20 Years Later! Hassayampa Inn and The Dells

Way back in the Dark Ages of 2004, a long long time ago, back when flip-phones were cool, when “social media” was a phrase no one had heard of and a “big screen TV” was smaller than 40 inches, Mark and I tied the knot.

Hurray for 20 years of wedded bliss!

FB Valentine's Day Way Back When


It was a second marriage for both of us, so we didn’t want a traditional wedding. Visiting a Justice of the Peace on Valentine’s Day was just our speed.

Well, it was just our speed until Mark read an ad in the newspaper (yes, there were newspapers back then!) for a big Valentine’s Day celebration taking place at one of the newer and swankier resorts in Phoenix.

The event, “Lover’s Lane on Main,” was happening in the Kierland Commons plaza between all the boutique shops next to the fancy new Westin Resort and Golf Course.

Complete with horse drawn carriage rides, a big band playing romantic favorites of yesteryear outside all evening, and wine tastings and chocolate sampling going on in the boutique shops, the highlight of the event was going to be three weddings.

To top it all off, the three lucky couples getting hitched would receive a one night honeymoon stay at the Westin Resort!

All you had to to do to be one of those happy couples was write a paragraph about why you wanted to be married during this unusual event. So easy!

I got my most poetic thoughts together and wrote a little Harlequin Romance description of how fun it would be to ride down the resort’s Main Street in a horse drawn carriage as a newlywed couple. Lo and behold, we won! We were the 7:30 p.m. wedding. (There was one at 7:00 and another at 8:00).

On Valentine’s Day morning, we showed up at our weekly bike club ride and invited everyone to come to Kierland Commons that evening for our wedding. At the appointed hour, the minister asked that everyone who knew us come forward from the crowd to watch our special moment.

After the magic kiss, we were whisked away in a horse drawn carriage to the Westin Hotel. What fun!

We’d barely gotten settled into our beautiful hotel room when the bellhop knocked on our door and brought in a cart loaded with all kinds of colorful boxes and packages wrapped with bows. It turned out the various boutique shops were sending gifts up to our room!

“This is just like a real wedding!” Mark said, laughing.

At 10:00 pm that night, we flipped on the TV and watched ourselves getting married on Fox10 News! They’d covered the event, filmed our “I do” moment, and interviewed some of our friends. I called the station for a copy of that brief clip, and that became our wedding video!

The next day, when Mark returned his tuxedo, the owner of the tux rental shop asked him, “Do I know you? Are you someone famous? I saw you on TV last night!”

What a total hoot.

Wedding pic 4

A night to remember!

One of the funniest moments happened after our carriage delivered us to the Westin Hotel. The enormous hotel lobby was chock full of people, and as I looked around, I realized I was one of five brides in fancy white wedding dresses in the crowd!

Three of us were slightly older brides (all second marriages) who’d just gotten married outdoors under the little arbor at Lover’s Lane on Main. The two others were younger brides wearing big fluffy dresses with elegant veils and holding bouquets of flowers. They’d just arrived by limo from more traditional ceremonies to host their receptions in the grand ballrooms.

Of course, stars were in our eyes as we gazed at each other and drifted through this incredible evening, and we had no idea what lay in store for us in the coming years.

Arizona Delorme Atlas

If someone had said, “You’re going to run off in an RV and have a ball traveling full-time for 13 years and sharing your pics and stories!” we would have laughed and shaken our heads, “No way!”

If they’d added, “You’re going to sail the whole Pacific coast of Mexico and fall in love with Mexican culture,” we would have thought they were crazy.

Looking back at that fabulous kickoff to our married life, we decided this year that we wanted to celebrate our 20th anniversary in a special way.

After tossing around a few ideas, we settled on going to the Hassayampa Inn in Prescott, Arizona, a historic inn in a historic cowboy town that caters to couples in love with Romantic Getaway offerings.

More important, the Hassayampa Inn caters to four legged guests too. That cinched the deal for us!

Happy 20th Anniversary at Hassayampa Inn Prescott Arizona

Happy 20 at the Hassayampa.

