Home Base

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June 12, 2019-

Tomorrow, I will head up for a few days in another of my heart homes – Dineh/Hopi.  Yes, there are many of those, and this Home Base is one.  The road will then curve eastward.

In the meantime, life goes on here in Prescott-with a vengeance.  Many of you may be taking journeys of your own, over the next few months, and I can say time spent in this area is well worth the drive, or flight (Ernest A. Love Regional Airport is expanding its own “wings”, with more destinations offered by its tenant carriers).  So, let me go all Chamber of Commerce on you.

I’d offer my own Home Base on Airbnb, but it’s a tiny place and the landlord would not be happy.  So, I recommend either of two hostels:  Prescott International, on McCormick Street. (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g31323-d4309329-Reviews-Prescott_International_Travelers_Hostel-Prescott_Arizona.html) or House in the Pines Hostel, on Virginia Street, two blocks west of my place, actually(https://www.hiphostelaz.com/).  There are a couple of great boutique hotels:  The Grand Highland, right smack downtown, on Whiskey Row (https://www.grandhighlandhotel.com) and Hotel Vendome, one block south of downtown, on Cortez Street (https://www.vendomehotel.com/).  There are two grand hotels:  Hassayampa Inn, on the corner of Gurley and Marina, is a premier spot for jazz in the courtyard (https://www.hassayampainn.com/) and Hotel St. Michael, on the north end of Whiskey Row, at the corner of Montezuma and Gurley, is a prime meeting place for locals and visitors alike. (http://www.stmichaelhotel.com/).  The chains have fine reps here, as well:  Hampton Inn, Marriott and Spring Hill Suites are either downtown, or within a short drive.  An independent hotel, Forest Hills Suites, is near the Marriott, east of town.

Now, the entertainment part:  Nature calls, pretty loudly, here, if you’ve seen my earlier posts.  The man-made lakes- Goldwater, Lynx, Watson, Willow and Granite Basin are all great for fishing, kayaking, canoeing and picnicking.  Lynx Lake has a paddle boat concession, as well.  Each of these has good trail systems, so the hiker is bound to feel happy.  Speaking of which, mountain trails abound, at all levels of difficulty, from Peavine Trail (easy) to Granite Mountain and Mt. Union (strenuous).  In between, are Thumb Butte, Prescott’s signature landmark, west of downtown and Granite Dells, a warren of trails, north of town, and mostly on private land, but generously shared with the public.  I have enjoyed most of the trails available here, over the past eight years.

Indoors?  Lots of good stuff here, too.  We have Elks Theater, in a restored grand opera house and Prescott Center for the Arts, in a restored church.  Both are downtown.  The Courthouse Plaza has many evening concerts, during the warmer months and street festivals abound, particularly on weekends.  Yavapai College, on the east side of town, and Prescott College, slightly northwest of downtown, offer many artistic events, as well.  YC hosts Prescott Farmers Market, on Saturday mornings (7:30-12).  Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, 5 miles north of downtown, has an Observatory open to the public.  Sharlot Hall Museum is a must, for anyone seeking to understand Prescott’s history.

Now for the  brew.  I don’t imbibe alcohol, but there are more places to sit and hoist a few than this post has space.  A  few, for which I can vouch:  Matt’s, The Bird Cage, Rickety Cricket and Lil’s are all on Whiskey Row.  The Raven Cafe, one of my favourite restaurants and music venues, also has a full bar.  Brewery/Restaurants also are in no short supply:  Prescott Brewing Company, Granite Mountain Brewing, Coppertop Alehouse, Barley Hound-you get the picture.  Coffee is also in plethora:  Wild Iris, Ms. Natural’s (my absolute fave restaurant, as well), The Porch, Frannie’s (also has great frozen yogurt and pastries), Cupper’s, Firehouse Coffee, McQueen/Rustic Pie (also a  food fave), Method (on the north side of town) and Third Shot (in Gateway Mall, three miles east of town) are a few who come to mind.

