Random images from our Arizona getaway to Cottonwood

We recently made a weekend getaway to Old Town Cottonwood and found there’s lot to do and see in this quaint, historic section of the central Arizona town.

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We started out the morning with a short hike along the Jail Trail in Old Town Cottonwood. At the trail head, we noticed beautiful morning glory vines weaving along the fence at the Wild Rose Tea House.

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Views along the trail include these giant pampas grass clusters on the banks of the Verde River.

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Pampas grass plumes bent to the morning breezes, resembling billowing ostrich feathers.

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Fungus took over residence in a downed cottonwood trunk.

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We lingered for a while at the edge of the Verde River, near the Tuzigoot Road bridge.

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The far end of the Jail Trail connects to the entrance of Dead Horse State Park.  (Tip: Walk-in entrance fee is only $3.)

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After walking along the river, we stopped for a bit of brunch at the Red Rooster Cafe.

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There’s nothing better than a frothy latte on a chilly morning in Old Town Cottonwood.

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Even if you’re not enthusiastic about antiques, you’ll find enjoyment browsing Larry’s Antiques & Things.

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While shopping for unusual antiques, we not only found a “alien receiving” sign, but we found an alien to go with it… :-)

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Finally, we topped off the day with wine tasting at one of several tasting rooms in Old Town Cottonwood including the Pillsbury Wine Company Tasting Room on Main Street.

Thinking about a road trip? Now is the perfect time to visit Cottonwood:

March 29 is the Verde River Runoff.

The Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival is April 24-27.

A blues festival, guitar concert and local history program are among the events dot at the Old Town Center for the Arts.

Check the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce calendar for more events.

Enjoy your Arizona Getaway!

 

One-stop shopping at Globe’s Pickle Barrel Trading Post

Pickle Barrel Trading Post's array of metal flowers

I’ve found it. I found the perfect place to buy everything you thought you could never find, never needed or for that matter — never even knew existed — it’s the Pickle Barrel Trading Post in Globe. Probably some of you already are familiar with the Pickle Barrel, but to those of you who haven’t yet been there, please don’t miss it. It’s a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

From the street, this historic Globe tourism icon holds a prime shopping property on Broad Street, a concrete-blocked, corrugated-roofed reminder of a bustling, booming mining town. At first, the building seems out of place on the perimeter of the historic downtown area, but when you drive around to the front entrance of the store, it’s clear why Pickle Barrel is a popular shopping destination.

Metal Petal: A perfectly planted flower bed at Pickle Barrel Trading Post

If, after “antiquing” through the whatnot shops of Globe and the this-n-that stores of Miami, and you still haven’t found that special something, you may locate it at Pickle Barrel. Upon arrival, stroll through gardens of ornamental metal and wood: copper, bronze and wrought iron sculptures. Every imaginable kind of lawn decor is found here. Fountains, planters, gazing balls and weather vanes make up a kind of obstacle course for an entire colony of soldered metal ants, spiders, scorpions and butterflies. Don’t worry there’s a path up to the entrance, so you’ll be safe.

Pendleton blankets and pillows at Pickle Barrel Trading PostAfter stepping inside the Pickle Barrel, you immediately get the sense that this store is indeed a forum for ‘deal hunting.’ It’s all worlds of imaginable shopping combined: second hand merchant, gift boutique, antique mall, attic storeroom, furniture gallery, general store, Indian trading post, Southwest-Mexican art barn, Arizona souvenir shop, bargain basement and flea market.

Rock and gem display case at Pickle Barrel Trading Post

Take your time to look. If you glance around too quickly at all the merchandise you’ll get what’s known as “shopper’s eyestrain” – the pain acquired when one’s eyes constantly focus and refocus, moving from close objects to faraway objects. And I’d recommend bringing keeping your cell phone in close range in case your spouse gets sidetracked and decides to explore the opposite side of the building. There are so many nooks and crannies, kiosks, display cases and shelving units, it’s easy to get lost. You’ll find a full range of merchandise: from those items you see practically everywhere – like Leanin’ Tree greeting cards, to other items harder to find – like antique beer and “fillin’ station” signs. Please be warned of the effects serendipitous shopping has on your wallet.

