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Flagstaff, AZ.

Louise Speaks:  In Patricia’s book “1000 Places To See Before You Die” she lists several things in Flagstaff.  Flagstaff is about 150 miles north of Phoenix and is considered one of the favorite cities of northern Arizona. The downtown area of Flagstaff is filled with unique shops, bars and restaurants.  Remember that Flagstaff is home to the Northern Arizona University so the age of it’s residents are those of college students.  There are many musical venues all over town.  San Francisco Street is the heart of Flagstaff going east and west and the famous Route 66 is the main artery going north and south.  Flagstaff also has a railroad station that serves as the connecting hub for northern Arizona.  You could easily spend a weekend in Flagstaff and not see everything it has to offer.  But we followed the suggestions in Patricia’s book and set off on our journey.

The first thing we visited once we were in town was the cutest Bed and Breakfast you could ever find.  It’s called The Inn at 410, www.inn410.com  and we could certainly understand why it made Patricia’s book.  The small staff was so personable, they allowed us to just walk through the entire facility including all the rooms where the doors were open.  The gal in charge walked us around the downstairs and gave us a brief history of the B & B, and we left very impressed.

Since it’s opening in 1991 as a bed and breakfast, this historic inn offers luxurious, romantic rooms and suites with unmatched amenities, and combines an outstanding location, a warm and inviting ambiance, gourmet breakfasts and gracious friendly service to ensure a relaxing and memorable Flagstaff Bed and Breakfast experience. Whether you want to visit the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Jerome or any Northern Arizona sight, The Inn at 410 B&B is the best choices for your vacation stay.  The inn is conveniently located and is just a short walk from many fine restaurants, bars and shops in historic downtown Flagstaff .  It is also just 75 miles from the Grand Canyon and 45 minutes to Sedona. As Flagstaff’s finest lodging choice, The Inn at 410 Bed and Breakfast provides an all-inclusive stay to include room, full breakfast, afternoon refreshments, snacks and cookies, movies, internet and a relaxing atmosphere.  This is a great alternative to any hotel or motel in Northern Arizona.  There are so many rooms to choose from, bu my favorite room, featured above, was the Sunflower Room.

The Inn at 410 was built-in 1894 by contractor J.A. “Slow” Wilson as a single-story one bedroom residence for Elias S. Clark, a prominent Flagstaff attorney who later went on to become the first Territorial Attorney General for Arizona from 1905-1909.  Wilson was a member of the Second Boston Party who erected the original “flagstaff” during the centennial celebration in 1876.  With a nick-name of  “Slow,” one can only imagine that Clark was relieved when Wilson finally finished his house!  In 1907, the house was sold to Thomas E. Pollock who brought in artisans from California to modify the house to a two-story Craftsman style bungalow with four bedrooms.  Oak trim in the Inn’s living and dining rooms, the tapered pillar at the entryway, mahogany woodwork and buffet found in the Tea Room, once the dining room of the house, along with exterior corbels are some of the Craftsman details still evident today.  The triangular architectural detail at the top and front of the house, also added at this time, was the inspiration for The Inn at 410 logo.  Pollock, a wealthy banker, rancher and prominent businessman, had 410 North Leroux prepared for his new bride, Mary Morton, a teacher at the Northern Arizona Normal School. The Normal School is now Northern Arizona University, with an enrollment of 15,000. North Morton Hall still stands at NAU as tribute to her family’s many contributions. The Pollocks were one of Flagstaff’s most influential families in the early 1900’s, along with the Riordans and Babbitts and 410 North Leroux was part of Flagstaff’s social hub.  North Leroux Street was the center of Flagstaff’s “Nob Hill” where you can see many restored homes and Flagstaff’s last remaining horse hitching post located diagonally across from the Inn towards Elm St.  Upon his death in 1938, a Phoenix newspaper wrote, “Mr. Pollock was lauded as having done more for Northern Arizona during his 43 years of residency than any other man through building up the lumbering and livestock industries and financing the ventures of others. It was because of Tom Pollock’s importance to the development of Flagstaff that 410 North Leroux was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. 

The Souris family bought the house in 1943 before a fire destroyed much of the second story in 1945. They then restored two upstairs bedrooms and added three apartments in the rear section of the house.  The family lived in the original front section of the house and rented out the apartments.  After a series of owners, including the NAU Sigma Nu Fraternity, Carol and Mike Householder purchased the property in 1989 and spent two years restoring it, stripping the oak trim throughout of several coats of paint.  The Inn’s current kitchen was added at this time, as well as the smaller building to the south of the Inn which now houses the Monet’s Garden room, the Inn’s laundry/work space and a second story Innkeeper’s residence. The Householders opened The Inn at 410 as a Bed & Breakfast in 1991.

