Ya’ll know I love Pine-Strawberry and I have six new things for you to put on your bucket list next time you visit. In case you missed my first post, here are the first six recommendations I gave you from a previous trip!
Now, this was the first road trip I’ve taken with my baby boy Teddy. Yes, we hit the road with a four-week-old baby and it wasn’t as chaotic as you would think. You guys know me more for strenuous activities on my trips, but this is a very chill itinerary. It had to be considering I had a newborn in tow. For more on hiking in the area head back to that blog post linked above.
#1 Stay in a Tiny Cottage
My friends at The Strawberry Inn now have tiny cottages! These are fantastic for anyone who wants a little extra space on their trip. We stayed in gorgeous cottage # 1 and it was perfect for our little family. The cottage has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen/living area (that includes a full-sized fridge, cooktop, big sink, microwave and dining table!), streaming TV, wifi, a Keurig coffee maker and a couch. My favorite part of the cottage was all of the patio area. The whole point of our trip was to escape the Phoenix heat and enjoy the outdoors so we loved the extra outdoor space as there is a front patio and basically a giant backyard. The backyard area has grass and a picnic table. It was perfect for having a glass of wine and enjoying the cool temps. I do want to mention for my dog people that the cottage is dog-friendly and The Strawberry Inn always has many options for traveling with your pet.
For a full tour of the tiny cottage, head to my Instagram page and click on the Strawberry highlight.
You can book a tiny cottage or any other accommodations from The Strawberry Inn here.
#2 Check out Windmill Coffee
One of my favorite parts about going out of town is trying new coffee spots so I was thrilled to learn that The Strawberry Inn took the adorable Windmill out front of their main hotel and turned it into a coffee shop! My go-to drink is a vanilla latte with oat milk and Daniel at Windmill absolutely nailed it. This yummy coffee was the perfect way to start our day in Strawberry.
#3 Grab an empanada at Pie Bar
There’s another new spot in town and it’s perfect for a grabbing a quick bite to eat. Pie bar offers empanadas, mini pies and yummy salads. Oh and they sell booze 🙂
The menu changes daily but take a look at the September menu for an idea of what you can expect.
I had the Scorpion Whisperer salad and an apple empanada (along with a little cabernet sauvignon). The salad was fresh and the perfect midday delight before stuffing my face with pizza later… which leads us to number four.
#4 Eat at Old County Inn
If you’ve never been to Old County Inn, it’s worth a trip to Pine alone. This restaurant has been featured in national publications for its deliciousness and once you try the food, you’ll understand why.
I’m normally a pepperoni pizza kinda gal (boring eater alert!) but Old County Inn has the most wonderful combinations on their woodfired pizza menu. My personal favorite is the spinach, artichoke, chicken pizza. There is a balsamic glaze on top that makes this pizza to die for. You absolutely have to try it.
I also got the Green Chili Beer Cheese with breadsticks that were absolutely divine and the Arizona Greens salad.
If you’re a cocktail drinker, you’ll love OCI’s craft cocktails. A mountain town isn’t probably where you would expect to find a killer margarita, but trust me, OCI has one heck of a marg! I look forward to getting one every trip!
#6 Watch the Wildlife
If you love animals but don’t want to put in a whole lot of efforting into spotting wildlife, well this is the place for you. Elk and deer are everywhere! Around dawn and dusk you can spot furry friends all over the place (watch out while driving!). Remember that huge yard I mentioned at our cottage? Well we were enjoying a glass of wine in the evening when we spotted two huge elk and a baby. The next morning I spotted a deer through the window while I was in the kitchen.
#5 Try an off-roading trail
I have been dying to do some more exploring of the Pine-Strawberry area via off-roading trails but with a newborn on board that wasn’t going to happen. We did get a little dirt on the tires on some regular dirt roads, but once things got rocky, we had to bail. Because this area offers so much for off-roaders, I did want to share more on the topic with you so I reached out to my friend Jody Isaac of Dirt Therapy to get you a trail recommendation.Kristen: Which trail would you recommend in the Pine-Strawberry area?Jody: As far as trails go around the Pine and Strawberry area you are not at a shortage of options when off-roading in that area. That being said, it is always best to travel with someone who has done a trail you wish to go on and you can map it for yourself and pass it along to others. I like to go off the beaten path and not take the most popular route and experience the true backroads of Arizona. One of my favorite off road rides we did as a group was from Rye to Pine using back forest roads to get there. I use Ride Command which is an app that tracks your ride and you can mark points of interest. We started at on Forest Road 414 just off the 87 Highway and traversed are way through the open desert. The great thing about the this ride is it began in the open desert and climbed up into forest vegetation and much cooler temperatures. We ended up in Pine for lunch at THAT Brewery and enjoyed an Elk burger. After Lunch we made are way up the mountains overlooking the city of strawberry giving us a great lookout over the valley and returned the same way we came. It was over 100 mile ride and about 11 hours on the trail.Kristen: What do you like about the scenery/trails in that area? Any particular landmarks/features that you find cool?Jody: There is nothing better than the open Sonoran desert. The cactus and rock formations are second to none. There are many small water crossings along the way to Pine which make for a nice break from the dust. The views once you get to pine and strawberry overlooking the valley are incredible and you can sit and watch a sunset with your favorite beverage. I like the slow pace of mountain towns and the farmers market type vendors on the side of the road with raw honey and fresh fruits and vegetables.Kristen: Is there anything in the region you have on your off-roading bucket list?Jody: The Cabin Loop Trail is off trail 300 so a little north east of Strawberry it is a 24 mile loop that links between the earliest fire guard cabin network in this area of the Mogollon Rim and has its roots in the beginning of the Forest Service era here. The Cabin Loop Trail links together the General Springs Cabin, Pinchot Cabin, and Buck Springs Fire Guard Station. The trails within the Cabin Loop were used and maintained by early Forest Rangers, ranchers and settlers. Livestock was driven up the Rim from the Tonto Basin and grazed during the summer up on the Rim. The Cabin Loop Trail passes through some of the most spectacular backcountry and meadows in Arizona.
Make sure you check out Jody’s videos and follow him on Instagram.
If you have any questions about planning a trip to Pine-Strawberry send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram.