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Thanksgiving in Historic Prescott

Celebrate Thanksgiving in Prescott — Arizona’s first capital — where you’ll ride a heritage train, learn about local culture and enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at historic Hassayampa Inn.
Rating (5)
Program No. 6371RJ
5 days
Starts at

Thanksgiving in Historic Prescott

Celebrate Thanksgiving in Prescott — Arizona’s first capital — where you’ll ride a heritage train, learn about local culture and enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at historic Hassayampa Inn.
5 days
Starts at
Program No. 6371 RJ
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At a Glance

Celebrate Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season in historic and beautiful Prescott, Arizona’s first territorial capital. Get to know historic Prescott with visits to Courthouse Square and Whiskey Row. Hear Western ballads and tales of local pioneers, and sit down to a traditional Thanksgiving Feast at the historic Hassayampa Inn. Visit Montezuma Castle National Monument, a 600 year old Sinagua cliff dwelling. Enjoy a train journey through the wild and beautiful Verde River Canyon as you wind along stunning red rock cliffs and scan for bald eagles.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn about Arizona territorial history with a noted Prescott historian, and explore the Sharlot Hall Museum with an expert.
  • Visit Montezuma Castle National Monument, a 600-year-old Sinagua cliff dwelling.
  • Ride the scenic Verde Canyon Railway beneath red rock cliffs and along the wild and scenic Verde River, keeping an eye out for herons and bald eagles.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Prescott, Arizona (Images of America Series)
by Wildfang, Frederic B.
In 1864, the beautiful park-like basin under Thumb Butte was surveyed, and the town that is now Prescott was laid out along Granite Creek where gold had been panned. Twice designated the capital of the newly established Territory of Arizona, Prescott suffered a devastating fire in July 1900 that destroyed the downtown district, but the blaze afforded the town s resilient citizens the opportunity to rebuild in more durable brick and stone. Since then, the mining and ranching opportunities, the cowboy-and-Indian lore, the commercial ventures, the salubrious climate, and the picturesque landscape have characterized Prescott as one of the most desirable and livable communities in the country. The city s dedication to preserving its unique heritage has resulted in more than 600 buildings being placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the 1864 Governor s Mansion has been beautifully preserved as part of the Sharlot Hall Museum, which opened in 1927. 128pp.
Roadside Geology of Arizona
by Chronic, Halka
The 18th printing of this book in the Roadside Geology Series offers a mini-course in geology, focusing on what can be seen from Arizona highways. Although written especially for those with little or no geologic training, there's plenty here for the professional geologist as well--a great introduction to Arizona and its past. Geologic terms are defined where first used and again in the glossary. Inside the front cover is a legend to geological symbols and abbreviations commonly used by geologists. 321pp
Arizona: A Cavalcade of History
by Trimble, Marshall
During America's first 100 years as a nation, pioneers moved ever-westward to new frontiers. When it became too crowded or the soil was mined out, they moved on to virgin land. Those days are gone forever. We have to learn to live with the problems we create. The knowledge gained from studying the mistakes of the past can help provide a better future. Will Rogers said it best: "The Indians never got lost because they were always looking back to see where they'd been." 368pp
Naturalist's Guide to Canyon Country
by Williams, David B. & Gloria Brown
Comprehensive and beautifully illustrated trailside reference to plants, animals, and geology of an area that includes nine national parks and monuments. 192 pp.
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5 days
4 nights
11 meals
4 B 3 L 4 D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Prescott, AZ
Hassayampa Inn

Afternoon: Check-in: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. Program Registration: Anytime between 4:30 – 5:15 p.m., come over to the Road Scholar desk, located in the hotel meeting room, to register with the program staff and pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag, the up-to-date schedule, other important information we will review during Orientation, and to confirm the time and place of the session. If you arrive late, please pick up your packet at the front desk. Orientation: We will gather in our private meeting room at 5:30 p.m. where the Group leader will greet you with a warm welcoming and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may be changed due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding

Dinner: Dinner at the Hassayampa Hotel includes southwest specialties and classic American fare. There will always be vegetarian and gluten free meal selections for those people who have enrolled with those options.

