Monday, September 26, 2011

Jerome and Prescott

Yesterday we left beautiful Sedona to drive through Jerome on the way to Prescott--all in AZ, of course--to see my friend Neil from high school.

We debated whether to see Jerome--it was not the quickest path to our ultimate destination for the day; but, the recommendation of our friends Tai and Letha won out and we stopped there for a cuppa java and a walk around (part of) town.

We were both dying for a cappuccino or a latte, and our Frommer's guide had good things to say about the Flatiron Cafe. We arrived in town early and had little problem finding a place to park. The cafe, interestingly, is split into two locations across the street from each other; the same staff of two serviced both locations by running back and forth. We visited the corner location.

The Flatiron Cafe

Inside the Flatiron, we were to shown the only empty table and took the menu from the waitress. We immediately decided upon our respective choices: Nonfat Cappuccino for Claire and Regular Latte for Chuck.

Inside the Flatiron Cafe

Chuck's Beautiful Latte

Claire commented on the beauty of her beverage. The owner responded, "I care." He does and it shows. He said the coffee is great because the beans are excellent. Claire loved her brew so much that she asked if she could purchase the beans. He said yes, but warned us that it would not stay fresh long if he ground the beans for us; since we don't have a grinder, we had him grind them anyway.

Magic Novo Beans

Leaving the Cafe with Novo Silver

As we wandered about town looking into the windows of closed shops, we discovered much in the way of familiar tourist offerings. But, there was one curio that particularly caught our attention.

Strange Sign

Since almost nothing was open yet on this beautiful Sunday morning, we continued to do a bit of window shopping. Eventually, Claire made purchases at the Connor Hotel: a pair of lovely earrings and a birthday card.

Connor Hotel

As we were preparing to leave, I spotted an antique sound movie projector. We both thought it very interesting and Claire thought her son, Mathew--a major movie and camera buff--would appreciate it; so she immediately emailed him the picture from the cell phone.

Old projector in Front of Theatre Store

We took the scenic, but curvy, route from Jerome to Prescott. Wisely, I decided to drive this part--to keep my motion sickness at bay.

We put Neil and Paula's address into Susan (our GPS) and she happily accepted it. So, I foolishly forgot that he had warned me that his place was difficult to locate. We finally arrived at a dirt road that ran into a locked fence that paralleled the railroad tracks. This could not be right. There was another road just beyond this, but none of the mailboxes gave helpful information and we had absolutely no signal for our cell phones.

We decided to drive back to find a land line phone that would give us access to Neil. I thought the Church we had passed on the way in would be a good bet; but, we got to a Texaco gas station and grocery store first and stopped to try our luck. The clerk was friendly, helpful, and knew Neil. He let us use the store's cordless phone. Neil rattled off the directions, several times--as I kept missing parts, and we set off again.

It turns out that the original paved road at which we stopped--just beyond the dirt road--was the correct path to follow and five minutes later we were watching Neil wave to us, showing us where to park.

We had a wonderful time catching up: Since the year we graduated from high school, I believe that I have seen Neil only three times: First, just after he married Paula, while they were both still students at Stanford. Next, in 2010, at a mini-reunion of seven high school friends and their significant others. Finally, yesterday. We find that we have similar political outlooks; and we have love of family, and fascination with books in common. We exchanged notes on authors and movie titles and I accepted two books from Neil, which I will begin to savor upon my return to Davis: One a crime thriller, the other is historical fiction about WWII.

I can scarcely begin to say how much we love their home and 76 acre ranch. It is about 40 minutes from Prescott and they venture into town about 3 times a week--for food, yoga lessons and musical entertainment. They designed the place themselves with a spacious 3400 square foot floor plan. Much of the interior decorating was woodwork by Paula--cabinets, doors. There are enormous windows everywhere, providing lovely desert vistas by day and (literally) heavenly views by night. The tour included their original home on the property, about 75 yards away, consisting of a giant living space with several smaller rooms--all upstairs--and two wonderful workshops downstairs: a fully furnished wood shop for Paula and her artistic endeavors, and an auto shop for Neil, who has a restored MGB, a Model A Ford and a partially restored similar vintage Ford in place. They also have a gaggle of farm equipment--tractors and back hoes--two golf carts for local transportation and two jeeps for further forays. (I apologize for not being able to provide pictures!)

A man’s house is his castle and fortress, and each man’s home is his safest refuge. ~ Sir Edward Coke