Story Ideas

Butterfly GardenOver the Rainbow Butterfly Garden

Flagstaff is fluttering with plans for a new family friendly attraction that will let ”children and  butterflies play together” in an indoor facility featuring free flying butterflies from around the world. Over the Rainbow Butterfly Garden purchased 4.5 acres of land on US Highway 89, northeast of Flagstaff, and is currently in the final stages of permitting and planning for construction of the facility to begin in summer of 2014. Plans include an aviary designed to give visitors the feeling they are one of the birds in a giant birdcage and a hands-on area where the bravest participants can touch creepy crawly invertebrates. Along with providing a magical and educational experience for families, all proceeds from the garden will support a foundation providing speech and occupational therapy scholarships to Flagstaff children. www.overtherainbowbutterflygarden.com

Hotel renovationsNew hotel brands and property renovations

Doubletree by Hilton Flagstaff
Located on Route 66, one mile from historic downtown, the 183 room full service Woodlands Hotel completed renovations on January 28, 2014 and is now the Doubletree by Hilton Flagstaff. www.flagstaff.doubletree.com

Holiday Inn Express
The Holiday Inn Express is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation encompassing all guest rooms, public area, meeting and fitness rooms. Located near I-40, the property also features an indoor/outdoor pool and hot breakfast buffet. www.hiflagstaff.com

Sleep Inn Flagstaff
In the Woodlands Village area near the I-40 and I-17 interchange, a former Rodeway Inn has been completely renovated down to the studs and given a new life as a Sleep Inn. The 58 room property was closed for four months during the renovation and reopens in April 2014. www.sleepinn.com/hotel-flagstaff-arizona-AZ822

Super 8 Motel West
A longtime Flagstaff Route 66 motor court style motel has been given a fresh remodel to update the property’s 66 guest rooms. Each room now features contemporary modern furnishings and large format artwork of black and white local photos. www.flagstaffsuper8.com

Travelodge Flagstaff-Route 66
Completely remodeled fall of 2013, the Flagstaff Travelodge is a 52 room property with a Route 66 themed boutique feel. Renovations include all guest rooms and bathrooms, swimming pool, Route 66 breakfast room and outdoor patio for guests to enjoy the full hot breakfast buffet. www.travelodge.com

Forest foraged cuisine elevates Coppa Café to serious foodie destination

The Ponderosa pine forests of Flagstaff yield a bounty of wild mushrooms, pine saplings, honey, pine nuts and berries which are transformed daily into pilgrimage-worthy soil to stomach foodie experiences by the husband and wife culinary team at Coppa Café. This European-style bistro, opened in 2011, brings a sophisticated taste of Europe to the mountains of Arizona while keeping the offerings hyper-local through their unconventional procurement methods (they “pay” their mushroom forager with gourmet meals.) With forest foraged ingredients, house-cured meats, fine pastries, locally ranched beef and produce from small area farms, Coppa Café is a can’t miss destination for serious epicureans visiting the southwest. www.coppacafe.net

Timeline of flagstaff’s microbrew scene gets more “historic”

With the recent addition of Historic Brewing Company, a microbrewery specializing in the creation of innovative ales and lagers inspired by brewing techniques of the past, to the beloved collection of breweries in northern Arizona; Flagstaff’s legacy of crafting fermented delights continues. Local institutions like Beaver Street Brewery and Flagstaff Brewing Company both open since 1994; and some newer favorites, Lumberyard Brewing Company, Mother Road Brewing Company and Wanderlust Brewing Company which have opened in the last two years, are tapping up award winning ales and getting noticed. From the automobile enthusiast brewing on Route 66 to the engineer-by-day brewer-by-night with a love for travel; each brewery, beer pub and taproom in Flagstaff has a story to tell. www.flagstaffaletrail.com

Flagstaff CafesFlagstaff is Buzzing: cafés offer locally roasted caffeine fix

In Arizona’s premier mountain town, where snowy winter days often require a steaming cup of joe, find a unique variety of local cafés ready to satisfy your caffeine fix. Opened in late December 2013, Flag Buzz Coffeehouse is the city’s newest spot for all organic and fair trade coffee. Flag Buzz works with an independent local roaster to create signature roasts; like the Flag Buzz Blend, a three bean blend of South American and African beans that are medium roasted to first crack, used for all menu items. The coffeehouse’s logo features a honey bee; however, it’s not only a clever take on their name but shows commitment to donating one percent of net profits to conserving the honey bee habitat. Discover even more local craft roasts at:
Macy’s European Coffeehouse – Flagstaff’s first commercial roaster opened in 1980 which has become a local institution with the addition of house baked pastry’s and a vegetarian menu.
Late for the Train Roastery – Roasting in Flagstaff since 1996, Late for the Train operates two coffeehouse locations, a coffee cart in the Flagstaff Medical Center and now roasts in an offsite
3,000 square foot facility.
Firecreek Coffee Company – The second coffeehouse location for the Sedona-based craft roaster has been serving small batch (less than 25 pounds roasted at a time) blends in Flagstaff since early 2013. To ensure a unique quality to their coffee, Firecreek pays extra to purchase their beans direct from the best small farmers around the world.

Mountain biking coupleArizona Nordic Village keeps trails open for exploring
on skis, shoes or wheels

Primarily known for the 25+ miles of groomed ski and snowshoe trails, the Arizona Nordic Village now doubles as a warm weather mountain biking and hiking facility. Come summer and fall the snow might be gone but there is still adventure to be had at the Arizona Nordic Village (ANV) thanks to a new partnership with A’desii Adventures to offer mountain bike rentals, mountain bike tours, hiking tours and wildlife watching tours on the center’s trails.  Always wanted to single-track through the forest but not sure how?  Mountain bike lessons from an experienced professional mountain biker are also available.  Lessons include a bike rental, maintenance tips and a short guided ride with instructional tips.  Extend your adventure and stay in onsite log-sided camper cabins and large or small yurts located steps from the trails. www.arizonanordicvillage.com

Motorcycle riders on Route 66Historic Route 66

Scenic byways, quirky roadside attractions, charming small towns, Native American reservations, and beautiful national parks; elements that made Route 66 the iconic American road trip, can all be found in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Also known as “The Mother Road,” Route 66 continues to bisect Flagstaff today and the road is lined with relics from the route’s heyday as well as new businesses reinventing the spirit of Route 66.  Route 66 was commissioned in 1926 but was not fully paved until 1937.  During its life, the route continued to evolve and had several alignments to accommodate the increased traffic.  Flagstaff was home to the original Route 66 “Muffler Man,” a 40-foot-tall fiberglass lumberjack, originally standing, axe in hand, at the Lumberjack Café to attract the business of hungry travelers.

Is your dream to hop on a Harley and cruise Route 66 “Easy Rider” style?  Then Flagstaff is the perfect starting point for a motorcycle tour and adventure of a lifetime.  At EagleRider Flagstaff located right on Route 66, find the perfect starting point to explore the Mother Road where tours begin directly on scenic roads without big-city traffic or long interstate detours.  EagleRider Flagstaff offers a large variety of Harley-Davidson rentals, guided tours with multi-lingual guides, GPS navigation, and riding apparel and accessories for purchase. www.eaglerider.com/flagstaff

Flagstaff’s Historic Southside is home to the original alignment of Route 66 along a street now known as Mike’s Pike. When traffic became too heavy, it was re-routed, but Mike’s Pike continues to keep that Route 66 spirit alive. Three young entrepreneurs have taken up residence in the 1920s Milum Textile building on Mike’s Pike, giving new life to this historic spot. Mother Road Brewing Company pays tribute to their location on the original Route 66. The tasting room offers samples of their various brews, with names like Roadside American Ale, Twin Arrows Brown Ale and Gold Road Kolsch. Flagstaff Bicycle Revolution has everything you could possibly need for a bike, and a coffee bar and rotating art exhibit to boot. Pizzicletta combines the owner’s love of pizza, cycling and Italy into one amazing Neapolitan-style pizza joint. With a pizza oven handmade in Italy and gelato homemade daily you know you’re in for a treat.  www.motherroadbeer.com; www.flagbikerev.com; www.pizzicletta.com.

Native American ArtNorthern Arizona’s Native American Culture

More than 280,000 Native Americans live in northern Arizona on five separate reservations that cover more than 22,500 square miles in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.  The Navajo, Hopi, Havasupai, Hualipai and Kaibab-Pauite tribes are distinctly different and all are unique from any other culture in the world.  By far the biggest of all five reservations, the Navajo Nation (created in 1868) has a population of over 250,000 and is more than 18,000 square miles large.

The Navajo reservation includes the unparalleled beauty of Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, and Antelope Canyon. From Flagstaff the closest Navajo Tribal Park is the Little Colorado River Tribal Park, which includes scenic views of the Little Colorado River and the deep gorge it creates, as it heads to the confluence with the Colorado River at the Grand Canyon. Visit Little Colorado River Gorge, near Cameron, on the way to the East Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park and observe the narrow deep gorge.

The oldest Hopi arts and culture show in the world takes place in Flagstaff at the Museum of Northern Arizona, and the 80th annual Hopi Festival will be held July 6-7, 2013.  The museum also hosts weekend-long annual festivals where visitors can meet Native artists, performers and cultural interpreters of the Zuni and Navajo tribes. www.musnaz.org

Discovery telescopeFlagstaff’s Role in the Early Days of Space Exploration

Flagstaff has been the location of several space technology, research and state of the art developments through the course of its history. Lowell Observatory and the U.S. Geological Survey made significant findings such as the discovery of Pluto and the testing of outer space and lunar equipment. Flagstaff’s unique natural surroundings provided an exceptional replica of the moon’s surface. NASA astronauts trained for their missions at the Black Cinder Hills on the east side of town. These cinder lakes were used on numerous occasions by experts to provide astronauts with the proper instruction and tools to accomplish several missions to the moon.

New Year’s Eve Pine Cone Drop and Block Party

Flagstaff rings in the New Year each January with the annual pinecone drop. Reminiscent of the ball drop in Times’ Square, the annual Flagstaff pinecone drop draws thousands of locals to downtown where this five-foot by seven-foot gold and silver aluminum pinecone drops from the balcony of the historic Hotel Weatherford.  The tradition began in 1999, with a pinecone made from an aluminum garbage can. The event has now grown, with the entire downtown area closed to traffic, allowing a block party atmosphere on the street.