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Destination: Southern Arizona! From weddings to family reunions, our small town near Tucson may be just what you are looking for!

Allow me to take you on a tour of our little slice of heaven, a destination for your wedding or event south of Tucson, Arizona!

Are you looking for just the right small town for a weekend getaway? Perhaps for a family reunion or a destination wedding? Or, maybe you have already booked your event at my venue and want to learn more out our area.

This blog is for you!

My husband and I own and operate Agua Linda Farm, an award winning event venue south of Tucson. This blog post takes you beyond the fence-lines of our pastures and into the charming community around us.

I am excited for you to learn about all the possibilities that our area offers to complete your Southern Arizona experience!

From local attractions, lodging options, restaurants and more, my hope is that this post will assist in making the most of your destination weekend in the beautiful landscape of the southwest!


 

Your are welcome to use this as a guide to construct a wonderful destination event on your own but, if you need someone to coordinate this weekend for you,  no one in the event business knows this area better than I do and with my years of hosting weddings and events and working with vendors in Southern Arizona, I have the experience and connections to make your weekend UNFORGETTABLE! - Laurel



 


Agua Linda Farm my home and venue with it's huge shade trees, sprawling lawns and gorgeous mountain views is perfect for your wedding, family reunion, anniversary celebration or company picnic! Photo credit: La Lune Photography, Laura K. Moore,


 

Venue Selection

First off, allow me to shamelessly promote Agua Linda Farm for your wedding or event!  Our private 63 acre ranch became known as a “farm” when my husband and I began growing vegetables for the local community.  We now offer our property for couples to say “I do” and for other folks to hold milestone events and family reunions.  If you are dreaming of a venue that is uniquely Arizona and prefer a space that is private and spacious, ALF is the perfect choice.  We are so ARIZONA! The buildings were designed by our regionally renowned architect, Josias Joesler built with handmade adobe bricks. At that time, the ranch was owned by Carlos Ronstadt, Linda Ronstadt’s uncle, who farmed the 1,000 acres until the mid 1950’s when my father-in-law purchased the property.  What says “Arizona” more than adobe buildings, fabulous weather, mountain views and cattle grazing in pastures? 

 

Now What?

Okay… you have found the perfect venue, now what?  Sure, you could stay in Tucson, only 30 minutes away, but for those of you on the hunt for a weekend of fun with your nearest and dearest that showcases Arizona’s unique charm, our Santa Cruz Valley area may just be the perfect choice!


The "Tres Pueblos" (my own name for the three adjoining towns)

Amado/Tubac/Tumacacori

A little geography:  As you head south from Tucson on Interstate 19, you will pass through Sahuarita and Green Valley where you can find the standard grocery stores, a couple chain hotels, fast food restaurants, etc.  KEEP GOING! Then, you get to our little town of Amado, (which means “loved”, by the way, sooo perfect!).  If you blink, you may miss us!  Continue driving south for a few miles and you get to the village of Tubac and then, another 5 minutes or so,  and you reach Tumacacori.  These three communities, all within ten miles of each other and with a combined population of less than 2,000 residents, have everything you need for your destination event!


A map of our destination towns
What I call "The 3 Pueblos" of Southern Arizona


Tubac has won USA Today's "Best Small Town Arts Scene" for 3 years in a row (hoping to win again this year in 2024!!)



 

Lodging

Okay - I actually get giddy when I think about the options you have!  I’m not talking about commercial, cookie cutter hotels… the options that are within minutes to my venue are as authentic as it gets!  Private ranches, a former “dude” ranch constructed in the early 1900’s, a tranquil garden retreat and a resort await you!  I have gathered some photos and have built a chart to help you compare - and - I am happy to give you the grand tour of THEM ALL - virtually or, schedule an in-person day!


 

5 minutes away from Agua Linda Farm, this impressive, handsome, private estate built in the early 1900’s is utterly BREATHTAKING!  A private pond, sprawling lawns, fabulous views, large, stately rooms, AND a romantic, luxury tree house… AHHH!  You and your guests will be blown away by this incredible property so close to our venue.  There are no food services on-site but you are very close (driving distance, 3 minutes) to the village of Tubac and there is a full kitchen in the main house.  You can book the main ranch house, sleeps 16, the tree house, sleeps 4, or the bunkhouse, sleeps 4 separately, or book the whole ranch for a maximum of 24 guests (you cannot book individual rooms in the main ranch house). The Shankle Ranch does not allow events, but I am your go-to if you would like to book my elopement package at this GORGEOUS location.


