Homesteading

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page” – Saint Augustine

I love this quote, but I’ll admit, the first time I read it I don’t believe it resonated with me then as much as it does now. Five years of traveling full-time in a RV has opened my eyes to all kinds of new experiences and landscapes.

Pink RoseI’ve always enjoyed travel which is probably why I pursued a career as a Flight Attendant when I was younger. But gallivanting around the country can be tiresome and sometimes a break from  travel is exactly what the soul needs.

With that said, Al and I are doing a little ‘homesteading’ this summer in Prescott, Arizona. We’ve settled into an RV Park for the next several months while we focus on a little rejuvenation …. for us and our aging equipment!

Oh, that doesn’t mean we’ll be sitting in a couple of rocking chairs watching the world go by. No, not us! Hmm …. now that I think about it, does sitting outside with a cocktail in hand while watching the sunset count? Or how about binge watching Downton Abbey or House of Cards? Okay, maybe a little rocking chair time is part of the rejuvenation plan 😏 Yeah, a little down time and settling into a neighborhood is just what the doctor ordered. But anyone who knows me, knows I can’t sit still for too long.

Yarrow

Exploring the local life

So it’s time to explore some of the local sights and take in a little history. When I was younger, I rarely embraced history or historical sites. I’ve always enjoyed geography and studying maps, but the interest in history didn’t kick in until we started RVing full-time. Travel has a way of opening one’s mind!

First off, did you know Prescott was at one time the Capital City of Arizona? Yep, from 1864 to 1867 Prescott was the capital until 1867 when it then moved to Tucson but returned back to Prescott in 1877. Finally, the State Capital moved from Prescott to Phoenix in 1889 where it has remained.

Prescott’s downtown historical area is known as Whisky Row which up until 1956 was a  notorious red-light district. In 1900, a great fire destroyed almost all of the buildings along Whiskey Row. Legend has it that the patrons of the various bars simply took their drinks across the street to the Courthouse square and watched the buildings burn, but the patrons of the Palace Restaurant and Saloon removed the entire bar and hauled it to the square as the fire approached. The solid wood bar was later re-installed after the gutted brick structure was rebuilt. That bar remains in use today.

The Palace Restaurant and Saloon was originally built in 1877, and was rebuilt after the 1900 fire. It is now the oldest continuous business in the entire state of Arizona. Past Patrons include the Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday and well-known movies have been filmed here.

Sharlott Hall Museum

Sharlot Hall Museum

I have fun using the term “homesteading” when Al and I park the RV for an extended period of time, but when I think of the pioneers homesteading after crossing the country in covered wagons, I’m reminded how cushy my life is in comparison.

Rose Garden Prescott Arizona Sharlot Hall Museum
A large Rose garden near the Governor’s Mansion

Being a woman entrepreneur in the early 1900’s was no small feat. I’m always awed and inspired by strong women in history. Sharlot Hall was a poet, author, historian, activist and ranch woman whose passion to the preserve the Territorial Governor’s Mansion led to the making of this museum.

Sharlett Hall Museum Prescott Arizona
A beautiful rose garden greets guests at the Sharlett Hall Museum

I happen to visit the museum on June 11, 2018, as the museum was celebrating its 90th anniversary. The grounds are lovely and each historical building I stepped into had a Docent dressed historically correct, and each Docent was eager to share their historical knowledge on their area of the museum.

Some of the on-site buildings ….

Governor’s Mansion – built on site in 1864, this log structure housed the first territorial governor, John Goodwin. In 1928, Sharlot Hall opened the log-building as a museum.

Governors Mansion Sharlott Hall Museum Prescott Arizona

Across from the Governor’s Mansion is the Victorian Fremont House. Built in 1875, it was home to the fifth territorial governor of Arizona, John Charles Fremont.

The Bashford House was built in 1877 by merchant William Coles Bashford and is a beautifully restored Victorian style home.

Bashford House Sharlott Museum Prescott Arizona

The Ranch House was built in the 1930’s to represent early ranch homes of the area. It’s a little one room log structure. The Docent shared an interesting tale of the stove costing around $100 but the shipping cost was around $1500. That was a lot of money over a hundred years ago … hey, it’s still a lot of money today. Guess they didn’t have Amazon Prime free shipping back then 😆

Fort Misery is the oldest log building associated with the Arizona Territory. Built in 1863, here you’ll find the local attorney. Interesting that they would put the words misery and attorney together!

The School House building is a replica of the first public schoolhouse in the Arizona Territory which was built in Prescott in 1867. Each child’s chalk board reminded me of today’s iPad.

school house Sharlott Hall Museum Prescott Arizona

The Blacksmith Shop and Transportation Building were also interesting.

blacksmith shop
Blacksmith shop

Sharlot Hall Museum Transportation building Prescott Arizona

For a couple of hours, it was fun stepping back in time and imaging what life was like over 100 years ago. The Sharlot Hall Museum was a worthwhile stop that I was glad I took the time to visit.

Prescott Designations

Prescott is located in North Central Arizona and sits at an elevation of about 5,400 feet. The town has received numerous designations.

