We addressed the botanical garden and historical pioneer museum in Part One of our Phoenix, Arizona, post which you can see here. There were so many sightseeing opportunities we could not possibly take in all of them, but we did manage a few.
Cave Creek and Carefree are quaint communities about 35 miles north of Phoenix where visitors are treated to a western-style town and mid-twentieth-century architecture.
Cave Creek had a population of 5,015 in the 2010 census. Its motto is “Where the Wild West Lives.” When I learned Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series, had a home in Cave Creek, I wondered if there was something in the surrounding area that inspired her to write about vampires.
We stopped in at Harold’s Cave Creek Corral for lunch. Harold’s is one of several historic buildings in the town. Enjoy Wild West Days activities, comedy shows, and live music at this western-style establishment. Or, drop in at Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse for dancing, suds, and a mini-rodeo. Bikers will be right at home at The Roadhouse, which serves typical pub food. They also have pool tables.
Heading east on Cave Creek Road we came to the town of Carefree, which had a population of 3,363 in the 2010 census. Conceived as a master-planned community in the 1950s, Carefree incorporated in 1984 to avoid annexation by Scottsdale.
The third-largest sundial in the western hemisphere is located in Carefree. Designed by architect Joe Wong and solar engineer John I. Yellott, the sundial was erected in Circle Plaza in 1959. The steel frame that points to the North Star is covered by anodized copper. It measures 90 feet (27 m) in diameter, stands 35 feet (11 m) above the plaza, and extends 72 feet (22 m).
Artists were busily setting up The Enchanted Pumpkin Garden display for Halloween. We had fun walking around snapping photos of the early birds who had already prepared for the event.
Carefree once was home to Southwestern Studios. The complex included three sound stages, edit bays, a 35-mm screening room, make-up, production facilities, western streets, and a backlot.
Various television programs (New Dick Van Dyke Show) and movies (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) were filmed there. Dick Van Dyke is believed to still own a home in Carefree.
No one thought much of the historical value of the studio so developers razed it in 1999 and turned the once pristine desert into a retail space and residential development.
Old Town Scottsdale was an interesting place to visit and have lunch. We selected The Mission for our meal and it was a great choice. I especially liked the Apollo A La Brasa tacos.
The Mission is aptly named since it is next door to the Old Adobe Mission. A group was preparing for a wedding so we only had a few minutes to snap a couple photos inside the church.
Baseball fans will recognize Scottsdale as spring training country for the fifteen teams that comprise the Cactus League. The Baltimore Orioles was the first team to train in Scottsdale during the 1950s.
The free Old Town Trolley was a great way to tour this section of Scottsdale as it makes its way around the 45-minute loop. Visitors will find shops of all kinds, sculptures, monuments, museums, and hotels in the district.
In downtown Phoenix, we toured the Rosson House Museum, which is located in the Heritage and Science Park across the street from Arizona State University.
The Rosson House is the only remaining home of what once was the heart of the city. A docent tour of the 2,800 square foot Eastlake Victorian style home, built in 1895 by Dr. and Mrs. Roland Rosson, gives visitors a taste of what it was like to live in Phoenix in the late 1800s.
After losing block after block to the demolition of the once-stately homes, volunteers saved this one on Block 14 and created the park.
Now that Jon could walk more than a few feet before having to stop, we followed the road a half-mile to Cornish Pasty Company where we had a good lunch.
On our way to and from lunch, a couple of buildings caught my eye.
We checked out Lake Pleasant Regional Park for future reference. We thought the campground would be a nice place to stay for a few days especially if we lucked out getting one of the sites that overlook the lake. Developed sites for camping include electric and water hook-ups, dump station access, restrooms, picnic tables, and grills.
Besides camping, the park offers boating, fishing, hiking, picnicking, scuba diving, and swimming. At the Discovery Center visitors can learn about the people who lived in the area as far back as 2000 years ago. During a study of the Lake Pleasant area, scientists found five archeological sites that included a defensive structure, a stone workshop, a farmhouse, and two small villages, which were occupied during A.D. 700 to 1450.
While traveling Interstate 17 north of Black Canyon City, we pulled into the Sunset Point Scenic Overlook for some amazing views and a look at the sundial memorial. This rest stop has plenty of room to stretch your legs with short trails to the overlooks. While here we saw our third sundial in the Phoenix area.
That concludes our time in Phoenix, but I’m sure we will be back someday. There are plenty more museums to visit and trails to hike.
Stay tuned for our third visit to Tucson, Arizona, coming up next.