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An Arizona Road Ramble



The drive from Cottonwood to Flagstaff, Arizone, take just over an hour. My husband and I did it in just four days. We were busy every minute and had to skip several promising sites. This stretch of highway - and the surrounding area - is prime for an uber road trip.


Verde Valley

How the West Was Wine

Painted barrel on the Verde Valley Wine TrailThe town of Cottonwood is the queen city of the Verde Valley in central Arizona. Located on one of three good places to cross the Verde River, it became popular as a camping spot for travelers west. Permanent white settlement began in the 1870s.

Old Town Cottonwood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and, although the city has moved and modernized to the south, it’s the historic downtown that makes it worth visiting. Main Street is lined with interesting little shops, great places to eat and several wine tasting rooms. No painted ponies or buffalo here; local art icons are painted wine barrels – appropriate since the area has an increasingly popular wine trail.
I’ll be honest. Setting a glass of wine in front of me is like putting a Monet in front of a monkey. That said, Jack and I had a great time touring and tasting at a variety of wineries.

On the banks of the Verde River, Alcantara specializes in Rhone, Bordeaux and Italian-style wines. It’s the largest producer of estate wines in central Arizona. Zinfandel vines grow at Javelina Leap Vineyard in nearby Cornville. Bold reds are their specialty. Their cheese, deli and fruit presentations are works of art – a lunch stop here is a great idea. Down the road, Deb Wahl’s Oak Creek Vineyards and Winery grows Chardonnay, Fume Blanc, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel grapes. She also produces two port wines. Small bites are available and her wine and chocolate pairings are particularly irresistible. Also in the neighborhood, Page Springs Cellars produces Rhone-style wines and tasty plates, and boasts a beautiful deck overlooking Oak Creek.

Back in historic Old Town, we visited Burning Tree Cellars, Arizona Stronghold Tasting Room and Pillsbury Wine Company. All have award-winning wines but by the time we got here, I had to stop sampling!

12th century Sinagua ruins at Montezuma Castle

In the Neighborhood

Use Cottonwood as a base to explore: Early Native American sites at Montezuma Castle, ancient Sinagua dwellings built into a sheer cliff; Montezuma Well, a circular sinkhole with brilliant blue spring-fed water and an early 12th century Hohokam house; and Tuzigoot, remains of a Sinagua village built between 1125 and 1400.

Jerome, a former ghost town clinging to the side of a steep hill, is now a thriving art colony. For background start at the Jerome State Historic Park museum in the mansion of one of the town’s copper mining moguls, James S. Douglas. Visit Bitter Creek and Caduceus tasting rooms – Bitter Creek has a spectacular view – and art galleries. Don’t miss Nellie Bly, the world’s largest kaleidoscope store.

Verde Canyon Railroad offers a four-hour trip to enjoy the view along the upper Verde River – spectacular scenery, wildlife and ancient ruins.

Red Rocks Rock

Sedona and vicinity is famous for its colorful geology – thank you, iron oxide. Jack and I got up close and personal and even ate a little rust – I mean dust – on a tour with Arizona ATV Adventure Tours. Training, gloves, goggles, helmets and bandanas are supplied on these great half-day tours. Just remember two things – go before you go and don’t wear white pants!

Sedona itself is noted as a celebrity hangout with upscale shopping and fine dining – and for the metaphysically minded, its energy vortices. To get acquainted with the area, you can’t beat Sedona Trolley City and Scenic Tours. Their two different fully-narrated, 55-minute tours take you through south Sedona with a stop at the stunning Chapel of the Holy Cross or out of town into the rocks and trees of Coconino National Forest. We took them both!

Sedona ATV Adventure Tours takes guests off-road for scenic views of Sedona’s famous red rocks.

Heading north from Sedona, we entered one of the state’s most beautiful spots, Oak Creek Canyon. Photos don’t do the canyon justice – deep shadows from the forest and towering cliffs make photography challenging. We picnicked at one of the many areas along the creek, serenaded by the splashing water, chattering squirrels and chirping of unseen birds. A cozy, century-old cabin deep in the canyon was our home for the night. It, along with newer buildings, is part of Butterfly Garden Inn, accommodations now owned by Nicole and Frank Garrison. The cabin was delightful; the breakfast basket beautiful and tasty. But it was chatting with Nicole and hearing the story of how this Florida family came to the canyon that made the stay extra-special.

What’s in a Name?