The Hassayampa Inn was built in 1927, and the owners have kept it as original as possible. The lobby is a big open space with comfy chairs in the middle, arches along each wall, southwestern tile accents and a beautifully decorated ceiling.

Hassayampa Inn lobby in Prescott Arizona

The Hassayampa Inn has a big and inviting common room on the main floor.
A cozy fire was burning in the fireplace throughout our stay.

Ceiling of the Hassayampa Inn Lobby Prescott Arizona

The ceiling is very cool.

A man was playing piano at one end of the room. As soon as we’d taken our bags to our room, we came back downstairs to relax in the cushy chairs, listen to the music and savor a peaceful moment.

Music in the Hassayama Inn lobby in Prescott Arizona

Piano music set the mood just right.

Right opposite us we noticed there was a little window with various coffee offerings. Perfect! We promptly indulged, Buddy most of all.

Territorial Cafe at Hassayampa Inn lobby in Prescott Arizona

The Territorial Cafe was serving fancy coffees.

Puppaccino at Hassayampa Inn

Buddy dove into his puppaccino

Guests with dogs can order food from the dining room to be brought up into the lobby common room where there are two dining tables ready to go. They were still serving breakfast at nearly 2:00 in the afternoon, so we made ourselves at home and ordered eggs Benedict and blueberry pancakes.

This was living!

Pancakes at Hassayampa Inn

The blueberry pancakes were out of this world!

Buddy promptly stretched out in the sun while we enjoyed our late breakfast at the table. He looked over at one point and said he really liked this 20th anniversary thing!

Happy dog at Hassayampa Inn lobby in Prescott Arizona

“Can we have another 20th anniversary next week?!”

We mentioned in passing to our server that this was our 20th anniversary, and she brought us a fabulous complimentary fruit tart with ice cream. How cool is that?!

When we checked in, I was given a lovely single long stem rose. Up in our room a bottle of sparkling cider was chilling on ice along with two champagne glasses and a platter of the most delicious homemade chocolate covered fresh strawberries. (Champagne had been an option but we love sparkling cider!)

It was so much fun to be pampered.

If your Arizona travels coincide with an important occasion in your life, consider splurging for dinner or for a night or two at the Hassayampa Inn. When we were traveling full-time by RV and sailboat, the times that we stepped out of our those lives to do something different for a night or two all stand out as being among our best memories (here, here and here).

Rose and shadow

Me and my shadow.

RV patio mat 9x18

The town of Prescott is a fun blend of old shoot ‘em up cowboy history and modern artsy flair. Doc Holliday and Wyatt and Virgil Earp all hit Prescott’s bars on Whiskey Row and there’s a fantastic modern performing arts theater on the Yavapai College campus.

We roamed the main Courthouse Square at dawn and at dusk and loved seeing the area lit up in shades of pink and orange.

Yavapai County Courthouse and band stand in Prescott Arizona

The band stand and Yavapai County Courthouse at dawn.

Downtown Prescott Arizona at dawn

Looking up Gurley Street at sunrise. The Hassayampa Inn is the further building on the left

Painting of downtown Prescott AZ

Here’s the above photo converted into framed a painting via Photoshop!

Mark even snuck out an hour after sunset to get a fabulous photo of the Hassayampa Inn all lit up in its evening finest.

Hassayampa Inn in Prescott Arizona at night

Hassayampa Inn at night

Prescott sits at a much higher elevation than the Sonoran Desert areas of Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma, so they have four distinct seasons. The heavens had just dumped two feet of snow on the town in the weeks before we arrived, first one foot of snow and then a second foot of snow a few days later.

Dog and snowman in Prescott Arizona Courthouse Square Arizona

We’d arrived in Prescott right after back-to-back snow storms!

Although it was cold outside, the bars on Whiskey Row were filled with laughter and warmth.

We stopped at Matt’s Saloon, but Buddy is still underage, so we could only look in through the door.

