Through Foreign Eyes - Spring/Summer 2009 travel blog

Wigwam Motel

Wigwam Motel

On the drive to Flagstaff, we detoured a bit to see a famous hotel from route 66 days, the Wigwam in Holbrook which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Each teepee is a separate hotel room furnished in the usual way, and as a bonus a classic car is parked in front of each teepee. Many of the hotels that were patronized by travelers in the route 66 days have fallen on hard times or closed altogether, but this one somehow captured the imagination with its corniness and appears to be still going strong.

Flagstaff does not fit the stereotype of a typical Arizona town. Because it is a mile high in elevation it never suffers from the high temperatures we see in Phoenix and Tuscon and it is a skier's haven in the winter. We spent the summer of 1977 in Flagstaff attending summer school and have fond memories of that summer. Flagstaff is the epicenter of a myriad outdoor and scenic activities. As soon as class would end on Friday, we would jump into our van and visit Sedona or Oak Creek Canyon or Sunset Crater National Monument, etc. etc. for the weekend. However, we could not remember the town itself at all. We rarely went there and never ate at restaurants since we had a meal ticket at the campus cafeteria.

It's rainy and cool today so we headed down to the historic downtown area and confirmed why it had not made much of an impression on us back in 1977. Although efforts have been made to preserve some classic frontier buildings, there just wasn't much there there. Nearly every store sold outdoor adventure gear, but not much else. Perhaps our memories from 32 years ago are still valid. As soon as the showers stop we'll head out to some of those scenic attractions to confirm that they are still as great as we remember.

We also cruised the Northern Arizona University campus and did not recognize anything there either. The number of students attending NAU has doubled since we were here and obviously many new facilities have been built. Perhaps the dorm where we studied that summer has been knocked down and something new has taken its place.

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