We discovered Prescott when we passed though on our way home from Sedona back in Fall 2014. A year and a half later we returned for a belated anniversary over Memorial Day weekend. It was a great time, in town and out.
We spent most of Friday at Watson Lake, a century-old reservoir a few miles north of town. A young couple rented kayaks out of the back of a couple trailers.They said the water hadn’t been so calm in weeks. Paddling in and out of the submerged canyons was sublime. I intruded as quietly as we could on the perches of a couple of Great Blue Herons that labored into flight when I ventured too close.
Most surprising was the challenging, scenic 5-mile Lakeshore hike. We were glad to have trekking poles to help clamber up and down the granite dells, following a trail well marked with white painted dots. We found our way back to Val’s car happily tired and sunburned.
Saturday we explored the town. A 19th century mining center and early state capitol, Prescott is proud of the bordello heritage of its downtown Whiskey Row. We shared a couple cool ones at the Palace Saloon, where many patrons were dressed up like extras in the movie Tombstone.
An arts festival occupied the courthouse square. We found many realist paintings of wolves, horse-mounted cowboys, and Grand Canyon landscapes. But even these exceeded expectations.
We found lots of interesting shops, cafes, and old-timey bars. Most of the waitstaff and other folks we met were visiting or transplanted from Phoenix or So Cal. The few genuine locals we met were interested in us new-comers. One young waitress confessed that she dreamed of leaving town for someplace bigger, but worried that she’d be homesick. I’ll sure miss the place, and we’ve only been here a couple of days!
Come Sunday it’s time to head home. Grinning from ear to ear as we wind down state route 89, one of the most interesting drives I’ve found in these parts. We’ll be back to enjoy the rougher-edged, less expensive and less crowded alternative to Sedona.