Mr. and Mrs. Howard Krueger purchased the ongoing business in 1993.  They wanted some of the guest rooms at the Inn to reflect regional influences and others to evoke the era of the Pollocks.  In 1995 they remodeled existing guest rooms to create The Tea Room, The Southwest and Sunflower Fields rooms.  After extensive remodeling in 1996, Sonoran Serenade, Canyon Memories, The Conservatory, Dakota Suite and Suite Nature rooms were born.  A fireplace and Jacuzzi tub was added to Monet’s Garden in 1999 when this guest room was redecorated.

In September, 2003 Gordon Watkins purchased The Inn at 410 with many important changes made at the Inn, including the addition of a video library and DVD/VHS/CD players in every room and a complimentary cyber cafe for guests who need high-speed internet access or need e-mail access. Down blankets and pillows are now in every room, along with spa soaps, bath robes and our partial turn-down service. The Inn’s dining and living room areas have been completely redecorated and artwork and Native American rugs have been hung in the Inn’s grand staircase.  Gordon is also a great chef, and prepares every breakfast himself.  He makes himself visible to all his guests and is always available for small talk either about his menu choices or the history of the Inn.  You may choose to eat in the dining room, or weather permitting outside in the garden.

The Inn at 410 is an oasis of peace and serenity amidst our stressful world.  The Inn’s spacious parlor is a relaxing place to sip hot cider and curl up with a book in front of the fireplace.  The gazebos and perennial gardens offer summer guests an intimate retreat for afternoon iced tea or morning breakfast.  A scrumptious, healthy breakfast and afternoon tea with homemade cookies are just two of the ways the innkeepers accomplish the task of making The Inn at 410 the “Place with the Personal Touch.”  This inn was such a delight I didn’t want to leave.   That being said, I rate The Inn at 410 an A+

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Thelma Speaks:

The remaining places to see in Flagstaff were both museums, and by now you all know how I feel about museums.  I just can’t help but think of all the things to do in Flagstaff, why Patricia has me going to a museum on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

The first stop was the Museum of Northern Arizona www.musnaz.org .  From the outside, the building actually looked pretty cool.  Once inside I discovered it more of a gathering place for many exhibits, which I guess is what you find in museums.  This particular museum seemed to focus on the southwest and the Colorado plateau.  Founded in 1928 as a community effort by a group of Flagstaff citizens, the Museum of Northern Arizona is a private, nonprofit institution that was originally established as a repository for Native American artifacts and natural history specimens from the Colorado Plateau. The original founders, zoologist Dr. Harold S. Colton and artist Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton, who were from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were dedicated to preserving the history and cultures of northern Arizona. From its humble beginnings in Flagstaff, the museum has evolved into a regional center of learning with collections, exhibits, educational programs, publications, and research projects that serve thousands of people each year. As the only accredited museum within 150 miles of Flagstaff, the Museum of Northern Arizona plays a vital role as interpreter of the Colorado Plateau. The 200 acre museum campus includes the Museum exhibit building and repositories for more than five million Native American artifacts, natural science specimens, and fine art pieces. The Easton Collection Center, dedicated in 2009, is a 17,000 square foot LEED Platinum building dedicated to housing collection objects in the best possible environment for preservation. Many of the Museum’s 40+ buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Turns out there are many buildings on site, each one housing a different exhibit and offering different programs.  The Discovery program offers exceptional educational experiences that emphasize the artistic traditions, natural sciences, Native American cultures, and history of the Colorado Plateau. A variety of program choices provide fun and experiential learning opportunities for students of all ages and interests. Programs range in length from half-day classes to week-long immersion, and offer experiences for three-year-olds to adults. Discovery classes take place primarily on the Museum grounds but may include field trips to accompany the experience.

Visitors to the museum can view exhibits relating to the Museum’s four main disciplines: anthropology, biology, geology, and fine art. The Museum has permanent exhibits in five galleries and changing exhibits in three additional galleries.  The Geology Gallery, with its geologic models, fossils, and mineral specimens, was one of my favorites. The permanent exhibits in this area of the Museum introduce you to the many changes the Colorado Plateau has undergone through millions of years of geologic and volcanic activity. The highlight of this gallery was the life-size skeletal model of Dilophosaurus, a carnivorous dinosaur found in northern Arizona.

