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Happy Birthday, Grand Canyon

Happy Birthday, Grand Canyon

2 min read

After 100 years, whether it’s hiking a corridor trail, taking a stroll on the rim or enjoying the landscape from an overlook, Grand Canyon continues to provide a space for all visitors to connect with the outdoors.

Next February 2019, this wonderful UNESCO World Heritage Site will mark a century of glory. For celebrating its anniversary, a series of events will be taking place over the year, including the 2019 Grand Canyon Star Party, which will run from 22 – 29 June 2019. Over the dates, the Tuscon Amateur Astronomy Association and the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix will set up a series of telescopes, teaching visitors about the planets, star clusters, distant galaxies and more.

If you are not a stargazer or you are already familiar with Grand Canyon’s red rocks maybe it’s time to re-discover the free-form building landmarks created by the architect and interior designer Mary Colter at the beginning of 1900.

We owe to this extravagant lady, a perfectionist who spent a lifetime advocating and defending her aesthetic vision in a largely male-dominated field, a series of remarkable works where tourists could easily contemplate and enjoy the best Grand Canyon’s views: Hopi House, Hermit’s Rest, Lookout Studio and Desert View Watchtower.

Inspired by the natural beauty of the Park, Colter wanted to design something that appeared native, natural and timeless. She conceived Hermit’s Rest as a sort of folly as if it had been wired together by a reclusive mountain man. The Hopi House was a market for Native American crafts, made by Hopi artisans on the site, and designed in sandstone to resemble a Hopi pueblo. For many Grand Canyon visitors, it’s their first introduction to Native American culture, and to this day, Hopi House still operates as a Native American gift shop. In particular, the Desert View Watchtower, perched on the rim of the canyon, reflects the architecture of the ancestral Puebloans in the Four Corners region. Just climb the stairs for views up and down the canyon and on a clear day, you could see well over 100 miles.

The observatory Lookout Studio was designed as a location where visitors could photograph the Grand Canyon from its precipitous edge and use the telescopes to observe the natural beauty the canyon offered. It offers a neat, comfortable rustic studio of stone and log timbers. Colter made the exterior stonework to convey an indigenous Native American structure, similar to the ruins of ancient Native American dwellings found in the region. Today, Lookout Studio offers multiple viewing platforms and a gift shop where Grand Canyon visitors can pick up a memento of their adventure.

If you want to embrace a total Grand Canyon experience in the footsteps of Mary Colter, the best accommodation is The Bright Angel Lodge, another Registered National Historic Landmark, designed by her in 1935.  It has 90 lodging units ranging from rustic cabins (with in-room Keurig coffee maker, satellite TV, and private bath) to lodge rooms (with no television and a shared bath). Bear in mind: first come, first served and rooms with Canyon views are very limited.
And if you feel peckish head to  The Harvey House Café, a family-friendly restaurant serving diner classics from biscuits & gravy to gourmet burgers and fajitas. Another option is the Arizona Room Restaurant featuring steaks, chicken and ribs prepared with the flavours of Arizona and the Southwest.

 

 

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