Use this guide for a scenic road trip that will surely leave you amazed
From former mining town gems, to desert beauties, and mountain charmers, here are eight of the most beautiful towns in Arizona.
Established in 1880, Bisbee is a charming town with a mining history located in the Mule Mountains. Once known as “The Queen of the Copper Camps”, the town is home to artists and retired folk. Neighborhoods with Victorian and European-style homes sit on the steep hillsides, while many unique shops, art galleries, and cafés reside in redesigned former saloons. Attractions include the Queen Mine Tour and Old Bisbee Ghost Tour.
Nestled at an elevation of 5,200 feet amongst a large stand of ponderosa pine, Prescott’s perfect weather provides an average temperature of 70 degrees, with four distinct seasons, and breathtaking landscapes with mountains, lakes, streams, and meadows. Popular activities include horseback riding, golfing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, local breweries, restaurants, shopping, and a hometown feel.Once the territorial capital of the state, Prescott is rich with history embodied in its world famous Whiskey Row and abundant historical landmarks.
Tucson is located in the Sonoran Desert, the only place in the world the majestic saguaro cactus grows. Saguaro National Park is situated on either side of the city. These tall and ancient cacti stand like silent sentinels in the shadows of the five mountain ranges which cradle the Tucson valley and are showered with sunshine over 300 days a year. The average winter temperature is 70.
With its rich tradition as a former copper mining hub, Ajo is a casual town with relaxed charm. Enjoy its mild climate, low humidity, and clear skies. Take in the historic Spanish Colonial Revival architecture in the Downtown Historic District, Sonoran Desert flora and fauna, and panoramic views. Ajo is surrounded by 12 million acres of public and tribal land waiting to be explored. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge offer expansive hiking, camping, and birding places.
Several miles west of Petrified Forest National Park, Holbrook boasts pretty epic scenery. Backcountry hikes take you through the eponymous petrified logs and other archeological wonders. Park guides will show you the daylight sights, but you can also join a night adventure in the newly designated International Dark Sky Park.
Located near the top of Cleopatra Hill is the historic copper mining town of Jerome. Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome was born a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents into a roaring mining community. Today Jerome is a thriving tourist and artist hub with a population of around 450 people. Jerome resides above what was once the largest copper mine in Arizona which was producing an astonishing 3 million pounds of copper per month. Once a thriving mining camp full of miners, bootleggers, gamblers, and prostitutes, now a bustling tourist destination full of artists, musicians, and gift shop proprietors.
As synonymous with cinema Westerns as John Wayne, Monument Valley embodies the westward expansion more than any other American landscape. The noble spires, dusty red and orange, jut upward toward wide-open skies, which morph into fiery swaths of color come sunset. If you’ve ever had dreams of taking to open land on horseback, this beautiful Southwest spot is a must. Be sure to stay for sunset.
Spectacular scenery, Old West culture, mining history, and ghost towns meet art galleries and Arizona’s Wine Country vineyards. Patagonia is a renowned destination for birders attracted by the area’s spectacular array of exotic and unusual birds. The Nature Conservancy’s Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve and Patagonia Lake State Park are known for the 300 species of birds that migrate through or nest along their creeks and waterways. The Paton’s house is well known for its hospitality to hummingbirds and the people who like to watch them.
Oh, I could have lived anywhere in the world, if I hadn’t seen the West.
There’s something about small towns that ignite our imaginations
Filled with charm and plenty of friendly locals, small towns are synonymous with American life. To help you decide which towns to visit, we’ve narrowed it down to places with a population of fewer than 50,000 that offer scenic beauty and plenty of attractions plus have a unique character all their own. So ditch the city crowds and start planning your small-town getaway.
You’ll find the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation in this Arizona small town. The 100-plus hiking trails are great for nature lovers while the vortexes draw holistic enthusiasts and the spas cater to visitors looking to unwind. For a bit of retail therapy, head to Tlaquepaque arts village. Conclude your day with a visit to one of the local wineries for a tasting and to purchase a bottle of wine.
Why Go To Sedona
Sedona is regularly described as one of America’s most beautiful places. Nowhere else will you find a landscape this dramatically colorful. The towering red rocks and jagged sandstone buttes matched against a blue sky have beckoned to artists for years. Oh yeah, did we mention that the area is home to more than 100 hiking trails? Don’t forget to bring your boots!
Located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, this Tennessee town offers both wild adventures and down-home charm. Gatlinburg boasts three different entrances to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the 150-plus hiking trails are sure to please hikers of all skill levels.