Prescott’s Eats?- I mentioned Ms. Natural’s (The owner and a couple of the servers are personal friends and the name says it all, with regard to the fare).  Rustic Pie, Shannon’s Gourmet Deli, Dinner Bell Cafe, El Gato Azul, Rosati’s, Two Mamas Pizzeria, Chi’s Cuisine and Bill’s Pizza are all relatively small venues, but well worth a try.  So, too, are the larger places- Murphy’s, Gurley Street Grill, The Office, Rosa’s Pizzeria, Lone Spur, Bill’s Grill, Zeke’s Eatin’ Place (in Frontier Village, east of town), Park Plaza Liquor/Deli.  Other spots abound, so have fun exploring.

Finally, a few words about the periphery.  Prescott Valley, our sister town, is worthy of a day or two of exploration all its own.  It’s a lot of strip malls to take in, but they have a warm feel about them.  Rafter Eleven is a superb place for wine, coffee and dipping oils, located a block north of Highway 69, off Glassford Hill Road.  Backburner Cafe is on the north side of town, at the corner of Robert Road and Spouse.  Further east are:  Dewey-Humboldt, with Leff-T’s Steak House and Casa Perez Family Restaurant, plus a cute “Main Street”, at Humboldt; Mayer, with Flourstone Bakery and Arcosanti, a fascinating eco-architectural establishment.  Northwards is Chino Valley, with Danny B’s Seafood Cafe and the fascinating  Garchen Buddhist Institute, about seven miles east on Perkinsville Road (The access road is narrow, windy and steep in places).  Westward lie Kirkland, with its own steakhouse, replete with sawdust on the floor and bowls of unshelled peanuts on the table and Yarnell, with some interesting antique shops, Shrine of St. Joseph and, south of town, Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park, where one may hike five miles or so, to the site of the tragic 2013 fire, which claimed the lives of 19 Wildland Fire Fighters, paying respects along the way. Nichols West Restaurant, in Congress, at the base of Yarnell Hill, is a fine place to replenish oneself, after such an outing.  Finally, fifteen miles northeast, on Highway 89A, is the mountain town of Jerome, with Haunted Hamburger, Mile Hi Grill, Bobby D’s BBQ, Flatiron Coffee House, Jerome State Park and an inn that was once a brothel. The road, both east and west of town, is not for the faint of heart-yet the streets are routinely packed with visitors from Phoenix, Scottsdale and all over.  Get there early.

This is my longest post ever, I know, but Home Base is worth every word.

 

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch…

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May 26, 2018, Prescott-

There’s a whole lot to see and do here in Home Base.  Next weekend, for example, a fundraiser for a twelve-year-old boy who was struck by a car, whilst crossing the street to go to a library, will be held, June 3, 1-5 pm, at Prescott Valley’s Anytime Fitness, 6715 E. 2nd St., Suite A.

I want to give  a shout-out also, to the unique and fine places that make my life here so blessed:  Ms. Natural’s, 318 West Gurley Street, is Prescott’s newest organic restaurant, open every day except Wednesday. Claudia offers fine coffees, smoothies and both vegetarian and cold cut sandwiches.  Right down the street is Shannon’s Deli, with a “hot dogs” sign on the door.  Shannon’s has lots more than hot dogs- her soups and cheesecake are the signature fare.  Right across from the Courthouse are Frozen Frannie’s, with delectable frozen yogurt, ice cream and a variety of baked items, as well as coffees. Next door is Lone Spur, one of several local establishments offering hearty, spill-over-the-plate breakfasts.

Go down Cortez, and you’ll find Chi’s, with what I regard as the best Chinese food in town.  At Cortez and Willis is Raven Cafe, my favourite place to go for great music and more organic meals.  They have a wide selection of imbiber’s delights, as well. Catty-corner, across Cortez and Willis, is Peregrine Books, Prescott’s largest bookstore, and another venture by the family who own the Raven. Next door to Peregrine is Two Mamas, one of eight Mom and Pop pizzerias in town.  T.M. has several signature pizzas, my personal fave being the Pot Roast and Gorgonzola variety.

