CLARKDALE, AZ -- (Marketwired) -- 04/22/13 -- Deep red cliffs saturated with the golden glow of sunset and fresh green river breezes invigorate the senses during Verde Canyon Railroad's popular Summer Starlight series. Scheduled for select Saturday evenings May through September, the Starlight rides depart the depot at 5:30 p.m. as the daytime temperatures fade and leave the route illuminated by the season's late sunset. A wide, wild blend of changing luminosity ranges between daylight, sunset, twilight, starlight and moonlight, serving up an amazing variety of vistas and an ever evolving twist to the scenery in this rare riparian canyon. Each passenger may exit their climate-controlled passenger car to partake in the panoramic, all-encompassing outdoors via open-air viewing cars and become an integral part of the sights, scents and sounds of summer outside the city.
Returning to the depot via full moon brilliance, these evening excursions also highlight the Canyon's wild creatures as many desert dwellers tend to be more active during the twilight hours of dusk and dawn. The summer season in Verde Canyon is as robust, heady and velvety as vintage wine. Dense with foliage, blooms and wildlife, this special wilderness showcases a landscape rare in Arizona.
The historic train features restored mid-century passenger cars, evoking the times of relaxed, stylish rail travel. Coach class is comprised of classic Pullman-style railcars revived from previous careers on commuter lines. First-class seating provides well-designed living room-style comfort, with overstuffed chairs and loveseats allowing a more spacious atmosphere. Amenities, such as courtesy appetizers and Champagne with full bar options enhance the ride. All passengers enjoy access to adjoining open-air viewing cars, their expansive panoramas being one of the train's most popular features.
In addition to classic-coach and first-class accommodations, the Summer Starlight rides offer a choice of two popular seasonal events. The Grape Train Escape and Tequila Sunset Limited, first-class affairs in exclusive cars, feature tastes of special spirits paired with accompanying finger foods to best complement each selection.
Each of the summer's seven Grape Train Escape wine-tasting events will highlight varietals from a specific wine-growing region. This year's line-up includes California, South America, Arizona, Washington State, Australia, South Africa and Italy. The tasting flight is in tune with the progressively darkening Canyon and finishes with the starry crispness of Champagne and strawberries.
The Tequila Sunset Limited is a party at 12 miles per hour, celebrating this spirit's popularity that has moved uptown from its rural Mexican roots. A selection of three premium small-batch tequilas will prove that the agave-distilled liquor can boast a complex sipping flavor suited to any snifter.
As the season comes to a close and the sun is setting a little sooner, the Dark Skies Constellation Ride will set the stage for celestial superstars on summer's final Starlight run, September 21st. With assistance from Verde Valley Astronomy Club volunteers riding on the open-air viewing cars, passengers will be on a first name basis with the heavenly bodies lighting the dark desert skies.
The season's first Summer Starlight ride takes place on May 25 at 5:30 p.m.. Only two hours from Phoenix and 25 minutes from Sedona, Verde Canyon Railroad is the perfect Arizona day-trip, or if you plan to stay over, ask about our Room, Ride and Meal packages. Other than Saturday Starlight Tours, trains depart at 1 p.m. daily. Reservations are accepted at 800.293.7245 or online at http://verdecanyonrr.com.
It's not the destination, it's the journey
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