Chickens and happy hour often go together in the form of wing specials, but Aravaipa Farms Orchard and Inn pairs them more equitably: While guests relax with beverages in the late afternoon, the inn’s staff lets the resident hens out of their coop to forage among the fruit trees. “It quickly became everybody’s favorite part of their trip,” says Kari Madden, the property’s manager. “Every single review online talks about ‘chicken happy hour.’ ”
That practice came in response to the need for more outdoor socializing during the pandemic. Now, it’s just one more thing to enjoy at this charming, secluded site on the west side of Aravaipa Canyon. “Our goal is really just to help people reconnect with nature and with themselves,” Madden says.
The property once was an Arabian horse ranch, but in the mid-1980s, the Farney family moved here from California and planted 2,000 peach, apricot and pear trees. After a decade, the Farneys sold the orchard to Carol Steele, a longtime player in the Phoenix restaurant scene. Steele added a B&B component before selling to Kevin and Jill Madden (Kari’s parents) five years ago, and the Maddens have revived the orchard while replacing roofs, remodeling bathrooms and adding new furniture in the guest rooms. (The B&B was sold to a different owner after this story went to press, but all other details here remain the same.)
Today, Aravaipa Farms typically offers seven options for lodging. The largest, the Farmhouse, is the original Farney home and includes three bedrooms, a full kitchen and a large living room with a brick fireplace. The romantic Mountain Casita offers a secluded patio that faces the nearby peaks and is ideal for stargazing. And the Orchard Casita, which overlooks the peach orchard and has the most natural light, is perfect for a small family — it features a queen bed, plus a twin. For even more solitude, the Maddens rent a 30-foot Airstream that faces a clearing shaded by tall pecan trees, and they sometimes rent their family house for weddings, reunions and other large groups.
Every casita has at least a kitchenette, so guests are welcome to provide their own food, but Aravaipa Farms also has meal options that include quiches and pastries at breakfast, sack lunches for exploring the area during the day, and a rotating dinner menu that might feature seasonal produce from the orchard or garden, along with locally sourced carne asada or mango chipotle chicken. (In another pandemic-related change, meals are packaged for guests to enjoy in their rooms or elsewhere on the property.)
Between meals, there’s hiking in the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness, which requires a Bureau of Land Management permit, or up Brandenburg Mountain to the north. But many visitors are content to stroll through the orchard, do a little birding or take a dip in the large swimming pool. With so many options for unwinding, it’s no surprise how guests react when Aravaipa Creek rises and blocks the road out — which happens on rare occasions during the summer monsoon. “People usually don’t mind staying an extra night,” Madden says.
89395 E Aravaipa Rd
Aravaipa Canyon, AZ