Why Go To Gatlinburg
When you’re not in the park enjoying its natural wonders, you’ll likely spend time admiring it from several of Gatlinburg’s top attractions, including the Gatlinburg Space Needle and the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway. But Gatlinburg isn’t just a gateway to the Smokies. This small mountain town is a destination in its own right, and one that’s particularly popular with families thanks to kid-friendly diversions like Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre.
This quaint Virginia town boasts a Colonial district where visitors can see gunsmiths, milliners and more at work, all of whom wear period clothing. You can also visit several historic buildings, including the Governor’s Palace. Not a history buff? Take a stroll through Merchant’s Square for specialty shops.
Why Go To Williamsburg
Williamsburg and the nearby cities of Jamestown and Yorktown are breathing monuments to some of the best-known figures of America’s colonial history. Patrick Henry, George Washington, John Smith, Pocahontas and more.
This eastern Utah town serves as a gateway to the otherworldly rock formations found in Arches National Park and the numerous canyons and buttes in Canyonlands National Park. The town itself hosts countless festivals including the Moab Folk Festival, the Moab ArtWalk, and the Moab Trashion Show where participants create fashionable clothes from recycled materials. Plus, you can explore the city’s prehistoric history by visiting dinosaur-themed attractions like the Moab Giants Museum & Dinosaur Park.
Why Go To Moab
One of the top adventure towns in the world, Moab is surrounded by a sea of buckled, twisted and worn sandstone sculpted by millennia of sun, wind, and rain. Main Street’s traffic instantly confirms Moab’s reputation as a gathering place for outdoor recreation.
Stowe makes for an enjoyable spring or summer vacation (thanks to its outdoor offerings and events), a fun fall trip (thanks to its kaleidoscopic foliage), and a great winter getaway (thanks to its ski slopes). This quaint Vermont town is set in a valley and backed by mountains which means exploring Mother Nature by foot, bike, ski, or zip line is top priority for most travelers. When it’s time to wind down, visit one of the area’s breweries.
Why Go To Stowe, Vermont
Are you daydreaming of the European Alps but don’t have the dough to go? Consider the quaint—and more affordable—Vermont village of Stowe. This classic New England town is filled with malt shops and general stores, as well as charming churches and working farms. You’ll think you’re nestled in a sleepy village in the Alps. At least the von Trapps thought so; Stowe’s Trapp Family Lodge is where the melodious family of The Sound of Music fame settled because it reminded them of their Austrian home.
Life is not long and too much of it must not pass in idle deliberation how it shall be spent.
When planning a road trip, most travelers search out popular destinations. It’s usually cities they’ve read about or towns and attractions that have been recommended by friends or family or on social media. But there are an unlimited number of small towns in America that are worth visiting even if you didn’t know they existed. These 20 unheard-of towns across the U.S. may not be on your bucket list but they absolutely deserve a spot.
St. Simons Island, Georgia
History buffs and beach lovers alike will love this small island town off the Georgia coast. There, you can play a round of golf, fish, visit historical sites, and climb to the top of the St. Simons lighthouse for amazing views.
Back in the day, Bisbee was a major silver and copper mining hub, but now it’s a quaint small town home to artists and dreamers. With houses on cliffs’ edges and a mine cavern that you can still explore, it’s picturesque.
If you like whiskey, Bardstown is a can’t-miss stop. The bourbon capital of the world, Bardstown is to several distilleries including Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark. Be sure to tour My Old Kentucky Home State Park.
Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
This town’s motto is “The Oldest Summer Resort in America” and its prime location on Lake Winnipesaukee proves why. People from all over New Hampshire and Boston vacation here during warm summer months.
Corning, New York
Wineries and breweries: check. Panoramic views of a gorgeous lake: check. Restaurants filled with top-notch food: check. The Corning Museum of Art is celebrating 50 years and welcoming visitors in a unique way. This southern Finger Lakes community offers something for everyone.
Woods Hole, Massachusetts
This tiny, bustling Cape Cod town was once a pass-through destination for Martha’s Vineyard ferry travelers. Now it holds its own thanks to a charming waterfront filled with restaurants and shopping.
This town was settled in the 1700s and named in honor of Marie Antoinette. Today, it’s a historic riverboat town that’s ideal for families who seek out vacations full of outdoor adventures.
