Dine-In, Take-Out, Repeat — Fall Restaurant Week in Carefree

While spring and summer have been challenging for everyone, the restaurant industry has been hit particularly hard. But as the temperatures begin to drop, along with coronavirus numbers, there is a cautious sense of optimism as fall approaches.

Joining in that optimism, and with a huge dose of gratitude for continued patron support, is the Carefree Restaurant Association as it once again presents diners the opportunity to sample new and exciting menu offerings during its Fall Restaurant Week, Oct. 1–11.

Participating restaurants are fired up and ready to showcase the diverse culinary options to be found in Carefree — from hearty American fare, to English afternoon tea and Mediterranean influence; from cafés and bistros to steakhouses and everything in between. Some restaurants will offer a special lunch menu, while others will offer a three-course dinner for dine-in or take-out customers.

Prices for Fall Restaurant Week 2020:
Lunch Menu (2-courses) $18
Dinner Menu (3-courses) $35 or $45
(per person, excluding alcohol)

“We have all had a very tough year,” said Carefree Restaurant Association chairperson Jo Gemmill. “We are so grateful for the customers who have continued to support us during these hard times, whether by dining in or picking up take-out. Carefree Restaurant Week is our way of saying ‘Thank You’ to our community for continuing to support us.”

Gemmill added that, unlike many other towns, Carefree’s restaurant base is made up of independent, family-owned businesses, something that makes the town so irresistible to residents and visitors alike.

“No large corporate chains dictate menu, pricing or marketing campaign — rather, the individual business owner can determine the look, feel, style, concept and brand their own restaurant based on their own individual culinary expertise.”

During the event, participating restaurants will follow all CDC guidelines regarding safety measures and limited dine-in capacity.

For additional details on Carefree Restaurant Week, including a complete list of all Carefree restaurants and menus, visit carefreerestaurants.com.

A Peek Inside Carefree’s Eateries

We asked a few of the participating restaurants to share a little bit about what makes their eatery stand out. Here is what they had to say. |CST

Black Mountain Coffee Shop
7211 E. Ho Road, Suite 23
“We are a unique breakfast and lunch restaurant located in the heart of Carefree,” said restaurant manager, Christina Holmes. “The majority of the locals enjoy having their morning coffee with friends or stopping by for lunch in the afternoon. Established in 1978, we have been serving the community and visitors from around the world. Our homemade cinnamon rolls and biscuits topped with our secret gravy recipe have been a hit for decades.”

36889 N. Tom Darlington Drive
“At Confluence, we believe in serving up healthy options without sacrificing flavor. We have a cozy bistro interior as well as an open patio with mountain views,” said owner Victoria Gauthier. “Chef Brandon wants to make this restaurant unique to the area, where you can order a la carte; however, it is meant to have multiple courses and tastings. The wine list will be worldly with a heavy by the glass section — so you can enjoy all of your favorites. At Confluence we focus on seasonal offerings from as many local farmers as possible. We also enjoy sourcing some of the finest foods from around the world. We love introducing fun, unique ingredients to our guests in a comfortable environment.”

English Rose Tea Room
201 Easy St., Suite 103
Situated in the heart of Carefree, the English Rose Tea Room provides an exquisite “Afternoon Tea” experience. “Try a scone with Devon Cream, or the Duchess of Bedford’s Formal Afternoon Tea, or simply a delicious vegetarian quiche…there is something for every discerning tea lover’s palate,” said owner Jo Gemmill. “The interior of the Tea Room boasts sumptuous fabrics of velvet and silk, crystal chandeliers and beautiful bone china tea sets. An extensive lunch menu, a beautifully appointed outdoor patio and a gorgeous gift store, makes the English Rose Tea Room a ‘Must Do’ when coming to Carefree.” Open Tuesday thru Sunday, 11am–4pm.

Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse
7212 E. Ho Hum Road
“Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse is the latest concept by our family-run company, Keeler Hospitality Group, LLC,” said Michael Fischer, general manager. “Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse features only the finest certified Angus beef steaks, freshest available seafood, chicken and American specialties that redefine comfort food, served with professional yet unpretentious service. In addition to fine dining, Keeler’s features an inviting and upscale neighborhood social house atmosphere that encourages conversation and laughs among old friends and new. The restaurant boasts a centrally located island bar, large adjacent patio, beautiful courtyard and roof-top deck designed for stargazing and lounging after a good wholesome meal — made by our family for yours.”