The Historic Shankle Ranch and luxury tree house.



 


The Tubac Ranch (Formerly “Kenyon Ranch”)

8 minutes away from us, constructed in the early 1900’s to be a dude ranch, the casitas of The Tubac Ranch are made of stone and are nestled in the higher elevation foothills on the west side of Tubac.  If you are wanting your guests to experience authentic Arizona, our lush, riparian area venue plus this high-desert landscape ranch are the PERFECT pairing. You can have your wedding at my venue, and your rehearsal dinner or post-boda breakfast at The Tubac Ranch.  This rustic, private property offers onsite food options that can be arranged. Our friend and owner of the ranch, Kal, embraces all that is Southern Arizona and is excited to help create a memorable, unique weekend for you from food to sauna to horseback riding and more.

*Note that the Tubac Ranch does not have a website, yet. The link to the Kenyon Ranch (it's former name) will at least show you some AWESOME photos. I will up-date this post when their new site is launched.


The buildings at the Tubac Ranch were built with stone in the 1930's. high desert landscape with authentic Arizona ranch rustic charm.



 

The Historic Valle Verde Ranch, constructed in 1938 of adobe in the old hacienda style, is within walking distance of the village of Tubac.  Owners Doug and Jane moved here from Alaska and LOVE their new Tubac community! The private 6 acre property has 4 separate buildings that can accommodate up to 17 guests, but each can also be booked separately. The main house, with full kitchen, pool table (so fun for groomsmen on wedding day before leaving for my venue...!!) has 3 bedrooms and can sleep up to 9 guests. A charming guest house is separate and also has it's own full kitchen, a studio with a small kitchen, or, opt for 'The Quilt Room" which has a coffee maker and mini fridge . All guests share pool, jacuzzi and outside areas. There is a lovely oasis in the back with acres for meandering trails that connect with the lush, green Anza Trail or, perhaps, take a stroll into the village for a bite to eat!


Each of the bedrooms in the main house at the Valle Verde pay homage to Tubac's most famous artists, Hal Empie, Harwood Steiger and Hugh Cabot.





Valle Verde Ranch, Tubac


Front entrance to The Valle Verde Ranch

Front of the main ranch house, Valle Verde

 

This is a corporate owned resort, hotel, spa and golf course.  The property was originally the Otero Ranch with roots tracing back to the late 19th century. - the “Stables” restaurant was, at one time, actually a stables. The resort can be your entire destination weekend with wedding, lodging, dining and activities onsite.  Or, you can just take advantage of the services offered there even if you do not choose this as your lodging or event space; a GORGEOUS 27 hole golf course nestled along the Santa Crus River and flanked by lush cotton wood trees designed by Robert "Red" Lawrence and made famous by the movie, Tin Cup; a full service spa oozing with atmosphere; and restaurant - Many of our clients have their wedding with us and stay at the resort.  Some have their wedding at the resort and book us for their rehearsal dinner.  Others only use the onsite spa, golf and restaurant facilities, have their event with us and stay at one of the other options listed.  *Note that their suites do not have kitchens and they do not provide room service.



Book the Tubac Golf Resort for an inclusive venue OR, take advantage of their amenities even if you are lodging at another option and having your main event at Agua Linda Farm


 


This charming inn on 6 acres is located right in the heart of Tubac so it is within walking distance to shops, art galleries, museums and to the Historic Anza trail, yet is nestled into the village at the end of a road so offers great privacy!  My brides have loved this option for getting ready on the big day!  There are 5 cottages that can be booked separately or you can block out the whole place for up to 16 guests.  One of the units has a fenced in area that is perfect for folks traveling with dogs. The grounds are spacious and park-like with trees, lawns, fountain, koi pond, outdoor fireplace and barbeque grill. This is an ideal location for lodging for your family reunion with the event scheduled at Agua Linda Farm.

 The Secret Garden Inn does not offer the space for weddings or other events but smaller, low key events can be arranged and I would LOVE to help you organize your welcome or rehearsal dinner at The Secret Garden in their park-like grounds!


Two photos courtesy of The Secret Garden Inn and two are one of my bride's getting ready before her Micro-Wedding at my venue, courtesy of zzzaphotography


 

At a Glance


 

Okay, now that you know where you are staying, how about activities!



Activities 
  • Art Galleries and Studios: Tubac is renowned for its vibrant arts community and has been awarded "Best Small Town Arts Scene" 3 years in a row by USA Today. Explore numerous galleries and studios showcasing a diverse range of art, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and jewelry and be sure to check the Chamber of Commerce for festivals and events!

