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Sedona, and many backwoods towns that remain unnamed

I was not born in Arizona, but that has had no effect on my love and devotion to this marvelous state. There are many things enticing about it, the intriguing history, breathtaking landscapes, and fascinating people – all of which are found in abundance wherever you may venture. The state has one of the most modern of all metropolitan cities, Phoenix, also the trendy hotspot for tourists in Sedona, and many backwoods towns that remain unnamed in order to keep their secrets. However, none holds the intrinsic charm of Prescott, which I have called my hometown for the past eight years.

As you are reading, try not to compare Prescott to other places you may know, because this town is truly unique. It has coined many names for itself, including, “The Mile-High City, “Arizona’s Christmas City,” “Home of the World’s Oldest Rodeo,” and “Everyone’s Hometown.”  These names cannot entirely encompass the city’s charisma, but it is a good starting place.

Prescott is nestled in a valley at an elevation of 5,300 feet, surrounded on three sides by the vast 1.2 million acre Prescott National Forest. The city has an abundance of outside recreational attractions, with five lakes where you can kayak and fish, and infinite trails to hike, bike or explore on horseback. Another favorite pastime for visitors and residents alike is to dominate the mountainous trails with off-road vehicles.

Downtown Prescott is a remarkable sight. The focal point is the Neoclassical Revival Yavapai Courthouse, which was built between 1916 and 1918. The courtyard has numerous oak trees where people are often found reading, writing, and playing with their children or pets. The brick walkways weave in and out of the courtyard, and the streets surrounding the courthouse square are filled with restaurants and boutiques.

During the month of December, downtown is transformed from its regal appearance to an extravagant display of holiday decorations. The “Courthouse Lighting” is a traditional occasion where hundreds of people gather for the spectacular event in which all the decorative lights suddenly light up the courthouse plaza. It is followed by a time of singing Christmas carols and enjoying the company of loved ones. The atmosphere is charged with good tidings and one really feels part of the community. During other times of the year, the courthouse plaza hosts other community events including art festivals, music nights, and book festivals.

Prescott is a growing community. The rumor of the unique and charming atmosphere has spread and people are flocking to the city and surrounding areas. Prescott is very appealing because it offers all the modern conveniences of the American society, including The Prescott Gateway Mall, Wal-Mart, In-N-Out, and countless other commercial retail businesses and restaurants. Despite all the growth that is in progress, this town will continue to be full of culture and it will remain humble.

Now that you are acquainted with Prescott, I would like to take you on an expedition. Knowing the history and culture is interesting, but there is no better way to come to know a place than to share in the experiences of one who has lived and breathed this city for the past eight years. If your journey is even half as colorful and adventurous as mine has been, then you will realize how delightful living in this town can be. Please share with me my experiences in this town.

Initially when I relocated here with my family, I was a fish out of water. I was used to the hustle and bustle of the big cities of Southern California; this quaint and lovely town was so different from everything I had ever known. I immediately became involved in the local 4-H club and participated in countless horse shows across the county. Horses are part of the culture in Prescott, and being emerged in that culture was my first tie to this town. The horse shows I was involved in were festive occasions, where families and friends encouraged one another. With this support, I had the opportunity to compete in the state competition, bringing home two blue ribbons and a few belt-buckles in honor of my town.

As a graduate of Prescott High School, I was involved in the performing arts program that the school offered. It was a tremendous opportunity to become part of the community with my fellow students. We had daily rehearsals for the Broadway musicals presented by Prescott High School, including Annie, Get Your Gun and Oliver. These musicals were truly a service to the community. Everyone who participated, as cast, crew or audience, where surrounded with the energy and excitement of the event.

While in high school I participated in the school science fair, and my project was soon nominated to be part of the countywide science fair. Because of my work on my project, I received recognition and awards for my project. It made me grateful to be part of the Prescott community.

During summers, I served the community through Prescott Parks and Recreation where I cared for and played with children, entertaining them and building bonds with them. It was an awesome experience, and it made me feel more as if I was a part of this community.