Venues Cafe
34 Easy St.
We have been a Carefree staple for 10 years offering comfort food with a Southwest flair,” said owner Catherine Marr. “Dining options include light bites such as deviled eggs with bacon jam, street tacos, loaded mac and cheese and lettuce wraps. Signature salads such as the Chicken Taco Salad, Roasted Beet Salad and customized Chopped Salad are popular, Marr says, as well as full comfort meals like a baked, stuffed pork chop, Chicken Schnitzel with lingonberry sauce or mixed grill kabobs.”

Desert Foothills Theater Roars Back to the Stage

By Kathryn M. Miller

Actors see the world in a different way. That is according to Terry Temple, managing director of Desert Foothills Theater (DFT) since December 2019.

The heart of the theater, actors “march to the beat of a different drummer and they have a particular need, I have found, for like-minded people to be able to be expressive and creative, bounce things off of, and be accepted,” he said.

As he and his team were gearing up for DFT’s upcoming season, Temple shared his thoughts on what theater means to actors, to him personally and to a community in general — and what it means to be without it.

Like other Arizona performing arts organizations, DFT had to cut its 2019–20 season short. They closed in February, during production of Honk, Jr., “And we were in full production for two subsequent shows,” shared Temple. “We had to shut down very close to opening of Steel Magnolias and just after we had started rehearsals for Godspell.”

With theaters closed, the DFT team sat down to map out their next move. The upcoming season had to be reimagined. And what about all of those young actors who were now home from school, too?

“Theater is a place where kids get to learn interdependence, learn responsibility, learn public speaking, confidence in front of others,” Temple shared. “The reason I found theater was because it just allowed me to get comfortable being in front of people and being myself and discovering myself. It is just an essential…”

Beyond what theater does for the actors, though, is the connection that is made with the audience Temple said.

“They desire that momentary escape, and a good story, something that they can invest [in] and relate to.”

He added that the community plays an integral role in the health of local theater and expressed that DFT’s community has been fantastically supportive over the years.

“Communities need theater and theaters need communities. We do as much for the community as the community does for us.”

What DFT did for the community over the summer months was to provide a creative outlet for area children. A number of parents contacted the theater looking for ways to keep their children engaged.

“We heard that term several times, ‘Our kids are sliding back,’ that they’re missing their friends, that they are spending way too much time in front of the screens when they’re not in school, in front of the screen,” Temple related. “They are doing their social activities in front of a screen even, talking to friends or online gaming. And they just said, ‘It’s time.’”

So, DFT created smaller, more safely manageable summer camp programs for children. They “dipped their toes in” and it was a huge success.

“And that’s kind of what propelled us to start looking at our new season and say it’s time to come out of the cave, as it were, and just look at how we can do traditional shows but under the umbrella of the COVID restrictions.”

DFT will kick off its fall season at the Holland Community Center with The Lion King, Jr., Sept. 18–27.

“The shows that we are going to be producing this year are going to be high quality,” Temple said. “We are not dropping the quality of the shows, COVID is not going to affect us at all that way. The only thing it is going to do is affect our audience size.”

Expressing his hope for the community to be a part of that audience, he concluded, “We are going to keep them safe and keep them distanced. But we hope that they will take a little bit of a chance and come out and see live theater again.” |CST

Learn more: 480.488.1981; dftheater.org

CCUSD: Ready for a Return to Learning

Back-to-school season is frequently a time of anxiety for students and parents alike, and that has never been truer than in 2020. While families are weighing their options for the upcoming school year, school administrators and staff have been working diligently behind the scenes to adjust to an ever-changing landscape. But the bottom line for all parties? Creating a safe environment in which the Valley’s young learners can thrive this school year.

A safe learning environment is something that Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman homed in on in a statement in late July.

“Like all educators, I want students back in our classrooms because that’s the best place for learning and growing. However, we cannot ask schools to make decisions that will impact their teachers’ and students’ health and safety without first providing them with the necessary public health data and funding to make safe decisions.”

On a local level, at a July 20 Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD) Governing Board meeting, the board voted to extend the in-person start date to Tuesday, Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day. Virtual learning begins in the district Wednesday, Aug. 5.