  • Tubac Presidio State Historic Park: Visit the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park to explore the ruins of Arizona's first European settlement. The park features a museum with exhibits on the region's history, Native American cultures, and the Spanish colonial period.

  • Tubac Golf Resort & Spa: Enjoy a round of golf at the Tubac Golf Resort & Spa, featuring a 27 hole golf course designed by Robert "Red" Lawrence. The resort also offers spa services.

  • Tubac Center of the Arts: Attend art exhibitions, workshops, and cultural events at the Tubac Center of the Arts, a hub for the local artistic community.

  • Shopping: Discover unique and locally made crafts, jewelry, clothing, and Southwestern-style goods in Tubac's eclectic shops and boutiques.  

  • Nature and Hiking: The Anza Trail in Tubac refers to a segment of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, a historic route that commemorates the 1775-76 expedition led by Spanish military officer Juan Bautista de Anza to establish a land route from Sonora, Mexico, to the San Francisco Bay Area in California.  This segment of the trail follows the meandering Santa Cruz River.  It is an easy walk and is lush and green with the water always running in the river and is a favorite for photography, nature lovers and birders.  If you like, you can pick the trail up in the village of Tubac and follow it to the Tumacacori Mission, (another MUST SEE attraction).

  • The Tumacacori Mission: Mission San José de Tumacacori was founded by Jesuit missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino in 1691. Today, the mission is part of the Tumacacori National Historical Park, which preserves the ruins.  Visit the mission for a historical and educational experience OR, for a very old world vibe, book your wedding ceremony inside this gorgeous, preserved church followed by your reception at Agua Linda.


Wedding at The Tumacacori Mission

YES... this is in Southern Arizona! Let me help you arrange to have your ceremony at The Tumacacori Mission and your reception at my venue, ten minutes away!

*Note that the mission is a state park and is not run by the Catholic Church, so you do not need to be Catholic to get married there. There are also two Catholic Churches in the 3 Pueblos area and other denominations, should you require and the Golf resort offers a secular chapel for their wedding clients.


Spend a day enjoying the shops and galleries of Tubac; Take a a walk on the Anza Trail (this is the trail head right in Tubac!); A replica of the original Spanish Tubac Presido now houses an art school; The Tumacacori Mission - a museum and state park


Night Life

One of our ranch owner friends used a phrase “ranch-midnight” to describe the not-so-late nights we tend to have in our neck-of-the-woods, meaning saying "good-night" at about 8PM!  If you are looking for a nightlife later than that, you might be hard pressed to find any of our local bars and  restaurants open!  If you book your event at my venue, you can keep celebrating as late as midnight and we have a fun “after-party” bar option and no noise ordinance! (Photo below is our western cantina that can be booked for after parties!)


Loew Tide Cantina at Agua Linda Farm

"Loew Tide" cantina is our on-site private bar. This is the space that groomsmen often hang out in before the ceremony and is also booked for private parties and late night after-parties for wedding clients.


Local Bars

Abe’s Old Tumacacori bar has so much history that it is not only a required place to stop and have a beer, but is a historic landmark.  “Abe’s”, as we locals call it, is the oldest bar in Arizona,  (I like to joke that the bar opened for business before the Tumacacori Mission, located right across the street!)  And has been owned and operated by the Trujillo family since the beginning, over 100 years ago.


Cowgirl Ugly does not have the historical significance that most of these places have, but it is a great option!  Located in the heart of Tubac, the bar has a great western vibe with a “sexy, sassy, cowgirl attitude”. There are a few restaurants close by and you can order food from one of those choices and enjoy it right there in the bar!  This would be a fun gathering spot for a welcome evening after your rehearsal!


Tubac Jack’s Saloon and Restaurant $$ in the heart of Tubac, Jacks has a restaurant that serves burgers and ribs and an outdoor patio that is dog friendly and they often have live music on the weekends.  Open for lunch and dinner.


Restaurants

Longhorn Grill and Saloon $$ in Amado, less than 5 minutes north of my ranch, built in the 1970’s.  The entrance is a huge sculpted cow skull and is a famous landmark - a GREAT photo-op!  If you are looking for a western theme, grilled burgers or steaks for your rehearsal or family dinner, this is a great option.  They will also cater our weddings, rehearsal dinner or other celebration at Agua Linda.


Elviras, $$$$ in the village of Tubac, will blow you away with the incredible atmosphere.  The space is a work of art designed by owner and chef, Ruben Monroy who relocated his family's restaurant from Nogales, Mexico in the 1990’s.  The food is excellent southern Mexico fusion cuisine. I love their Cabrilla and their mango margaritas!