Cedar Key, Florida
This secluded beach community is less about the hustle and bustle and more about small town living. Proof: The restaurant- and buffet-filled streets of the mile-long historic district are filled with bicycles instead of cars.
In the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg maintains a small-town feel while having lots of things to see and do. With its unique German heritage, thriving wineries, and shopping, it’s the perfect getaway. The historic buildings along Main Street are home to over 100 shops. Influenced by the town’s heritage, German and German-inspired food options abound.
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Bon Temps et Bon Amis, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana is the place to be. For toe-tappin’, lip smackin’, ol’ fashioned fun, this little town has something for everyone! Nestled on the banks of the Bayou Teche, Breaux Bridge is a unique community filled with “Joie…
This cute town boasts an Amish community and the largest flea market in the country featuring a whopping 900 booths that cover 100 acres of land. You can munch on treats like sweet corn, while the kids feed animals at the petting zoo.
Shangri-La may be a fantasy, but you can find a real-life utopia on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. The city of Fairhope (population, 16,000), founded in 1894 by a society based on cooperative community ownership, was named for its members’ belief that their enterprise had a “fair hope” of success. Ever since, it has beckoned artists and writers. Galleries and studios pepper downtown streets along the waterfront, alongside more than 80 antique shops, small boutiques, and locally owned restaurants. Visit once and you will be back.
Helen is a replica Bavarian Alpine town the family will enjoy visiting. A faltering logging town, Helen resurrected itself in 1969 by requiring all of the buildings to be designed in the style of a south German mountain village. It features a downtown with specialty shops offering everything from toys, to pottery, to fudge, and delicious German delicacies like Spätzle and Bratwürst.
Gruene (pronounced like the color green) is designated a historic town by the state of Texas—part of that history is musical. The oldest dance hall in the state (still in its original 1800s-era building) is most famous for its country concerts, but swing, rockabilly, jazz, gospel, and folk musicians take the stage, too. The likes of Willie Nelson, George Strait, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Lyle Lovett have all graced the stage at Gruene Hall.
Look around town with its brick commercial architecture and sampling of handsome early homes. Most travelers, however, are either passing through or looking for “that ice cream place.” Just to the north of Waterbury along Route 100 Scenic Byway lie a major destination for food-lovers—Ben & Jerry’s, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, Lake Champlain Chocolates, the Cabot Cheese Annex—and Waterbury Center, with its stunning views of the Worcester Range.
La Grange, Texas
You’ll discover a fanciful cache of history and culture in this Central Texas community, a town steeped in German and Czech culture. Much of the town history is encased in dignified old architecture laid in the late 1800s. Many of the original buildings have been renovated and serve as creative outlets. The Texas Quilt Museum is located in two historic 1890s buildings.
Moab is a small city in eastern Utah famed for its natural beauty and fun escapes for adventure lovers. Moab is a quick drive from two national parks (Arches and Canyonlands) and home to the most popular state park in Utah (Dead Horse State Park). The La Sal Mountain Scenic Loop Road features spectacular scenery ranging from the forested heights of the La Sal Mountains to expansive views of red rock landscape.
A beautiful Colonial port town, Urbanna offers surprises around every corner. Turn off the main road or cruise up the Rappahannock River from the Chesapeake Bay to the charming and friendly historic Colonial port town of Urbanna. Home of Virginia’s Official Oyster Festival, more boats than folks and laid back innkeepers, shopkeepers, and townspeople.
Located midway between Frankfort and Lexington, Historic Midway was the first town in Kentucky founded by a railroad (1832). During the railroad’s heyday, the 1930s and 40s, up to 30 trains a day rumbled through the middle of town. The passenger trains dwindled until the old depot was closed in 1963. Now, Historic Midway once again thrives and enjoys its reputation as one of Kentucky’s favorite spots for antiques, crafts, gifts, restaurants, and clothing.
The town of Murphys is overflowing with wine courtesy of 25+ tasting rooms dotting Main Street. The microclimates in the Sierra Foothills AVA allow for all kinds of grape varieties but the most common varietals include zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, and chardonnay. There are also a numerous nearby vineyards that offer on-site wine tasting.
Once a year go somewhere you have never been before.
Storybook towns, lakeside villages, nature preserves, and more await just a short drive from Metro-America
Cities can sometimes feel like endless stretches of concrete—especially in the hot summer months—and your city is likely no exception.
Fortunately, there’s a whole world out there beyond the city limits. While it doesn’t always feel like it, there are so, so, so many worthy escapes within a few hours’ drive of Metro-America. Storybook small towns with a down-home feel, lakeside villages with entirely different way of life, and even places where you can connect with nature among meandering creeks and lush trees.
