Published: July 2009
Flagstaff's Many Faces
Long Weekends Southwest Ruins
Northeast of Flagstaff, Wupatki National Monument attracts many visitors each year.
By Anne Z. Cooke
Photo by George H. H. Huey

A new ethic infuses Southwest escapes. Prime example: Flagstaff, Arizona.

Flagstaff, shaded by pine forests and embraced by rolling ranch land at the foot of the mighty San Francisco Peaks, has long been the hub of northern Arizona's fabled natural and historical attractions.

But in recent years, a flourishing environmental ethic has infused the local cowboy and Native American cultures, making this southwestern pioneer town of 60,000 more compelling than ever.

In the historic downtown, cowboy garb and Pueblo Indian artwork share restored 1900s brick storefronts with high-end adventure gear and vegetarian cafés. Try on boots at Gene's Western Wear, dating to 1948, or shop for a kachina doll at the Winter Sun Trading Company.

At lunchtime, choose sandwiches and salads at the Mountain Oasis, or Middle Eastern, Asian, or vegetarian fare. Later, dine by candlelight at top-rated Brix, whose menu pleases cowboys and conservationists alike. Try such seasonal offerings as bison tenderloin with organic potatoes and locally grown asparagus, or, for a meatless treat, the roasted beet ravioli stuffed with onion and blue cheese.

Three miles north of downtown is the Museum of Northern Arizona. Its small but select collection of pre-European and contemporary Native American art echoes nature's forms: gold and orange sunsets, lightning bolts, and red-rock canyons.

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