Dr. Debbi Burdick, CCUSD superintendent, shared the learning options that the district is making available for students this year.

“Cave Creek Unified is excited to roll out our Returning with Excellence Plan with two options for our families. Option I is Distance Learning that will transition to Face-to-Face school when feasible; Option II is the Cave Creek Academy of Excellence — an online school.”

To help students and their families make the 2020–21 school year a success — whether learning takes place in-person or online — Dr. Burdick shared these three tips:

  1. Have a great attitude! Although this is not the way we wanted to open our schools, be positive and look at the unusual situation as an opportunity and an adventure, not as a challenge or a problem. We all need to remain flexible and open to new learning for another new situation.
  2. Districts are opening schools online rather than face-to-face so have a dedicated workspace with all your school materials handy, just like you would at your desk in your classroom. Secondary students typically carry everything around in their backpacks so keeping your school materials in a backpack may also be a great way to stay organized and keep everything together where you know you can find it.
  3. Make sure you take mini-breaks when it is feasible so that you get out of your chair and move around to keep your brain fresh and your muscles moving. No one can sit for hours at a time without some movement. Having a small, old-fashioned minute timer or a kitchen timer set can keep you from taking too long a break during your school day.

Dr. Burdick concluded by saying, “We cannot wait to ‘see’ our students, whether it is on the screen or finally face-to-face!” |CST

Three Thousand and Counting — Area Students Unite to Donate Masks During Pandemic

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, local students are leading the charge in the battle to slow the spread of the coronavirus and making a big difference in the community.

Established in March by Cactus Shadows High School junior Angelique Cort, the AZ Mask Project focuses on harnessing the energy of a corps of volunteers to mass produce masks and provide them at no charge to critical care workers and compromised populations in the Phoenix area.

“In March, my mom [Corinne Cort] and I started sewing masks on a small scale,” said Cort. “Soon afterward we were contacted by HonorHealth whose needs were much greater. Arizona State Senator Paul Boyer learned of our efforts and expressed a need for thousands of masks. This was clearly beyond our capability at the time, so I started looking into ways to scale up the operation dramatically.”

Her search for volunteers and donors led to a partnership with Cave Creek Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Debbi Burdick, who put the word out across the district.

“Over 70 volunteers answered the call, and the AZ Mask Project was born.”

The homemade, reusable cloth masks are delivered to front-line healthcare workers, emergency responders and community organizations throughout Greater Phoenix, including Banner Health, Cave Creek Unified School District, HonorHealth, Infinity Hospice Care, Mayo Clinic and Phoenix Children’s Hospital, among others.

Cort says that the Project has special meaning to her because her life goal is to become an emergency-room surgeon. She also says that they couldn’t have accomplished this feat without the Project’s dozens of volunteers.

“The heart and soul of our Project are our generous, community-spirited volunteers,” said Cort. “Spanning the range from students to retirees and drawing from every demographic, resilient and relentless, these selfless individuals daily contribute their time, their energy, and their goodwill to make our community a better, safer, healthier place.

“Regardless of whether they cut fabric, sew masks, make pickups and deliveries, maintain our Facebook page, donate materials, or perform any of a host of other services, they quietly make a difference every day.”

Each week, Cort creates and oversees a staged fabrication process that moves materials through multiple phases of production. She coordinates volunteers, works with donors and interfaces with beneficiary organizations. Jeffrey Filer, another Cactus Shadows junior and patrol leader in Boy Scout Troop 15, proposed and implemented a robust system that enlists three Boy Scout troops (Troops 15, 323 and 3323) to fulfill the logistical needs of the project.

Every week, Patrol Leader Filer’s Scouts deliver materials to volunteers across the Valley, move partially completed masks from cutters to the next production location, pick up finished masks and deliver finished masks to beneficiary organizations throughout the Phoenix area. Together, Cort and Filer have sustained an effort that donates hundreds of masks each week, most recently surpassing the 3,000-mask milestone.

And they are not done yet. AZ Mask Project says that it remains committed to maintaining and expanding its efforts as the need exists, and Cort says that the group is continually in search of new volunteers.