By being a citizen in Yavapai County, and attaining good grades, the United States Air Force presented me with a marvelous opportunity after high school; a full-ride scholarship to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) located in my very hometown, Prescott. The scholarship was intended for students in Yavapai County that showed promise. If it was not for my involvement in the community of Prescott, I would not have been eligible. Thank you Prescott!

After deciding that the ROTC program at ERAU was not for me, I began attending the local community college in Prescott. I became involved in the choral program there, and the choir toured, giving performances to schools in Yavapai County. It was a humbling experience to serve others, and it brought honor to the city.

What I have experienced in this city has blessed my life in so many ways. My first job was here, my church is here, and my family also. It has been a pleasure to engage with different aspects of the community, and this city is truly my hometown. Although I was born in California and spent part of my childhood there, my years in Prescott, Arizona have truly shaped my life. Now and for always, Prescott, Arizona is my home.

My hometown is Palominas, Arizona

My hometown is Palominas, Arizona. I am proud to be a member of the 6th generation of my family to live in the San Pedro Valley of Arizona. Five generations have been born here. My three times Great-Grandmother settled in the St. David area. She had a trading post there and traded with the Apaches from the Dragoon Mountains. She worked and traded with the Apaches in the 1850’s and 60’s. A few years and several generations later, I was born in Sierra Vista, Arizona. I grew up in Palominas, right next to the San Pedro River.

My family has farmed and irrigated from the San Pedro River their entire lives. Our rural farming way of life is dwindling rapidly I am sorry to say. What my family has enjoyed in a rural community will perhaps be gone before my children are born and grown. I would like to get my degree then come and work in the medical field here in the San Pedro Valley. My wish is to live and thrive in my rural surroundings and be able to offer my children the ability to grow up on the land and learn how important it is to be self-sufficient. One family tradition I grew up with is producing, storing, and eating what you can grow yourself. My family for generations raised cattle and grew crops and come harvest time, they shared with any family less fortunate than they did. It was a way of life to make sure your neighbors had enough to eat, even if you sometimes went with a little less. The cost of taxes and land is making this way of life the exception rather than the rule in small farming areas of Arizona. We must, in my generation and generations to come, find a way to keep the small farms and ranches from disappearing into urban development. Our way of life is important. I feel to the future of America and I plan to work very hard to get my education and then raise my children in the small community way of life. I want them to feel comfortable talking to their neighbors and I want them to help take care of everyone in their community.

Let me tell you a little about my hometown. The name Palominas means “Place of the Doves.” It is from the name “Palominas de San Pedro,” a name that Father Kino gave to an Indian village located by the river in what is now Mexico. Palominas is nestled between the Huachuca Mountains and the Mule Mountains. It has beautiful high desert landscape with a combination of Oak Trees, Mesquite, Creosote Bushes, and Cat Claw. With the San Pedro River running right in the middle of it, with its ribbon of bright green Cottonwood trees and desert willows laced in and out. The river is located along the migratory path between Canada and Mexico; this part of Arizona is one of the best bird-watching areas in the United States. A wide variety of species can be observed all year long, although the hummingbirds are especially plentiful. The Huachuca Mountains are some of the birding hotspots in the U.S. In the shady canyons of these mountains, you’ll find the Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon Preserve, as well as Garden Canyon (on Fort Huachuca army base north of Ramsey Canyon). To the south of Ramsey Canyon are Carr Canyon and Coronado National Monument, which both offer more good birding opportunities. To the east of the Huachuca’s lies the San Pedro River, much of which has been designated the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. This is one of the few rivers in southern Arizona, and though it isn’t much bigger than a creek, the forests along its banks attract an astounding variety of birdlife. This part of southern Arizona is the most beautiful spot in the United States as far as I am concerned. We have beautiful weather year around. Very mild winters with just a touch of snow and summers at least 10 to 15 degree’s cooler than Tucson or Phoenix. I would love for anyone to come and see how wonderful it is here and I will bet you that you will want to stay and make this part of Arizona your home. 

