Arizona’s mountain tapestry enveloped us as we approached. Saguaros raised an arm-or multiples-in hello. The ocotillo’s crimson halo and gown of green enticed. This is to be our home!
The steps leading up to this moment were quick ones. As the town approached and we emerged from our caravan of two with our golden retriever, our pulses slowed. We were witness to the kaleidoscopic glory of sunset.
Wickenburg boasts a myriad of pluses-the western culture, rich history, annual events, the Sonoran desert, temperate climate, open skies and raw beauty. New in town, we are delighted with all of the above. Each day brings wonder.
The town goes to bed early, but Mecca was open late that Sunday night. The camaraderie was genuine among the groups and couples. The country music pounded. Burgers with chiles and Blue Moon satisfied us completely. Justin, our server, won us over with a round on the house in celebration of our move to Wickenburg.
Our first stop the next morning was the Chamber of Commerce. Royce Kardinal, front and center, struck us with her warmth, expertise and passion for the town. She seems to be everywhere at once and is an expert at introductions. We gathered the town map, brochures, and suggestions from the fine staff behind the desks.
At “Cowgirl Up”, Shelby Keefe’s gorgeous strokes and Erin Hanson’s “Purple Morning” moved me. But I swooned over Gladys Roldan de Moras’ “At the Charreada” oil, a sensuous mélange of horses and women with adorned hats, jewelry, ribbons, and hair of chestnut, blonde and brown. I was captured by western tradition, craft, toil, serenity, beauty and grit represented in the gallery art.
Blissfully wandering new surroundings on foot from our house on the fringe of historic downtown, we return to Anita’s to savor house margaritas, super salsa and green chile burros. We inhale the Horseshoe Café’s amaaazing sausage gravy and biscuits, walking home a bit slower than before. The second time around, owner Deb confessed to “royally screwing up our order” and it was on the house!
After two weeks in town, “Guys Who Grill” surprised us with its fantastic turnout, tasty grilled eats and the engaging happy people embracing a good cause. In its sixth year, a keeper.
Classic Movie Night at the Saguaro Theatre is a veritable treat. At the recent showing of The Glen Miller Story, with James Stewart and June Allyson, ladies were offered a lovely rose or carnation, the attendants presented raffle prizes nattily dressed in classic garb. The popcorn was superb.
The pecan artillery burst on our rooftop stunned us initially. Now it is a reminder to harvest, unless the birds, squirrels or dog get the heaven-sent shells first. High winds this week brought the barrage once more. Pecan poachers showed up in the neighborhood to fill plastic bags. There are as many nuts as rocks in the yard now.
I like rocks. An austere desert landscape with bright pink cactus blooms, the ethereal Palo Verde (state tree!), Aloe, and any/ all sage knocks my socks off. These plants are as tolerant as they are eye-popping.
Cottontails, jackrabbits, roadrunners and quail have crossed our path. Poised tarantulas and rattlesnakes in town made me jump. Seward Johnson’s bronze sculptures make me pause.
Yet another stroll through town at lunchtime brings us to The Local Press, where the meats are home-cured, the herbs homegrown and the bread home-baked. Blazing Saddles and The Turkey Day handcrafted sandwiches were delicious through and through. We pledge to check out the entire list.
We’ve barely scratched the surface, Wickenburg.
Thanks for having us!