Long Layover in Cornville

Belle and Bill’s adobe house in Cornville

After my too-short detour to Monument Valley, I returned to the Sedona area last week to visit my friends, Belle and Bill. I’ve known Belle since the 6th grade. We were (and are) horse girls, although not the Pony Club new-jumping-saddle-for-Christmas variety. More the I’m-shoveling-manure-in-trade-for-a-ride type. One time when we were twelve, we rode out to the two-lane highway into Scottsdale, and got our horses to buck and rear for the people driving by. Thrilling! Dangerous! Belle’s idea!

Dawa Trail in Sedona

Belle and Bill live in Cornville, about 15 miles west of Sedona. Cornville is not really a town, just a handful of small businesses on a desert road that connects two bigger roads. The area has an interesting mix of environmentalists and maskless trumpsters (the buffalo horned insurrectionist grew up near here). In a single quarter mile, you might see mobile homes, adobe cottages, stucco ranch houses, and white-washed corrals of purebred horses.

I know, this is the same photo I posted when I wrote about being here in December. šŸ™‚

Belle and Bill live on a couple of acres at the end of a dead end road with hillsides of protected federal land on two sides. They have gardens — “it’s all a garden” — and welcome neighbors who drop in unannounced. They buy eggs from a local farmer. In the evenings, we usually meet outside on the patio for (distanced) dinners, sometimes with neighbors or visitors. Bill makes breads and pasta from heirloom grains he mills by hand. Belle and I make too many “healthy” desserts. I’ve been trying to attract some crows to my patio with a peanut-heavy birdseed mix. They aren’t interested so far, but I have made friends with a family of quail, LBBs and a road runner.

Belle and Bill are slowly phasing out of their careers in the world of seed saving. Seed saving is part of the effort to beat back GMO food, farming with toxic chemicals, and corporate control of agriculture. You can learn more about that here. https://rockymountainseeds.org/ They’ve been leading the movement for many years, and it’s finally becoming a part of the conversations about ways to deal with climate change.

View from the top of Boynton Canyon trail.

When I’m here, I hike every day, not too surprising. Besides the miracle of hiking in the Sedona red rocks, there are other adventures in the area, such as….

Montezuma Castle National Monument was built 800 years ago by the Sinagua tribe. It’s not a castle and has no known relationship to Montezuma. It’s an ancient ten story apartment building, 90 feet up a limestone cliff. Totally impressive.

Montezuma Castle National Monument. Photo by James Davis.

Tuzigoot National Monument is the ruins of a 1,000 year-old pueblo built by the Sinagua tribe. Tuzigoot is such a cool word. It’s Apache for “crooked water,” a reference to the marsh nearby. Much of the site was restored as an historical project during the New Deal. The museum allegedly has an impressive collection of pottery, but I stayed outside.

Photo by Tripsavvy

Jerome is an old mining town perched on the top of a hill about 10 miles from Cottonwood. It attracts tourists who like to wash down their history with a little shopping. The main street has lots of funky antique shops, gift shops, and places to get coffee and ice cream. Tip for travelers: avoid the back road from Jerome to Prescott unless you are looking for a terrifying mountain drive, which I wasn’t.

Photo of Jerome, AZ by experiencescottsdale.com

But the main attractions here are good friends.

Belle with Aggie, aging super dog.

15 comments

  1. Wonderful pictures once again. B&B’s adobe abode looks just perfect in its setting, but Cornville sounds like the name of a town belonging in Iowa, not the desert. Your horsey episode sounds frightening to me. Shame on your for blaming Belle for your escapades! I know you Kimmie, and there’s a quite a bit of both the adventuress and the trickster in your makeup.

    And please pet Aggie for me… I instantly love her, maybe because she’s an aging super gal like Rosie.

  2. Love the area. although Sedona is a bit too trendy for me. Your friends sound like amazing people who do more than the rest of us to save the planet! I also have a horse/highway story, but mine didn’t end so well :). By the way, in Canada, Pony Clubbers are the manure shoveling types!

    1. Yah, I don’t care for the town of Sedona. It’s a lot of rich people now and they’re very annoyed that you have come to enjoy the land that belongs to all of us. I have so far gotten two nasty notes on my car from residents who didn’t like where I parked when I was parked legally! Would love for you to share the horse story!

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