Thursday, October 6, 2011

Has anyone heard of Winslow, Arizona?

When we spoke to the Ranger at the Petrified Forest National Park, he kindly gave us all sorts of tips to see the best spots in the Park, and then as a footnote suggested we stop in Winslow for dinner at La Posada, the best restaurant in Arizona.

That registered immediately with Marc, and we made a mental note. We did not make it to Winslow for dinner, but we did put it on our agenda for lunch the next day. Not knowing how large Winslow was we looked the address up on the internet and I was quite impressed with the website but we still didn't know exactly what to expect.

Ends up, La Posada (which is a hotel) is on historic Route 66. It was in it's day an amazing hotel built for the rich and famous traveling Route 66 from Chicago to LA. Around 1957 Interstate 40 was completed and all of the hotels and businesses on Route 66 died a quick death. La Posada had the same fate.

What I forgot to mention is what makes the original hotel especially amazing. It was designed by Mary Colter. I had never heard of her, but we were about to see several of her masterpieces in the days following our visit to Winslow and the La Posada Hotel.

Here is a blurb about her I found online:
Mary Colter trained at the California School of Design and was hired by the Fred Harvey Company in 1910, moving from interior designer to architect. Working with Native American art forms and artifacts, she helped redesign them into objects and architecture for Harvey’s commercial endeavors. One of the few women architects of her time, she completed twenty-one projects including a series of landmark hotels and commercial lodges throughout the Southwest.

And this from the La Posada website:
La Posada’s story weaves together two extraordinary visions. It begins with Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter and Fred Harvey, who hired Colter to design the hotel. It embodied her vision, from its architecture down to its finely crafted details. But La Posada closed in 1957; for the next 40 years, its future remained tenuous. Enter Allan Affeldt and his wife Tina Mion. Affeldt heard about the hotel and purchased it in 1997 after much negotiation, bringing with him a strong vision and commitment for returning La Posada to Colter’s original concept. Restoration started immediately and continues today, thanks to Affeldt’s efforts and the support of local preservationists, hotel guests, and a talented team of artisans and craftsmen.

This hotel/restaurant/trading post is hard to describe. We didn't see the original hotel, but the recreation is absolutely beautiful in every detail. Mary Colter is an absolute genius!

We had an amazing lunch at the hotel dining room, followed by a fab dessert. We thought seriously about spending the night, but of course they were all booked for the next week. Both the room rates and the restaurant pricing was unbelievably reasonable, so next time you are travelling on route 66, try La Posada!

And when you are in the Grand Canyon, you will see more of her work and if you are anything like me, it will bring you to tears. Really, that amazing in every way. Like a building that is a a perfect piece of art. More on this later.


  1. Well I'm standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona
    And such a fine sight to see
    It's a girl (guy) my Lord in a flatbed Ford
    Slowing down to take a look at me

    Take it easy, take it easy don't let the sound of your own wheels
    Make you crazy.

    The Eagles