The 5-Minute Guide to Tucson with Artist Stella Maria Baer


There’s nothing quite like a weekend getaway—but when time is tight, you need to spend it well. So we invited a few of our travel-loving friends to hit up their favorite driveable destinations and report back with mini guides (think something you could read in five minutes). Up next? Artist Stella Maria Baer checks in from Tucson, Arizona.

Some use a quick getaway to sample someplace new, but artist Stella Maria Baer has never tired of weekends in Tucson, Arizona, even after years of family road trips there. Growing up in Santa Fe with a textile artist mother and a gallery-owning father, she learned to find inspiration in her surroundings and began painting in secret, using the palette of the desert hues she fell in love with on those drives. Now, painting’s her fulltime gig, and she’s known for her watercolors of landscapes, animals and planets. She recently revisited the desert oasis, and after a sunset horseback ride, shared her tips.

Destination: Tucson, Arizona

Drive time from Santa Fe: 7 hours and 49 minutes in a Honda CR-V from Zipcar.

When you’re in Tucson, stay…
Near the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The backdrop will be beautiful, and there are silver dollar cacti and giant agave all over.

You can’t go wrong wearing…
A fleet jacket, jeans and a denim shirt. Comfy to drive in, perfect for riding horses and nearly camouflage against the Southwestern sky.

Set the mood by listening to…
Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson’s “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” “Sundown” by Gordon Lightfoot, “Lost Highway” by Hank Williams and “Romance in Durango” by Bob Dylan.

One unique thing you can’t miss is…
A horseback ride at sunset through the prickly pear and cholla cacti.

Garden of the Gods (1 of 1)_insta

When you’re packing for a quick trip, remember…
To pack according to the color of the landscape.

If you take one tip from this, it should be…
Enjoy the drive. I love watching the colors of the landscape change while driving across the Southwest. Our first day we drove over the mountains, the second day through the desert and on our third day we drove through hills of saguaro cacti.

To sum up this trip in an emoji (or four):



At top, Stella wears our Fleet Jacket and The Perfect Summer Jean. At bottom, she wears our Sidewalk Midi Skirt and Warren Sandal and packed our Denim Lace-Up Shirt in the Canvas Transport Weekender.

Craving a getaway yourself? Enter our Wander With Us sweeps for a chance to win one of four unforgettable weekend trips, or (even better) the grand prize: the ultimate Hawaiian adventure, with round-trip airfare for two, a five-night stay at Moana Surfrider c/o HotelTonight, $500 of free driving with Zipcar and a free one-year membership, a $1,000 Madewell shopping spree, a $500 Artifact Uprising credit and more.*

*No purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States (including DC), 18 years and older. Void where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends June 28, 2016. For Official Rules, prize descriptions and odds disclosure, visit Sponsor: J.Crew Group, Inc., 770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003.