Northern Arizona 2022

Happy New Year! On Monday we checked out of our Las Vegas Airbnb and headed for Prescott, AZ which is about a 4 hour drive. I had only been to Prescott once with Mother and Melinda for an afternoon a couple of years ago and we definitely did not have enough time there as the stores close at 5:00. Since we were coming down from Las Vegas I thought it was the perfect time to stay up north for a few days and explore the area. My original plan was to hit a different town each day - Cottonwood/Camp Verde, Sedona, Flagstaff and Prescott. However, I did not map out how long it would take to get to each town from Prescott, especially since we both wanted to avoid the Jerome area, which has crazy scary hairpin turns and impatient tailgating drivers. I knew Flagstaff was 30 miles north of Sedona but did not realize it was an hour and 21 minutes just to get to Sedona.

I was excited about my Airbnb selection which was a single-family home built in the 1920s billed as being very close to downtown. I would consider it to be a borderline tiny home at 711 square feet. I could see the mid-century modern apartment building behind the home in the photos but what I did not realize was that there was a 1940s boutique motel called The Motor Lodge right next door! I looked it up and it is rated #1 on Trip Advisor for Prescott motels. They have 13 rooms including a 2-bedroom apartment which would have worked for us. It was about 40% less than the Airbnb as well, since there are no extra cleaning and Airbnb fees. I will definitely keep this in mind for the future.

Our Airbnb was decorated very cute as shown in the photos. We experienced a quirk during our one-night stay in Oklahoma City while driving home from Scottsdale with another home of this era - sometimes these homes are not level. It was pretty extreme in Oklahoma City but I only noticed this in my bedroom in Prescott, the room definitely slanted downward while walking through it. Interestingly enough, this was the only strange feeling I had during our entire stay at high elevation. Prescott is at 5,300 feet above sea level. I was not sure how I would handle it since I had not been up there more than a few hours at a time but all went well!

Our first full day I was excited to go to Cottonwood and Camp Verde. Cottonwood is an hour and 4 minutes away but it has a cute downtown. I have been there several times and always bought rocks from Jim & Ellen's Rock Shop, both for display and for jewelry photos. It was not fancy but I was able to get cool rocks for reasonable prices. I was surprised to see that they were gone and in its place was a fancier, more gallery-like rock shop. Unfortunately I did not find anything I wanted. We also went to my favorite breakfast spot. The cheesy hash brown casserole has always been unforgettable. I ordered my go-to breakfast tacos as well but was disappointed to find the food was lukewarm when it arrived. By the time I was finished it was ice cold. To make up for these experiences we went to a new place, Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders. I usually get sticker shock in these kind of places but thought it might be nice to pick up a high-quality olive oil and see if there was anything to get Mother for another Christmas gift. The salesperson was extremely helpful and directed us to sets of little bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar combinations which can be used to make salad dressings or marinades. I chose the blueberry balsamic to pair with the lemon olive oil and the red apple balsamic to pair with the butter olive oil. They will be fun for Mother to try!

After Cottonwood, we headed to Camp Verde and Sweet Pea Vintage which has been my all-time favorite antique mall. The first time Kuochun and I drove to Cottonwood he needed to make a pit stop so we got off at the Camp Verde exit. I was shocked to see an awesome antique mall down the road which was filled with endless rooms of amazing booths! I had been there several times since and never left empty handed. However since we were last there the mall has changed owners, downsized significantly and has changed names to Sweet Pea Trading. They still have nice booths, just not hearly as many and for the first time I found nothing to buy. I decided to head into the town of Camp Verde after that and we did find a quirky consignment/vintage store. There were several booths with cool mid-century modern items and I found a 1960s street scene oil painting. During our sale, someone wanted to buy the painting we had in the back hall that we neglected to take down. The new painting will replace that one. Overall I am sorry to say I will not be in a hurry to go back to this area.

Our plans to visit Sedona and Flagstaff were thwarted because it was in the low 40s and rainy. We walked around downtown Prescott a bit and Kuochun caught a chill and then did not feel well for two days. I also did not want to take a chance on driving further north on the mountain roads when the weather was not clear and there could possibly be icy patches. On my first visit to Prescott, I remember going to an antique mall and they had these really cool vintage bottles with stained glass toppers. I fell in love with them but at the time I did not have a home here and the bottles did not fit my style at home. I was so glad to have guessed right and found the bottles in the first store we went into. Even better, they were all 50% off! The bottles were in this case right near the front door and I was trying to make a grouping of three bottles that looked good together. People kept coming in and out, several with large baby strollers so with all the interruptions it took quite some time to find the right combination. I chose a tall green fish bottle as a centerpiece and found two additional green bottles to complement it. I also grabbed three more bottles including an interesting white and gold one but when I got them back to the Airbnb I did not like the way they looked together.