Now,go back up Cortez, cross the street, and you’ll find Dancing Skeleton, with its large selection of condiments and unique craft items.  Further up are Bill’s Pizza, a good thin-crust pizzeria, and the favourite of many locals; Mob Burger, with excellent burgers and welcoming to couples and groups, but not those dining alone; Lifeways, a spiritual-themed bookstore, with a small espresso counter in the back.

The Courthouse lawn is a key gathering spot, especially on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during the summer, with live music and dancing.  Signs around the outside of the Courthouse detail weekend festivals, of which the largest summer event is Prescott’s Rodeo, one of the country’s oldest, held just before, and during. July 4.

On the west side of the Courthouse is Montezuma Street, also called Whiskey Row.  There are plenty of bars there, for those so inclined.  Hotel St. Michaels is one of two large Victorian hotels in town, and has a variety of shops on its ground floor, including a lovely bistro.  South of Whiskey Row, there are more bars and restaurants, including Far From Folsom, a Johnny Cash-themed establishment, with many of the same musicians appearing, as in the Raven.  Bill’s Grill, owned by the same family as Bill’s Pizza, is a popular place for a wide variety of comfort foods.

Going back to Goodwin Street, and heading west, one finds El Gato Azul, a tapas restaurant and also one of Prescott’s most popular gathering spots, of a weekday evening.  Park Avenue Deli, inside a liquor store, offers surprisingly good comfort cuisine, though here, too, groups are preferred over single customers.  Ditto for Rosa’s Pizzeria, an excellent place for Italian fare, and west of Ms. Natural’s, on Gurley.  Rosa’s is always packed with visitors, so call ahead for your table.

Heading out of town, eastward, check out Zeke’s Eatin’ Place, akin to Lone Spur, for belly-bustin’ breakfasts and lunches, in Frontier Village, on the Prescott- Yavapai Indian Nation.  Planet Fitness is also there, for an after-meal workout (monthly memberships, from $10.)  Picture Show Cinema, up the hill, would round out a Frontier Village excursion.

Finally, in Prescott Valley, north and east of Home Base, find Rafter Eleven, a wine and condiments shop, owned by one of the area’s oldest families.  It is at 2985 Centre Court, left on Glassford Hill Rd, then right on Centre Court.  Gabby’s Grill, a bit north of Rafter, is my favourite dining spot in downtown Prescott Valley.

That’s it, in a Brazil nut-shell.  Hope you can find your way here, some day or another.

Underestimated

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December 9, 2016, Prescott- Acker Night, a fundraising event for the arts, in downtown Prescott, took place this evening.  I went to my usual venues- Lifeways Bookstore, to hear a violin soloist, Whiskey Row Courtyard, to see a belly-dancing troupe (Mariachi background, rather than last year’s jazz accompaniment), Old Sage Books, to hear a delightful string ensemble, of five young women.

Before my little stroll, at a counter-side dinner, in Marino’s Mob Burger, I was joined by a woman who is a self-taught home remodeler and designer.  She is re-working a home in Granite Dells, which she considers her dream home, after a few years of trial and disappointment, largely due to key people in her life not  giving her due credit.  This seems to happen a lot to people, especially women, whom I have met over the past five years.

It happened to Penny, too, before we met- and she proved her doubters wrong, time and again.  My friends in this time of widowhood also keep their detractors off balance, through sheer constancy and determination.  Overcoming others’ low expectations is not so hard.  It is overcoming oneself that is the main barrier.

For my part, I am determined to see this academic year to a successful finish, in May, and see that each of our students is in the right environment for success. Not every child who is currently with us is in the optimum environment for meeting his needs, but this, too, becomes an opportunity to raise the bar of expectations, both with regard to the child and to the system.

I’ve sometimes underestimated myself, and had those low evaluations eagerly confirmed by those around, and above, me.  Those days are gone.  I hope they are gone for my friends, old and new, as well.