit.

Tucson’s Premier Bike Race…El Tour De Tucson!

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Bicyclists from the world arrive in Tucson, land of saguaro cacti, beautiful mountain ranges, blue and sunny skies, ready for Saturday’s event, the annual El Tour de Tucson, always held the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  Tucson is well known as a bicycle friendly city and has won the Gold Award and is striving for the Platinum Award.

While Buffalo, a town accustomed to snow, is laden with more than six feet of the white stuff and much of the nation is suffering temperatures far below normal for this time of year, volunteers for El Tour de Tucson are getting their last minute instructions for the 104 mile bicycle ride through Pima County where temps should be in the high 60’s, a comfortable ride for bicyclists pedaling their best.

El Tour de Tucson has four rides: the most strenuous is 104 miles, a 75 miles ride, and a 55 mile ride, and finally a 40 mile ride. This is a city wide event and some streets are closed off to motorists.

The route transverses the city from the south to the east to the north to the west and then back down south to the start place.

Along the route, contingencies of people cheer for their favorite riders. People set up water and snack stations for bicyclists along the shoulders of “country roads”. Police in their orange vests direct traffic … the motto- packs of bicyclists first.

More than 9,000 cyclists are expected for the event and 2600 volunteers will be available to assist cyclists. A full program and schedule of events is at

People planning to travel within the city on Saturday should check the route map on the above web site and plan their travels accordingly. It is easy to be held up for 10-15 minutes when cyclists are crossing major intersections.

Stately saguaros from their hilly perches stand at attention for those who brave the trek on what promises to be a beautiful, warm, Tucson November day!

It’s Spring…Clean Out, Clean Up… Look at Your Home From The Eyes of a Buyer…

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Tucson real estate is no different than real estate in any other location;  periodically we should take a gander at our surroundings from the eyes of a buyer, even though we are neither buying or selling.

How we keep our yard and our surroundings both exterior and interior, reflects the neighborhood in which we live, and consequently the property values.  The person down the road may have his home for sale;  I may have an unkempt yard with some junk on the side, but visible from the road or by a potential buyer who is walking the area, and my junk may impact the value of my neighbor’s house.

“Harumph” you may say.  How can that be?

Comparative market values, otherwise known as “comps” are cumulative.  Certainly they reflect economic conditions of the time, they reflect the area, and more specifically they reflect a neighborhood.

Given two identical homes, one which has been maintained in a well maintained neighborhood and the second in a neighborhood where there is an occasional older car someone wants to restore  “someday”, which is sitting in the yard with two flat tires collecting dust, and another home where the weeds are becoming a wonderful goat patch, and perhaps another home where the facia board is chipping and flaking, which home will command the higher price?

It is not one home which creates this scenario of a neighborhood which is “run down”; it is the cumulation of homes which cause this impression.

The combination of “mess” creates the image of people not caring about their surroundings.  Buyers do not want to buy into that type of neighborhood.  If the neighborhood looks a bit “run down” today, what will it be in five years?,  they think.  And rightfully so.  Blight begins with one person not caring.

Spring is in the air and spring is traditionally a time for clean up and clean out.  Ask your neighbors to take pride in their neighborhood and get rid of the “junk” and the things which devalue the neighborhood, or just begin yourself, and offer to help an elderly neighbor clean up their yard.

So how does your junk impact your neighbor?  If he/she must price his property lower because of your treasures in your yard and those of your neighbors, when it comes time to sell your home, you will pay that price and probably more in a lower sales price, and potentially in a buyer who also doesn’t care about maintaining the property, or an investor whose only interest is in the rent.

Go back and look at your home from the eyes of a buyer.  It’s eye opening!

George Zoritch…Remembering

Friday, November 6th, 2009

    Life is full of things we promise ourselves we are going to do, or promise others, and so is the case with George Zoritch to whom I promised a roast lamb dinner…and never delivered.

    I first met the acclaimed ballet dancer after I had ordered  “Ballet Russes” from Netflix.   I watched it with fascination; the graceful movements of the participants of the Ballet Russes, and the difficulties they endured with long hours, low pay, but profound love for their craft.  These were the days when people performed for the love of performing, not for exhorbitant salaries. 

   George was interviewed on the documentary and from the locale and his dialogue, I thought I knew where he lived.  So checking sources, I found I was correct, less than a mile from my home.  