Fedora or 10-gallon, felt or straw - Pickle Barrel has hundreds of hats

I would recommend Pickle Barrel Trading Post to any Arizonan – full-time resident, winter visitor or regular tourist — and anyone doing some early Christmas shopping for those ” folks back home,” because you’ll find gifts and souvenir favorites such as turquoise jewelry, silver belt buckles, Bolo ties and Red Rock landscapes. Everything that can be manufactured and marketed that defines Arizona or the Southwest can be found at the Pickle Barrel. And then some.

A saddle or skull from Pickle Barrel will round out your decor

Note: Pickle Barrel allows shoppers to bring in their “well-behaved pets,” so you don’t have to leave the pooch at home. Pickle Barrel Trading Post is open daily except Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

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Shopping in Globe’s historical district

This teepee was at one time part of a saloon frontage, now stand alone at the east end of historic Globe

Some of Arizona’s best attractions often are found close to home. You don’t have to drive for hours to find a picturesque, Old West town filled with quaint antique shops, art galleries, cozy cafés, historical museums and street-side parks. All of these can be found nestled on a hillside about 60 miles east of the Phoenix metro area — in Globe, Arizona.

I must admit; I hadn’t considered traveling to Globe just to go shopping. It never even crossed my mind until I recently read about upcoming shows at the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts (see August 6). So often, I only had been a passer-by of Globe only to stop for a quick snack at a Taco Bell or to fill up the gas tank. We were always in a hurry to get to the White Mountains or to get back to the Valley.

In recent years, Globe has been peaking the interest of Arizona visitors and Valley day-trippers on the hunt for quirky shops and novelty stores, antique merchants and unusual galleries. It’s all here in Globe: clock shops, coffee houses, sellers of handmade quilts, vintage clothing and jewelry, furniture, ice cream, candy and collectibles.

Place to eat? There’s a wide range, but what most notable is the number of “Mom and Pop” Mexican restaurants – you know those – the ones that have the homemade everything: sauces, salsa, tortillas, chips, machaca, chile rellenos, carne asada, huevos rancheros…. You get the idea. Globe and Miami could start a “salsa trail” of their own and give center stage to all of these wonderful independent Mexican eateries. Local residents are the best advertisements. When we inquired about the best Mexican place in town, no one could provide a single recommendation. “They’re all good,” we’d keep hearing.  So we picked Libby’s El Rey Café since it was open during the first weekend of August. (Several businesses were closed for a week or two during August.) Everything was delicious and the service was top-rate, too. Our only regret: we should have split a meal.

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to walk off your enchilada combo plate on Broad Street while window shopping and browsing through merchants’ wares. One stop we made was at Stacy’s Art & Soul, a combination gallery, art supply store and artists’ studio. Owners Stacy Waddell and Laura Stennerson who celebrated their grand opening earlier this month, also offer art classes and will be host to additional community art events. Just hearing them describe their new business, it’s easy to see why they’re excited to be a part of the historic downtown Globe community.

“Simply Sarah” was another shop we decided was worth a closer look. It’s a collection of vintage clothing, unique fashion accessories, kitchen gadgets, cooking goodies and ingredients, toiletries and gifts. If you’re looking for that perfect gift for a lady who’s impossible to shop for, you could probably find it here. Owner Sarah Anna Bernstein has created a retail space that transforms each cubbyhole and corner into a colorful conglomeration of curiosities.

When we visited Globe, we didn’t realize that the first thing we should have done was pick up a copy of the Globe Miami Times, the free tourism newspaper which is available at many shops, restaurants and points of interest. The centerfold provides walking maps for both Globe and Miami shopping districts as well as a listing of retailers, service providers and restaurateurs. (Did you know there are at least a dozen antique shops?)

Park at one end of Broad Street as you pull off Highway 60, then walk up one side and down the other. Stop by Kim’s Fashions – an authentic, small-town, family-owned clothing store with special occasion dresses, Dickies and Wrangler jeans. Don’t miss the Palace Health Mart Pharmacy with its antique Toledo scale or the White Porch Gifts and Antiques with additional antiques and crafts. There’s just too many to mention. You’ll have to see them for yourself.

Stacy Waddell and Laura Stennerson of Stacy's Art & Soul in historic Globe

Stacy Waddell and Laura Stennerson of Stacy’s Art & Soul in historic Globe

Sarah Anna Bernstein of Simply Sarah, a store for ‘woman’s spoils’

One of the nostalgic store signs in historic Globe

Take time to window shop along Globe’s Broad Street

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