Amado Territory Ranch is located at 3001 E. Frontage Road in Amado. For more information, call 888-398-8684 or visit www.amado-territory-inn.com.
© Edward McCain
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Southern HospitalityYou won't find sprawling lawns and magnolia trees, but
you will get a warm welcome and plenty of pampering
at Amado Territory Ranch in Southern Arizona.
By JoBeth Jamison
Amado Thinking of interstate frontage road accommodations usually conjures thoughts of hotels with numbers in the title or creatively misspelled marquees promising "Free Y-fi" or "Continual Brkfest!"
True, the sprawling acreage of Amado Territory Ranch begins mere yards from Interstate 19, but that only means that travelers are much closer to a Sonoran Desert oasis. Appearing east of the interstate like an Old West movie set with a picture-perfect backdrop of the Santa Rita Mountains, the rustic expanse looks and feels like the homestead everyone dreams of inheriting, but without the "fixer upper" condition that usually comes with it. The beautiful mix of lush-garden and desert landscaping, the inn's lighthearted blend of Southwestern décor and unparalleled Southern (Arizona) hospitality, all work quickly and effectively to make the highway disappear.
Thirty minutes south of Tucson and 30 minutes north of Mexico, Amado (Spanish for "beloved") might appear out of the way on a state map, but it's convenient to just about every site worth seeing in Southern Arizona, including Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tumacácori National Historic Park, Patagonia and Pena Blanca lakes, the Sonoita-Elgin wine region, Ramsey Canyon, Whipple Observatory, Nogales, Kartchner Caverns State Park, the Titan Missile Museum and the neighboring art colony of Tubac.
Getting an art fix, however, doesn't require a road trip. Ranch owners Art and Terry Gould built this place in part to house and showcase artists. One only has to wander the grounds to admire colorful local artwork, including that of resident painter Michael Arthur Jayme and resident sculptor David Voisard, both of whom welcome visitors to step into their on-site studios and watch them work.
Voisard's charismatic metal creations, including his signature dogs and The Birdwatcher, punctuate the footpath that ambles around the property, taking guests past the William H. Kendall cactus garden, handcrafted labyrinths, koi and duck ponds, restaurants, a bookstore, a hair salon, a theater, newly built artist lofts and Jacuzzi suites, and breathtaking views of Elephant Head Rock and the surrounding Santa Rita Mountains. Eventually, the trail leads back to the main guesthouse, where the rooms are inviting and comfortable — several, including the neighboring Hacienda Suite, are both kid- and pet-friendly.
At the helm is innkeeper Betty Hilton, who manages to keep the place running like a Swiss clock, but who will also take time to kick back in a front-porch rocker with visitors before dinner at one of the property's two restaurants, and tell them anything they want to know about the area. In the morning, you'll likely see her again over a delicious and hearty breakfast, reminding departing guests how to get back to the highway. How quickly they forget.