Finding the perfect cabin for a Wilderness Weekend can be a tough job. We like to feel as if we are somewhere remote and secluded but we don’t want to be too far from town for shopping and dining options. We get excited about a rustic “cabin-y” feel but we’re pretty attached to electricity and running water. We want to be cozy but still have plenty of sitting room so we can hang out together and we need good light for the inevitable crafting that will occur. A fireplace or fire pit for s’mores is an absolute necessity and Jenny loves bunk beds so we can have a sleepover.
Last year we stayed at Seed Tree Ranch which we thought had it all. It was just a few minutes off the highway, had ample land for hiking and elk-watching and there were bunk beds. We had such a good time there last year that we would have gladly stayed again except for the fact that it is enormous. There are so many beds and bedrooms that it is best suited for a large group. If your wilderness crew is 8 -10 people it would be perfect but for only 4 ladies it is less affordable than many of the other options. So began Christie’s quest to find us a different cabin.
This year Christie scored a major find with the Flying Horse Get Away. This property has so much to offer. The location is ideal in that it feels remote but the highway is right there and Flagstaff is just a few minutes’ drive. The land is adjacent to the national forest and scenic walking trails so lovely that you really don’t ever have to leave the property to have a wilderness experience.
Flying Horse Get Away
Inside, the cabin has some rustic details like the lovely exposed wood railing to the 2nd floor and the flagstone fireplace but there are all of the modern conveniences as well. The full kitchen was well stocked with all the gadgets we needed and we were able to eat in for a few meals to save money and enjoy some great recipes we love to share like Christina’s delightful chicken chili blanco and Jenny’s mulled wine. The master bedroom on the first floor ended up being our “luggage suite” because it is next to the full bath.
First floor, from kitchen
Jenny in the kitchen
We slept upstairs because the enormous second floor room had enough beds that we could all sleep together just like a sleepover. The bathrooms were updated and linens were provided. The living room was well stocked with fire wood. There were books and board games and we brought our favorite DVD’s (Pitch Perfect and Troop Beverly Hills) but if you want it Direct TV and wireless internet are available. For cell phone service Verizon seemed to work pretty well but AT&T struggled to connect so we had to wait to get into town to upload some of our social media pics.
Panoramic view of 2nd floor bedroom
The house itself is a duplex. The rental property is on the left and the owner’s residence is on the right. At no point did we feel crowded or infringed upon in any way. True, it is not the same as not being unable to see another home for miles, but owner Valerie Hannemann is incredibly accommodating, goes out of her way to make sure her guests are comfortable and is quick with a suggestion for a good restaurant or local activity. We saw her a few times during our stay and really enjoyed conversation with her. It is easy to see that she’s alright by her love for animals and by how obviously they love her back — a dog is a good judge of character.
If you want to bring your pets — cats, dogs, goats, horses, etc. — they’re all welcome at Flying Horse Get Away. If you leave your friends at home Valerie’s hounds Dixie and Lucy and her corgi Katie will help keep you from being too homesick. During our visit there were four horses on property. Valerie’s guys Kidd and Cowboy had their friend Caliente staying in the paddock and her girl Leo was in the other paddock. The horses were very friendly and excited every time we arrived at the gate to
pet them feed them carrots.
Jenny and Rachael take a walk with the dogs
Caliente the horse
Last but not least, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this cabin home has several sustainable features built in. All of the light fixtures were lit by energy saving compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s). The cabin is heated by clean burning propane and has a programmable thermostat with a reminder to please lower the heating set point when you leave the building or go to bed. Outside, Valerie is considering converting the barn to solar power for lights and water trough warmers. She’s already made great sustainable progress by installing two 2500 gallon cisterns to catch all of the water from the barn roof. This summer alone they’ve each filled twice and she hasn’t had to buy a drop of water to care for the animals on property. Where there are horses there is manure and Valerie is using that to create mulch and fertilizer which she uses to reclaim some abandoned roadways. Patches of land that used to be muddy tire ruts are now lush green areas of growth.
Rain water cistern and barn
If you’re thinking about a wilderness weekend of your own and want a great place to stay with your best friends and family members you can’t do much better than Flying Horse Get Away in Flagstaff, AZ. What are some of the things you look for in a great vacation property? Have you ever vacation rented before? What tips and tricks do you have for people who are doing their first vacation rental?
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