Come to Palominas and I‘ll show you around.

Only a few more minutes on the freeway

August 5, 2006, 7:03 pm. I am driving eastbound on I-10, which means I am really heading north toward home. ‘Entering Marana town limits’, only a few more minutes on the freeway and I will be to the Marana exit. I am leaving the hustle and bustle of midtown Tucson behind me in the blink of an eye, as I long to reach the serenity that Marana beholds. My little black Civic is almost completely dry from the monsoon that is now rolling out. Ahh, monsoons, the best part of the summer.

I cannot wait for each July to come around because that is when the monsoon season begins. Our summer monsoons are unlike anything many have seen before. In a split second, the sky becomes black and ominous with huge billowing clouds. That is when the light show begins. Amazingly beautiful yet completely frightening streaks of lightning blaze across the sky. Shortly after the lightning strikes, a colossal crack of thunder sounds. The noise is so loud it makes my very soul tremble. It creates a strange sensation, I am completely terrified that nature can create such commotion, yet exhilarated and cannot wait for the next quake. Then, the rain begins, first only a slight drizzle. Within minutes, buckets of water are pouring out of the sky in a hypnotizing pattern that I cannot help but gaze at. I take it all in and enjoy every moment; because I know in less than the time it takes to watch an episode of ‘I Love Lucy,’ the concert will be over. There is no encore today, but the aftermath of this monsoon is captivating. The streets are lined by rushing rivers and the washes are actually flowing. There is a sigh of relief heard from the desert floor because it has gotten a break from the relentless heat of the burning sun. The plants are drinking up every drop and in only a few days the whole landscape will transform from cacti and bare mesquite trees to an abundance of greenery and vibrant flowers that is very seldom seen here. Ahh….the monsoons.

As I approach the exit, the clouds begin to part and leave just as quick as they came. I am in luck, the sun sets soon and there is no sunset like an Arizona sunset. Safely off the freeway, I turn onto the frontage road. I see the skeleton of the old cotton gin to the right and it evokes visions of old farmers bringing their freshly cut crop to the gin; and it saddens me that I never was able to witness the farmers hard at work. All that is left is the eerie carcass that represents what once was the only way of life out here. I know I am close to home when the temperature drops ten degrees because of the irrigation ditches running along the frontage road. It is the perfect time to roll the window down, feel the refreshing breeze on my face, and breathe in the crisp scent of the sweet corn growing in the fields. I look up and see that remarkable sunset. As the sun ducks below the horizon, the most brilliant colors fill the sky. A hot lilac is closest to the horizon followed by a bright fuchsia, next a blood red and a deep tangerine orange tops it off. The silhouette of Picacho Peak frames the myriad of colors. Glorious! I glance back at the fields and the rows of corn zooming by become entrancing. I could watch it for hours, but the cornfield quickly turns into an open grass field where the cattle are sprinkled about. They are all feeding on the lush grass that has grown dramatically due to the wonderful monsoon season.

As I finally reach home, the sun has completely disappeared and the moon and stars begin to twinkle. Then that familiar serenade begins. The toads begin to sing a sweet melody. After the rains, I can always count on the toads to come around. Then their back-up singers chime in, the charming chirp of the crickets. The light from the stars and the moon are in full force now. There is no light pollution and every constellation is visible. I get absolutely get lost in the vastness of the universe and the mesmerizing glimmer of the stars. Sadly, it is time to turn in. Tomorrow I will be able to experience this astounding place all over again. It is important to appreciate Marana in its entire splendor because it is rapidly becoming developed and soon what once was a sleepy farming community will become a bustling suburb. So, I ask you, What isn’t there to love about Marana?

