Watson Lake and Downtown Prescott

Today will be spent locally, exploring the Prescott area.  Prescott is a popular weekend destination and downtown was quite crowded when we arrived, so we’re hoping the masses have gone home and vehicle and foot traffic will be lighter today.  After a few cups of coffee and the hotel’s free breakfast, we’re off to explore Watson Lake.

075Watson Lake is a man-made reservoir created in the early 1900s and preserved as recreational land by the City of Prescott in 1997. The lake is surrounded by an interesting geological feature called Granite Dells, which are large rippled boulders of billion-year-old granite and bedrock.   The Dells attract climbing enthusiasts, but it was the kayakers maneuvering their brightly colored canoes around the exterior of the rocks that I found enticing.

057The husband and I walked the lake trail, stopping to climb a boulder or two, until we came to an iron bench overlooking the water.  We sat for a while, enjoying the breeze and display of weathered rocks, created in a land before time.  What a deal.  Two dollars for the opportunity to hike, bike, climb, kayak, boat, picnic, and enjoy the serenity of the outdoors.  Although it was time to move on, I vowed to come back one day and kayak this beautiful lake.

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Our next destination is the Sharlot Hall Museum in downtown Prescott.  Sharlot Hall was an early Prescott historian, poet, and journalist and the first woman to hold a governmental position in Arizona.  The museum grounds are surrounded by historic buildings, such as the Governor’s Mansion and the Fremont and Bushford residences, all acquired to house her collection of artifacts related to Arizona pioneers and earlier inhabitants.

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This is a lovely and interesting museum to spend a few hours exploring.   Local docents are available in many of the buildings ready to discuss the history of Prescott, the houses and their famous historian, Sharlot Hall.  Each house displays vintage items of the period and the WPA building overflows with historical relics from the area.

106After departing the museum, we decided to walk down to the historic district and the infamous Whiskey Row on Montezuma Street.  I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the old brick-faced Hotel Michael or Hassayampa Inn, whose guests once included Georgia O’Keeffe,  D.H. Lawrence, and Clark Gable.  There’s something about an old brick structure that I find intriguing—actually, I just love old buildings no matter the medium.

099We walked Whiskey Row, stopping in a gift store or two, and snapping up pictures of historic places that today sell fine art, knickknacks, and clothing.  We passed the Palace Saloon, an establishment that in the late 1870s served Doc Holiday and the Earp brothers of Tombstone fame, and peeked inside.  I could have wandered these streets all night in historical bliss, but it was time to head back to the hotel and prepare to go home.  Prescott, we’ve enjoyed your gifts and hope to return soon—with kayak in hand and some Sketcher’s GoWalk shoes.

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