Presentation of the destination
Although it might easily be confused with its more famous cousin on the coast of Florida, Miami, Arizona has plenty of charms of its own. Once a thriving copper mining town, the town now has a population of just under 2,000, and is beginning to recover from the post mining slump. Surrounded by forests and mountains and full of atmospheric old buildings, the ghosts of hard-drinking saloon-frequenting miners are never far away here. Miami enjoys a Mediterranean climate of warm summers and mild winters. Locals speak English and the currency is the American dollar. It is situated in the Mountain Time Zone (UTC -7).
Points of interests / things to see
Situated just outside Miami, the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation was established in 1872 as protected land for the Chiricahua Apache tribe. The provision of reservations was a huge change for the Apachean people, who had once lived freely as nomads wandering the beautiful landscapes of Arizona. Sadly the land given to them was not suited to subsistence farming, and poverty and sickness led to the reservation becoming known as “Hell’s Forty Acres”. The reservation is still one of the poorest Native American communities in the United States, with 68% unemployment, and so supporting the communities there makes a huge difference. Visit the Apache Gold Casino if gambling is your thing, or for a more in-depth understanding of Apache culture the Carlos Apache Culture Center, which opened in 1995, offers a wealth of stunning jewellery, artworks and traditional crafts, and is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, located on US 70 at milepost 272.
Established in 1984 and housed in the grand and beautiful Old Gila County Courthouse of 1906, the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts is the place to go to ‘make art, see art, and learn about art in historic downtown Globe’. With a range of wonderful art classes starting with ‘Baby and Me’ for ages 1–4 and running up to adult classes on topics such as oil painting, stained glass and life drawing, visual artists of all ages will find something exciting on offer here. But the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts doesn't limit its activities to visual arts. It houses a music academy which offers voice and instrument tuition, a summer youth musical theatre programme, regular open mic nights, and there’s a theatre guild, a dance academy and a quilting guild also based at the centre. With plenty of shows, recitals and performances on offer, Cobre Valley Center for the Arts has established itself as the centre of Gila County’s creative life. Don't miss the Rose Mofford Room to learn more about Arizona's first female secretary of state and first female governor. Find out more at their website: http://www.cvarts.org/.
The Tonto National Forest stretches for almost 3 million acres, making it the fifth largest national forest in the country. But it’s not only size that sets Tonto apart, as the park is also stunningly beautiful, with a diverse range of landscapes ranging from the Sonoran, America's hottest desert where you’ll find the iconic saguaro cactuses of the American West and the country’s only population of jaguars, to huge forests of ponderosa pines and the colourful Mogollon Rim escarpment that runs across the state of Arizona. A variety of passes are available for a range of purposes, from simple day trip passes to watercraft permits, and can be purchased online at the United States Department of Agriculture website (http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/tonto/passes-permits). With clear lakes to swim in, wilderness areas to explore and a rich history stretching back to the establishment of the Tonto Forest Reserve in 1905 and further, there's plenty to keep you occupied in this wild and wonderful landscape.
Travel back in time and learn more about America's past with a trip to the Besh-ba-Gowah Archeological Park, a reconstructed 14th century Salado Indian ruin and museum. The 700-year-old pueblo retains nearly half of its original 400 rooms, which you explore following a well-signed interpretive trail, learning about the elaborate burials, complex construction techniques and lifestyle of the people who lived here. In the museum you can view two models of the ruins, one showing the present buildings, and the other showed a reconstruction of how archaeologists believe the pueblo would have looked in 1325 A.D. Beautifully crafted items are on display, including sandals made from the leaves of the yucca plant, textiles, stone tools and turquoise jewellery. You can also visit the on-site bookstore and gift shop, visit the small cinema to watch a video about ancient cultures of the area, or take a walk around the ruins into the foothills of the Pinal Mountains to imagine what life must have been like for the ancient peoples who lived here.
Run by a passionate team of volunteers that make up the Historical Society of Gila, this museum has been put together from scratch, and still accepts donations from local people. The society was founded in 1955, with the goal of collecting items relating to the interesting and varied history of Gila County, and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Since 1972 the society has housed its collection in the former Globe-Miami Mine Rescue Station, adding a new wing in 1999 to accommodate the ever-increasing collection. The museum offers a fascinating insight into the many peoples that have passed through Gila County, from hopeful early pioneers setting out into the mysterious West, to local native American tribes and their intricate and beautiful crafts, to the miners whose underground efforts contributed to the booming copper industry surrounding Globe and Miami. You can also buy prints and view a huge collection of genealogical histories, books and photographs. Many of the society members have written books about various aspects of local history, some of which are available to buy at the on-site shop. Visit the website at http://www.gilahistorical.com/for more information.
Lowell Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical observatories in the United States, dating back to 1894, and TIME magazine have honoured it as one of the world's 100 most important places. Located in Flagstaff, a beautiful three-hour drive north from Miami, the observatory offers guided daytime tours and the opportunity to gaze into the depths of the night sky through the range of telescopes housed there. Visit the website for more information: http://www.lowell.edu/.
No trip to Arizona would be complete without visiting the world's most breathtaking ravine, the mighty Grand Canyon. Its 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and offers a stunning visual display of nearly 2 billion years of Earth's history. Whether you opt for a helicopter tour over the canyon or a rafting expedition through it, you're guaranteed to be left speechless by this stunning natural multi-coloured hues of the rock. More information is available on the government website: http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm
Artsy, vibrant, youthful and buzzing to the beat of its Latino population, Phoenix, capital of Arizona sits at the heart of the incredible Sonoran Desert. It easily the most populous city in the American Southwest, and offers a fantastic array of cultural and entertainment possibilities. Roastingly hot thanks to its desert setting, Phoenix also offers glimpses of true American beauty, including its legendary golden sunsets and down-home attitude to business and pleasure.
Head down State Route 89A to experience a series of breathtaking hairpin turns as you enter Oak Creek Canyon, located on the Mogollon Rim between Flagstaff and Sedona. Quieter and smaller than its brash cousin the Grand Canyon, Oak Creek nonetheless boasts stunning sandstone formations, and offers plenty of recreational activities, from camping and picnicking to swimming and hiking. Fishermen and women will be in their seventh heaven with nearly 50 miles of fishable creek and a range of wonderful fish species to get hooked on.
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How to get there ?
While the miners might have arrived here on mules or with wagons, modern visitors to Miami can enjoy slightly more comfortable forms of transportation. It is located on two long distance roads. US Route 60 runs all the way east to Virginia and mirrors the famous Route 66, which was removed from the United States Highway System in 1985. US Route 70 runs nearly 2,500 kilometres to North Carolina, and was once known as the Broadway of America. Both of these roads offer wide open horizons, dusty road stops and echoes of the adventurous spirit that has typified ‘going west’ since the first pioneers set out from the East Coast. Miami is also served by the Arizona Eastern Railway, which runs to Clifton, Arizona, and historically transported commodities such as copper products as well as agricultural goods. For those who wish to fly in, Sky Harbour International Airport in nearby Phoenix is your best bet. It's Arizona's largest and busiest airport, and around 90 minutes away by car on Route 60.
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