Category Archives: Arizona

The Price House

The Price House is not open to the public. I am lucky enough to visit because I am a volunteer at TalieseinWest in Scottsdale.

The Price House was built in 1955 and is located in Paradise Valley, Arizona. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his friend Harold Price, Sr. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the HC Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The company owned by Harold Price.  This house was built as a winter home for him and his family. It is referred to as the “grandma house” and designed for the convenience of the grandchildren. A swimming pool, fountains, and a big yard offer a space for the children to play.

The materials are cement block, Philipino mahogany, copper, and brass. The roofing is made of tectum, a fireproof material. All materials are natural and chosen to blend in with the design. The house includes an industrial style kitchen which is very common in Frank Lloyd Wright homes. The kitchen was referred to as a “workspace”.


Front view of the house


Entryway into the home

Frank Llyod Wright designed with the idea of “compress, release”. The hallways are narrow and open up into bigger spaces.


Mahagony window shutters

The mahogany window shutters blend into the natural environment. They are closed and opened to allow the sun to come in or to shut it out. They also help to keep the space cool.


The outdoor fireplace

The outdoor fireplace keeps the space warm in the winter. Red is Frank Lloyd Wright’s favorite color. He said that red symbolized integrity.



The living room

The living room has turquoise carpet and upholstery. He got this idea from a turquoise ring owned by his wife Olgavana. The cement block is not painted. FLW designed the built-in furniture. The pillows represent the colors of various plants in Arizona.


Copper lighting over the dining room table

FLW used copper and brass for light fixtures.


Windows in the house

Windows are designed to let in as much natural light as possible during the day time and to expose the outside scenery.

He used piano hinges for closets. He used wide open planning allowing for bigger spaces in areas for socializing. Not many women were happy with the smallness of the bedrooms and closets. He later designed a master bedroom because Mrs. Price was not too happy with her very small bedroom.

Mr. Price sold the house to the Shoen family, the founders of U-Haul. They raised their eleven children in the home. The house is taken care of the Shoen family and their foundation.

This is one of the last homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. He was 86 years old.







No More Vacays

I am not sure I like going on vacation with mom. Six days of hiking two miles a day. Sleeping in a strange bed. Laying under the table at outdoor restaurants. I am not allowed to go inside restaurants. Not knowing when we are staying in the room or going out. My routine is completely disrupted. I miss my house.

I like the thick green grass and the cool air. It’s much cooler in the mountains than in the desert. Mom buys her coffee at Late for the Train across the street from the County Courthouse. She inserts her credit card and types in the license plate number of the car. This is how you have to pay for parking in downtown Flagstaff. It’s not easy to get a parking spot downtown. Mom always arrives early enough to scope it out. We are always lucky. It costs $1 per hour. Mom pays for two hours.


Mom knows how much I like rolling around and laying in the grass. It feels so good. The grass at home is very short, scratchy, and has stickers. Mom always has to comb the stickers out of my thick brown hair. Thanks mom for giving me this special time to lay in the grass. She takes her blue folding camping chair from the back of the car. Puts the chair on the grass. Takes out her notepad from her backpack and begins to write. We spend the next two hours watching people.

A two-year-old, Avery, is doing bunny hops across the lawn. She wants to put a little bow in my hair. I don’t want bows in my hair. Mom says, “Chloe, be nice.” I am always nice to little kids. I crawl on the grass so that she can pet me. I like to be pet. She gets closer. Her mom tells her “Avery, it’s ok. Chloe won’t hurt you.” She does a few more bunny hops. Her mom says, “Avery, say bye to Chloe. We have to go now.” I wiggle my little butt. Avery taps me on the head and off she goes. “Bye Avery” I say.

Our time is up. The meter is running out of time. Mom gathers her backpack, and chair and heads for the car. “Wait mom, you forgot about me.” “Chloe, you wait here, I will be right back.” She comes back for me and I jump in the car. We are going back to the cabin.

Mom likes to write in the afternoon. I can’t sleep. The windows are opened. Dogs are barking. People are talking. Every time I hear a noise, I bark.  Mom gets mad. “Be quiet Chloe.” At home I can’t hear anything. It is so hot. Mom never opens the windows. She always has the AC on.

We don’t have a bathroom in our cabin. Mom has to use the main bathroom about forty feet away. The first time she left me alone. I whined so loud. Mom got mad. She takes me to the bathroom every time.

The best time is at night. I am not allowed to sleep in the bed. I can’t read the sign on the door. I get in bed anyway. Mom doesn’t make me get out.

Seven days later mom packs the car. “Where are we going now?”  I want to go home. I lay in my bed in the car. I try to sleep. I don’t know where we are going. “Are we going home?” We stop for coffee. Mom needs a lot of coffee. Three hours later we arrive at home. It is really hot. I am happy. I rush inside, run up to the loft, and fall asleep.


Mom, next time leave me at home. Find one of those nice pet sitters to take care of me. All I want to do is be a coach potato.



One Night Stance in Bisbee, AZ

I almost felt like I was entering an ashram when I opened the old wooden door and heard the bells ringing, but the building quickly made
itself known as an old boarding house.

Two friends, Myra, Ruth Ann, and I arrived at our hotel in Bisbee, Arizona. Myra was the designated driver, I was in charge of reserving the hotel, and Ruth Ann sat in the back very quietly biting her lips and gesturing with her index finger the way we ahould turn as we became confused and circled a roundabout 5 times before we exited. The drive was 3.5 hours from Phoenix. It was not a straight shot. We stopped at a monastery, St. David, bought homemade prickly pear jam, walked around the meditation garden, took pictures, visited the cemetery, and entered the church. I bought a small medal and had it blessed in hopes that it will ward off any future dangers.

St. David’s Monastery

Bisbee is an old mining town inhabited by ghosts, antique shops, locally owned restaurants, bars, and hotels. The Lavender mine is located on the outskirts of town. It was one of the main employers from 1950–1974. Phelps Dodge opened the mine in 1950. The mine produced 86 million tons of ore averaging about 0.7% copper. Turquoise was also a by-product of this mining activity. Bisbee turquoise, also known as Bisbee Blue, is amongst the finest turquoise found anywhere in the world.
There aren’t many miners running around town these days. Some of them have returned as ghosts and are said to inhabit our hotel, The Inn at Castle Rock.

Lavender Mine

I chose the hotel by cruising through the listing on The first hotel I made reservations with was the School House Inn Bed and Breakfast. It was listed as a room for three people. Four days later I went to review the reservation. There was a picture of only one king size bed. I knew we were not all going to sleep in the same bed. Those days are over. I wanted to keep these friends. I canceled the reservation and made another one at the Inn at Castle Rock. There was a room with three separate beds. Yes, we will take that one.

A delightful quirky, squeeky , old building with lots of history… Nothing fancy. Frank (Comment on
“Kitschiest, strangest property, but really interesting and cool.” — shannon

Quirky, unique, quaint

I became nervous as we approached the hotel. We arrived about 5:00 pm. The front desk clerk, a very friendly young man, carried our luggage up a narrow steep flight of stairs to our room on the second floor. I unlocked the room and walked in. I thought it was interesting but I wasn’t sure what was going through the minds of my friends. Would they trust me to find the hotel on our next excursion or will this be the last time they ask me to make the hotel reservations? We were all very happy to see that we would have our own beds. There was a balcony outside. The balcony was decorated with very colorful “Christmas” lights, red, green, and blue. The porch had a rocker and two chairs. The location was great. We could walk everywhere. We parked the car and didn’t use it again until the next day when we went home.

We sat on the porch, chatted, and watched the people go by. I was worried that my friends did not share my interest in the hotel. Should I ask them what they think? Maybe later.

Entry into the hotel was past what appeared to be a hitching post in days of long ago. The sign clearly stating Kiwi Parking Only mystified all of us. The door was not welcoming but gave the suggestions that one enters at their own risk. The lobby, and I use that term loosely, featured a natural spring that one could look over the edge of it and see what appeared to be water.
Ruth Ann


The well

We returned from dinner about 7:00 pm. The room didn’t have much light. There was a ceiling light which appeared to be yellow, and lamps on each bed table. Not enough light to read a book. A view of the Peace Memorial and a projection of a bat on a rock were directly across the street. A bathroom with a kitchen sink. A shower we couldn’t use because the water was too cold. We didn’t let the water run long enough. A fake wall between the bathroom and a very small private bedroom. Two beds in the main room, one double the other single. Pictures of interesting people on the walls. Strings of colored lights on the balcony, outdoor gazebos, and two fireplaces in the community rooms. A breakfast room with coffee available at all times. Breakfast included: cereal, bread, toast, bananas, and a few oranges. Help yourself. Don’t forget to wash your dishes and leave them in the sink. Everywhere we explored we found a “surprise”.

We sat on our beds and chatted until about 11:00 pm. The beds were comfortable minus the nylon sheets. There was a little noise coming from the outside. We were on the main drag. The noise died down about 11:00. We slept and no one snored.


The picture above the bed

It was hilarious and I’m sure not too clean, but the room named Return to Paradise was way too dark to make a judgement. It had the required three beds for us. It did have a delightful porch overlooking main street, but as my feet were planted I had the feeling one might go through the very old plywood floors. We sat in rocking chairs looking out across the street at a giant boulder where the hotel had displayed the Bat call signal from the Batman television series.
Ruth Ann

Our friendly front desk young man, Alex, gave us a tour. The hotel was built over the flowing Apache Springs Well. Yes, there is a well next to the front desk. Every room has a theme: Jungle, Victorian, Cherlys, and Return to Paradise. We stayed in Return to Paradise.