Mother Road Brewing Company, a stop on the Flagstaff Ale TrailBack in the 1800s, emigrants headed to California came through the area on a trail called the Beale Road. On July 4, 1876, a party from Boston camped here and, to celebrate the nation’s centennial, stripped a tall pine tree in order to fly an American flag. The settlement that grew up on the spot was called Flagstaff. Later travelers came through town on Route 66 and today’s visitors can still find icons of the Mother Road.

We traveled a different path through town – the Flagstaff Ale Trail. Armed with our Passport (check flagstaffaletrail.com) we walked the one-mile, downtown route, stopping at six different brew pubs. And we found a fantastic pizza place, Pizzicletta. Owner/chef Caleb Schiff combines his love of Italy, bicycling and his fantastic Neapolitan pizza oven into a big experience in a tiny eatery.

There is lots to explore here but we were short on time, so we settled for the Lowell Observatory, marveling at the 138-year-old Clark telescope and finding an Oklahoma connection with astronaut Thomas Stafford and the Apollo missions. We also squeezed in a visit to the outstanding Museum of Northern Arizona, whose extensive holdings include wonderful collections of Native American basketry, pottery and jewelry.

A quick stop at Northern Arizona University for fun photos of 20-foot-tall mascot Louis the lumberjack set us to singing “I’m a Lumberjack and I’m okay!” as we headed down the highway.


Pleasures and Priorities

Crema Café: great breakfasts, salads, sandwiches and moreThe Tavern Hotel – a chic boutique hotel in the heart of Old Town.

Nic’s Italian Steak and Crab House – chef/co-owner Michelle Jurisin’s Italian heritage and East coast background bring authenticity and diversity to the menu.

Schoolhouse Restaurant – Chef/owner Christopher Dobrowolski tweaks old favorites with creative twists in a historic 1906 schoolhouse.

Crema Café – self-described as a craft kitchen with espresso, bar and creamery. We were so impressed with breakfast we came back for lunch!

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Calendar

January 2019

Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

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Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
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Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

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Celebrate during MLK weekend with fun! From Saturday 1/19 through Monday 1/21, experience our Winter Fun Pass for just $19.95! This pass includes unlimited laser tag, bumper cars, frog hopper, kidz...

Cost: 19.95

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park
3300 Market Place Dr
Norman, OK  73072
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Sponsor: Andy Alligator's Fun Park
Telephone: 405.321.7275
Website »

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Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Celebrate during MLK weekend with fun! From Saturday 1/19 through Monday 1/21, experience our Winter Fun Pass for just $19.95! This pass includes unlimited laser tag, bumper cars, frog hopper, kidz...

Cost: 19.95

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park
3300 Market Place Dr
Norman, OK  73072
View map »


Sponsor: Andy Alligator's Fun Park
Telephone: 405.321.7275
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Presented By Painted Sky Opera By Leonard Bernstein Sam and Dinah may appear to be the picture of 1950s suburban marital bliss in this jazz-influenced opera by the composer of West Side...

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall - City Space
201 N Walker
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Painted Sky Opera
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Through March 2019, Oklahoma Contemporary is partnering with Madison Square Park Conservancy to bring Erwin Redl’s installation Whiteout to Campbell Art Park. Whiteout is comprised of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Campbell Art Park
NW 11th and Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Visitors to Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will be able to let their imaginations run wild as they travel back in time with life-size animatronic dinosaurs along a half-mile...

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
Website »

More information

The 8th annual “A Perfect Finish” will feature a night of wine & beer tasting, an auction, food and fun benefiting the OKC RIVERSPORT Junior Crew.  The proceeds from this...

Cost: $75

Where:
McClendon Whitewater Center
800 Riversport Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
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Sponsor: RIVERSPORT OKC
Telephone: 405.552.4040
Contact Name: Luke Reynolds
Website »

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Presented By OKC Philharmonic Alexander Mickelthwate, conductor Yolanda Kondonassis, harp Bernstein - On the Town: Three Dance Episodes Brian Eno - An Ending (Ascent) Higdon - Concerto for...

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall-Thelma Gaylord Theater
201 N Walker
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Phil
Telephone: 405.842.5387
Website »

More information

Presented By Painted Sky Opera By Leonard Bernstein Sam and Dinah may appear to be the picture of 1950s suburban marital bliss in this jazz-influenced opera by the composer of West Side...

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall - City Space
201 N Walker
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Painted Sky Opera
Website »

More information

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