If you live in the United States, celebrating the 4th of July is as American as apple pie.
Most family's honor the birth of our nation with barbeques and fireworks.
Here in the Phoenix area it's usually too hot for outside activities, so Mr. Cactus whisked me away for a few days to the mountain regions of Flagstaff.
At an altitude near 7,000 feet, Flagstaff is one of the highest elevation cities in the U.S.
I was so happy to be outside and to breathe the cool air.
We went hiking and saw several of the local attractions.
Our favorite activity was a walking tour of the Riordan Mansion.
This is a must do if you are ever in the Flagstaff area.
Home to lumber barons Timothy and Michael Riordan, these brothers built identical homes for their families, attached by a 1,000 foot common room in the center.
Built in 1904, when Arizona was still a territory, their Arts and Crafts style 13,000 square foot mansion had every new invention available at the turn of the century.
They brought electricity to Flagstaff, and the home featured hot and cold running water, central heat and electric lights.
Michael's home sits to the right of the stone garden gate near the entrance.
Tim's home sits to the left, and has been restored with original furnishings, family pictures, and clothing that has been donated to the State Parks.
I was disappointed that we were not allowed to take pictures of the interior of Tim's home, which contains most of the furnishings and restoration.
You can google "Riordan Mansion Images" to see some of the interior shots.
Michael's side is more open with museum displays.
Each brother decorated their side of the home around the Tiffany stained glass motifs.
The back of the mansion/ Michael's side with a porch addition.
The brothers were family oriented, held closely to their Catholic religion, and were quite generous in the building of their community.
Their home had a wonderful spirit about it.
At the end of the tour I was especially happy and surprised to see the Arizona Centennial Commemorative Quilt, which will be on display here through the end of August.
No wonder I liked this place so much :)