Apache Springs Well

The Inn at Castle Rock was built in 1890 as a miner’s boarding house. The mine shaft is in the dining room of the bed and breakfast serving as a koi pond. The hotel has survived fires and floods including a fire in 1908

Did you sleep well last night? asks the lady at the front desk
Did you see any ghosts?
Ghosts? we asked

Little did I know we had just slept in a hotel that is haunted by some of the miners who lived there .
One miner has stayed around as a ghost. Slept in the same room we did, Return to Paradise. He is rumored to play with your toes if you sleep in his bed. He wants to disturb your sleep so he can get his room back.

One story from the early 1900’s is of a soldier cleaning his rifle on the front verandah when it went off accidentally, fatally shooting a woman walking up the other side of the road. It is said that she still searches the Inn looking for the reason. The shooting is documented in local news of the time.

The boarding house opened up as an Inn in 1980. The owner of the hotel, Chris Brown, is from New Zealand but settled in Bisbee in 2002 “because it is the nicest place in the world”. It is his vision to bring the Inn back to its former glory.

I was disappointed because I wanted to eat at Hazel’s Table 10
Hazel is from Nicaragua and a successful interior decorator. She came to the states with one of her wealthy clients. He died in Las Vegas. She tried to live in Phoenix but it was too hot for her.
She rented a room at the Inn at Castle Rock and launched Table 10. She only cooked three evenings a week. According to the reviews, her meals were a surprise to all. She no longer lives in Bisbee. She moved to Tucson.

Were there bugs in the room? Was the carpet clean? Were the sheets clean? I don’t know. It didn’t matter. There was no strange smell and the bathroom was clean. Ruth Ann brought a nightlife for the bathroom. That helped.
Were there ghosts? If there were, they didn’t bother us. We just ignored them.
Would I stay here again? Sure, it was a unique experience. Would my friends stay there again? I am not so sure.

Market Cafe

We had breakfast at the Market and Cafe. It is a five-minute walk from the Inn at Castle Rock. We sat outside on red plastic chairs with brightly colored red and blue umbrellas. The store sold homemade cookies, honey, biscuits, and juices. Pottery, odds, and ends, and quirky items. The food was tasty. A great way to end our one night stance. Would I do it again? Yes, I would. Would my friends? I hope that would.

Welcome to Historic Old Bisbee’s High Desert Market and Café
Come enjoy our gourmet food and gifts market, our delicious café offerings,
and our new smoothie, juice and espresso bar.
Open 7am to 7pm, 7 Days a Week!

From Animal Farm to Outdoor Gym

Buffalo Park

Joggers, walkers, trekkers, and slow strollers. Older people, young people, children, unborn children (pregnant mothers), and mothers pushing strollers with babies. These are the people I find at Buffalo Park. It is late morning, 9:00 a.m. The sky is clear. I am walking with Chloe, my cocker spaniel.

The views of the San Francisco Peaks are in the distance. Buffalo Park is a part of the Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS). The loop around the entire park is about five miles. In 1963 it was a wildlife park. The first animal, a deer, arrived on January 31, 1964. The first buffalo arrived on April 8. There were more than 200 animals. Elk, antelope, Chinese and Golden pheasants, quail, wild ducks, sheep, llamas, hens, peacocks and barnyard animals.

A buffalo constructed of steel covered with wire mesh and coated with concrete and latex silicone mixture greets the visitors at the entrance to the park.

The park opened on May 30, 1964. Admission was $1 for adults and 50 cents for children. People could ride coaches, wagons, a mule train, or a surry for a 45- minute trip around the park. The tour included watching Navaho women weave blankets in front of four hogans, listening to the cowboy philosopher and storyteller O.T. Gillete, feed small animals, and experience the history of old Flagstaff.

The park had a very successful first summer. The next summer it went bankrupt. Heavy snows fell that winter. The animals escaped looking for places to find food. Some buffalo were found at a local school grazing.

In 1969 all of the animals were removed from the property. The park was left alone until 1986. Flagstaff residents voted to protect Buffalo Park. They wanted to ensure that people could use it as a place to hike, walk, trek, bike, and exercise.

The Nate Avery Trail is a two-mile loop. It sits on top of an ancient lava flow. The park includes stations where people stop to perform various exercises.

The Challenges are marked for Novice and Advanced levels

Squat-Stretch Bench


Vertical Ladder


Sit Ups

frogkicks  frogkickspit

Frog Kicks (The ground is made of crushed wood chips)


The Maze: Mom and daughter doing sit-ups


Water fountain for dogs

The path is on a lava field. It becomes very warm in the late morning in the Summer months.


The Arizona Trail begins here and if you walk about 300 miles, you will reach the border with Mexico. Don’t do it the Summer!

Tips for visiting the park:

  1. Go in the early morning or late evening in the summer
  2. Wear steady walking shoes
  3. Carry water
  4. Wear a hat
  5. Dogs are allowed on leashes

I recommend this park for very active children and adults.

Note: Take a lot of water