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Old 06-21-2012, 11:46 AM
 
14 posts, read 17,556 times
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Default Suggestions for a trip to Verde Valley area?

I am planning a trip this summer from southern CA to the Verde Valley/Prescott Valley/Chino Valley areas to see if we might like to move there in retirement. That will be a few years off but weíre starting the search now. Iím looking for suggestions on anything and everything since everything I know of the area now is from the internet (thanks for all the posts Iíve read here about the area, btw).

We are horse owners so we want some land, but we donít want to be isolated. I donít want to own a snow shovel but I donít want to hide from triple-digit heat for months at a time. Thatís why the summer trip, just to see what the heat is like. I already live in the desert, btw.

I thought we would take I-10 through Phoenix, head north to look at Prescott Valley & Chino Valley, back down to hit Camp Verde etc. and up to Sedona, then north again and take the 40 through Kingman and back into CA. Can I do all that in 7 days and still get an idea of the area Ė types of properties, amenities, etc? Can I fit in a short hop to the Grand Canyon? Any other ďcanít-missĒ things: places to stay, places to eat?

We are just looking now, but if you were going to give advice to a potential property buyer in that area, what would you tell them? Iím very curious about water availability. Thanks for any suggestions...

Last edited by Kimballette; 06-21-2012 at 07:39 PM.. Reason: changed font for readability
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:31 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
6,992 posts, read 6,729,716 times
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I've done a version of that circle more than a few times (but I always go the 40 through Kingman - don't like Phoenix). I usually wander for 10 days.

I would make either Prescott or Camp Verde my base, and take day trips to the other areas you want to investigate - they're not all that far apart. And compared to SoCal traffic, there's no problem with that.

Contact a poster called BriansPerspective - he can probably steer you towards horse properties ...
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:24 AM
 
Location: Arizona
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I did a post on a good portion of the area you're wondering about. As a matter of fact it was my first post on C-D forum. Here it is, if you're interested. It was initially posted back in mid 2009, in the thread, "Arizona City by City" which is a sticky designed specifically to provide information for people who want information about any part of Arizona. I'll be glad to assist you if you need further information.

The Verde Valley
This will include Sedona, Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Jerome, Cornville, Rimrock, and Camp Verde. I'll do my best. I've frequented or lived in all areas for quite some time. It's really all one big place. Please bear with my rambling account. If you just want facts and statistics, get an atlas or travel guide. I'm sorta new to this internet stuff.

First off the entire Verde Valley is the basin left over from an ancient lake that extended from the Sycamore Canyon to the east end of Camp Verde near Fossel Creek. Cottonwood is located along the Verde river about in the middle and east. Housing is rather inexpensive overall and it has all the convenience stores for a small town.(11,000) If you go to the Safeway at the right time you very well might run into John McCain. For young people the area overall is pretty void of things to do unless you are on a spiritual quest. Sedona has more religous centers that any other place in America per population. Once about 12 years ago someone actually sold tickets to a spaceship landing on one of the Redrocks and promptly skipped town with the money. There are lectures on the planet Narubu that is in our solar system but nobody has ever seen it except the guy who gives the presentations. He has alot of graphs. In Sedona You can buy a crystal for every part of your body and every mood one could have. They heat rocks up and will put them anywhere you want.

There are 5 million tourists who come from all over the world every year to see the Grand Canyon. They all come to Sedona on their way there and on their way back. Sometimes I think they all come on the same day. Especially if you are part of the 6 mile Conga Line following the "Blue Haired Crawler" doing 15mph on the only road into town. Most everyone who lives in the Verde Valley works in the service industry and most of the service industry is in Sedona. Wages are low. Hours are long. Employee Benefits are sparse to non existant. Right now business overall is way down. Hotel occupancy is way off and the unemployment rate for the Verde Valley is way above the state average. The Red Rocks are absolutely stunning and will take your breath away when you first see them. Every morning I'm awed by the shear beauty when I drive to Sedona from Cottonwood for work. The only people who can afford to actually live in Sedona are retired heart surgeons and a divorce attorney. Try 750,000 and up. Rents are high in Sedona. Schools are good as you would expect them to be.

