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It’s time to plan your winter escape!

Living in the southern interior or on Vancouver Island usually means only a few months of cold winter weather. I love winter and its special seasonal activities; like snowshoeing, cross country and downhill skiing, but only for about a month, then I am done and ready to run to warmer weather and blue skies.

It’s hard to believe that the year is ¾ over! Winter and Christmas are quickly approaching and it is time to plan my winter escape. January, typically the coldest month of the year is always my month to get away. I like to be home for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations with family and friends and coming back at the end of the January means only a couple more weeks more of cold weather before I begin to see signs of spring.

If you are like me, it is time to start your planning! Wintering in Arizona has long been a favourite of mine and is sure to appeal to many of you. This year Wells Gray Tours has the perfect 18-day tour to get you out of the cold and into the warmth of the Arizona sun. Travelling by coach from home cities in BC to Arizona provides for the perfect opportunity to visit attractions in Oregon, Idaho and Utah before arriving in Arizona. On the way home, we fly directly from Phoenix to Kelowna with transfers included to home cities.

To ensure that your winter break is relaxed, we have included multi night stays during this trip south including local sites. In Springdale, Utah, a two-night stay allows time to visit Zion National Park and take in the Imax film presentation of Zion Canyon: Treasure of the Gods.

Sedona, Az. with its beautiful red rocks is our next stop for a two night stay. This is a vibrant arts community set among captivating and colourful rock formations of the Verde Canyon. A four-hour rail excursion including first class seating and a picnic lunch on the memorable Verde Canyon Railroad and a two-hour jeep excursion in the back country are sure to be tour highlights.

A stop at Montezuma Castle, on our way to Tucson is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings and dates back to the 12th century. A four night stay at the beautiful Radisson hotel allows time to take in the local sites such as Kartchner Caverns, Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, and enjoy a western-themed dinner at Pinnacle Peak. Hey guys, you should wear an old tie, so it can be snipped off and added to the restaurant’s collection of 250,000! Before we leave Tucson, we will spend time at the UNESCO City of Gastronomy, the first in the USA to be honoured. There we will attend a cooking class to learn about and sample the unique offerings in Tucson. Yum!

Next we spend five nights on the east side of Phoenix in the resort community of Scottsdale which is conveniently located within walking distance to the Scottsdale Waterfront District and Historic Old Town Scottsdale, famous for art galleries, shopping and dining. Two theatre performances, The Dalton Family and the Rhythm Cats, a cruise on Saguaro Lake, The Frank Lloyd Wright Museum and Musical Instrument Museum are all included.

Now it’s up to you, to pack your bags and come along and enjoy the Arizona sun!

Written by: Joan Niemeier