Wisdoms Cafe $$ in Tumacacori, family owned and operated, Wisdoms  Café opened in 1944.  This a comfortable, homey restaurant specializes in regional Mexican food and is famous for their fruit chimichangas which I highly recommend!  It is VERY popular, so call ahead!


Shelby’s Bistro $$ I love the patio at Shelby’s in Tubac and they have a menu that appeals to everyone - bistro style pizzas, great salads, pasta dishes and sandwiches. They serve dinner but this is also a great lunch option, especially if you plan to walk around the village to visit shops and galleries.


Stables restaurant at the Tubac Golf Resort, $$$$ the Stables restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.  They have a gorgeous view of “our mountain” from their patio over looking the golf course.  They have a delicious menu and an attractive western bar.  This is also a great rehearsal dinner option, or, often couple will have their wedding at the resort and their rehearsal dinner at my ranch. If you book your event at the resort, this would be your food provider. This is one of the few breakfast options in the area.


The Italian Peasant in Tubac, $$ this is a great, casual dinner or lunch option AND, a great choice for local take-out if you want to grab pizza and some salads to eat at one of the lodging options!


Tubac Deli $ is the perfect lunch spot if you are spending the day in Tubac or want to order some sandwiches to go for wedding day bridal party lunch or a Sunday picnic lunch (perhaps by the pond, if you are staying at The Shankle Ranch).  They also do breakfast sandwiches and pastries and great coffee! Not open for dinner options.


Melios Trattoria $$$ named for owners Melinda and Elio, enjoy authentic Italian Cuisine for lunch and dinner in Tubac. I love their Caprese salad and their peppered filet mignon!


 

Other must-visit


The Santa Cruz Chili and Spice Factory in Tumacacori produces chili products that they sell through grocery stores but also have a shop where you can stock up on chili products.  The family used to grow their chilis in Amado and have a long history in the area.  I always buy a bunch of their spices and seasonings for hostess gifts around the holidays and they are a great option if you want to give your out-of-town guests a welcome bag with some local goodies!


The Country Shop If you are a local, this is where you go for gifts or Mexican imports and pottery. Owned by the Munger family since the 1970’s.


Old Presidio Traders is my favorite stop for Native American silver jewelry. Gary Hembry has been operating the shop for over 30 years.  When my cousin was married at the farm, she and her fiancé purchased silver and turquoise rings for their wedding at Old Presidio the day before the nuptials! This is also a good stop for a few “tourist” T-shirts and coffee mugs - perfect for welcome goodie-bags with local logos for out-of-town guests!


Top left; The Longhorn Grill, minutes north of the farm; View west from The Tubac Ranch; Have a beer or a welcome celebration at Abe's Old Tumacacori Bar; Shop (and/or fill guest goodie bags or purchase locally made wedding favors) at the Santa Cruz Chili factory in Tumacacori!


 


Getting Around

Although these locations are all within a few miles of us, transportation is needed.  It is an UBER no-mans-land down here, so, especially for the wedding night, a shuttle service is a good option.  Let me know and I can help connect you with options or see the "Vendor" page of our website.



Wedding reception at Agua Linda Farm
Agua Linda Farm - events from 2 - 250

Our venue specializes in Micro-Weddings, elopements AND large events.


Schedule a Tour

If you would like to schedule a tour of the area, let me know we can schedule a time to see these AMAZING places. 

  • If you are already booked at my venue, I am happy to do so free of charge. 

  • If you have not yet decided, let’s schedule a day and I will be your guide.  I do charge a small fee for this (it does take a couple of hours), but will be credited towards your booking fee if you do book my venue or coordination services for your wedding or event.  

*Note that due to the nature of our businesses, event venues and lodging facilities often cannot be toured fully on certain days, especially weekends and, sometimes, last minute bookings could limit access to full facility after tour day has been scheduled.




Follow my venue's instagram to see MORE images of weddings and events at my venue.

AND, follow my SoAzLiving instagram for local activities, festivals and lifestyle posts celebrating Southern Arizona


 

My venue, Agua Linda Farm is a 63 acre ranch in Southern Arizona near Tucson. My husband and I have been hosting weddings, harvest festivals and other events on our property for more than 15 years. I write my blog posts with my clients in mind but also hope to provide a little inspiration applicable to any wedding.

Happy Planning!. - Laurel Loew


Laurel Loew, owner/manager of Agua Linda Farm and Soazliving


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