Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding cities have some amazing hot spots, tourist traps, festivals, sights and night life. Max and Cinta have no interest in reiterating any of that nonsense!
Visit the city's side streets, forgotten histories, ghosts, and mysteries. Follow the rumors and little known facts about this vast desert city and the outlying towns that are growing up around it.
Sedona, Sedona, Sedona, it is the place to be in Northern Arizona; if you are looking for moderate overkill on the New Age gimmicks and commercialized tourist hot spots. Sure the Red Rocks are a wonderful hike and great view, but there are so many other locations for a relaxing, quiet, more down to earth escape from the city.
The town of Payson, Arizona with its population of around 16,000 people is a haven for nature enthusiasts, families, hikers and bikers. It is perfect balance of relaxing entertainment. The town is home to many quaint antique shops, while nature surrounds as a great place for fishing, hiking, hunting and swimming.
Max is fortunate to have an adorable little cabin at the edge of Payson. This is one of my favorite places to escape to in November, or in the heat of summer. Spending time at the cabin draws up memories, for me at least, of my childhood home in Central New York with slow, relaxing days wandering the woods or hanging out in the quiet town.
Every weekend visit has to start at the Knotty Pine Café. There are quite a few little mom & pop restaurants in town but the Knotty Pine has the best breakfast and service, and pie! Do not go to the Knotty Pine if you are into gourmet spreads, fancy foods, or artisan meals at exorbitant prices. This is the perfect place to escape all of those things and just get an honest meal at a fair price.
While we are on the topic of food, I should mention that while there are plenty of fish and crayfish (more on that later), there is no sin in ordering a pizza while camping out. This is especially true if it is from the Pizza Factory.
So, you are well fed and looking to work off some of the calories? Pick a trail and wander, there are so many wonderful places to get lost. Some of the more marked trails include the Natural Bridge or the walk down to the creek to swim. If you drive a few miles out though, and are willing to venture into unmarked territory there are many places to pick out fossils and even crystals! Max is always open to showing off the best spots for fossils. He loves finding crinoids and fossilized shells. I am a complete girl however and very much attracted to shiny objects. I love treasure hunting! Crystals are incredibly easy to find just off the road if you are willing to keep your eyes to the ground and be patient.
Speaking on patience, Max loves fishing, even though he rarely catches anything worth keeping and cooking. Shh! Don’t tell him I said that. I prefer at least a small prize to take home; that is why I hunt crayfish! The little, and sometimes not so little, monsters are easy to catch with patience a shoelace and bits of raw bacon. Never use Bologna; the little buggers steal it every time! Crayfish are tedious to peel though, so be aware, it takes at least a dozen to reasonably feed one person.
Writing this makes me miss the cabin and the cool wide open spaces even though we just left. I am excited to be able to escape again soon for NaNoWriMo in November.
Knotty Pine Café 1001 South Beeline Highway # A Payson, Arizona (928) 474-4602
Pizza Factory 238 East State Highway 260 Payson, Arizona (928) 474-1895 www.pizzafactory.com