Perched at almost 7,000 feet, Flagstaff (or Flag, as the locals endearingly call it) is home to Humphreys Peak, Arizona’s tallest mountain. The town welcomes avid skiers at the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort and star gazers at the Lowell Observatory. Nearby, one can discover ancient native pueblos in the Wupatki National Monument and explore the Native American cliff dwellings of Walnut Canyon.
Flagstaff is another Route 66 town and its history is intertwined with railroad development in the 1800s. The Flagstaff Amtrak station is a beautiful Tudor Revival brick building dating from 1926 and it also houses the Visitors Center. From Flagstaff, visitors can board a train to destinations such as Williams, Arizona, the gateway to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.
We walked along Route 66 and popped into the Firecreek Coffee Company for a quick cup of coffee. We savored a chocolate-dipped macaroon alongside local art, then headed to Bright Side Bookshop, a lovely little place for all book aficionados.
We continued our walk past the 1927 historic Hotel Monte Vista, one of the oldest hotels in town and the former home of historic radio station KFXY run by Mary Costigan.
We admired a large colorful mural entitled “The Mother Myth,” created by Mural Mice Universal (local artists R.E. Wall and Margaret Dewar). This mural illustrates the history of Route 66 in Flagstaff between 1920s and 1980s. The story begins with the construction of the road and continues through the era of the Great Depression, WWII and the post-war pinnacle of America’s Highway. The mural ends with the decommissioning of the highway. The city puts on a colorful display of local art and prides itself for some of the best murals in Arizona, which one can explore walking through Historic Downtown and Southside Historic District.
While we were driving back, as luck will have it, the one time I didn’t have my camera ready, not one but two American eagles were splashing around in a pond by the side of the road!—a great conclusion to our Flagstaff excursion.