Flagstaff is a lovely college town in north central Arizona. It has a history of linked to the timber industry and railroads. Its high altitude keeps it cooler than other Arizona cities. Despite being surrounded by forests this is a desert area with very little rainfall. At lunch one day the wait staff were excited when it sprinkled outside. Forest fires are a concern and visitors should be doubly cautious. Flagstaff is famous for the Lowell Observatory, Northern Arizona University, ancient Indian settlements, current Navajo and Hopi culture, natural wonders like canyons and craters.
The collegiate and tourist industries encourage a wide range of good dining experiences. Coco’s is a family style restaurant famous for its bakery items. It is located at 360 W. Forest Meadows surrounded by many chain motels. Supper for two with beverage, dessert, and tip was under $30. For a more elegant meal Josephine’s, at 503 N. Humphreys, serves an award-winning American bistro cuisine. The restaurant has a casual, comfortable atmosphere set in a historic Arts and Crafts style house. I ordered a Fried Green tomato and turkey sandwich that was very tasty. The servings are huge and for $1.50 charge they will split an order onto two plates. Lunch for two with an outstanding fresh fruit cobbler dessert (we shared), coffee and tip was under $35. The wait staff got high marks for service, attitude, and charm.
We had three good shopping experiences in Flagstaff. The local Barnes and Noble had an excellent selection of local interest books, and good coffee, too. The Museum Shop at the Museum of Northern Arizona had an informed staff and a high quality selection of Native American art. An adjacent bookstore also had a good selection of special interest and coffee table books. But where I had the most fun was at the Flagstaff Art Barn. Local artists, carvers, potters, silversmiths, and weavers from Hopi and Navajo communities formed this non-profit center in 1963, to display and encourage local art. We were the only customers when we shopped there, so we got a lot of attention and conversation with the two Native Americans working there. Prices were negotiable here. By the end of our conversation I walked out with my prize souvenir of the trip…and they seemed pretty happy, too.