What’s really important for people is their comfort level in traveling, so we have something at each end of the spectrum. If you’re still concerned about getting out there, go on a road trip or go camping and still have that seclusion and privacy.
Pack your car or RV with some picnic accessories and some hiking gear and head out. You’re within driving distance of some truly great, out-of-the-ordinary places that make for wonderful road trips. Here are seven of them.
Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
Nestled on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee and surrounded by the pristine beauty of forests and mountains, Wolfeboro is a quintessential New England community with a rich heritage. A visit to Wolfeboro can be whatever you want it to be: a fun-filled family weekend or a quiet respite from hectic city life. You can explore, hike, boat, fish, golf, picnic, or dream. You can do everything or nothing at all in Wolfeboro—“The Oldest Summer Resort in America”.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona
For nearly 5,000 years, people have lived in these canyons—longer than anyone has lived uninterrupted anywhere on the Colorado Plateau. In the place called Tsegi, their homes and images tell us their stories. Today, Navajo families make their homes, raise livestock, and farm the lands in the canyons.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
Grand Staircase-Escalante spans many acres of America’s public lands and contains three distinct units, Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits, and Escalante Canyon. From its spectacular Grand Staircase of cliffs and terraces, across the rugged Kaiparowits Plateau, to the wonders of the Escalante River Canyons, the Monument is a diverse geologic treasure speckled with monoliths, slot canyons, natural bridges, and arches.
Medora, North Dakota
Interested in American presidential history? Then visit tiny Medora, located in the dramatic wilderness of the state’s Badlands region. The town is the gateway to walks and camping in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Don’t miss a hike to the Badlands Overlook for views of North Dakota’s famed natural landscape.
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Kentucky
Are you looking to connect with nature? Bernheim is the place to do it. With over 15,000 acres of land, there is an adventure waiting for everyone, no matter what your interest. At 15,625 acres, Bernheim boasts the largest protected natural area in Kentucky. Bernheim contains a 600-acre arboretum with over 8,000 unique varieties of trees. Take a scenic drive through the forest on paved roads, or bicycle around the Arboretum. Over 40 miles of trails weave their way through the forest at Bernheim.
Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve, South Carolina
If you want to see the South Carolina coast the way the original settlers did, take a step back in time at Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve on Edisto Island. The 4,600-acre preserve includes three miles of undeveloped beachfront. This wildlife management area exhibits many characteristics common to sea islands along the southeast coast: pine hardwood forests, agricultural fields, coastal wetlands, and a barrier island with a beachfront. Only this tract has been left undisturbed.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, California
Aside from being home to the world’s largest tree (by volume) and protecting vast areas of towering inland redwoods, a big part of Sequoia’s appeal is that it isn’t all that crowded. Take a stroll under the big trees in the Giant Forest, view wildlife in Crescent Meadows, climb to the top of Moro Rock.
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.
Like a bear emerging from hibernation, many of us are taking our first steps outside for the first time in weeks, eager to shed our quarantine garb and travel again
Will this be a normal summer? Definitely not! The #stayhome brigades are shaming travelers but summer travel may be what the country needs. With the traditional start of the summer travel season—Memorial Day weekend—behind us, what can we expect from the travel industry?
If you choose to travel by air, expect higher fares and new procedures at the airport before you even board your flight. More than 6,100 planes are currently parked on runways from coast to coast. Many of those planes will not be returning.
Travelers should be prepared for something new at the airport: Temperature checks for every departing passenger in hopes of preventing those with COVID-19 from boarding. What’s still being decided is whether the TSA or individual airlines will conduct the checks. Either way, expect to be charged an extra fee to pay for them.
There’s also a logistical problem that will need to be addressed. If you’re going to practice social distancing, and everybody has to get their temperature taken, there are some airports that are worried that the lines might stretch more than a mile.
The warm greeting you’re used to receiving when you arrive at a hotel will likely be out the window. The idea of having contact with a bellman, or room service, or any other human being is getting withdrawn. Expect the check-in process to be done online. Some hotels already allow you to unlock your door with your phone.
For the hotels to create an image in which you feel safe and secure, they’ve put the word hospital back in hospitality. For instance, Hilton Hotels have partnered with the Mayo Clinic to create a branded cleaning process for its rooms. When it comes to housekeeping, staff will not enter your room unless you make a request. Hotels still offering room service will leave your meal outside your door for you to bring inside.
