A short, overnight getaway can rejuvenate us quickly while giving us a change of pace and scenery. If you are looking for a destination close to home, consider Prescott, Arizona.
Prescott’s elevation sits at 3,000 feet higher than Fountain Hills, placing it right between the two extremes of Phoenix and Flagstaff. This makes it a great weekend destination year-round.
Our staff writer, Vicky Derksen, recently spent a weekend in Prescott with her husband Mark and offers some tips for those who are not familiar with the area.
“You can easily fill two days with a variety of experiences without having to get in your car to drive somewhere,” says Vicky. “It all starts with choosing accommodations in the Downtown area near the Courthouse Square and spending the weekend exploring that area.”
WHERE TO STAY
The Motor Lodge: Without question, this is the coolest place we’ve ever stayed! The owners, Joe & Brian, have captured the essence of the old motor inns that were famous along the iconic Route 66. You’ll love the 60s and 70s décor with a fun, eclectic flair. Be sure to borrow one of their cruiser bikes or be adventurous and take a spin on a tandem bike! There are other great lodging options nearby, but The Motor Lodge outshines them all.
FOOD & DRINKS
FARM Provisions: They aren’t kidding when they say, “simple food elevated”. This restaurant presents a farm-to-table experience with ingredients from local farmers, ranchers, and other Arizona products that results in a seasonally changing menu. Vicky appreciated the gluten-free section of the menu that made meal selection easy.
Barley Hound: We found this place while on our tandem bike escapade. They aim to create a culinary experience for adventurous eaters while maintaining a casual small-town vibe. We think they nailed it! Vicky appreciated that gluten-free items were clearly marked and selected the smoked salmon salad with horseradish cream. Mark was adventurous and tried the duck burger, a combination of duck breast and ground chuck, topped with cherry jam and mustard. Yummy!
Superstition Meadery: Mead is the world’s oldest fermented drink dating back at least 9,000 years. It is made by fermenting honey with water. Superstition has been ranked one of the top meaderies in the U.S. We visited their underground tasting room and shared a flight of 3 ciders and 9 meads, which is the best way to become acquainted with this beverage. We tried everything from a fruity flavor, to a cabernet flavor, and even one that had a chocolate and coffee flavor. For those who don’t care for mead, they also make fantastic hard ciders. We took home a bottle of Blueberry Spaceship Box cider. Delicious!
Breweries: After our visit to the meadery, we chose to call it a night and didn’t visit any breweries. But for those who prefer the suds, there are three in Downtown Prescott: Granite Mountain Brewing, Coppertop Alehouse, and Prescott Brewing Company.
If you want to stick to something within walking distance of Downtown, borrow a bike from The Motor Lodge if you’re staying there as a guest. If you prefer to remain on foot, you’ll enjoy the short meandering trail that follows along Miller and Granite Creek.
PEAVINE TRAIL: This Rails-to-Trails project provides 6 miles of converted railroad bed for a beautiful bike ride, walk, or horseback riding. Enjoy views of Watson Lake and Granite Dells.
LYNX LAKE: Take your pick of outdoor activities at this gorgeous lake: boating, fishing camping, hiking, kayaking, sailing, and canoeing. (We have camped here multiple times and it is one of our favorite campgrounds in the state.)
THUMB BUTTE TRAIL: Thumb Butte is prominently visible from Prescott and offers a 2.5-mile loop trail with views of the entire town. It is heavily trafficked because of its proximity to town, but it ranks as one of the top trails in the area.
There are plenty of other hiking trails, lakes, and other outdoor activities, but we are, after all, talking about a brief getaway.
If you’re just staying in the Downtown area, there is just one word when it comes to shopping: antiques! If you walk down Cortez Street, you will encounter one antique shop after another. Once we entered one of them, we couldn’t stop! But there are plenty of other little shops and boutiques surrounding the Courthouse Square along Gurley Street and Montezuma Street.
Courthouse Plaza: This is where all the exciting local events and activities take place throughout the year. Take a frisbee and a picnic lunch to hang out in the grass, or watch a local practice their juggling, or peruse the vendor’s tents at a craft show. Don’t forget to step inside this 1916 building to visit the tiny museum on the bottom floor or see a replica of an original courtroom on the top floor. Be prepared to walk through security.
Whiskey Row: No visit to Prescott is complete without visiting Whiskey Row, although if you’re hanging around in downtown, there’s no chance you could miss it since it is the most popular and attractive section of the area. Whiskey Row is a section of Montezuma Street from Gurley to Goodwin Streets, just two blocks away from The Motor Lodge. It is full of some of Prescott’s oldest history and got its name from the number of saloons in one place, reaching 40 at one point!
Sharlot Hall Museum: This historic site and heritage campus has 11 exhibit buildings, including the first Territorial Governor’s residence and offices. There are more than 400,000 artifacts and thousands of documents to give guests a glimpse into the area’s exciting past.