“Everyone is welcome into our Fellowship of the Mask. For those who don’t sew, we welcome your help cutting fabric. We will provide the material and support you need to get started. We provide certificates of community service hours for our student volunteers. If you are already involved in making and donating masks, we are eager to partner with you.”
Residents interested in getting involved may contact Cort by email: chancecort@me.com. The Project also has a Facebook group: search “AZ Mask Project.” |CST

Photos courtesy of AZ Mask Project

Harold’s Corral Donates Nearly 4,000 Meals During Pandemic

—By Sue Kern-Fleischer

Franny Pachuca makes brisket at Harold’s for meals that will be donated to the Foothills Food Bank and Cave Creek Unified School District.

It’s been just a few weeks since Arizona reopened, lifting the “Stay at Home” restrictions put in place to help flatten the curve from COVID-19. And while Harold’s Cave Creek Corral’s dining room is open to patrons, the iconic restaurant is continuing a unique take-out program it started with the help of the Kiwanis Club of Carefree more than two months ago to help feed families in need.

In its nearly 85 years of business, Harold’s had never experienced operating during a global pandemic. But when it became clear that the highly contagious coronavirus (COVID-19) could endanger the lives of customers and staff, Harold’s shifted into crisis mode, with the goal of helping the community the popular restaurant serves.

Like restaurants across the country, Harold’s temporarily closed its dining room and began to offer curbside and take-out service. But the popular western bar and restaurant took matters a step further, soliciting the help of the Kiwanis Club of Carefree to help fund a unique program to help the Foothills Food Bank and families of the Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD).

Harold’s designed its take-out menu to include a unique commitment to the community: For every family-style meal ordered, which feeds four to five people, Harold’s will donate a family-style meal to a family in need through the District’s meal assistance program. Additionally, Harold’s is donating individual meals to the Foothills Food Bank.

Both Harold’s Corral and the Kiwanis Club of Carefree provided funding to start the program. Harold’s prepares the meals and the District and the Foothills Food Bank pick up the meals and distribute them.

Margaret Carver and Danny Piacquadio package meals for the Foothills Food Bank and Cave Creek Unified School District.

From March to May, Harold’s donated more than 3,500 meals, and the unique program will continue this month.

“If you would like to help with this program, you can make direct donations to the Kiwanis Club of Carefree or the Foothills Food Bank and note the donation is for Harold’s meal assistance program. Our goal is to continue to support both the food bank and CCUSD through this time of crisis. Thanks to Kiwanis Club of Carefree, Harold’s Corral and our customers, plus Shamrock Foods, we are able to provide these meals to those in need,” owner Danny Piacquadio said.

Take-out service through Harold’s is available seven days per week, with orders taken from 8am to 2:30pm. Since reopening its dining room in mid-May, Harold’s has been following CDC guidelines regarding sanitization efforts and social distancing. The dining room and outdoor patio is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday from 8am to 10pm and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8am to midnight.

Harold’s Cave Creek Corral is located at 6895 E. Cave Creek Rd. For more information, call 480.488.1906 or visit www.haroldscorral.com.

To learn more about Cave Creek Unified School District, visit www.ccusd93.org. To learn more about the Foothills Food Bank, visit www.foothillsfoodbank.com. For details about the Kiwanis Club of Carefree, visit www.kiwaniscarefree.org.

Supporting Small Businesses in a Crisis

Chamber steps up to reassure community

By Kathryn M. Miller ~ National Small Business Week has been postponed. The U.S. Small Business Administration event, originally scheduled for May 3–9, is an annual celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation. Never has there been a greater time for innovation in the small business community, nor a better time for recognition at all levels of our local small businesses.

There are more than 550,000 small businesses, (those with fewer than 500 employees) in Arizona, and it is estimated that these businesses employ one million workers, representing 44.5 percent of the state’s private workforce.

Studies show that when residents buy local, it makes a difference. But what happens when a crisis hits — and businesses are closed, or scramble to change their business model in an effort to meet demands or just stay afloat? At press time, Arizona is still under the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” Executive Order, which is set to expire April 30. Whether or not safety restrictions are lifted in May, the small business landscape has been forever altered, and the community is looking for help.

Representing nearly 400 businesses in the Carefree, Cave Creek, Phoenix and Scottsdale area, the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce is just one organization that is stepping up to provide resources for businesses that are experiencing the challenging impacts of COVID-19.