Many things you’re used to finding in a hotel room will likely disappear. Pens, paper, magazines, that extra pillow that used to be in the closet, coat hangers—kiss them goodbye. Necessary items such as the TV remote, the telephone handset, and water glasses will likely be enclosed in some kind of wrapping with a seal.
It’s hard to forget the awful stories of cruises wrecked by the coronavirus earlier this year including that of the Diamond Princess which was quarantined for two weeks in a harbor in Japan. The cruise lines have a very steep hill to climb based just on optics and public perception. They have a problem because a lot of folks think of a cruise ship as nothing more than a floating petri dish.
A no-sail order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expires at the end of June but cruise lines are required to submit a detailed anti-coronavirus plan to the CDC for approval to sail again. Few cruises—if any—will likely happen during the remainder of this year but expect a turnaround next year as people who love cruises are very loyal.
Cruise ships which emphasize loads of shared experiences need to make major changes. Expect to see them change with limits of people in the pools and the Jacuzzis and a buffet in which you will never go near the food. You will point to what you want, and a uniformed staff member will plate it for you. Prices may not increase initially because the focus will be on getting passengers to return. But eventually, prices will likely rise.
Meanwhile, demand for recreational vehicles, whether to buy or rent, will go through the roof. Families will want to travel together and an RV gives them the opportunity to be in their own self-contained quarantine-mobile, if you will, to rediscover their own country.
Many families will stock up on groceries ahead of their RV trips so they don’t have to stop at any restaurants along the way. Camping will be big at the national and state park level. State parks will be rediscovered because the national parks will be full. You can count on that.
Wherever you live you have many options. Take a look at the map and consider a 3- or 400-mile radius from where you live. You will be surprised at what’s available that’s not crowded and will offer a wonderful travel experience at an affordable cost.
Aim for a small town that doesn’t have big high-rise hotels, theme parks, or a crowded beach. Social distancing is almost the definition of a small town anyway. You’ll learn about American history, you can go antiquing, and you’ll have a better chance of having a better experience within the boundaries of what’s acceptable social distancing.
Across the Lone Star State, these small towns brim with new energy and welcome retreat from the city
There was a time when most Texans lived over yonder. But
over the past century, the percentage of Texans living in rural areas versus
urban areas flipped. Today, 85 percent live in cities while only 15 percent
live in the country according to the Texas Demographic Center. It’s an
understandable trend. With booming job markets, diverse cultural offerings, and
fast-paced living, Texas’ major cities project a magnetism that leads to ever-expanding
Here we chronicle four such towns that are thriving—places
to visit now for both escape and discovery.
The quaint fishing village of Rockport-Fulton has been a favorite coastal hideaway and Winter Texan roost for years. The town’s recovery since Hurricane Harvey two years ago counts among the great feel-good stories in Texas history. Rebounding in stunning ways, this little art colony beloved by visitors since the 1950s for its fishing, bay setting, and festivals feels fresh again.
Envision the life of an affluent Victorian family while exploring Fulton Mansion, built in 1877 with comforts not easily found: gas lights, central heat, and running water. At Goose Island State Park you’ll find the wintering grounds for whooping cranes and other migratory birds. It’s also home to the 1,000-year-old Big Tree, one of Texas’ largest live oak.
This might just be the “Best Little Day Trip in Texas.” I’m sure Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton would agree as it was the events of La Grange’s famous “Chicken Ranch” that inspired the classic musical “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” While the brothel is no longer around there’s still plenty to do in this town.
For starters, “Czech” out the Texas Czech Heritage and
Cultural Center. This museum gives visitors a feel for the culture and early
days of Fayette County when thousands of Czech immigrants populated the area.
Another must-see stop is the Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery State
Historic Site. The settlers also introduced a town favorite treat—the kolache!
One of the best spots to grab a kolache is Weikel’s Bakery.
Fort Davis started as a military post on the turbulent Texas
frontier, but nowadays you’ll find a decidedly laid-back town. Some streets
remain unpaved, cell phones tend to fall silent, and folks still wave to each
other on the street.
It’s a quiet little town that doesn’t have a lot of tourist infrastructure. It has the essentials, though, and attractions such as the recently made-over Indian Lodge and the nearby McDonald Observatory, which last year overhauled the Hobby-Eberly Telescope and George T. Abell Gallery. Be sure to visit Fort Davis National Historic Site.
