While visiting Sharlot Hall you may have the opportunity to see one of the 'living history' programs that focus on life in Arizona between 1864 and 1867 when Prescott was the terrirotiral capital. The ladies here were preparing a tasty meal of buiscuits and stew while entertaining us with stories of life and cooking in the Old West.
Fort Misery is the oldest log building associated with the territory of Arizona. It was built in 1863 by a trader from Sante Fe, New Mexico and later bought and lived in by a prominent local judge. The interesting story of Fort Misery is told in the web site below.
No town is complete without it's funky arts district. There needs to be a place where creative juices are given free expression; where individuality triumphs over conformity; where imagination and verve mean more than money and status. The McCormick St. Arts Distrcict is Precott's artists' neighborhood and you can find all sorts of interesting shops and characters on a stroll down McCormick St.
As a resident of Fremont 'center of the universe' I was of course excited to find a Fremont House way out here in Arizona. But it turns out there is no connection between the two. My Fremont is named after a town somwhere in Nebraska while the Fremont House in Prescott is named for the famous rascal and fool John C. Fremont who was Arizona's first territorial governor.
If we needed any reminders that family connections can elevate a dangerously incompetent individual to high office we need look no further than John C. Fremont. From misguided attempts to summit Pike's Peak to aborted California revolutions, Fremont left a wake of death and chaos wherever he went. If it weren't for the clout of his father in-law, senator Thomas Hart Benton, he would have suffered a well deserved ignominious fate. An adventurer, Fremont's biography makes for a good read but be sure to get one that gives the whole story about this 'man of action'.
As much beauty abounds in Prescott to be observed during the daylight hours, sometimes those same scenic backgrounds become even more spectacular as foregrounds silhouetted against the setting sun. If you get a chance to spend a day in town, try to catch the sunset. A good place to go is down Mt. Vernon Street, which going south of downtown, becomes Senator Highway. Follow it around the curve and there will be an unpaved pull-out section to park your car (or bike!) and watch the sun's last rays fade into twilight.
My mom made me go with her to see this museum. Usually I don't really like going to places like this because they talk about how they would kill poor little animals (I'm vegan), but it turned out to be really interesting. They have an excellent library of Native American prehistory and ethnography (Which is why I go to Prescott).
When one talks of Prescott, the last thing to come to mind is water sports or water based activities. However, on a recent road trip to Northern Arizona with my family, we made a one night stop at Prescott. We toured the small historic city, spent a night at the Best Western, then decided to have a morning activity before heading back on the road.
We headed to Watson Lake Park, a picturesque lake surrounded by quite unique rocks; great photo opportunities for the nature lover. On the edges of the lake are great hiking trails with many different bird species and flowers to see. The Pea-vine trail is the most popular hiking trail. I concentrated on the flowers and the unique rocks, while my daughter and husband concentrated on the water, wishing they could take a boat trip. We did not take a boat trip, it was Sunday and the park office was closed.
The park has a campground large enough for individuals and families. Pets are allowed. The campground is equipped with bathrooms and parking space for cars and a reasonably sized picnic area to the side.
In summary, you can trade the historic town's bar scene for a great outdoors time bouldering, hiking, boating or bird watching at the Watson Lake Park. The Flora and Fauna is great around the lake's edges. It is quite peaceful out there. As always, do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today, you never know when you will get another chance.
There is $2.00 entrance fees to the park, a small price to pay for what you actually get.
$15 to rent Kayaks
$10 for Tandem Sea Kayaks
Prescott is the county seat of Yavapai County. The Yavapai Court House has been built, rebuilt, moved, rebuilt again, etc. The 4.1 acre plaza around the courthouse first came into being in 1864. This is one of the most impressive, prettiest court houses and plazas I have seen. The plaza has been a center of life in Prescott since it was first built. It has several nice sculptures and lots of tress. It is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle and just relax. I found photo 4 especially interesting. We have all seen men riding horseback; but a horse riding manback? They have a nice Veteran's Memorial too.
Lots of great hiking trails.
Go Wednesday. Wednesday is free parking day!!!!
A must see is the Lynx Creek Ruin.
Heading South on Walker Road, the dirt road for Lynx Creek Ruin is on the left. Take that dirt road and there will be parking and a map, so pick it up! The trail that leads to Lynx Creek Ruin is Trail 301. At the end of a trail there's a platform and a beautiful view of the whole valley on all sides. Only about a mile round trip hike. Like I said...a must see!!!
Probably the best museum in town is the Sharlot Hall Museum which has several historic buildings with original artifacts and nice displays showing the history of the town and the area. The museum is very well done and well worth a visit. Admission is $5 for adults. Museum members and children are free. Hours are 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Saturday and 12 PM to 4 PM on Sunday. The museum closes one hour earlier Monday through Friday in the winter October through April.
Your first stop should be the John and Helen Lawler Exhibit Building. Here you will pay the entrance fee and get information about the museum. They also have some multimedia displays about the museum and the history of Prescott and the surrounding area. The people I talked to were nice; but requested I not post their photo here.
The Smoki Museum of American Indian Art and Culture is another fine museum located in Prescott. It was built as a replica of a Hopi Pueblo and houses very nice displays of art, jewelry, pottery and other cultural items. Admission is $5. Hours are 10 AM to 4 PM Tuesday through Saturday and 1 PM to 4 PM on Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays. They have special events throughout the year so check their website. There is no photography allowed inside the museum.
Across the street from the Yavapai County Court House is the area known as Whiskey Row. There used to be 50 bars and saloons along this road. Today there are still some fine bars here; but they are mingled with trendy shops, bistros, and other businesses. Two of the better bars currently on Whiskey Row are The Birdcage and The Jersey Lilly. The Hotel St. Michael is an historic building that anchored one end of Whiskey Row.
The first stop on your tour will be the Governor's Mansion, which was built on this site in 1864. It housed the first terretorial governor, John Goodwin. Later Governor McCormick and his family lived here. The "mansion" became a museum in 1928.
The Bashford House is a fine example of the Victorian Style of architecture. It was built in 1875 and moved to this site in 1974. Today it serves as the Museum Store and has a wide variety of items including plants.