Leaning saguaro cacti and palo verde trees line the roads and cover the Sonoran desert grounds. The sun is bright, but the weather isn’t its usual hot, soul-sucking self. That means that at least I have a chance at surviving longer than usual if I get lost in the desert or stranded somewhere. I roll down the car window and listen for the natural sounds of the desert. I hear mostly the hum of insects. I take a breath in the air deeply. It’s hot and smells of dry earth. I don’t very often experience the desert even though I live in one. These aren’t exactly my stomping grounds, but on this trip to Carefree, Ariz., I’m experiencing a slice of the Arizona desert.
I had no idea what to expect from Carefree, and in all honesty, Carefree is kind of a strange place. Well, the name of this small town is Carefree, and one of its main roads is Easy Street. I supposed that gives you a clue about the pace-level here. As my mom and I arrived to the town center, we noticed the amount of people out and about on a Sunday morning. There were people that looked like they were on a leisurely hike or walking their dogs. The small streets allowed for easy pedestrian movement, and it was clear the people of Carefree took advantage of the pedestrian-friendly streets. This movement made the town even more interesting and quaint. Seeing so many people walking about inspired my me and my mom to join them and explore the town for ourselves.
My mom and I walked toward the Town Center park, and we were greeted by a giant Gila-monster-shaped slide. A slide is a slide, though, and slides are meant to be slid on. Needless to say, I did my best sliding. Upon further exploration, we found a giant sundial that points toward the North Star. I don’t exactly know what the sundial meant, but it was interesting.
In addition to the beautiful desert scenery, which included a great view of the peaceful, yet intimidating Black Mountain, Carefree offered a good variety of shops and places to eat. During our explorations, we spotted an interesting-looking restaurant. What attracted me to it was the English flag waving side by side with the American flag. It was an English-style tea house, aptly called English Rose Tea Room. We decided to go in and have a leisurely afternoon tea. The place was incredibly decorative and had shelves full of knick-knacks. The main room of the space was full of customers, some of which were sporting giant hats in royal wedding fashion. They offered a variety of hot and cold teas along with salads, quiches, scones and other finger foods. It was quaint, and the quiche was delicious. What more could I have asked for?
Carefree is less than 10 minutes away from the cute town of Cave Creek, and one might easily choose to skip Carefree and head towards Cave Creek for a getaway within Arizona, but Carefree, with its amazing scenery and interesting food offerings, deserves some love, too.