Early Arizona History, Sharlot Hall Museum
Prescott, AZ
Hassayampa Inn

Activity note: Walking of less than one mile on slightly hilly city blocks. Longer walking options available around downtown area and Courthouse Square. Shuttle available for those that don't want to walk.

Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel restaurant.

Morning: When you arrive in downtown Prescott it is not hard to step back in time and imagine life in the old west. Prescott was the Arizona Territorial capital from 1864-1867. What better way to start an exciting week and to get a sense of territorial life both geographically and socially then from a true native of the area. Enjoy a morning program on life in the Arizona Territory, presented by Melissa Ruffner a famed local historian and fourth-generation Arizonan whose great-great-uncle was the first U.S. Marshal in Arizona Territory.

Lunch: Lunch at Gurley Street Grill. A favorite restaurant of locals and visitors alike.

Afternoon: Afternoon field trip to Sharlot Hall Museum (two blocks walk - shuttle available) with guided tour of the museum grounds. As you prepare for your outing, remember that Arizona did not enter the union until 1912 as the 48th state! The museum chronicles pioneer life in the Arizona Territory and commemorates Prescott as the site of the original Arizona Territory capital. Trained docents will interpret the rich history and significance of this era with tours of the original territorial governor's mansion (constructed of rough-hewn logs) and other historic buildings on the grounds.

Dinner: Dinner in Hassayampa Hotel.

Evening: Enjoy a lively performance with longtime local cowboy poets and musicians, Ken and Lynne Mikell. Ken and Lynne are a wealth of information on regional cowboy music and poetry. They will have you singing along to some of your favorite western and cowboy songs.

Montezuma Castle National Monument, Verde Canyon Railroad
Prescott, AZ
Hassayampa Inn

Activity note: Walking of less than one mile on flat terrain while visiting Montezuma's Castle.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the Hassayampa Hotel.

Morning: Depart for the Verde Valley to spend the morning at Montezuma Castle National Monument. Montezuma Castle is a 5-story, 20-room cliff dwelling nestled in a limestone recess high above the flood plain of Beaver Creek in the Verde Valley. It is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America, constructed 600 years ago by the Sinagua Indians. We travel to the Verde Canyon Railway depot in Clarkdale (15 miles) for lunch.

Lunch: Lunch at Vintages restaurant prior to boarding the train.

Afternoon: Ride the Verde Canyon Railroad! The Verde Canyon Railroad is often referred to as the finest train ride in Arizona and acclaimed as Arizona’s longest-running nature show. The remote wilderness of the Verde Canyon is renowned for its towering red rock pinnacles and clean, green waters. The train rolls past Indian ruins, through a 680-foot man-made tunnel, over old-fashioned trestles and under clear azure skies. This picturesque setting is further enhanced by the variety of indigenous flora and fauna and the many migrating waterfowl. Over thirty bald and golden eagles winter in this riparian respite each year. The 40 mile train trip travels at a leisurely pace and is within site of the Verde River. Passengers enjoy this four-hour scenic train ride in first-class style aboard renovated passenger coaches and open-air viewing cars pulled by vintage locomotives.

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant following the train trip.

Evening: Late arrival back at your hotel in Prescott.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Prescott, AZ
Hassayampa Inn

Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel restaurant.

Morning: Enjoy an interesting and stimulating morning presentation. Topics may include: the Life of the Arizona Mountain Man, Artifacts of the Ancient People, The Reality and Myth of the Wild West and Hollywood Movie Industry, or Holidays in the High Country to name a few.

Lunch: Light lunch (must save room for dinner) at the Hassayampa Hotel.

Afternoon: Enjoy a presentation by your coordinator after lunch then a few hours to relax or take a brisk walk in Prescott or around Courthouse Square in anticipation of the evening's festivities. In late afternoon enjoy a social hour in the historic ballroom. A cash bar with beer, wine and soft drinks will be set up prior to your Thanksgiving feast.

Dinner: Thanksgiving Dinner (served late in the afternoon) with Turkey and all the trimmings graciously hosted by your coordinator and the staff of the Hassayampa Hotel. Save room for dessert!

Evening: Following dinner, enjoy socializing and join your coordinator for a program wrap up and final farewells.

Program Concludes

Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel restaurant. Program ends following breakfast. Safe travels!

Morning: Wrap up and goodbyes, program ends after breakfast with hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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