Sierra Vista, Arizona

Tucked into the foothills of the Huachuca Mountains and a stone’s throw from the border with Mexico, Sierra Vista, Arizona, serves up surprising flavors.

Wine grapes have been pressed and are happily fermenting away in barrels at the two dozen or so nearby wineries and nearby tasting rooms are open (and less crowded). Vintners have time to lean on the counter and share tales of their grape-growing season. The acidic soil in Cochise County lends itself handily to big reds, but several wineries present some whites with lovely, complex finishes.

Winter in Sierra Vista shifts the year ‘round Farmer’s Market fare from melons and ears of corn to beautiful greenhouse produce, alongside local honey, nuts, dry beans, organic meats, salsa, tamales—plenty of choices to fill your basket.

While many parts of the country are under snow (or bracing for it), Sierra Vista remains clear of the white stuff. With daytime temperatures somewhere between 60 and 70 degrees, sunny days invite outdoor activities, soaring peaks tempt hikers and mountain bikers, and low-traffic roadways call adventurers. Motorcyclists and bicyclists ride through the region, enjoying the expansive views while asphalt rolls underneath their tires.

Sierra Vista has earned a reputation for diverse food offerings, thanks to the global fare from ethnic restaurants tucked in business plazas along the once-modern (but now vintage) Fry Boulevard. Offerings include flavors from around the world, attributed to nearby Fort Huachuca, whose soldiers returned from overseas with a hunger for world flavors. Drop into any of the eateries in jeans and flip-flops for a flavor-packed meal. Don’t let the unassuming (and sometimes kitschy) décor fool you into low expectations. The chefs, immigrants from other countries, know how to showcase their homeland favorites. And luckily, reservations aren’t needed unless you have a big group.

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