The  view looking out of a private sun deck at the Prickly Pear Inn.
Photo courtesy of Prickly Pear Inn
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Valentine’s Day - Creeker style


Tara Alatorre

CAVE CREEK – The official holiday of love and romance is only one week away, and if you have a sweetheart to celebrate with, choosing what to do on Valentine’s Day can seem like an arduous task. 
A good way to narrow down the choices is to keep your activities and purchases local.  For every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $43 stays in the local economy, said Patty Villeneuve, a spokesperson for the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce.
“Out of $100 spent with a non-locally owned business only $13 stays in the local economy,” she said.  “Buy local or bye bye local!”
So, this year on Valentine’s Day book  a suite at the cozy Prickly Pear Inn, which is nestled in the center of Cave Creek, and puts you walking distance from a plethora of restaurants, bars, and hiking trails; so you can relax and walk, all while taking in the sights without the worry of driving or the hassle of finding a parking spot in town.
The Foothills Focus rounded up just some of the local businesses offering events or services to help plan the perfect Valentine’s Day- Creeker style.

Prickly Pear Inn and Grumpy Mule Mercantile
Start your Valentine’s Day by parking at the Prickly Pear Inn’s underground parking garage (something only an Arizonan who has suffered steering wheel burns would truly appreciate), because that vehicle is staying put until tomorrow. Check-in to a deluxe king room with a private sundeck. Then after you have settled in, check out the digs at the Grumpy Mule, which is a store onsite that sells beer, wine, gourmet foods, artwork and unique gifts.
Reservations are required in advance, for more information visit

Spur Cross Stables
No Cave Creek adventure would be complete without saddling up. Take in the sunset with your loved one on a horseback trail ride with the beautiful views at Spur Cross Stables.  The ranch provides guided horse trail riding tailored specifically to fit your needs, from 1 hour to a full day. Design your own private ride or group ride, exploring natural wonders, with journeys that include Native American ruins, Petroglyphs, Seven Springs and crested saguaro.
Reservations are required, for more information visit or call 480-488-9117.

Carefree Hot Air Expeditions
If you can’t get on a horse, try another unusual mode of transportation to catch beautiful sweeping views of the Valley with a hot air balloon ride. Carefree Hot Air Expeditions is offering Valentine’s Day balloon rides in the morning starting at 6:45 a.m. and in the afternoon at 3:45 p.m. There is a champagne toast waiting for you when you land served with either breakfast or appetizers (afternoon) from Vincent’s Café.
Advanced reservations are required, for more information visit or call 480-502-6999.

Etania Jewelry and Boutique
After you are done taking in the views from horse or by balloon, take a stroll over to Etania Jewelry & Boutique for the coolest handmade gem jewelry, fashion and homemade handbags in Cave Creek. The shop is offering 15% off anything in the store, and it is the perfect place to get that little something special for your Valentine.
For more information visit

Cave Creek Olive Oil Company
Then head on over to the Cave Creek Olive Oil Company and sample some of the best oils, pastas, honeys and balsamic vinegars in the Valley.  There is no beer or whiskey allowed at this bar, but it is uncorking plenty of the freshest olive oils from around the world with some classic Western charm and customer service.
For more information call 480-595-3157 or visit

Big Earl’s Greasy Eats
Once you have finished treating your palate to a sophisticated bouquet of oils, bring it back down a notch and set out to Big Earl’s Greasy Eats for a whimsical adult milkshake or root beer float. Big Earl’s is a landmark in the town serving breakfast, lunch and dinner specializing in hormone-free all-natural burgers.
For more information visit or call 480-575-7889.

Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine
After indulging in boozy ice cream treats, keep the good times rolling by stopping in at Cartwright’s for its daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m., offering $3 draft beers, $5 house wines and cocktails and $5 bites.  Then stay for an unforgettable four-course Valentine's Day menu that also includes dessert and champagne.
Call 480 488-8031 to make your Valentine’s Day dinner reservation or visit for more information.

The Horny Toad
If modern cuisine is not what you’re looking for, then keep it simple and get Horny at the Toad, the bar and restaurant will have live music from 5 to 8 p.m., and there is a red carnation for every lady.  The Horny Toad is also offering a Valentine’s Day dinner special that is only $50 per couple, which includes a choice of grilled flatiron steak or salmon, two side salads, vegetable, choice of potato and a shared half order of strawberry shortcake.
Reservations are recommended for more information call 480-488-9542 or visit

Buffalo Chip
If you need a little more live action on your Valentine’s Day, then grab your loved one and spend the night at the Buffalo Chip for Wednesday night bull riding.  Bull riding begins at 7:30 and 9 p.m., there will be live music inside and outside. Also, the Chip is offering a VIP special, for $50 per person you get VIP seating for the bull riding, and it includes a prime rib dinner, champagne, dessert, and a rose for the lady. 

VIP seats are limited call 480-295-9917 to make a reservation or visit for more information.
If you would like more information about local businesses please visit the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce at, or the Anthem Area Chamber of Commerce at