I live in the beautiful town of Laveen

Arizona is my home. I live in the beautiful town of Laveen. Laveen is a great place to live. I live in a house with my wife and my two cats. Our views are beautiful and peaceful. Laveen itself is a quaint, small, farming town. We have many farms in the area, with cattle and crops. We can look to the north, and see downtown Phoenix, then look to the south and admire breathtaking views of South Mountain. We live in a new neighborhood, so we do have many neighbors.

Laveen is a very fast growing area. Everywhere you look; there are new houses, and entire communities being built. I suppose growth is a good thing. People want to live in the best areas possible, and I feel Laveen is the best area. We are close to Phoenix, but not too close. Our crime is relatively low. The people here are very friendly and polite. The whole experience of living in Laveen is very peaceful. I would like to invite anybody to move to this area. I feel safe here; I have a golf course across the street, as well as beautiful Cesar Chavez Park within walking distance. You can go for bike rides or nice walks around the area, or in the park. You can go fishing, or have a nice family picnic. I love Laveen. Please come and visit us soon. 

I live in Litchfield Park, AZ

I live in Litchfield Park, AZ, located on the outskirts of Phoenix, but this is not where I have always lived. I grew up in Brockport, NY, a small and beautiful town on the outskirts of Rochester and built around the Erie Canal. I loved that town so much that it became a part of me. The little festivals, carnivals and town activities became things that I looked forward to in the summer, once all the snow and ice from winter had melted.

Being a small town, people knew each other, and everyone there had a sense of community and responsibility to each other. They are all very warm, welcoming and interdependent, I miss it. The buildings in the heart of Brockport are all so full of history, all of which were built in the early 1900’s or earlier, and on some you can even see the faint glimmerings of painted billboards from a hundred or so years ago. The history and small town charm captured my heart. My family and I had left for economical reasons, being that much of the North Eastern United States is dependant on manufacturing, the majority of which has all since been outsourced over seas. So all of us, my mother, my father, my brother and I, packed up everything we had and made the move all the way across the country to this small town in Arizona, which I now call home.

Litchfield Park reminds me of Brockport in many ways. Litchfield Park is a small and historical town, started in 1916 by Paul Litchfield. This town started when the Goodyear Tire plant bought land to grow Egyptian cotton for tire cords. Some of the land was then used for agriculture and the rest was residential. What I love best about Litchfield Park is that there is always some sort of festival, outdoor concert or community picnic to participate in where you can meet wonderful and warm people. My favorite festival is the Litchfield Park Summer Arts Festival. In the center of Old Litchfield, the roads are closed and hundreds of booths are set up for the artisans, craftspeople and musicians, the food vendors and much more. This festival in particular has allowed me to see some of the extraordinary talents that are right in my back yard, so to speak. The people that my family and I have met since we have been here have all been so kind and welcoming, which has made moving here less intimidating and more comfortable.

Litchfield Park is unique, and possesses a few things that Brockport does not. What first caught my eye when we arrived here was the breathtaking scenery: the beautiful mountains all around us, the palm trees and desert flowers, the colors in the sunset sky and so on. It is quite amazing. One major difference in particular is that business here is booming, which unfortunately is more than can be said for Brockport, since its major businesses moved their production over seas. When I was in high school, I was trying to juggle three jobs, homework and the swim team all at once, which as one might imagine, is not an easy task. I, as well as most of my friends then, was forced to work so many jobs because each place had only had a few hours a week that they could offer to me. Due to the economic situation, no work place could afford to pay a high school student more than minimum wage. Out here, on the other hand, I was able to find a job very quickly, which is a nice change of pace. My father was laid off from Kodak in 1998 after working there for eighteen years and then was only able to find short-term contracting positions until our move here in 2004. My family and I have been so blessed here, a place we can work and that reminds us in subtle ways of the place we left behind.

Litchfield Park is a beautiful place to live and work and has quickly become a place to love. After leaving Brockport, I thought I would never feel at home anywhere again. I have been very pleasantly surprised. This place has a tight knit community of hard working and compassionate people with just the right mixture of small town charm and big city economy. Overall, it has become the perfect place to live and grow, a wonderful choice of location for anyone to live.