Cottonwood is where many who work in Sedona live. There is no industry in Cottonwood except stores and repair shops for the workers to buy their stuff. Schools are not as good. Nothing for the young people to do unless they belong to a church group. My Stepson went to China as a missionary with a church group. Housing is very reasonable now with doublewides on their own property along the Verde River green belt for 70,000 on up. In 55 or over developments you can get them for much less. Stick house range from 125,000 to 300,000 depending on the area and view. The most exciting thing that happened in Cottonwood in the last 10 years was the rabid Bobcat that came into the Chapparel Bar one evening and bit three people.

Clarkdale is a postcard from 1920. The town was built by the mining company for the miners and all the houses are yellow brick and old, lining main street. There is a cement plant in Clarkdale and it offers some limited industrial employment. Other than that there is no industry not even service. A few nice things about Clarkdale besides the fine living conditions for retired folk(dogs in the street, very quiet) is the Copper Station. It is an old 1940s 2 pump gas station with a copper roof and two repair bays. They provide full service gas. When you pull up to the station you run over an air hose which rings a bell in the station and a young man comes out and fills your gas, cleans your windsheild, checks your oil and tops off all your fluids and will put air in your tires if you ask him. They don't sell cokes or hotdogs nor tee-shirts that say, "I found a cactus while sitting down in Arizona". Just gas and repairs. Definately an anachronism of a bygone time. Every Saturday evening in the summer there is a different popular band that plays in the central park for free. Everybody comes to it.

Jerome is an old mining town located in the foothills of Mingus Mountain. It used to be mined for Gold, Silver but mostly copper. there are deep open shafts located on the edge of town that you can see. After a rain you can walk the washes in Clarkdale and see turquoise lying on the ground. The whole town is built on stilts on the side of the mountain. There are mostly resturants and tourist souviner shops now but there is a thriving artist community that sell their wares. Mostly in converted ***** houses and bars that the locals proudly proclaim to you. Veiws of the Verde River Basin are spectacular and you can see all the way to Sedona, 30 miles away.

Cornville is nothing. Nothing at all. Once you pass the "Honey Doo Ranch" in the center of town you say, "That's it?" But looks can be deceiving. There are numerous small ranches in Cornville and John McCain owns one there. Everything is spread out more and property owners have more elbow room from each other. Lots of horse people live in Cornville. The main attraction in Cornville is the Old Corral Bar on a Saturday night.

Camp Verde was built around Fort Verde which was a U.S. Calvary Fort that General Crook operated out of while he exterminated the Apaches that actually still live here in numbers. There are places named "Bloody Basin" and Dead Man's wash to commemorate his soldiers dastardly exploits. Ultimately the Apaches have the final say though as Camp Verde has the Apache casino and we all go there periodicly to pay our indian taxes, as we call it. The casino has an outdoor ampitheatre where there are top acts like War, Starship, Steppenwolf and other old chestnut bands that play for about 20 bucks a head. Just stay away from the slot machines; especially the third one from the left as you walk in the door. Camp Verde is rather economicly depressed compared to Cottonwood or certainly Sedona. Generally low-middle class and housing is relatively cheap. Schools are under funded and social services are spotty. Camp Verde just can't seem to find it's niche in the Greater Verde Valley scheme of things. Someday it will shine I'm sure as it has much going for it.

Beaver Creek and Rimrock are located just under the front end of the dog's tail in the Verde Valley. There is no industry, no stores to speak of and is a haven for those who still need a place but can't afford Camp Verde. No schools, no hospitals but too many drugs. The hot spot in Beaver Creek is the Ranch House that is located on an old golf course that still uses the irrigation ditches from 300 years ago that the indians built. When you hit your golf ball in the rough at Bever Creek you can still find wild squash and cornstalks growing in the bushes. Montezuma's Well is located in Rimrock/Beavercreek and is a huge sinkhole with old indian houses lining the inside and outside of it. There is a huge bass that lives under a very large boulder in the creek that feeds the sinkhole. I know he's at least 7 years old.

