Standing on the corner: La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona

Published in Budget Living magazine in 2006. For more on topics like this, see my book, American Apartheid: The Native American Struggle...

The line from the Eagles’ song, “Standing on the corner…” ran through my mind as I pulled up to La Posada Hotel, a rambling adobe complex in Winslow, Arizona.  I parked among a flock of Harleys and headed for reception. 

            Crossing the threshold, I entered a time warp. Now a national historic landmark, La Posada has a gracious art- and antiques-filled lobby. Broad steps ascending to a ballroom are suggestive of the days when Mary Pickford and John Barrymore vacationed here. 

            La Posada was designed in 1929 as a historical fantasy — a grand Spanish hacienda turned upscale hotel, according to owner Allan Affelt. Its blend of splendid theatricality and country-home comfort still attracts celebrities (recent sightings include Harrison Ford and Lauren Hutton), along with the rest of us, to its 30-some guest rooms. Request a room overlooking the charming Mediterranean-style courtyard garden, with its splashing fountain, shown below.

            After check-in, I made a beeline for the hotel’s casual but classy Turquoise Room, a destination for serious foodies, shown here. There I found the Harleys’ owners — sedate-looking members of a Canadian motorcycle club — tucking into chef John Sharpe’s Southwestern-accented fare. Eat as many meals here as you can; every dish is an imaginative presentation of luxury ingredients from the region, including Navajo Churro lamb and elk, or farther afield, such as Black Angus beef or Alaskan snow crab. Order a gourmet box lunch to take along as you explore Winslow’s environs.

            “There are no sunsets more beautiful than those in the Little Painted Desert, just outside town,” says Affelt. He also recommends Clear Creek Canyon for swimming and boating; Jack’s Canyon, an internationally renowned climbing spot; and the Anasazi petroglyphs at Rock Art Ranch. The Grand Canyon is a three-hour drive away.

Text and photos c. Stephanie Woodard.

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