A bonus: 5,050 feet of elevation makes Fort Davis the
highest town in Texas and, on summer nights, one of the coolest.
Blanco calls itself the “Lavender Capital of Texas” as home of Hill Country Lavender farm and the annual Lavender Festival in June, complete with tours of lavender crops, growing tips, and music. If swimming or fishing’s your thing, head to Blanco State Park, where you can hook up your RV or pitch a tent and stretch your legs along the Blanco River.
At Real Ale Brewing Company sip an unfiltered beer and toss
washers. Each spring the brewery hosts the popular Real Ale Ride with Hill
Country routes ranging from 15 to 80 miles and beer at the finish line.
Texas Spoken Friendly
No matter how far we may wander, Texas lingers with us,
coloring our perceptions of the world.
Arizona is blessed with small town gems you’re sure to enjoy
Arizona is blessed with small towns that beg to be explored.
But no matter how many times you may have visited, here are things you probably
didn’t know about them.
Visiting small towns is one of the great joys of travel.
Combine scenic beauty, easy access, and welcoming main street
businesses and you’ve got all the makings of a memorable day trip.
We’ve explored Arizona and found these four small-town
gems you’re sure to enjoy.
Two- and three-story buildings built of brick and stone line
Main Street as if holding back the canyon walls rising sharply along its
length. Bisbee’s slopes display a century’s worth of architecture, from
historic inns to refurbished, modern-looking former miners’ shacks.
Bisbee thrives on a laid-back foundation of artists,
entrepreneurs, and free thinkers. Whether you’re exploring the shops downtown,
the drinking establishments of Brewery Gulch, or the town’s dizzying network of
concrete stairs, you’ll be welcomed with a smile.
Claim to fame: Put
on a yellow rain slicker, climb aboard a rail car, and rumble into the heart of
a mountain. The Copper Queen Mine Tour follows what was once one of Bisbee’s richest
veins, mapped by men with no fear of dark, enclosed spaces.
On sunny, mild weekends—and so many of them are—residents
and tourists flock to the grassy square at the heart of downtown. In view of
the Yavapai County Courthouse, a four-story granite structure looming like a
castle, many stake claims to shady spots under spreading elms, or people-watch
from the courthouse steps.
Others browse the shops, restaurants and bars that box in
the 4-acre plaza, a design that’s as perfect today as it was in 1864 when the
town was laid out. Founders couldn’t have envisioned the role the plaza now
plays, hosting more than 100 festivals and events annually. The square is not
just Prescott’s heart, but its soul.
Claim to fame: Step
back in time at the Palace Restaurant Saloon and Restaurant. Opened in 1877,
the state’s oldest bar is one of the most popular stops on Whiskey Row and
once hosted Doc Holliday as well as Wyatt and Virgil Earp. The Palace burned to
the ground in 1900 but not before patrons carried the bar itself to safety.
That original Brunswick bar remains, polished smooth over more than a century
The way buildings cling precariously to the side of
Cleopatra Hill, it’s as if gravity has been suspended in this former mining
town. Jerome is laid out vertically, with Arizona 89A switchbacking
through it. The Verde Valley spreads out below in one of the most accessible
vistas in Arizona.
With few signs of the mine shafts that run through Cleopatra
Hill like a honeycomb, Jerome now thrives on tourism, enhanced by a welcoming
vibe exuded by artists and small-business owners.
Claim to fame: The
town may be Arizona’s most haunted. Many visitors hoping for a spontaneous
outbreak of spirits can play it by eerie at the Jerome Grand Hotel. The
building opened in 1927 as the United Verde Hospital and since then guests
and staff have reported all sorts of unearthly activity, from apparitions and
flickering lights to disembodied voices. The hotel looms over Jerome and even
appears menacing at sunset. That’s a great time to duck into its bar, The
Asylum, where spirits of a different kind are served.
The first glimpse of Sedona is one of awe. Towers and walls
of red rock surround the hamlet like a fortress. But rather than keep visitors
out, the surreal landscape attracts tourists by the thousands.
Claim to fame: Many
come to Sedona to experience the spiritual energy said to emanate from
vortexes. Those open to the possibilities may feel psychic forces energize and
heal them, per adherents. Even if you don’t believe, it’s worth visiting the
vortexes because they happen to be in some of Sedona’s most scenic spots, such
as Bell Rock and Airport Mesa.
The trip across Arizona is just one oasis after another. You
can just throw anything out and it will grow there.