The Verde Valley is a very unique place. When my relatives from back east come here for a visit I take them to Sedona for the Red Rock experience, then out to the vortex spots, to Montezuma's Castle, an old indian ruin, Tuzegoot City, an old indian city on the banks of the Verde River. If I'm feeling spry, I take them for a hike to see the indian cliff carvings. Actually the whole Verde Valley is paved with indian ruins. I'll take them through Oak Creek Canyon, one of the most scenic canyons in the world. For Dinner, we'll go to Jerome and eat at the Haunted Hamburger an old ***** house that is said to have ghosts.

Temp is about 10 to 20 degrees cooler in the Verde Valley than in Phoenix due to the elevation (4200 to 5500 feet) and the cooling effect of the Verde River Green Belt.

Me, I spend alot of time walking along the banks of the river and treking through Sycamore Canyon. There are sites that even the archeolgists don't know about. The antelope run in herds and the coyotes still howl at night. Once a bear backed me down Mingus mountain to protect her 2 cubs. Mountain lions come into your backyard and eat your poodle. Rattlesnakes curl up on your doormat at night to keep warm. All in all I love the serenity and peace the area has to offer and the chance to see the stars as I've never seen them before. The spirit of nature is everywhere and after a while you can feel it and make friends with and understand the animals. You see the same bobcat year after year and notice he's getting a little worse for wear. The kingsnake is bigger down by the bend in the river and has had a good year. The big antelope buck is gone and the younger has replaced him. Nature and the spirits of tribes long gone rule here. The cycle of life, nature's harmony and rebirth are evident and I am at peace in my later years.

Last edited by mohawkx; 06-24-2012 at 01:20 AM..
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Verde Valley, Az
282 posts, read 504,525 times
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I've been living in the Verde Valley for just over a year now, and really like it here. My MIL lives in Cottonwood and is 89, so that drove our decision to locate here. We have been coming up to Cottonwood since the early 80's when my in-laws moved here, so we were familiar with the area.

We were looking for a place with a large enough building for me to work on my hobbies and found the best place for us was in Cornville. Not Verde Santa Fe (Golf course), but what locals call 'the real Cornville'. It is definitely a horse lovers area. Most of our neighbors have horses, and it is not unusual to see riders on the street. Everyone is very friendly and the atmosphere is laid back. We love the wildlife and the scenery.
It does have its drawbacks. Cornville has one convienece store (another coming soon) and a surprisingly well stocked hardware store (small) For anything else, you have to go to Cottonwood, Flag, Phx or Prescott.

Mohawk did pretty good job of summing up the area, but I'd like to add my impressions
Sedona is over rated. The only thing is has going for it is the views and Oak Creek canyon. I was surprised to learn that folks in Sedona do their shopping in Cottonwood.

Clarkdale is neat little town, full of retirees and not much to do or see. Still, we would have bought a home there if we could have found one that met our needs. There are several cookie cutter developments in addition to the classic homes from its mining past.

Prescott/Prescott valley. We go there a lot to shop and for car shows. Always something going on. I have fond memories of Prescott from summer camps as a kid, but I'm not sure I would want to live there now. Too cold in the winter. Prescott valley is just one big suburban strip mall/urban sprawl. Yuk

Cottonwood is warmer than Prescott, but cooler than Phx (and Yuma!). I don't mind the heat at all, In fact I don't think it is that bad at all, but I spent most of my life in the desert. It was cooler this past winter than I am used too, but again, it was much milder than I was expecting. I have been told it was a mild winter. Lots of retirees here as well, as in much of the VV. We found several very nice houses for a decent price in Cottonwood, but again, no room for hobbies.

As far as a route, I would suggest a Loop from Kingman to Ashfork, then down into the Chino Valley and Prescott Valley. From Prescott valley you can either come down into the Verde valley via Jerome, Clarkdale and Cottonwood, or from PV take 169 over to I 17, that will bring you into Camp Verde/Rim Rock/Montezuma area. From there you can go to Cottonwood, et al and then from Sedona, take Oak Creek canyon up to Flagstaff, Grand canyon and home through Kingman.