  • Prescott was designated “Arizona’s Christmas City” by Arizona Governor Rose Mofford in 1989.
  • 2000: Downtown Historic Preservation District (which includes “Whiskey Row”) —one of 12 such National Register Historic Districts within the City.
  • 2004: A “Preserve American Community” in 2004 by First Lady Laura Bush.
  • 2006: One of a “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  • 2008: Yavapai Courthouse Plaza recognized as one of the first ten “Great Public Places” in America by the American Planning Association.
  • 2012: Number 1 True Western Town of the Year for 2011 by True West Magazine and One of the 61 Best Old House Neighborhoods in the U.S and Canada by This Old House Magazine.

Parks, hiking and lakes …

There’s more to Prescott, Arizona, than its Old West history. Guess I better strap on the hiking shoes, charge up the camera battery, and get outta that rocking chair. Time to explore!

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Shows we’ve been watching (affiliate links)  Downton Abbey
House of Cards
The 1970’s movie, Junior Bonner starring Steve McQueen, was filmed at the Palace Saloon in Prescott, Arizona

Junior Bonner: The Making of a Classic with Steve McQueen and Sam Peckinpah in the Summer of 1971 (Hardback)THE Magnificent Seven – Junior Bonner – Steve McQueen Double Feature

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When a Bar is more than a Bar

When a visit to a bar is as much about the experience as it is about the beverages, it’s time to grab some friends and make a day of it. The Desert Bar is one of those places that’s quirky, unique and fun, and the drive to get there is part of the entertainment.

Desert Bar Parker Arizona
The main road leading into the Desert Bar

We were first introduced to the Nellie E. Saloon, otherwise know as the Desert Bar, five years ago, and when blogging friend, Laura, expressed interest in going, we were quick to invite ourselves.

bloggers strolling along Lake Havasu Arizona
Al, me, Kevin, and Laura

We met Laura and Kevin of Chapter 3 Travels for the first time a few days earlier for a tasty lunch at the Mudshark Brewery followed by a stroll along the Bridgewater Channel here in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

The Desert Bar is one of those places where the more the merrier. So gather your friends and prepare for the fun to begin with an interesting drive for starters.

Getting there is part of the fun

The Desert Bar is located in the desert southwest boonies in the heart of the Buckskin Mountains just north of Parker, Arizona.  Once we turned east off Highway 95 on Cienega Springs Road, we continued into the undeveloped desert on a rough, dusty dirt road for about five miles (which took about thirty minutes …. yep, 30 minutes to drive 5 miles).  Although driving a truck was a plus, I’d venture to say an all terrain vehicle would be the perfect mode of transportation.

UTV and the Desert Bar
perfect mode of transportation to get to the Desert Bar

We did see vehicles of all kinds traversing the rough road, but personally, I wouldn’t recommend a low clearance vehicle. It shouldn’t be a problem for a  CRV,  SUV, or any kind of truck. We drove our Toyota Tacoma and Laura and Kevin drove their Nissan Xterra with no problem.

Desert Bar road

For the more adventurous or those off-road enthusiast, you have the opportunity to drive to the Desert Bar via the “back way”. Nothing like experiencing more extreme hills, rocky terrain and unique desert scenery. You might even find the landscape dotted with old, abandoned mining shafts and relics. Obviously, the back way is for 4×4 vehicles only.

Desert Bar
These folks drove in the “back way” … over them thar hills!

The Desert Bar is an open air establishment and powered 100% on solar.  The bar is only open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to six.

Desert Bar Parker ArizonaWe went on a Sunday afternoon and this place was buzzing with activity … drinking, dining, dancing, and live entertainment.

I thought the live entertainment was really good and with plenty of people dancing, I think others shared my opinion.

There were three different food vendors to choose from that day and each offers a specialty. Al and I went with the hamburgers, and were not disappointed. Yum! There were two bars that are both fully stocked, and although the choice of beer is limited, our margaritas were tasty.

Desert Bar, Parker, Arizona
The Desert Bar – powered 100% on solar
Desert Bar solar
Solar panels act as shade cover from the intense desert sun
live entertainment at the Desert Bar
I really enjoyed the live entertainment. The band played a little bit of everything.

In 1975, Ken Coughlin built the Desert Bar at the site of an old copper mining camp. Although the remnants of the original mining camp are mostly gone, the western spirit lives on. The parking lot is located on the very site where the mining camp once stood. At first, the saloon was a three-sided enclosed room, not much bigger than a small storage shed. Today, while maintaining its Old West character, the owner continues to expand it along with adding more vintage relics adorning the landscape.

Not a church, but yet a church

Another novelty stands outside of the saloon in the bar’s parking lot. What appears to be a “church” rising from the desert floor, is more of a façade than an actual building. The well-aged patina of its copper roof, adds unique character to this one of a kind structure.

The church is constructed of solid steel with walls and ceilings made from stamped tin. There is a tiny inside area. On the interior walls are plaques bearing the names of people who donated money to help build it. There are no actual services held here. The structure simply provides a picture perfect backdrop with old west appeal.

During our first visit back in 2013, we did see a couple renewing their vows on the church steps …. complete with minister, witnesses, flowers and dressed in old west wedding attire.

A true taste of Arizona

If you ever find yourself in western Arizona, consider visiting the Desert Bar. It’s an entertaining, fun one of a kind experience in the desert southwest!

Desert Bar, Parker, Arizona
one of a kind bar

(affiliate links)
Unbreakable Elegant Wine Glasses
Home Brewing Kit
 Fraulein  Novelty Apron Bar Maid T-shirt