Learn more about Phoenix and the surrounding areas through specially curated tours offered exclusively by Women of the ELCA. Six pre-gathering tours are offered on Thursday, July 16. Three post-gathering tours will be offered following closing worship on Sunday, July 19. For those with extra time and an adventurous spirit, consider the final offering: a five-day post-gathering tour that gets participants out and about the Grand Canyon State. All tours include a step-on guide who will make the trip special, offering insider tips and fascinating facts along the way.
Explore the beauty of the Sonoran Desert by touring Arizona’s first “historic highway” and scenic byway, Apache Trail. You’ll experience Superstition Mountain Wilderness, Tortilla Flat, and Goldfield Ghost Town. The tour includes a narrated nature cruise on Canyon Lake, on the famous Dolly Steamboat. Lunch is included. Thursday, July 16, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Learn local flora, fauna and wild west history while driving to Tucson. There we will visit San Juan Bautista Lutheran Church where you’ll meet Michael Schultz, local graffiti artist, who will speak about Open Space Church. On the return drive we’ll stop at Queen Creek Olive Mill, Arizona’s only working olive farm and mill. Tour the mill, shop the marketplace and enjoy lunch on your own.
Thursday, July 16, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visit Biosphere 2, a science research facility in Oracle, Arizona, dedicated to research, outreach, teaching and life-long learning about the Earth and its place in the universe. Experience the Rainforest, an Ocean overlook and a Coastal Fog Desert. Grab lunch before heading to Queen Creek Olive Mill, Arizona’s only working olive farm and mill. Tour the mill and shop the marketplace that features oils and delicacies.
Thursday, July 16, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
You’ll be treated to architecture, modern art, desert views and more in Phoenix, the Valley of the Sun. Spot the Arizona State Capitol building and the Arizona Biltmore (featuring design elements from Frank Lloyd Wright) as you make your way to Old Town Scottsdale. In Old Town Scottsdale explore fashion shops and art galleries and enjoy some Southwest cuisine. Lunch is on your own.
Thursday, July 16, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday, July 19, 12:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Visit the Heard Museum, created in 1929 and dedicated to the advancement of American Indian Art. Featuring both traditional and contemporary art, the Heard houses about 44,000 objects and displays many of them in its 12 exhibit galleries. Lunch can be purchased at the Heard’s Courtyard Café. You’ll also be introduced to Phoenix houses of worship on the way to and from the Heard.
Thursday, July 16,
Tour one departs at 10:30 a.m. and returns around 2:30 p.m.
Tour two departs at 12 p.m. and returns around 3 p.m.
Sunday, July 19, tour departs 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Travel north of Phoenix to Sedona, a beautiful city nestled among a geographical wonderland of red rock buttes, green pine forests and steep canyon walls. Enjoy exploring Sedona on your own for two hours, then board a trolley for a guided ride to Chapel of the Holy Cross. Then it’s on to Tlaquepaque Arts Village for lunch (on your own) and some shopping.
Thursday, July 16, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Spend the final afternoon of the Gathering touring Arizona’s only working olive farm and mill. Learn how extra virgin olive oil is made, how to use it in the kitchen, and why it’s so good for you. Experts will teach you how to correctly taste olive oil. After touring the mill, shop the marketplace that features oils and delicacies, a perfect place to pick up gifts before returning home. You can choose from a delicious selection of food and beverage items in their store. And don’t forget to sample their ice cream for dessert!
Sunday, July 19, 12:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The five-day post-gathering tour gets you out and about into the Grand Canyon State, focusing on must-see venues. On Sunday you’ll drive from downtown Phoenix to Sedona, with a stop at Montezuma Castle along the way. Enjoy dinner in Sedona on your own. Begin Monday with some optional tours around Sedona and then travel to the Grand Canyon where more optional tours await you. Following optional tours on Tuesday morning, you’ll depart for Page. You get to explore the Antelope Canyon Wednesday morning before you head off to Flagstaff, with a stop at Horseshoe Bend along the way. Enjoy a visit to the Lowell Observatory that evening. You can enjoy Thursday morning in Flagstaff at your leisure before departing at 1:30 p.m. for Phoenix.
Sunday, July 19, leaving approximately 12 p.m.
Arriving Thursday, July 23, in Phoenix approximately 4 p.m.
Single occupancy: $1,698.00
Double occupancy: $1,199.00