There was so much to see here, that it would have taken much more time than what we had.  I’m not saying I would come back to the museum, but I can understand why it made Patricia’s list of things to see.  That being said, I would rate the museum a C...great if you like museums, and interesting enough to hold your interests if museums are not your thing.

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Thelma Speaks:

The final stop of the day was The Museum Club www.themuseumclub.com .  Now this was my kind of museum, as it is actually a bar / restaurant.  The Museum Club, a Route 66 icon in Flagstaff, began its life as the boyhood dream of taxidermist Dean Eldredge in 1931. When Eldredge found a petrified frog as a child in Wisconsin, it spurred a lifetime as a sportsman, adventurer and collector. Dean began his taxidermy business in 1918.  In the early 1930s Eldredge saw an opportunity when he purchased a piece of federal land, three miles east of Flagstaff on Route 66. Soon, he hired unemployed lumberjacks to cut trees, haul them to his property and built what he touted as “the biggest log cabin in Arizona.”  It was a showplace for his lifetime collection of stuffed animals, six-legged sheep, Winchester rifles, Indian artifacts, two-headed calves, and more than 30,000 other items. Operating as a museum, taxidermist shop, and a trading post, scores of Route 66’rs stopped in to visit Dean and his collection during the five years that he operated the museum. Before long, locals dubbed the museum “The Zoo,” a name that has stuck with the building to this day.   Now days it is host to some of the best live entertainment in all of Arizona…and the advertising slogan is …We’ll see you AT THE ZOO!

I had been here years before and remember it more of a building with a bunch of “stuff”.  Obviously just stuff someone collects and has a place large enough to display it.  The new owners saw a way to make some money and turned it into a honkey tonk bar and grill where they actually have different entertainers and events every night of the week.  Being that Flagstaff is a college town, and also a half way point to many destinations, I’m sure if people new of this place it would be packed every night of the week.  We had the opportunity to talk to the owner, and told him about our blogging adventures.  We’re hoping that by people reading this, they will make sure they stop at the Museum Club next time they are in Flagstaff.  I would rate this “museum” a B, and it would make my list.

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Thelma Speaks:


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Wupatki National Monument, Flagstaff, AZ.

Louise Speaks:  Continuing up the 35 mile scenic drive to our final stop was the  Wupatki National Monument  www.nps.gov/wupa .   This is the site of the Wupatki Pueblo.  As you approach the park there is first a small 3 room pueblo on the right.  There is a short trail that leads you to the pueblo.  Here you are actually able to go inside and explore the rooms and just imagine how it was to live here nearly 1000 years ago.  Across the street is the Visitors Center and behind the center is the Wupatki Pueblo.

Wupatki Pueblo is the largest pueblo in the park.  Here you may take a self-guided trail to  the 100 room pueblo.   People gathered here during the 1100s, gradually building this 100-room pueblo with a community room and ball court.  By 1182, perhaps 85 to 100 people lived at Wupatki Pueblo, the largest building for at least fifty miles.  Within a day’s walk, a population of several thousand Wupatki people could be found.  The trail itself is a mere 1/2 mile round trip and takes about 45 minutes, but you are able to stay as long as you wish to explore and imagine.  The trail is paved and the walking is very easy.

Wupatki Pueblo appears empty and abandoned. Though it is no longer physically occupied, Hopi believe the people who lived and died here remain as spiritual guardians. Stories of Wupatki are passed on among Hopi, Zuni, Navajo, and perhaps other tribes. Members of the Hopi Bear, Sand, Lizard, Rattlesnake, Water, Snow, and Katsina Clans return periodically to enrich their personal understanding of their clan history. Wupatki is remembered and cared for, not abandoned.

Wupatki National Monument is one of several sites preserving pueblos (houses) of ancient people, but unlike the Tonto, Montezuma, Casa Grande Ruins and Tuzigoot monuments where there is only one main building, here there are many ruins scattered over a large area of desert northeast of Flagstaff.  The pueblos all have a distinctive deep red color and were made from thin, flat blocks of the local Moenkopi sandstone.

In total there are more than 800 identified ruins spread around many miles of desert within Wupatki National Monument, but five of the largest are close to the main road, and these are the only sites open to visitors. All the dwellings were built by the Anasazi and Sinagua Indians during the 12th and 13th centuries, The habitation of this region was influenced by the eruption of nearby Sunset Volcano during the winter of 1064, as the resulting ash and lava made the surrounding land infertile and so the residents of that region moved further afield into desert areas previously considered too dry and barren. In the early 13th century all the settlements were abandoned, as were most other villages in this part of the Southwest, although it is believed that some of the present day Hopi are descended from the former inhabitants of the Wupatki pueblos.

