Things To Do In Flagstaff
I am so happy to announce we had our first housesit! This is while we are in the process of selling our home. At the time of our house sit we were in escrow, which ended up falling through. But on a positive note, two days later another family looked at our home and put in an offer and we are now in escrow (again)!
We had such an amazing family time. It was awesome to take care of such a sweet cat, once he warmed up to us. The whole family relished every time JB would give us the time of day, or allow us the opportunity to love him. He is leery of strangers but became talkative and affectionate when it was on his terms. Our week with him went by in a heartbeat.
The house was cozy, clean, and comfortable. The homeowner was so sweet and set everything up so we would feel right at home. It was a relief to know that housesitting is something we may just enjoy doing on a full-time basis.
Coincidentally, it was also Vincent’s 14th birthday, so it was a celebration, too. We had an action-packed week and actually did more sightseeing than we planned. Our goal with housesitting is to live like locals, or as we would living in our own town. But this trip felt like such a relaxing vacation, we couldn’t help ourselves (no work, no school, no scheduling showings for the house-just fun)!
Our Week in AZ
Here is a little itinerary of some cool things to do in Arizona, along with highlights of our trip.
Oatman is an old western-style village that is over 100 years old. It looks like you’ve stepped back in time, with a saloon/ice cream shop, tourist treasures, and a hotel. The real highlight was the wild burros (donkeys) that are part of the town. They’ve been there since the miners brought them in the late 1800s. When the miners no longer had any use for them, they set them free. These donkeys are very comfortable around people and the staged gunfights that occur during the afternoon. These burros love to eat the food you can purchase for them (pellets, biscuits, etc.). We even got to pet a baby burro that was following his mother.
MartAnne’s Burrito Palace, Flagstaff, AZ
MartAnne’s Burrito Palace, Flagstaff, AZ
We had dinner at MartAnne’s. It is a cute restaurant featuring Mexican cuisine. The decor is fun to gaze at during the meal. There is really cool Day Of The Dead paintings everywhere for sale and painted by local artists. As far as food is concerned we love the chimichanga and shrimp tacos.
Historic Downtown Flagstaff
Weatherford Hotel, Flagstaff, AZ
We had a great time walking around downtown Flagstaff. They have free live music and performances in Heritage Square on the weekends. The shops were eclectic and a blast to browse. We enjoyed their local bookstore and Earthbound, which had lots of gems, hippie chic gear, and trinkets. Loved the Weatherford Hotel, which is over 100 years old. We enjoyed strolling around and taking in the antique design, fixtures, and decor.
Foxglenn Park, Flagstaff
Wanting to get the kids out for some exercise, we headed over to Foxglenn Park. It has a playground area, sculptures, a beautiful flower garden, and hiking trails. While we were there people were having birthday parties, grilling, soccer games were happening, and there was a vintage-style playground up the hill attached to a school that is open for public use. The kids had a blast playing on the structures. The hiking trails are filled with mountains, native plants, and butterflies. Overall, a really nice place to take the kids, even in the July heat.
The “Museum Fire, “Flagstaff
Crazy enough the “Museum Fire” as it was dubbed, broke out around 11 am while we were playing at Foxglenn Park. As we approached the house we were petsitting, we realized we were only about 5 miles from where the fire that broke out in the hills right behind it. Things got pretty smokey and we were hoping we wouldn’t have to evacuate. There were emergency helicopters and air tankers battling the situation. The neighbors kept continuously gathered at the intersection down the street from our petsit discussing the fire and what to do if it approached the neighborhood. Luckily, in the end, the firefighters and rescue teams did a great job with containment and we never had to abandon our post!
The Grand Canyon, AZ
Some tourists living on the edge.
Vallen finds inner peace at 6-years-old.
Lava River Cave, Flagstaff
This was a great recommendation we received. The kids loved the Lava River Cave. It was crazy because it was about 80 degrees outside, but as soon as you start your descent into the cave the temperature drops between 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit. It is completely dark and dense in the cave. We brought flashlights and sweaters but should have followed suit of the recommendation for headlamps, those would have made it much easier. We are hikers and climbers so we were fine with our handheld flashlights, but I would recommend headlamps, not just for first-timers, but anyone who wants greater mobility and to be handsfree.