Matt's Saloon on Whiskey Row Prescott AZ

Buddy’s too young for a brewski…

I just had to check out the swinging saloon doors, though. They’re right out of an old Western. What fun!

Swinging doors at Matt's Saloon on Whiskey Row in Prescott Arizona

I’ve always loved swinging saloon doors!

Just beyond the north edge of town, there is an incredible outcropping of fantastic rounded granite boulders next to Watson Lake known as The Dells. We had explored this area a little bit last spring when we took our trailer to Lynx Lake, and we were excited to explore a little more once again.

The Dells in Prescott Arizona

The Dells in Prescott

Ryobi drill set

The easiest place to get into the heart of The Dells is at the main boat ramp in Watson Lake Park, so we made a bee-line there.

Buddy recognized the parking area before we were parked, and he started scrambling to get out of the car before the door was open!

This has to be one of his all-time favorite places.

Puppy in the Granite Dells Prescott Arizona

Dog heaven

The Dells at Watson Lake in Prescott Arizona

The Dells is a wonderland of boulders and water.

Granite Dells Prescott Arizona


We had hoped to catch The Dells with some snow on them. Most of the rocks were bare, but we did find a few spots with snow.

Granite Dells in Winter Prescott Arizona

Curvy snow.

On another day we hiked the Peevine Trail. This is a rails-to-trails path that goes along the eastern side of the lake.

Peevine Trail Prescott Arizona in The Dells

Peevine Trail is a wonderful rails-to-trails path

The first 1/2 mile has no views, but then all of a sudden you find yourself walking between fabulous rock formations and cliffs. You can just imagine a train making its way between the cliffs that were carved away just so it could pass. What a score it would have been for an engineer or conductor to be assigned that route!

Granite Dells in Prescott Arizona

Views everywhere.

A little further on we caught a glimpse of a small cove that is just exquisite.

Peevine Trail View in the Dells in Prescott AZ

View from the Peevine Trail.

View from the Peevine Trail in Prescott AZ


On our way back Buddy plopped down in a shaded snow patch to cool off. He was one happy dog!

Dog resting in the snow on the Peevine Trail in Prescott Arizona Dells

Buddy cools his jets in the snow.

And so were we. Our little excursion to Prescott was the perfect getaway to commemorate our beginnings and to give us inspiration for our RV travels a few months from now.

Granite Dells in Prescott Arizona


RV hose Water Bandit

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22 thoughts on “20 Years Later! Hassayampa Inn and The Dells

  1. Happy 20th Anniversary to you and Mark, Emily! What a delightful story – and what extraordinary wedding memories the two of you will forever hold in your hearts! That very first adventure obviously set the stage for the many other amazing escapades that would follow. Good for you guys. Warm and best wishes for the years ahead – may the extraordinary adventures continue!

    • Thank you, Mary! We had such fun with our unusual wedding. What great fortune that the woman who was heading up public relations for the resort at that time had previously been a professional wedding planner! She knew how to put together a memorable and romantic event for a huge crowd with all kinds of special touches. Thank you for the good wishes for our future and for being a part of our adventures all these years!

  2. What a great story!! Happy Anniversary. I probably saw you on Fox10 in 2004! What a wonderful fun packed life you’ve had. May you have 100 more.

  3. CONGRATS! Great Photos as always.. That piano player scene had a funny ending on Orlando ,Fla news as tee shirt & short Dad was walking thru lobby & young daughter said Sing Me A Song..,Guests egged Dad on. Well mainTenor singer Dad from NYC Opera company made the Windows vibrate,!!!

    • Holy smokes! What a great tale, Larry!! Wouldn’t that have been a thrill to hear. Apparently, on Whiskey Row in Prescott a few years back, Bruce Springsteen rolled up on his motorcycle with some friends and went into one of the famous bars and got talking with the band that was performing. The band leader quickly announced to the small group in the bar that Bruce Springsteen was in the house and turned the stage over to him. The whole place was instantly rocking to an impromptu live Springsteen performance after that, and the crowd spilled out across Courthouse Square!!!

  4. Sending hugs & love for your 20th wedding anniversary❗️Rich & I remember your special wedding evening well just can’t believe that it has been 20 yrs ago❗️Cheers to you both for many more years of fun filled adventures together 🥂❤️🥂

    • Thank you so much, Mary, and thank you to Rich for standing up during our wedding too. We’ll never forget the huge grin on his face as he signed his name as a witness. Is it possible it was 20 years ago? It feels like just the blink of an eye!! All our love to you both for your great friendship through the years.

    • Thank you, Steve!! It has been a beautiful whirlwind, that’s for sure. We’re headed out now to photograph a rodeo roping event in town — another adventure for sure. And who knows what else this great day will bring!

  5. Happy Anniversary! What a wonderful story. We are getting ready to head south for our annual 2 month stay, giving north Idaho a chance to dry out.

  6. What a joy to re-live your unique wedding !!! A forecast of your “Roads Less Traveled” adventures…Love, Mom

  7. I may not often comment, but I love following your blog. In 1986, we had just moved to the valley, and our friends drove us up the 89 “hill” 2 weeks later. We came into Prescott and Whiskey row from the south. As we hit Courthouse Square, I was enthralled and immediately said, “forget the city, one day I’m going to live up here!” It only took 27 years to do it, but we did move to the area in 2016 and lived just east of SR89. We also traveled in our MH for a few years, then settled for 6 months in a sticks and and bricks and 6 months in our MH parked on a friend’s land down the hill from Prescott in Wilhoit. In our opinion, there’s no place like Prescott in all of AZ, and we love it, even if it does occasionally snow here.
    We’ve also been to many of the places you write about (including a winter stint at Roosevelt) and you are spot on in all your descriptions. There is no place like our adopted state. We love reliving our travels through your and Buddy’s eyes! BTW, you’re right, Roosevelt Lake Windy Hill campground rocks in the winter, even if it is dry camping and a little windy next to the water. The ever-changing views are spectacular, and just one of the many “open secrets” that AZ hides.
    Travel safe!

    • Thank you so much for commenting, Betty, and also for your wonderful praise for our blog! It is readers like you that make us eager to get out and take photos and tell our stories online. Prescott is a real treasure in our beautiful state, and you are fortunate to have settled there, even if it took 27 years, some full-timing in a MH and parking on a friend’s land down the hill for a while to get there! The scenery, the history, the town square, the proximity to the unique lakes and hiking trails and the evolving artsy vibe are all very special. Arizona is unique too, and the variety of scenery and ecosystems around the state are astonishing. I’m so happy you had a chance to stay at Roosevelt Lake during your RVing years. It is one of those unsung gems that are scattered across AZ. Mark has been reading old issues of Arizona Highways, and he keeps telling me about these incredible places neither of us has ever heard of. Hopefully we’ll get to a few and share our stories about them. Happy Spring and enjoy your new hometown!!

  8. Enjoyed this posting very much. Prescott is my favorite little city in Arizona. We first visited in 1960 when my dad asked what I wanted to do for my birthday. I said “Go to that ghost town Jerome”. We did Jerome, then drove over the hill and into Prescott. Dinner at the Hassayampa. It was a nice introduction to Arizona.

    Also enjoyed your wedding story! Congratulations on your anniversary. I think it was about that time that we met you on the ride to Gila Bend.
    Beautiful photography as usual. Thanks for sharing your adventures.

    • What a great story about your introduction to Prescott…and Jerome! You were a very grown up little girl to ask to go to a cool ghost town for your birthday and be treated to dinner at the Hassayampa. The whole Verde Valley must have been very different in 1960. How fortunate you were to see it then and to live in Arizona at that time as well.

      That Gila Bend ride was spectacular. We enjoyed it so much! I was in heaven as we rode from the Vulture Mine to Gila Bend. It was such pretty scenery and it was so remote. Did you stay at the Pay Less Hotel in Gila Bend? We decided to spend the extra $5 and stay a the “upscale” at the Space Age hotel, LOL. Such a funky little town! I’m so glad we met back then — thanks for the memories!


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