Flagstaff, Arizona – a city with extensive areas, surrounded by Ponderosa pine forests and snow-capped mountain peaks – is brimming with relaxed, rustic charm and many cultural and leisure opportunities.
Flagstaff offers nature lovers and adventure seekers four seasons of the year with activities such as cycling, skiing, hiking and the relaxing practice of meditative “forest bathing”. You can also have a craft beer, admire the public works of art, and enjoy some reasonably priced dishes in one of the more than 200 restaurants. And it's a university town where students from Northern Arizona University fill the place with a fun, lively atmosphere.
Flagstaff has the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the country in its backyard and features a varied landscape of canyons, national monuments, meadows of brightly colored wildflowers, high mountain passes, volcanic ash fields, and aspen-covered forests. The San Francisco Peaks rise above the city, and Humphrey & # 39; s Peak is the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet.
Historic Route 66 – the road that attracts travelers looking to explore America – stretches for 14 miles in Flagstaff and reaches its highest point here. It has some of the original mom and pop restaurants, vintage neon signs, motorhouses, and quirky roadside stops like the Museum Club, which was founded as a taxidermy museum in 1931 and is now a country western lounge that houses the original stuffed Moose, deer and foxes on ponderosa trees stare at the wooden dance floor. The Motel Du Beau, which has welcomed tired travelers and their cars since 1929, is Flagstaff's oldest motor hotel.
Johnny Anaya, who offers historic walking tours of downtown Flagstaff, said the town's name came from a celebration of the country's 100th birthday on July 4, 1876, when some settlers hoisted a flag on a ponderosa tree with its branches removed had been. The makeshift flagpole was left as a marker for other hikers and wagon trains to California.
A few years later, in 1882, the settlers moved near the city's first railroad depot, which became the center of downtown Flagstaff. The timber and livestock farms sprang up around the rails.
The best way to get a feel for Flagstaff's past is to stroll the streets of the 100-year-old brick storefronts made from local red sandstone Moenkopi. These historic streets are home to weathered west facades with coffeehouses, galleries, boutiques, an independent bookstore, and mountain equipment outfitters.
The Monte Vista and Weatherford hotels are part of Flagstaff's Wild West past when the city was filled with cowboys, gunslingers and gamblers. Hotel scenes from the film "Casablanca" were filmed at Monte Vista, and a variety of Hollywood legends, presidents and tycoons have stayed in the hotels. President Harry Truman liked to have his hair cut on Monte Vista, and prolific cowboy writer Zane Gray was a regular at Weatherford.
"Many of the stories Zane Gray wrote about and the Hollywood-made westerns were inspired by Flagstaff," said Anaya.
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