Follow Dave and Kathy's 4-day birthday celebration as Dave turns 76 years. The birthday celebration location was Cornville, AZ, which is located close to Sedona, AZ and is part of the Verde Valley wine region. Congrats to Dave for making it this far!
August 16
Leaving our home in Oro Valley, AZ, our first stop was the IKEA store in the Phoenix area, and then, across the street, an Ashley Furniture store. We were just looking around to get some ideas for furnishing our mountain cabin in Vernon, AZ. Driving on, a quick snack and gas stop near the ghost town of Big Bug, AZ, and then to our destination in Cornville, AZ.
We arrived at our airbnb just past 2 pm and settled in for a brief rest. Then we headed to nearby winery Page Springs Cellars for a bit of wine tasting and to purchase a couple of bottles to hold us over during our visit. It's not especially well known that Arizona has some excellent wineries, with many in the Verde Valley where our airbnb was located.
We were located just 30 minutes from beautiful (and famous) Sedona, AZ, so we headed into Sedona to arrive early at the renown Elote Café, which opens at 5 pm and takes no reservations, so we thought we were pretty smart to arrive early at 4:45 pm and wait for the doors to open. Right. We joined a line of about 45 people but we got a table and one with a view!
August 17
We decided to take a back way to Prescott, AZ, and to stop at every garage sale, estate sale, thrift shop, and consignment store along the way. One yard sale offered free kittens! We stopped at Jerome, AZ for lunch at the Caduceus Wine Bar, and for a stroll around town. Kathy found a great little shop where we bought a small oil lamp at Pura Vida Gallery.
The Village of Jerome is a collection of buildings all built on a mountain slope, and sits above what was the largest copper mine in Arizona, a mine that produced an astonishing 3 million pounds of copper per month. At it's peak the village population was 15,000 but dropped to 50 when the mine closed. Now the population is about 500 and the town is a tourist destination.
Leaving Jerome, we headed up route 89A that crosses over Mingus mountain pass and down the other side to the green and lush Prescott valley. Because of all the seasonal monsoon rains, the usually dry and brown landscape in the valley was a vibrant green. Our tour of Prescott stores and shops was a bust, so back to Cornville and dinner at the Manzanita Restaurant.
August 18
For his birthday (18th), Kathy bought Dave a round of golf at the stunning Sedona Golf Resort. As one might expect, the Sedona mountain views were spectacular and here is one of the views on a par 3 hole. Dave played with three younger fellows and beat two of them, shooting a score of 84. Not bad for an old guy but he did use the Senior tees!
While Dave was golfing, Kathy visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross, (YouTube video) a chapel built into the mountain. There is plenty to see and do around Sedona and it is rightfully famous for the scenery. This was our second trip to the Sedona area, having visited a few weeks early with daughter Corinna and granddaughter Avanni, where we took the Pink Jeep tour.
The birthday meal was at the Up the Creek restaurant in Page Springs, just a few minutes drive away from our airbnb. This restaurant was picked by Dave because the restaurant was featured on a television show called Check Please Arizona, and the reviews were very good. We certainly enjoyed our meal and we had a view of Oak Creek from out table.
August 19
We became curious about something called Montezuma Well, which was located nearby. It turned out to be a kind of giant sink hole that fills from an underground spring at the rate of 1,000 gallons per minute. The water then leaks out and forms a creek. Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, has nothing to do with the well. After this visit, we headed for home.
On the drive back we stopped at the Rock Springs Cafe for breakfast. This cafe was celebrating its 100th anniversary, having opened in 1918, and is the oldest independent operating restaurant in all of Arizona. Big, big portions and everything was very good. Part of the restaurant was a shop where one could by souvenirs. Then onward back to Oro Valley.
For this short trip, we had a cat sitter to take care of our cats, Ben Ben and Mona Bona. The cat sitter advertises that she will photograph the pets at each visit and send the photo to the pet owners by email. She was very reliable in this regard but all the photos were the same - the cats hiding under a bed, but they were glad to us and now we're all together again.