Great AZ day trips: Old Town Cottonwood

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

COTTONWOOD, Ariz. -- Set in the hills of the Verde Valley, the past meets the present in Old Town Cottonwood, which is only about an hour-and-a-half drive away from the Phoenix area. City Manager Doug Bartosh proudly gave 3TV a walking tour of his town.

"It's different from Sedona in that it's not as touristy," stated Bartosh. "I think it's a diamond in the rough, and there's also great history here."

The Cottonwood Hotel has themed suites honoring past guests, including May West and John Wayne.  The Tavern Grille was once an old movie theater.  Additionally, the Wild Rose of Historic Old Town Tea House is housed in a building that used to be a jail.

Bartosh says Cottonwood was once a booming bootlegging town.  So perhaps it's no surprise there is a distillery, the Desert Diamond Distillery, where you can sample rum made in Arizona.  Also, four wine tasting rooms along Main Street are ready to pour vino from Arizona vineyards.

The Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders stocks dozens of olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  Visitors will find a wide variety of restaurants like Crema Cafe, Nic's Italian Steak, Bocce, and sidewalk seating up and down the street.

But before you grab a bite, take a hike! The Cottonwood Jail Trail is easy to spot. A wrought-iron arch at the end of Main Street serves as the starting point for the path that leads to the Verde River.

"You can come up here. You can sky dive. You can kayak on the river. You can go to great restaurants. You can taste wine. There's just so much to do up here," states Bartosh.

For shoppers, there is an eclectic collection of stores ranging in wares from antiques, to animal accessories, to apparel. Visitors can also uncover modern touches and luxury in town at the Tavern Inn.

Everything in Old Town is within walking distance. So once your park your car, there is no need to start the engine again until it's time to go home.

Anyone who heads to Old Town Cottonwood Saturday, November 8, can also enjoy the "Walkin' On Main" festival.  It runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you want to travel off the beaten path, That Brewery is about a mile away from Main Street. It's a place where the beers have distinct Arizona personalities. You can taste as many as a dozen beers on tap as you watch the beer being brewed. Views of Mingus Mountain serve as the backdrop.

Directions to That Brewery: From 89a heading into Cottonwood, turn left on 89a again (yep there's two) towards Jerome/Sedona, turn right on 6th St and then left on Cherry Street. On the right you will pass the Senior Center then Roadrunner Recycling. Turn right immediately after Roadrunner Recycling and go all the way to the back.

Directions to Old Town Cottonwood from Phoenix: Take I-17 North. - Exit at Camp Verde, Exit 287. - Head East on 260 toward Cottonwood and Jerome for 10 miles. - When 260 intersects with Main St./State Rt. 89A/Historic 89A, take a left. - When State Rt. 89A separates at the light, stay on Main St./Historic 89A to get to Old Town.