The next day, Kuochun and I had a nice lunch at a recommended restaurant, Farm Provisions. He wanted to go home so I dropped him off and went back to the antique mall. I then chose a tall orange bottle and two more amber colored bottles to complement it. After that I went next door to a Native American arts store, they have an amazing collection of vintage jewelry. I have to really love something to pay retail for it and all of the prices were hidden so I did not know what they were asking for anything and the staff was hands off. It was fun to see the collection though. These were the only stores I made it to in downtown Prescott because others were either closed for the day or had closed early. I was sad to see that the mid-century modern store was closed on Thursdays because I remember it being really fun last time.

The location for the Airbnb was wonderful - it was just a few blocks to downtown. Between the Airbnb and downtown Cowgirl Country Antiques caught my eye and I just had to stop. This is the best themed antique mall I have ever seen - everything is cowboys and Indians themed. I really wished Mother would have been there to see it as she has always been a cowgirl at heart, even as a young girl. I found some pieces to offer for sale as well as some earrings and a pin for myself. I even spoke to the owner about selling at the store. He said his wife is in charge of making sure everything they offer fits the theme and that they have a long waiting list for selling space. But when I said I have an amazing collection of Native American, Mexican and Southwest Style jewelry he encouraged me to e-mail her with photos. I am not sure if I want to put yet something else on my plate but maybe they would be open to the idea of doing a trunk show.

On the way home Friday, Kuochun suggested that we go to Dillon's which is the local chain with the best onion rings. I said, why don't we try the Lake Pleasant location which Melinda's friend Frank likes even better than the location where we dine with the flamingos. I did not realize that it was about 15 miles each way out of the way but we went with it. Following the GPS, we ended up at a dead end but then figured out we needed to enter the parking lot at the harbor. It was $7 for parking and then we had to take a golf cart to the restaurant. Kuochun tipped $5 each way. The weather was gloomy - cloudy and with sprinkles so the golf cart ride over the water was cold and windy. There was no view to speak of from the restaurant so that part was disappointing but the onion rings were great as always. I will stick with the flamingos in the future.

I learned that winter may not be the best time to visit Northern Arizona for shopping and dining because there is a good chance the weather might not be clear. I also only have light jackets with me and could have used a heavier coat. The areas we visited were pretty busy so I bet in the spring and summer they are very crowded. We are already thinking about going up there again before we head for home. I really enjoyed the area - not only being close to the charming downtown but the convenience of grocery store and "regular" shopping 5-15 minutes away. There was a really nice TJ Maxx and I found a set of Pendleton towels which was a perfect match for Mother's bathroom. She was so excited about it as she loves everything Pendleton.

Upon returning home, I was happy to see that the green and orange bottles look great in the place I had in mind, the two openings that separate the kitchen and living room. I could not take a photo because the top fell off the fish bottle and I need to get some two-part epoxy to glue it back on. I am so glad at least that the the top did not break apart and it came off in one piece. But it was a scary moment when it landed on the kitchen floor! The painting will also look good but we will need to raise up the hook as it is taller than the painting that was there. Slowly but surely things are starting to come together.

While I was gone, I was able to have the wallpaper projects in the front hallway and kitchen completed. I am so grateful that I found the Wallpaper Sisters, they did a stellar job and for half the price of the person recommended by my designer who did not respond to my message. Thank you to him for not answering! I just need to get some black outlet covers for the kitchen and then the area will be photo-ready! Also, one of the two armoires sold on Facebook Marketplace. The folks drove 3 hours each way for it so it is going to a good home. I was able to move things around and get the patio furniture back in place. Next step will be to pack up the small items for donation and reduce the prices on the large items so we can get our patio back. The landscape company I had been using let me know that they are only going to help customers weekly going forward and wanted to increase the monthly price by 2.5 times so I will need to find a new landscaper.

I started to work on preparing jewelry to send back to Mount Prospect for the caravan. First off, I am starting with the jewelry above to send in the first package of the year. The jewelry is one of my favorite sources - the pieces are more than I usually spend and even at that I need to wait until there is a big sale to get them down to earth but I really love their eclectic and bohemian style. I think there will be enough to devote a case to it.

I am looking forward to things getting back to "normal" next week. The plan is to sign up for cross posting software and start from scratch on the online store products so that they all are interconnected. That way when something sells, I can remove the listings from the other sites all at once. I will also continue to organize the garage so I can have a nice workspace to work on product photography and shipping and still have room for the car. The countdown has started, we will see how far I can get in four months!