In Flagstaff, Ariz., it’s easy to get immersed in the town’s rowdy — and scientific — past
Flagstaff’s colorful local history is on display at the Pioneer Museum, which has preserved the cabin of Benjamin S. Doney, a councilman who tried in 1906 to remove most of the regulations on bars, brothels and gambling houses.(Sara Lessley)
The Pioneer Museum, built in 1908 as the county hospital for the indigent, houses a decade-by-decade look at Flagstaff, Ariz., beginning with its start as a railroad and logging town in the late 1800s.(Sara Lessley)
An egg and bacon croissant from Route 66 Dog Haus.(Sara Lessley)
Sometimes the employees at Black Bart’s Steakhouse, Saloon & Musical Revue don’t wait to get to the stage before breaking into song.(Sara Lessley)
A bone-in ribeye steak dinner with sides at Black Bart’s Steakhouse, Saloon & Musical Revue.(Sara Lessley)
A view of Northern Arizona University and downtown Flagstaff from Lowell Observatory on Mars Hills.(Sara Lessley)
Kids and families tour the newly reopened Clark refracting telescope at Lowell Observatory.(Sara Lessley)
A Lowell tour guide explains the “astrograph.”(Sara Lessley)
A warm welcome at the Lowell visitor center.(Sara Lessley)
Runners work out at the 215-acre Buffalo Park north of downtown Flagstaff, Ariz.(Sara Lessley)
Why Flagstaff, Ariz.? Start with the Lowell Observatory, where Pluto was first spotted in 1930 (and don’t forget to peek through the refurbished Clark refracting telescope, used in the 1960s to create maps of the moon). Consider the Pioneer Museum, which celebrates this “livestock, lumber and railroad” town dating to the 1880s.
And don’t forget that Flagstaff, a mountain town that sits at 6,909 feet -- is also about the great outdoors: walking, running, hiking and biking.
Hungry? Our family’s favorite restaurant, Black Bart’s Steakhouse, Saloon & Musical Revue, was a hoot. Our waitperson (and other staff) served savory steaks and loaded baked potatoes, then disappeared at regular intervals to belt out Broadway tunes. (Order the fried ice cream for dessert.)
We dined on more meat at Hickory’s Smokehouse BBQ, a casual eatery with generous portions of brisket, ribs, corn muffins and Dr Pepper in glass bottles and later grabbed a meal on the run at the Route 66 Dog Haus.
Are you an outside person? Bring your walking shoes and a “good attitude for high altitude.” Then check out the Flagstaff Urban Trails System, a.k.a. “FUTS.” Maps detailing the 56 miles of paved and unpaved pathways are posted online and around town. (Speaking of acronyms, if you see a “WTF” bumper sticker, it stands for “Welcome to Flagstaff.”)
Miles one way from downtown L.A.
Little America Hotel, flagstaff.littleamerica.com; Black Bart’s Steakhouse, Saloon and Musical Revue, www.blackbartssteakhouse.com; Hickory’s Smokehouse BBQ, www.hickoryssmokehousebbq.com; Lowell Observatory, lowell.edu; Pioneer Museum, wwwl.lat.ms/pioneermuseum; Flagstaff Urban Trails System, www.lat.ms/futs.
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