CAVE CREEK, AZ (ARIZONA HIGHWAYS TV) - The town’s motto may be Where the Wild West Lives, but Cave Creek has a charm that captures and combines the cowboy ways with eclectic art, important archaeological sites, unique restaurants and shops – all surrounded by the beautiful Sonoran Desert.
It’s the perfect place to go day-tripping, especially by motorcycle. During certain events or festivals, you may see more bikes, or even horses on the roads, than you do cars.
It's got a reputation for all things touristy and kitchy. It's rarely described as epic. That is until you step foot into the Rare Earth Gallery.
Rare Earth Gallery
"Basically, I'm a purveyor of art of the earth and that's what the gallery consists of. Beautiful things from the earth," said Wayne Helfand, owner of Rare Earth Gallery.
Helfand travels the world and handpicks every piece of art that is in the gallery. "It's a full-time job trying to find these eclectic items that will wow people."
There is even a 5-ton quartz crystal for sale in the gallery. It's one of the largest in the world according to Helfand.
Some of the pieces have actually been made into functional tables.
Watson's Hat Shop
Eric Watson of Cave Creek custom makes hats out of his shop in Cave Creek. He fell in love with hats when he first saw Indiana Jones on the big screen. When he couldn't find a hat like his hero, an old hatter taught him how to make his own hats as well as the tricks of the trade.
In 2012, Watson opened his hat shop.
"The way I dress people say you must be an old soul," Watson said. "Even at a young age, I would dress nice."
Heritage Hats is another shop where you can get your very own custom cowboy hat. Hat maker Rich Glissen not only owns the largest hat shop in the United States, he even uses vintage equipment from the first hat shop to open up in Phoenix in 1918.
Glissen says hat making is a dying art, but it still has its niche and a loyal following. After having the Secret Service check out his shop, Nancy Reagan asked him to make a hat for President Ronald Reagan!
Glissen actually made him several custom hats over the years, with Reagan even sending in his own designs. That’s a pretty impressive seal of approval.