The small town of Willcox, in the heart of Arizona ranching country, began in the late 1870s as a railroad construction camp called Maley. When the Southern Pacific Railroad line arrived in 1880, the town was renamed in honor of the highly regarded Fort Bowie commander, General Orlando B. Willcox. Once a major shipping center for cattle ranchers and mining companies, the town's rustic charm is in the process of renewal; the downtown area looks like it did in the 1930s. An elevation of 4,167 feet means moderate summers and chilly winters, ideal for growing apples, and apple pie fans from as far away as Phoenix make pilgrimages to sample the harvest. The climate also seems favorable for growing grapes, and Willcox has sprouted several vineyards and tasting rooms, as well as a premier grape-crushing facility, in the last few years. Pick up a map of the tasting rooms at the Willcox Visitor Center or online www.willcoxwinecountry.org.
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