     With a friend, I excitedly went to purchase a huge bouquet of flowers … as a thank you to this gentleman who had brought me pleasure just watching “Ballet Russes”.  And I realized what a magnificient career he had and the pleasure he has brought to thousands of others.

    We approached the wrought iron gate and rang the bell, and some time later, a wiry gentleman appeared and I knew instinctively he was George Zoritch.  Bewildered, he wondered why this woman and friend were standing at his gate with flowers and he graciously invited us in where we sat and chatted for a long period of time.

    Regaling us with stories of his career, telling us he still did his exercises every morning in bed before he rises, talking about his days at the Unversity of Arizona, and his impressions of people with whom he danced, George enthralled us.

     We looked at awards and memorabilia, and fixed the flowers in a vase for him.   And he brought out his recording, “Ballet Mystique Behind the Glamour of the Ballet Russe”  A Memoir by George Zoritch.  It is “the piano music performed during the barre and centre exercises by Vladimir Kudryavtsev, the Concertmaster” of the Bolshoi Ballet, according to the accompanying insert.  It also includes thirty one  compositions by Semeon Gravilovitch Zoritch who “founded Classical Ballet at the Place in St. Petersburg Russia” according to another insert.  This gentleman was George’s Great Grandfather who founded Classical Ballet at the Palce in St. Petersburg, Russia.

     The Premier Danseur was a protege of Mr. Leonide Massine, “who created 11 leading roles for him”.  As George told us stories, his eyes danced obviously in delightful memory.  He talked about his relationship with George Balanchine, the leading ballerinas with whom he partnered, his life in Europe, and his coming to America and dancing here. 

    I saw George at the post office one day mailing his letters and we all remarked upon his photo stamp, a replica of the famous photo “Le Spectre de la Rose”.  Truly I am grateful the little Russian boy, born in Moscow in 1917, graced this world with the beauty of his movements and dance interpretations.  We are all richer for this creatively unique life.


Videos of George Zoritch:

New York Times Obituary

Weekend Wanderings…Sonoita, Elgin and Patagonia

Friday, July 17th, 2009

   Tucson summer is here…temps are plus 100 and the humidity has brought monsoon weather.  The dew point has reached 54 for three successive days.    Tucsonians who want a respite from the warm weather often trek to Summerhaven, a small village in the Catalina Mountains at an elevation of about 8,000 feet.   But now that the pie lady is no longer,  going south for wine tastings is another option. 

   Sonoita, Elgin, and Patagonia are cool places, both in the euphemistic term and in the literal term.  At an elevation of about 5,000 feet and within 45 minutes from Tucson,  Sonoita is located off of I-10 traveling west on Naugle Avenue, otherwise known as State Highway 83.  Elgin is to the east of Sonoita about nine miles, and Patagonia is about 12 miles south on Route 82. 

   The three communities are surrounded by mountains and national forests; the Santa Rita Mountains, the Patagonia Mountains, and the Coronado National Forest.  Parker Canyon Lake, a popular recreational areas is to the south of Elgin on Route 83.  Patagonia hosts a word class birding area.

    Gently slopping grassy hills contrast with Tucson’s craggy mountainous rocky terrain.   The topography is dramatically different and one understands immediately how Sonoita became a big horse country area.  The temperatures are cooler because of the elevation and in the winter, dustings of snow are not unknown occurances.

    The amount of rainfall is conducive to wine growing, combined with cool summer nights. Traveling the back roads, grape arbors are a common sight.  Several family owned wineries produce award winning Arizona wines.   A jaunt to Arizona wine country, less than an hour from Tucson, is an interesting, educational and fun Saturday or Sunday excursion.

    Known as the Mountain Empire, these areas also have small cafes and bistros which serve up vittles ranging from Mexican to gourmet, to cowboy.  There are art galleries, gift shops, bookstores, as well as an abundance of bed and breakfasts, including a bed and breakfast where you can also board your horse.

    The Mountain Empire Rotary, the Patagonia Area Business Association and the Sonoita/Elgin Chamber of Commerce offers a Mountain Empire Passport which provides discounts for many of the businesses in the area.  For additional information, contact Charlie Kentnor of Realty Executives at 520-455-5560 or Tom Anderson at 520-250-7205, both of whom can assist in obtaining a passport.

    Take a ride this weekend south…rather than to the Catalinas and enjoy what the Mountain Empire has to offer!