Patty Villeneuve, president and CEO of the Chamber, says that the main challenge that they are helping members overcome is the fear of the unknown.

“Once we truly understand we are all in this together we can breathe a small sigh of relief and buckle in to communicate what unique need one business has versus another.”

To help communicate with the community, the Chamber has created a comprehensive resource page that is easily found on the front page of its website (www.carefreecavecreek.org).

“This information has been gathered from local Congressional delegates, Governor Ducey’s office, the Small Business Association, Small Business Development Center and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” said Villeneuve. “The information includes where and how to access needed funding for our business community and resources for the employees of our business community.

“As a part of the resource page we also have a comprehensive list of businesses that are open for curbside, the phone number and a link to their website. We are listing all businesses, not just Chamber members. Even though we are a membership-based organization it is important that we offer as much help as we can to our entire community. We are truly, all in this together. We have also invited the community to share in webinars and conference calls so that they have an opportunity to hear directly from the people mentioned before.”

Villeneuve says that additional relief funds have become available for EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) and PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans for the business community, and that the Arizona Chamber Executives, which she is currently board chair of, approached the Governor for one-time funds to be included in the state budget to be delivered directly to Chambers across the state for things like low-cost and no-cost grants.

“I can assure you that every Chamber Executive within the state are lobbying every single day to state and federal officials for increased funding.”

Beyond the support that the Chamber is providing to community businesses, Villeneuve says that the community as a whole can help support the local businesses that it relies upon.

“Continue supporting the businesses that are open for curbside pickup, buying gift cards from all businesses (not just restaurants) that can be used later. When more businesses can re-open, the ones that rely on tips, consider tipping a little more than usual. This will mean a lot to these workers. Continue to support the food bank with donations of food, money or volunteer hours. They need your support now more than ever. Don’t forget our other nonprofits with donations of time and money. Their donor bases are significantly impacted also.

“Finally, be kind to one another. We are all in this together. Kindness will go a long way with reassuring people that everything will be OK.” |CST

It’s Time to Rally for Area Nonprofits

By Kathryn M. Miller ~

Neighbors heading out on an excursion with Foothills Caring Corps, before a time of “social distancing.”

As April begins, the world finds itself living in unprecedented times. In Arizona, schools have been temporarily closed, many businesses are closed or working at half-capacity, events have been postponed or canceled and Valley organizations and institutions — those that serve the most vulnerable among us and those that bring us hope, light and beauty — are struggling to adapt and meet the needs of those they serve.

Some food banks and other social services are feeling extra pressure as Arizona’s unemployment numbers climb amid the spread of the coronavirus. In addition, nonprofits have been negatively impacted by closures and restrictions — with major fundraising events canceled and difficulty obtaining the commodities that they need.

Foothills Caring Crops (www.foothillscaringcorps.com; 480.488.1105) is one nonprofit that has been impacted. The organization’s Taste of Foothills fundraising event, scheduled for March 26, was canceled amidst COVID-19 concerns.

“This cancellation is for one of the most important sources of revenue we use to operate Foothills Caring Corps,” said Debbra Determan, executive director. “The ‘ASK’ and live auction portions of the evening have played a big role in providing us with the resources to fully maintain our operations.”

“We hope that there will be some among you who may want to step up and help us reduce our loss. You have been so supportive in the last 15 years of our Taste of Foothills fund-raisers” [Read more about Foothills Caring Corps on page 18.]

Volunteers help fill bags at Foothills Food Bank.


Foothills Food Bank and Resource Center (www.foothillsfoodbank.com; 480.488.1145) is also feeling the impact, but in a different way. Although the food bank has seen a slight increase in area residents in need of their services, finding the items that their clients need has been a challenge.

“We have seen an increase, but not that many, yet,” said Foothills Food Bank executive director Pam DiPietro. “We feel if this virus continues to prevent us from moving back to normalcy, the numbers will grow. We are committed to helping those that live and work in the area we serve.”

“At this point in time, the things we need most are the same items that everyone is looking for: paper towels, toilet paper, disinfectant products, wipes, bleach.”

DiPietro says that while the food bank is always in need of non-perishable food, the items currently most needed are soups of all kinds, tuna, pasta sauce and juice.

