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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Relaxing Palm Springs not just for golfers

westin mission hills

Relaxing Westin Mission Hills Resort Villas

Within four hours, it’s possible to drive from Phoenix to a popular vacation destination with world-class resorts, spas, golf, shops, attractions and outdoor recreation. And no, I wasn’t referring to a rush-hour marathon, moving at a snail’s pace to Scottsdale. Rather, I was remembering a recent road trip-vacation to Palm Springs, California.

 

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Not all water features are golf course traps at Westin Mission Hills

Sometimes it’s necessary to actually leave Arizona to feel like you’re really “away from it all.” Sure, it’s nice to splurge at a Scottsdale or Phoenix resort for the occasional “staycation,” but traveling to Palm Springs and its environs gives you that “clean getaway” feel. It’s just far enough away so you feel like a tourist, but close enough so you feel like a weekender. One major downside: the drive is a bit tedious. Except for a couple of mildly interesting mountain passes and the Colorado River crossing; it’s mostly mile after mile of monotony. Bring plenty of music or audio books.

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Allow time to see the views from the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tram

Before I had discovered Palm Springs as a weekend getaway destination, I’d thought there was no reason to stop between Phoenix and the Pacific coastline, except maybe a quick pullover at some place like Palm Springs or Blythe, Calif. for a gas fill-up or a Thirstbuster. As an Arizona newcomer in my 20s, Palm Springs to me was just a bunch of shopping centers, golf courses and retirement homes. Oh, wait….

So I have to confess: when we booked our week at nearby Rancho Mirage, Calif. at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa, I was skeptical. But now I admit: we were impressed at check-in. Front desk and concierge staff were friendly, helpful and efficient. Our one-bedroom villa was clean and spacious. Our balcony easily accommodated a full dining patio set so we could enjoy dawn and dusk overlooking a lush garden area with meandering stream. The main resort facility boasts several open-air dining options for guests’ easygoing breakfasts and casual lunches. The Fireside Lounge bar and outdoor fireplace lures patrons to linger longer. And what better says, “Palm Springs” than to be relaxing in a warm swimming pool or waiting for your next putt while gazing at snow-capped peaks of the San Jacinto Mountains?

palm canyon

Make time for side trips such as hiking in Palm Canyon

If you vacation in Palm Springs — whatever resort you choose — you may get so relaxed and comfortable, you’ll be tempted to abandon those other  activities. Be strong! You can do it all! Just allow an extra day or two for hiking into Palm Canyon, riding up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, visiting the Living Desert Zoo and touring Joshua Tree National Park. (Better make that three or four extra days.) Or you could meld into the stereotype: golf, eat, drink, shop. There’s nothing wrong with that either!

Consider spending one day for a cruise past examples of desert modernism architecture, because Palm Springs is the prime location of these post-World War II sleek, angular structural designs.  And if you’re a fan of TV’s “Mad Men,” you’re quite possibly in the best place to channel your “inner Don Draper” with a tour of 1950s and 60s-era homes, hotels and office buildings. Or course, that would mean leaving your Old Fashioned drink and your comfy spot in the cocktail lounge.

Readers: What are your favorite southern California getaways? I would love to get your comments… you can also follow me on Twitter (@azgetawaytravel) or ‘like’ me on Facebook. Read other Southwest Travel blogs at AZCVoices/Travel.