Wupatki National Monument was established by President Calvin Coolidge on December 9, 1924, to preserve Citadel and Wupatki pueblos. Monument boundaries have been adjusted several times since then, and now include additional pueblos and other archeological resources on a total of 35,422 acres. Wupatki represents a cultural crossroads, home to numerous groups of people over thousands of years. Understanding of earlier people comes from multiple perspectives, including the traditional history of the people themselves and interpretations by archeologists of structures and artifacts that remain.  This site was definitely full of history.  You just had to step and back and think.  I would rate this site a B.

This journey to these three national monuments took the better part of the day.  So much history and it made our imaginations work overtime.  When we started at Walnut Canyon we were 2,000 feet higher that Wupatki and we were surrounded by tall ponderosa pines and fir trees.  The 35 mile loop road descends quite quickly and once you leave Sunset Crater you are now surrounded by a bare arid desert, covered scrubs and not a tree in sight.  The temperature changes drastically as well as there is no shade to be found.  All in all this was a great day.  35 miles and we felt like we had been in three totally different places.  This is again one of those trips that I had to stop and say to myself, how could I have lived in Arizona most of my life and not have seen these places?  I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see them today.  definitely something to see.

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Thelma Speaks: 

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Sunset Crater Volcano National Park, Flagstaff, AZ

Louise Speaks:   Continuing up the road within just a few miles from Walnut Canyon, you will come across Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument   www.nps.gov/sucr .   Lava is visible all along the roads edge.  Even though the ash and lava still blanket the ground, flowers, trees, and critters are still alive and growing strong along the volcano edge.

Roughly 900 years ago, the eruption of this volcano reshaped the surrounding landscape, forever changing the lives of people, plants and animals. You are able to hike the trail through the lava flow and cinders and you’ll likely discover colorful, ruggedly dramatic geological features coexisting with twisted Ponderosa Pines and an amazing array of wildlife.

The trail is a self-guided loop trail. You can pick up a trail guide at the Visitors Center and explore an exciting volcanic landscape at the base of Sunset Crater Volcano. This trail does not climb the volcano, which is closed to hiking, but is around the base. The trail is 1 mile round-trip and takes about 30 minutes round-trip. The hike is considered easy to moderate and a 1/4-mile section of this trail is paved and fully accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.

Sunset Crater is a volcanic cinder cone located north of Flagstaff in Arizona. Sunset Crater is the youngest in a string of volcanoes that is related to the nearby San Francisco Peaks. The date of the eruptions that formed the 1,120 ft high cone was initially derived from tree-ring dates, suggesting the eruption began between the growing seasons of A.D. 1064–1065. However, more recent geologic and archaeological evidence places the eruption around A.D. 1085. The largest vent of the eruption, Sunset Crater itself, was the source of the Bonito and Kana-a lava flows that extended about 1.6 miles NW and 6 miles NE, respectively. Additional vents along a 6.2 mile extending SE produced small spatter ramparts and a 4 mile long lava flow to the east. The Sunset Crater eruption produced a blanket of ash and lapilli covering an area of more than 810 sq miles and forced the temporary abandonment of settlements of the local Sinagua people. The volcano has partially revegetated, with pines and wildflowers. The crater is the namesake for the Sunset Crater Beardtongue, Penstemon clutei.

A trail providing access to the summit and crater was closed in 1973 because of excessive erosion caused by hikers,  but a short trail at the base still remains open.  The hiking trail below the summit skirts the substantial Bonito Lava Flow. This hardened lava is black and appears fresh as it has devastated the forest in its path. The lava flow also created an ice cave or tube that is now closed to the public after a partial collapse.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is a U.S. National Monument in the north-central part of Arizona, created to protect Sunset Crater, a cinder cone within the San Francisco Volcanic Field.  The monument is managed by the National Park Service. In the late 1920s, a Hollywood film company attempted to detonate large quantities of explosives inside Sunset Crater in order to simulate a volcanic eruption. Public outcry over this plan led in part to the proclamation of Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument by President Herbert Hoover in 1930.

Sunset Crater or at least the lava was pretty incredible.  We didn’t spend that much time here because to me it just didn’t seem that interesting.  If we had been able to actually see the crater it would have been more impressive.  It is on the main road so not out-of-the-way to stop, but if it was the only thing to see on this road, I would have kept on going.  The Sunset Crater would not have made my list.  That being said, I would rate the volcano a C.

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Thelma Speaks: