Travel Tips & Adventures

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Travel to Payson AZ

Until we spent part of a day in Payson after visiting Tonto Natural Bridge (see previous blog  two weeks ago), we had just been through Payson on our way to other places.  It is the junction for Arizona State Routes 87 and 160, and about equidistant between Flagstaff and Phoenix, so it was just a place to fuel our car and keep going.  We’re glad we stopped by this time, though!

With a population (at last count) of over 13,000, they are a giant metropolis in comparison to Strawberry and Pine, the neighbor burgs we visited the same day.  There is more of everything, but the scenic backdrop of the mountains gives everything the “aah” factor.  You can relax in Payson.  It’s that kind of place.

There is shopping along the main street, including the Swiss Village shops which a resident we met at the Natural Bridge told us not to miss. We missed it, because we weren’t there for shopping. We just wanted to see what it was like for someone visiting and looking for scenery.

Things to do – besides shopping

Green Valley Park is a central recreational place where we saw people fishing, picnicking and just relaxing.

Fishermen do their thing at the scenic Green Valley Park

Green Valley Park - another view

Nearby, we saw a statue honoring firemen in front of the Rim Country Museum, which also had a reproduction of the Zane Grey Cabin (the Western writer who had lived in Rim Country).

With heavily treed areas in Rim Country, firemen are honored with this statue, acknowledging their part in keeping the citizens safe.

We drove around some more and located three golf courses, the location for their annual rodeo days, and the Mazatzal Casino and Hotel.   The casino, run by the Tonto Apache Indian Community, was a typical Arizona casino with all of the gaming action most people look for – slots, bingo, etc.  The hotel seemed well-kept and attractive, but we didn’t get to see a room.

Mazatzal Casino and Hotel - with another large wing not pictured

Dinner at Macky’s

When we finished driving around, we figured we were due for either an early dinner or a very late lunch. We headed to Macky’s , which had gotten good reviews online.  Although it was only around 4 PM, the staff treated us with great attention, like they always have people showing up at unusual hours.  The menu was voluminous, with everything from burgers to full dinners.  Mostly everything was in the $7.95 to $12.95 range.  I opted for a burger, but I didn’t make it easy for my very friendly waitress. (Sorry, I forgot her name!)  There were so many burgers with very exciting combinations, but what I wanted wasn’t any of those.  So, she gave me my guacamole on my bacon cheeseburger and we were both happy.  And unlike some restaurants, where they act like they’re being put out and doing you a favor, they were very nice about it.  My husband had the Philly cheesesteak and pronounced it “good.”

Macky's Grill

Did I mention that they are a Western-themed restaurant?  They have western music playing, interesting carvings on each booth, and even have the theme in the restrooms.  (No, I did not take a photo in the restroom!)

Carving on the booths is unique

We finished our meal with their “Southwest Cheesecake,” which had a combination of cheesecake in fried tortillas with ice cream, strawberries, and enormous clouds of whipped cream.  The cheesecake, nestled inside of the tortillas was warm and rich, was definitely enough for two.  It was unique and worth having. We were polite about sharing, but we ate every drop!

Southwest Cheesecake - sooo good!

Macky’s also has an outdoor patio and obviously likes to make guests feel welcomed.  We did!

So, we ended our visit to Payson with full bellies and glad we’d stopped.  As a place to vacation, it is really a quiet haven with outdoor activities as the central focus.

Find out more  at – there are inns, small hotels, RV parks and other places to stay in if  you plan a visit.

Next up … We visit Scottsdale, AZ

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