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Verde Canyon Railroad: Grape Train Escape

Posted at 8:13 AM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 15:30:13-04

Verde Canyon Railroad is a paid advertiser of Sonoran Living.

Verde Canyon Railroad has long been a venue for viticulture appreciation; since 1990 train passengers have enjoyed raising a toast to the Arizona wilderness from well-appointed rail cars, harkening back to a time when relaxing travel by train was recognized as a hallmark of sophistication and class. In 2002 raising that toast became a highly-requested event called the Grape Train Escape. Now in its 17th year this celebration of grapes has spanned the planet - Italian, Chilean, Spanish, German and French wines have been served to thousands of awe-inspired train passengers.

Savoring wine while soaking in the scenery of the southwest is a relatively new pairing for Arizona's Verde Valley, and it is quickly gaining renown as a fine region for grape growing, in turn, a place to enjoy a benefit of these varietals while basking in its high desert beauty. What would be more appropriate than to make 2019's
Grape Train Escape events all about Verde Valley wines.

This summer, on select Saturday night starlight trips, Verde Canyon Railroad is pleased to feature a selection of sips from the following Verde Valley wineries. The first Grape Train Escape takes place on May 25th, and features the outstanding, sustainably-grown wines from Alcantara Vineyards. June 15th will feature the Clarkdale favorite, Chateau Tumbleweed. July 20 will highlight the small batch, boutique wines of Burning Tree Cellars. On August 17 the Grape Train Escape shares the award-winning wines of Sam Pillsbury and the Pillsbury Wine Company of Old Town Cottonwood.

As the summer sun sinks low over the desert, crepuscular creatures of the overlooking Mogollon Rim country abandon their shadowed retreats from midday heat and venture out upon their evening agenda---as do the cars of the Verde Canyon Railroad. Stirring from their rest alongside the Clarkdale Depot, the cooled cars seek the shaded quiet of their namesake canyon in search of this alluring Summer Starlight adventure.

Sunset comes early in the depths of the Verde Canyon and the tracks of the train soon rest in the shadows. While a Great Blue Heron wades through a sycamore-shaded pool, a family of javelina wander mesquite forests beneath the cliffs. Nearby, a bald eagle sweeps low across a rapid, tracking a fat trout. This scenario is the essence of Verde Canyon Railroad at twilight. Two murmuring vintage locomotives carrying the likeness of bald eagles cautiously nose around a crimson sandstone promontory, pulling cars of explorers into an Arizona seldom-seen. Paired with any award-winning wine in hand, any of the 2019 Grape Train Escape runs make for a sensory adventure suitable for every palate.

A stone's throw from the hillside mining town of Jerome, Verde Canyon Railroad's Clarkdale depot is in the heart of the Verde Valley, a diverse crossroads featuring amazing adventures in every direction. Only two hours from Phoenix and 25 minutes from Sedona.

Verde Canyon Railroad
Clarkdale, AZ