I love Arizona. I’m a 2nd generation native. My great grandfather and grandfather homesteaded in what is now Phoenix in 1892. My wife Sharon is a Pennsylvania transplant. We both enjoy discovering interesting places and products, and spreading the word, as most of our discoveries are well kept secrets. No, we don’t have affiliate or any type of relationship with the places or products we link you to. And yes, we hope you’ll support these local Arizona companies and organizations if you find them interesting.
Red Rock Farms Lavender Festival in Concho, Arizona, and an overnight in Show Low, Arizona – June 22nd – 23rd
Pulling into Concho Arizona after a 4-hour drive our home in Scottsdale is a humbling experience. I immediately pictured Google’s algorithm having a laugh over our search for “Concho, AZ hotels”. Middle. Of. Nowhere. And just down the highway a few miles is a weird sight. A freshly painted white picket fence along about a half mile of the highway with a paved road headed off to the right. With street lights along the road and infrastructure of a housing development on either side of the road (electrical boxes, fire hydrants, grading for streets and homes). The owner either went broke (happens a lot out here in the wild west) or was whisked up into the clouds by Native American spirits (happens less, but it happens) before he started building. Again, this is all truly in the middle of nowhere.
Then, past this suburb of Concho that never was I see about 50 cars in a dirt field, next to a building next to a few acres of beautiful lavender. Wow, I think, getting close to a hundred people out here, I’d like to meet the people who did that!
It wasn’t a festival in the way you imagine a festival; as in “things” happening. As in when you imagine a “big dog” you imagine, well, a dog that’s big. This festival, then, was a very small big dog. The newspaper article mentioned cooking demonstrations (bits of cookies and muffins made with lavender were passed around), a talk about lavender and the history of the farm (we left before the scheduled start time), you can wander the fields and cut a bunch of lavender for $5 (yes, we saw people out in the field), catered box lunch optional (not sure where people were going to sit and eat) and lavender products for sale (yes, we bought our share and are happy we did).
An interesting drive to a part of AZ we have not seen. But we won’t return. The products are good and available on their website, though. But this wasn’t the weekend’s highlight
Trip highlight: The Show Low Historical Museum
Spare me the “you must not get out much” jokes. It was interesting. . .and on two levels no less. First, the volunteers were a hoot. They outnumbered the visitors (Sharon and me) and loved to talk; just plain good people. And we enjoyed talking with them. Second, the museum told the story of Show Low in a different, enjoyable way. Sixteen rooms, each room told a slightly different story (blacksmithing, ranching, banking, mercantile, etc.) via different families that took that route; many of which are still living in the area. You saw the pioneers arrive, marry, watched their kids take over and their kids take over. You saw the threads that weave a town.
And by the way, do you know how Show Low got its name? Corydon Cooley and Marion Clark settled a 100,000 acre ranch where Show Low now is. They had a disagreement over what to do with the ranch and decided to play poker with the loser agreeing to sell out to the winner and leave. They played all night without a clear winner and agree to one more hand; 7-up. They both drew a card and Cooley “showed low” with a two of clubs. So Show Low became the town name with main street becoming “Deuce of Clubs.”
Interesting. Different. Free with donations appreciated.
We stayed in Show Low at The Hampton Inn and would recommend staying there. It’s the newest hotel in Show Low and, although it’s a Hampton Inn, we appreciated tons of cable channels, a new facility, free wi-fi, a good view of a meadow with creek and horses out our window.