Curly
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona U.S.A.
37 posts, read 35,934 times
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Not sure if anyone has mentioned the 3 wineries in Page Springs and the Trout Farm. Neat little side trip!
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona U.S.A.
37 posts, read 35,934 times
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That is near Cornville by the way.
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:17 PM
 
Location: Arizona
7,247 posts, read 2,801,640 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curly5759 View Post
I've been living in the Verde Valley for just over a year now, and really like it here. My MIL lives in Cottonwood and is 89, so that drove our decision to locate here. We have been coming up to Cottonwood since the early 80's when my in-laws moved here, so we were familiar with the area.

We were looking for a place with a large enough building for me to work on my hobbies and found the best place for us was in Cornville. Not Verde Santa Fe (Golf course), but what locals call 'the real Cornville'. It is definitely a horse lovers area. Most of our neighbors have horses, and it is not unusual to see riders on the street. Everyone is very friendly and the atmosphere is laid back. We love the wildlife and the scenery.
It does have its drawbacks. Cornville has one convienece store (another coming soon) and a surprisingly well stocked hardware store (small) For anything else, you have to go to Cottonwood, Flag, Phx or Prescott.

Mohawk did pretty good job of summing up the area, but I'd like to add my impressions
Sedona is over rated. The only thing is has going for it is the views and Oak Creek canyon. I was surprised to learn that folks in Sedona do their shopping in Cottonwood.

Clarkdale is neat little town, full of retirees and not much to do or see. Still, we would have bought a home there if we could have found one that met our needs. There are several cookie cutter developments in addition to the classic homes from its mining past.

Prescott/Prescott valley. We go there a lot to shop and for car shows. Always something going on. I have fond memories of Prescott from summer camps as a kid, but I'm not sure I would want to live there now. Too cold in the winter. Prescott valley is just one big suburban strip mall/urban sprawl. Yuk

Cottonwood is warmer than Prescott, but cooler than Phx (and Yuma!). I don't mind the heat at all, In fact I don't think it is that bad at all, but I spent most of my life in the desert. It was cooler this past winter than I am used too, but again, it was much milder than I was expecting. I have been told it was a mild winter. Lots of retirees here as well, as in much of the VV. We found several very nice houses for a decent price in Cottonwood, but again, no room for hobbies.

As far as a route, I would suggest a Loop from Kingman to Ashfork, then down into the Chino Valley and Prescott Valley. From Prescott valley you can either come down into the Verde valley via Jerome, Clarkdale and Cottonwood, or from PV take 169 over to I 17, that will bring you into Camp Verde/Rim Rock/Montezuma area. From there you can go to Cottonwood, et al and then from Sedona, take Oak Creek canyon up to Flagstaff, Grand canyon and home through Kingman.

Curly
Excellent post, fills in the blanks and updates the area. I posted my description of the area in early 2009 so it is rather dated. Lot's of changes since then. I like Cornville a lot too and for horse people it's really an ideal spot.
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlagMike View Post
Not sure if anyone has mentioned the 3 wineries in Page Springs and the Trout Farm. Neat little side trip!
I think that this area will produce some of the best wines in the world. We have good soil, great climate and altitude. Growing grapes at altitude creates some unique flavors.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Flagstaff, Arizona U.S.A.
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Amen to that Mohawkx!
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:13 PM
 
Location: Sedona, AZ
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As noted, Mohawkx's info is a little dated. I don't find Sedona to be crazy expensive, but it is definitely more than the surrounding area. A lot of it depends on where you're coming from. There aren't many doctors or lawyers living near me, but there are plenty of retirees. Also, Sedona has a lot of loopy folks (to me, vortex or UFO = loopy), but it also has a lot of normal people who just enjoy the outdoors and the area. In fact, it seems like the area has gotten younger over the past couple of years as the prices of housing, etc. have fallen. Outdoor activities are getting more popular, with the trails, hiking, mountain biking, road biking, and running all growing in popularity.

Someone else mentioned the wineries along Page Spring. The area is pretty cool. I think there are more than 3 now, but I don't really know as I don't drink wine. It's a great place to ride your bike though.
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