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Guest: Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff, Arizona
An All Season Destination

Story by Steve and Caroline Lake

estled below the San Fransico Peaks on the Colorado Plateau, Flagstaff, Arizona is an all season destination. Well known as a ski resort in winter, Flagstaff is a very special place in the summer. Only a two hour drive from Phoenix on Interstate 17 this University town seems a million miles away. Cool breezes off the mountains are redolent with the scent of pine, an easy escape from Phoenix triple digit heat.

historic downtown Flagstaff, Arizona
Historic Downtown Flagstaff offers galleries, restaurants and shops.
Photo courtesy of: Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau

Stop at the Visitor Center in historic downtown Flagstaff on route 66. The friendly staff can suggest dining spots, give directions and a host of ideas for an interesting itinerary.

The Historic Downtown District offers art galleries, restaurants and shops. Heritage Square, in the heart of downtown has a live music series from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Movies on the Square are shown on Friday nights and there is a Summer concert series on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

couple observing some of the artifacts at the Museum of Northern Arizona
The Museum of Northern Arizona is considered one of the best regional museums in the world. Photo courtesy of: Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau

A must see is the Museum of Northern Arizona considered one of the best regional museums in the world. Allow yourself plenty of time to view the culture of the Hopi, Navajo, Pai and Zuni people. The different galleries represent the Geology, Archaeology, Ethnology, Kiva Gallery, Navajo Weaving Gallery and the Babbitt Gallery. The museum has captured the essence of the Colorado Plateau that includes the Grand Canyon and the Four Corners region. A picnic on the grounds will make a perfect day.

The Riordan brothers, Michael, Matt and Timothy worked for Ayers Lumber Company. In 1887 Matt purchased the company and changed the name to Arizona Lumber and Timber. They were successful and became the largest employer in Flagstaff. By 1903 they were ready to each build their 6,000 sq. ft. mansions attached to each other by a large common room. Their duplex mansions were built in the Arts and Crafts style and furnished with Stickley and Tobey Company furniture. The mansions were bought by Arizona State Parks in 1978. Guided tours of the east mansion are given on the hour. The tour concludes at the west mansion in the common room.

visitor looking at artifact on sale at one of Flagstaff's many shops specializing in native art
Flagstaff has many shops that specialize in Native Art.
Photo courtesy of: Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Arboretum at Flagstaff is a great place to explore. There are miles of trails through the largest Ponderosa pine forest in the world. There are daily guided tours at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. The Arboretum “Americas Mountain Garden” has one of our nation’s largest collection of high country wild flowers. The grounds include greenhouses, a meadow, wetlands, a picnic area and gift shop.

Josephine’s, located in an historic home, offers an eclectic menu. Beef Tenderloin Mole is featured and wine and cocktails are available. This is a special place. The service is great, the food is amazing and the warm atmosphere insures that your dining experience at Josephine’s will be memorable.

The 1899 Bar and Grill at Northern Arizona University is run by the students and a professor. It is a great find. The cuisine is creative and delicious, the contemporary style of the restaurant is relaxing and romantic.

Diablo Burger is a must. This fun restaurant only takes itself seriously when it comes to the quality of the locally grown beef and vegetables. The line may be long, but it goes quickly and is definitely worth the wait. This may very well be the best burger in Arizona and the fries are heavenly.

The well known Lowell Observatory is open during the day and offers guided tours. At night you can look out the many telescopes and enjoy an interactive live presentation in the mini planetarium.

If you are looking for a winter ski destination or a great summer getaway, Flagstaff, Arizona is the place to go.

Flagstaff Visitor Center
800-842-7293 or 928-774-9541

Heritage Square

Museum of Northern Arizona

The Arboretum at Flagstaff

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

Lowell Observatory


1899 Bar and Grill

Diablo Burger

Related Articles:
Yellow Brick Road to Sedona; Chapel on the Rocks: Sedona, Arizona; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Taos, New Mexico; Cherokee Nation

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I enjoy your newsletters -and particularly Patti Nickell's article about the 'Pudding Club' in the Cotswold's. An old friend of mine is taking a holiday there this year and plans to try their Jam Roly Poly and Spotted Dick - amongst many!

--- John & Maggie - UK


The way I read this article, you stayed at the "Breeze and Waves". Do you have any pictures of the cottages, and would you recommend to some first time visitors to Caramoan?

--- Richard Simons, Stockton, CA

Hi Richard,

Breeze and Waves was still under construction when I stayed there in Feb. 2010. It should be finished by now. You can see pictures of the resort on this page. We got to stay in one of the small cottages in the picture. I'll recommend it to budget travelers but you might want to look at other options. We chose it because of its location right by the beach. You can try other resorts in the Caramoan town proper (you have to get a ride to get to the beach and the jump-off point to go island-hopping but it's a relatively short distance). There are also two higher end resorts located on a cove and very near the islands: Gota Village Resort (unfortunately there is something wrong with their website right now) and its twin resort Hunongan Cove. Caramoan is a relatively new tourism development so resorts are just now being built.

You can go to this site for a good list of choices for accommodations in Caramoan.

I should add that it might be good to go to Caramoan (and almost anywhere in the Philippines) during the dry season from December to May. June to November are the typhoon months and sometimes typhoons will still come during early December.


