When it comes to exploring Northern Arizona, the region offers much more than just breathtaking landscapes and famous landmarks. Beyond the expected natural wonders of the Grand Canyon and fictional Orinda (home to the Paradise Saloon and Dancehall in The Good Time Girls, and decidedly fictional), there are peculiar and offbeat sites that are bound to ignite your curiosity and leave you with unforgettable memories. Join Pip and Ruby as they delve into the eccentric side of Northern Arizona and discover five weird and wonderful sites that you won't find on typical tourist brochures.
The Mystery Castle of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ. Hidden in the desert foothills south of downtown Phoenix lies the Mystery Castle, a peculiar structure built in the 1930s by a man named Boyce Luther Gulley. This castle is not your average stone fortress—it incorporates unique and unconventional materials such as automobile parts, salvaged wood, and even petroglyphs. Gulley came to Arizona to recover from tuberculosis, and not one to sit on his hands, built this fortress for his daughter. With secret passageways, eccentric decor, and an intriguing backstory, this oddity is a must-visit for those seeking an offbeat adventure. Ah, the wonders of the desert air! For more information, call 602-268-1581 or visit http://www.mymysterycastle.com/.
Meteor Crater, Winslow, AZ: The Meteor Crater is one of the best-preserved impact sites on Earth. Formed over 50,000 years ago by a meteorite collision, this massive crater (2.4 miles in circumference and 550 feet deep) is mind-blowing. And there’s a space center attached! Which pretty much brings awe and wonder to Ruby and Pip since they live in 1905 and the Wright Brothers just recently made a fairly significant, albeit short, flight. Explore the interactive visitor center, learn about the cosmic collision, and marvel with your jaw dropped at this otherworldly site. For more information, visit https://meteorcrater.com.
Vortexes in Sedona: In the mystical town of Sedona, amidst the stunning red rocks, lie an abundance of vortexes. Known for their spiritual significance, the vortexes are believed to enhance meditation, healing, and self-exploration, none of which Ruby and Pip find in the least beneficial, but the scenery from the bar in town is pretty. Here’s a link to a map of said vortexes: https://www.sedona.net/vortex-map.
Jerome, Arizona: Perched high on a hillside, the town of Jerome is a delightful blend of history, art, and oddities. It’s so steep, you’ll get a little dizzy, but it’s worth a stop. Once a booming copper mining town turned ghost town, Jerome is now known for its quirky shops, art galleries, and unusual attractions. Explore the Jerome Grand Hotel, believed to be haunted, or visit the Sliding Jail, where the building literally slid downhill due to mining-related land subsidence. Jerome is a treasure trove of oddities and a perfect stop for those seeking the unconventional. And it’s haunted. Or maybe the whole of it is one big vortex. For more information: Just drive west on 89A from Sedona. You’ll find it. There’s no way around.
Two Guns Ghost Town, Cochino County, AZ. Delve into the eerie and haunted history of Two Guns Ghost Town. Located off Route 66, on the east rim of Canyon DIABLO (warning you now this might be a negative vortex) this abandoned town is shrouded in mystery and boasts a dark past. Explore the ruins of old buildings, wander through the remnants of an old zoo, and witness the legendary Apache Death Cave, where legend has it this was the site of a major confrontation between the Navajos and Apaches. Homesteaders came next, then the highway, then the grifters and builders of eccentric tourist traps meant to take your money. Now it’s just desolate and odd.
K.T. Blakemore grew up in the United States West and never left. THE GOOD TIME GIRLS is the first in the Wild-Willed Women of the West Series, featuring women who take no prisoners and succeed through sheer grit, determination, and a parcel of luck.
Her award-winning historical suspense and young adult historical fiction, written under the pen name Kim Taylor Blakemore, has been awarded a Silver Falchion Award, Tucson Festival of Book Literary Award, and a WILLA Award for Best YA Fiction.
In addition to writing, she runs the Novelitics ranch, which provides developmental editing and workshops to novelists. She teaches editing and craft workshops to writing groups around the United States and Canada.
She has hung her hat in California, Colorado, and currently the Pacific Northwest. The rain does not deter her research whether it be train timetables from 1905 or the best way to catch a loose horse.
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