There are large boulders as you descend into the cave. The terrain becomes very bumpy with smaller rocks for the entire interior hike. If you shut off your flashlights it is pitch black and completely silent (we called it a blackout). Very cool experience. The kids loved this the best. It took us about 1 ½ hours to hike to the back of the cave, but we did complete it.
I came across the Aquaplex while doing some research on things in the area. It is a low-cost community fitness center complete with an indoor water park, rock climbing wall, fitness classes, weightlifting area, indoor running track, and game room with air hockey and foosball. There was no cost to play in the game room, and rates for a day pass were really affordable. Your day pass includes access to almost everything on site. There are age restrictions for kids on certain things, which they list on their website.
The kids loved the rock climbing wall and indoor waterpark. They played for about an hour just with the air hockey and foosball tables. We tried to use the horseshoe court outside the building, but it was infested with wasps nests, so that was a no! Overall, a great place to go for the price and fun with the kiddies.
Another great insider tip we got from our housesitting host. She had just taken her great-nephews here and said we had to take our kids.
It is a feast for the eyes. There are so many things for kids to do and see. It is a non-profit community center focusing on STEM/STEAM activities for the youngins. Everything is hands-on to touch, build, play, or create. Kids can look through microscopes, build a rocket (or whatever they can imagine), read books, learn about hydroponics, and so much more. The founder, Alice Christie, was a teacher and started this whole project for the community. She was amazing to speak with and watch in action. She loves what she does and is completely interactive with the kids and parents.
The kids loved it here and wish we lived close enough to make it a regular event. Highly recommend checking it out. She even hosts science-based classes and has a computer room dedicated to teaching.
Sedona is nature’s magic, ensconcing you in big, red mountains and an artsy way of life. There is a spirituality that lives here, which is reflected around the city. Even when you drive through Uptown Sedona the shops reflect that vibe of spiritual cleansing and healing. Native American shops, markets, and overlooks that reflect the cultural presence add to the authenticity of Sedona. Of course, there are shops plentiful of gems and minerals, which are my kid’s favorite. They love to browse, touch, and familiarize themselves with both the textures and names of the various types of stones.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
Not to be missed in Sedona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross. This is a bit of a touristy spot, but worth the visit. It is a Roman-Catholic church that was built high into the hillside. A beautiful location to stop, enjoy the views, and take some deep breaths. The interior is unlike any church I’ve been before. There is a large amount of iron-work, stone, and glass. Once inside the chapel, you can sit in one of the pews, light a candle, or head downstairs into their gift shop. I will say, we were visiting in July, so the nice air-conditioned gift shop was welcomed wholeheartedly. We took our time making an extra few laps around the gift shop before heading out.
Grasshopper Point Swimming and Picnic Area, Sedona, AZ
We stopped off here to have a little lunch and cool off in the July heat. This is a national park and was pretty busy the day we went. This is typical on the weekend (which is when we went) versus the weekday. The parking lot was full, so we followed suit and had to park on the small shoulder of a 2-lane, windy road that runs parallel to the river. We had to walk along the shoulder to get down to the swimming hole (a little scary with our 6-year-old, but we made it).
People plunge from the high ledges into the icy river. We couldn’t believe how it could be 115 degrees outside and the water felt like it was 65 degrees. The water was very refreshing and it cooled you right down!
Wrapping It Up
The last leg of the trip was an overnighter in Phoenix. We booked a nice room at the Hilton since my husband had credit from Hotels.com. It was surprising how inexpensive the room was for such a nice hotel. We soon realized Phoenix was not quite the oasis we found Northern Arizona to be. There was also the fact that we were right around the corner from The Phoenix Federal Prison.
After cruising around town looking for dinner we opted to head to Tempe for Mongolian BBQ. YC’s was a great place, we had so much food and it was delicious. We decided to cap off the night by hanging at our hotel swimming and playing board games. The next morning we enjoyed our big breakfast buffet before heading back to California. Looking forward to the next adventure!