* * * * *

Hi, I'm planning to go to Caramoan this coming May. Would you know the number of Breeze and Waves Cottages? Thanks!

--- Ann, Manila, Philippines

Hi Ann,

Breeze and Waves' phone number is 0908-2911072. Look for Freddie. Hope you have a grand time at Caramoan!



For Nature's Playground: The South Island of New Zealand

Hi Wendy,

In winter, Heritage Heights Apts. now offers free shuttle service to and from Queenstown 24/7 to guests without cars. We own a 7-passenger 4-wd Toyota Highlander used specifically to taxi guests up and down the hill during winter months. We also run advance purchase winter promotions which include a 4-wd rental.

If any of your readers head over this direction, I will enjoy extending Heritage Heights hospitality!!


--- Ailey, Owner, Queenstown, NZ

* * * * *

New Zealand text and pix top drawer! Almost as good as making the trip. ( but one still wants to. . . ) Full of useful detail. Only trouble with the website: It's tough figuring out which feedback goes with which article, and the more there are, the tougher it gets!

--- Ken W., Camarillo CA

Thanks Ken..."álmost" is right, you really have to experience the South Island firsthand. Granted this piece is long, but still all I can think about is how much I left out! I agree abut the relevancy factor re the feedback--it can be confusing...sometimes I have a "Wait a minute...what?" moment myself.

Thanks for writing,


* * * * *

Okay Wendy, from now on whenever you book your travel, please reserve space for me. I will carry your luggage, bring you cold drinks, massage your shoulders, and change the film in your camera (oops, I guess you don't have to do that anymore). Wonderful ideas and recommendations. Can you get to New Zealand from Boston in less than a week?

--- Carl A., South Easton, MA

Ha ha ha Carl, you're quite the comedian! But you'd be surprised how short that flight feels. I suspect Qantas isn't the only airline who's figured out that 3 movies, 2 full meals, lots of snacks and a complimentary travel pack (eye mask, warm socks and neck pillow) equals a quiet, well-behaved cabin. It really isn't bad. Just fly direct--pick the shortest flight w/ no lengthy layovers and you'll be fine. Re: signing on as my Super Sherpa...why not? I think you know I seldom travel in anything less than Party mode. There's just that pesky background check...

Thanks for writing,


For Excellence Riviera Cancun:

Wendy, I truly enjoyed your info especially since we leave in a week to celebrate my 50th Birthday. Was it necessary to make reservations at the restaurants? Was there a dress code for the restaurants? What would you recommend not missing while there? Was the spa experience worth it? Did you travel away from the resort while there? Thanks,

--- Kim P. Fuquay, Varina, NC

Hi Kim.

Sorry for the delay in had heavy competition with the holidays. Reservations at Excellence restaurants are not necessary and you will not find a wait. The dress code is basically no bathing suits and flip-flops...with a decided a mix of atmospheres. Mostly the open-air beachside spots are super casual, the rest slightly more formal. Truly, as long as you are clothed, I don't think you'd be turned away anywhere, though most people seemed to enjoy dressing up at night...I suspect more for their own pleasure than any sense of decorum.

The spa experience was worth it, though my favorite part wasn't the actual massage. The precursor was a 45 min. or so rotation from sauna to a series of (kind of wild) water jets which was very different and very cool, not just for women. In its' entirety, and with the serenity of the beach/champagne/strawberries, it was memorable.

We did not travel away from the hotel this trip, but the hotel is very helpful in arranging day excursions to fit your desires and you do not have to book these until you arrive.

Have a great time!

--- Wendy


I enjoyed Nino's contribution, since we all read about the frightening terrorist attack. Having travelled somewhat through India years ago, I am continually impressed with this country and the gentle spiritual aspects of this nation. Some day I look forward to going back. Nino has encouraged me. Thank you!

--- Yoka Y., Westlake Village, CA


Dear Mr.s/counselors Brown and Koro,

Thank you for a very informed and succinct article on motorcycle accidents and the law. It inspired me to think about getting a motorcycle, but not have an accident. But, if I do I am now well informed with the basics of what to do providing I do not perish in the accident. Any tips about that too?

--- Unnamed

Dear Rush and Chuck,

I wish I had read your article before our camping trip the Friday prior to President's Day.

My wife and I were in a car accident on our way to a camp ground. We were "rear-ended" and the impact caused our car to crash into the car in front of us. The contents of the truck that we were riding scattered onto several lanes. It's a miracle our two dogs decided to stay inside the car. My wife and I were shaken up badly but despite the mess, I was still able to walk out of the car. I got the license plate of the driver in front of me but, to my surprise, after reviewing the little damage on his car, he then sped off. I didn't know you could do that! The driver who hit me from behind gave me his information and then he too left the scene without saying good 'bye. When the police arrived all I had to go by was the little information I had jotted down which I hope was truthful. What if it was bogus? What if I had written the plate number incorrectly? How would that affect my insurance? What if we were unconscious, who would have written down all that information?

I do have one suggestion if you are injured in an accident. The police asked if my wife wanted an ambulance to bring her to the hospital but we declined the offer. I remembered when I rode an ambulance years ago that it was not a comfortable ride. I was strapped to the stretcher and there were all sorts of medical equipment dangling noisily above me. As long as you are able, it is a more relaxful ride inside a car. Besides, isn't there a fee for ambulance service?

--- Dave S. of Pasadena, CA

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