Old Town Cottonwood

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Lotion

Update:  It's been a few years since our date to Cottonwood.  We'd love to go back soon and update this article.  Meanwhile, we understand that Bonne Lait has closed.  Other location and events we talk about may have changed too.  If you are thinking of going to Cottonwood, go!  It is beautiful and a fantastic date location.  Just don't count on having the same experience we did.

Founded in 1879, Cottonwood nestles along the Verde River. It was a lively town, home to shady individuals and, in the 1920s, a roaring bootlegging industry. Although the bootlegging is long past, viticulture and wine making still thrive in the region.

We planned our date for a Thursday afternoon. It took us about and hour and a half to drive to Cottonwood.  It is a pretty drive with good views of the high desert.  Wine tasting was an obvious activity on the date, but we arrived after most of the tasting rooms had closed.  Keep in mind that the tasting rooms close between 5 and 6 pm if you want to do wine tasting on your date and plan accordingly.

Main Street in Old Town in CottonwoodFortunately, Cottonwood has  other activities.  We stopped by the Farmer's Market, which runs on Thursday afternoons from 5pm-9pm.  Then we walked up and down Main Street in Old Town, which is lined with shops and restaurants.   Some of them had already closed, but we do have some recommendations for you.  Give them a try, and then look for some memorable stops on your own.

For drinks:   Try The Rendezvous. This small bar is set up a remodeled garage.   The inside is quaint and there is a good selection of local wines and beers.   The garage doors open, making for a cool blend of the indoors and outdoors.   Outside, there is seating on an artificial lawn.  Inside, sit at the bar, tables, or in the back, where there are board games and books.
Outisde The Rendevous in Old TownFor dinner:  Nics is famous. We've enjoyed top-notch steaks here!  If you are there early in the day, the Red Rooster Cafe has good soups and sandwiches.

For fun: Visit Bonne Lait for gourmet cheese tasting.  This little shop has a huge selection of exotic cheese and gourmet chocolate.  We ordered a tasting plate and sampled five cheeses.   How often do you get to try exotic blue cheese or a Utah cheese, flavored with lavender and espresso?
A sign advertising cheese tastingThe cheese display case in Bonnie Lait

For exercise:  If you follow the main street down to the visitor center, there is a trail that runs along the river, among  the cottonwoods that give the town its name.  We followed it for about a half mile.  It isn't paved, but we manged it in sandals.

For adventure:  If you plan to go in the morning, stop and visit the