The food bank has a dedicated team of volunteers that, even during challenging times, keep up with the community’s needs.

“The majority of our volunteers are seniors; however, every day we manage to have enough people to get the job done. Our volunteers, all 400, are wonderful and we truly appreciate them.”

“We hope to be able to continue to serve those in need, while cautiously maintaining safety. We do not come in contact with the client. They call us, we package the food, set it on a table at our door and the Client drives up and picks up the food.”

But DiPietro reiterates that, right now, the most import way that the community can help: “Find us critical the things that we need!” |CST

New Hospital in Cave Creek Expected To Open Next Year

Artist’s conceptual rendering of Abrazo Cave Creek Hospital. Courtesy of Abrazo Health

Abrazo Health announced in early February that it is set to begin construction a new small-scale community hospital in Cave Creek near the intersection of Carefree Highway and Cave Creek Road. Expected to open in 2021, Abrazo Cave Creek Hospital is a new type of neighborhood hospital, sometimes referred to as a “microhospital,” designed with an emphasis on quality medical care, convenience, efficiency and short ER wait times.

Abrazo Cave Creek Hospital will focus on emergency and surgical services, with eight rooms for patients needing overnight care. The single-story, approximately 35,000-sq.-ft. facility at the southwest corner of Carefree Highway and 53rd Street will include a 13-bed emergency department, an operating room and eight inpatient rooms, along with additional services.

“I am thrilled to have Emergency Services available in the area,” said Cave Creek Mayor Ernie Bunch. “I believe this makes Cave Creek a more complete Community.”

Abrazo Health currently operates six Valley hospitals including the acclaimed Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital. The Cave Creek hospital will be Abrazo’s third neighborhood hospital. Abrazo Mesa Hospital opened in October 2019 and Abrazo Surprise Hospital is expected to open later this year. Each is closely integrated with Abrazo’s larger sister hospitals, medical group and community physicians.

“We all prefer to receive care closer to home, and this type of hospital meets a need for access to medical care beyond what’s available at an urgent care or freestanding emergency center. The hospital will offer a 24/7 ER and have the ability to perform surgical procedures, with around-the-clock general surgery, hospitalist and emergency physician coverage,” said hospital CEO Ed Staren.

“Our goal is to provide multiple points of access for those who choose Abrazo for their care. Emergency care and operations like appendectomies and gall bladder procedures, for example, can be performed in the neighborhood hospital setting,” said Staren.

Patients with abdominal pain, sprains and broken bones, minor trauma, lacerations, dehydration, pneumonia and flu are typical of injuries and illnesses expected to be treated in the Abrazo Cave Creek Hospital emergency department.

“We’re anxious to begin providing care for our neighbors and friends in the Cave Creek area,” Staren said. “Providing quality medical care and excellent patient satisfaction are among our top priorities, and we want our ER waiting times to be among the shortest they can possibly be.”

When completed, the hospital is expected to create approximately 50 jobs. General contractor for the hospital is Adolfson & Peterson Construction; the facility was designed by E4H Architects.

For more information, visit www.abrazohealth.com.


Cave Creek Museum Honors and Celebrates ‘The Legacy of Gerry Jones’

By Karrie Porter Brace

Gerry Jones at his drawing board.

“Do not seek to dominate nature with your buildings, but cooperate with it to achieve a harmony similar to that of natural creations.” —Gerry Jones

Carefree’s exciting architecture and sweeping vistas draw artists, designers, architects, visitors and residents who appreciate the creative integration of sculptural earth, rock and striking desert terrain. Cave Creek Museum’s 50th anniversary, with the Gerry Jones featured exhibit and a one-day only Home Tour of six unique and stellar residences, celebrates the imagination, aesthetic and resolve that initiated and continues to give the Desert Foothills its wonderful signature character.

Gerry Jones is the Desert Foothills’ distinguished architectural designer and builder who implemented the vision of Carefree’s founders, KT Palmer and Tom Darlington. After serving in the Marines in World War II and Korea, Jones remained in China to study history and philosophy, martial arts and jai alai. There, he observed that ancient Buddhist monasteries were tucked directly into the mountains. The topography had not been altered or leveled. When he began his career in design, he resolved to employ the terrain to its best advantage without destroying the natural mountain contours, just as the Buddhists had done centuries before.

In 1957, on a handshake, Jones helped Palmer and Darlington realize their vision of a planned community in the foothills north of the Valley. A seasoned rock climber, he knew the land well, rough-platting 2,200 acres of Carefree on foot. He laid out roads and lots by leading bulldozers across the land as he wove around native cacti, rocks, outcroppings and trees.

Properties were planned with a mandate that no boulder would be displaced to accommodate a builder’s needs. Furthermore, Jones utilized existing rocks and boulders structurally as supports for the foundations of his buildings and interior features of the spaces he created. Based on his practice of building in harmony with nature, he wrote Carefree’s architectural guidelines. They became the foundation for Maricopa County’s building ordinance, which regulates hillside development, grading and drainage to this day.

His 1974 paper “Must We Destroy in Order to Build?” addressed the issues facing those who loved the natural drama and beauty of their Sonoran homes. House-siting, materials palette, floor-level changes and structural solutions are harmoniously integrated with the rock formations and physical features surrounding a Jones-designed residence. Jones’ own residence is nestled within the northeastern boulders of Black Mountain. For nearly 50 years, he has made Carefree his home. He continues to work from his studio overlooking the broad expanse of this beautiful region. His most recent house, in the Nighthawk subdivision on Black Mountain, was completed in 2018.

Jones perceives how the world around us isn’t separated by interior and exterior dichotomies. He creates timeless architecture with a livable affinity for the extreme terrain in Arizona’s wilderness. He brings bedrock into dwelling spaces and puts homeowners into the living desert.

Experience the innovation and drama of Gerry Jones’ architectural design by touring six of his signature homes on the Cave Creek Museum’s The Gerry Jones Home Tour, March 8. [Read The Gerry Jones Home Tour, page 21.]

Photo: Loralei Lazurek, Images Arizona 

Fine Art & Wine Festival Returns for 27th Annual Winter Event

“Blowhard” by bronze sculptor Jason Napier

More than 5,000 original works of art from 155 juried fine artists will be showcased Jan. 17–19 at the Thunderbird Artists’ 27th Annual Winter Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival. The fine art festival will run along Ho Hum and Easy Streets in Downtown Carefree.

A popular event for locals and tourists alike, Thunderbird Artists’ Winter Carefree show was recently ranked No. 45 among the “Premier 100 Fine Art Events” throughout the nation by Greg Lawler’s Art Fair SourceBook.

“It’s an honor to receive such a prestigious industry accolade, and a true testament to the quality of our show,” said Denise Colter, president of Thunderbird Artists. “We love being a part of the Carefree community — people love strolling through the streets, meeting the artists, tasting wine and listening to live music. It’s a beautiful, serene setting, and our artists provide plenty of inspiration!”

In addition to a wide variety of paintings, sculptures, bronzes, sparkling hand-blown glass, wood, clay, metal, stone, gourds, batiks, scratchboard, one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry and exceptional photography, attendees are expected to be especially taken with the oil paintings of the event’s featured artist, Brent Flory.

“Hudson Bay Comfort” 24”x48” oil painting by Brent Flory

Oil painter Brent Flory enjoys learning about and painting the Wild West. Raised in Parker, Flory was always intrigued by the illustrations in picture books. His favorites depicted cowboys, farmers, ranchers, Native Americans and wildlife from the American West.

Flory finds subject matter for his life-like paintings all around him, especially in journal entries or historical books.

“Every life has a story, and some are just amazing,” says Flory. “People did what they had to do to survive. I try to capture that human experience.”

“Aspen Slope” by Nadine Booth

Each of Flory’s pieces are given a well thought out title to help people think about the paintings in a different way.

“Most artists hope that people will appreciate the beauty of their work,” says Flory. “I hope that my work makes people think, and that it makes them appreciate what we often take for granted.”

In addition to meeting award-winning artists and enjoying live musical performances, festival attendees can participate in a world-class wine tasting program. For $10, patrons will receive an engraved souvenir wine glass and six tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets may be purchased for $1 each.

Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival runs Fri. through Sun., Jan. 17–19, 10am–5pm daily. Admission is $3 for adults, and free for all Carefree residents and children 17 years or younger. Parking is free all weekend. For more information, call 480.837.5637 or visit www.thunderbirdartists.com.

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