5 Places Not to Miss When You’re in Flagstaff for NonfictioNOW

by Barbara Lane

Get ready! NonfictioNOW will be here before you know it. Not only will you enjoy four days immersed in the vast literary landscape of nonfiction—with the likes of Roxane Gay, Brian Doyle, Maggie Nelson, and several other fantastic keynote speakers—but you’ll also be surrounded by the natural beauty of Northern Arizona and all the sights and sounds and tastes of Flagstaff.

If you’re ready to start planning your off-campus meals or you’re hoping to find a nice spot to read, write, or just let the awesomeness of NonfictioNOW sink in, we’ve got a map just for you. Enjoy an inside look at some of the local favorites! Among them you’ll find…

1. The Weatherford Hotel (the balcony in particular)

“As the sun sets, a single bat flits through the darkling sky. A group of ravens fly north. On this balcony, you can order a giant pile of nachos, you can sip a locally brewed craft beer or a PBR alone in a corner at that one-chair table; you can use your camera phone to take pictures that don’t do justice to the vibrant splatter of colorful hues in the sky, or you can accidentally drop the complimentary popcorn on passersby below.” Chelsey Burden.

2. Higher Grounds Coffee House 

“The majority of the patrons here are reading or working diligently on their computers, which is why I like it. My armchair has a matching couch that is less superior in terms of curling up, but equally matched in squishiness. It’s been a while since I’ve been here, and the furniture has been rearranged. They’ve added more fairy lights, and fixed the lanterns. The décor seems simple, standard, a little “hipster,” if you will. There are tables for getting work done to the slightly elevated right of the front door, and my armchair collection to the left. One of the nicest places to work, however, is the counter that lines the window facing the street.” Anonymous.

3. Pizzicletta 

“You realize it’s the first time you’ve been alone, but not lonely, in a while. The restaurant didn’t look like much from the outside, an old warehouse, really, but here you are, comfortably seated in a space that’s starting to feel a bit bigger. The juxtaposition of the night closing in around the tall warehouse many-paned windows against a comfortably warm space just makes you feel a little more at one with the world and the notebook you’re writing in, than you felt just twenty minutes ago. And your fragrant pizza has not even arrived yet. You smile, look around, and wonder how often you can come here to write, daydream, sit with strangers, and eat pizza.” Stacy Murison.

4. Vino Loco  

“First taste – The bar is cast copper. The wines range from 5 dollar red mixes to 20 Chardonnays. There are very few people here; the music is contemporary and quiet. There is no real vibe, perhaps because it is a Tuesday. However one has a hard time imagining there are any loud conversations, even after several glasses on a Friday.

Second Taste – Eventually the music and the heat and the wine dull your senses. The red brick blends with tan walls, and the bottles melt into a stained glass window. The aromas that once assaulted the nose with complexity wear off into a steady mix that is not entirely great but also does not offend, even the quiet conversations around fade into background noise. And Vino becomes pleasant, because the normal rift-raft of bars is non-existence. The longer one stays, the more noticeably nice Vino becomes.” Colin Chafin.

5. Bookman’s 

“There are the rows and rows of garish red-orange bookshelves. There’s the dedicated section for paranormal romance that I’ve not had the pleasure of frequenting. The collection of young adult literature is impressive—always in volume, sometimes in quality. The cafe takes a minimalist approach to its food offerings, but they have some locally-sourced baked goods and bagels from Biff’s. The chai is so sweet your teeth will sing. If you don’t want your teeth to sing, or if you’re in the mood for something more (or less) caffeinated, they do the whole latte thing and their tea selection is fantastic. The Madagascar Coconut white tea is a favorite—but it’s better iced than hot. Ask them to ice it. If the barista I  s a blond girl with dark-framed glasses, she’ll tell you they don’t sell it iced. Don’t listen to her. Look for the brown-haired girl with the soft smile. She’ll ice it for you. So will the one whose hair changes color every couple months (right now, it’s blond and hot pink).” Barbara Lane.

And that’s only the beginning. Check out our map for more about these places and many others. See you in two weeks!

5 Places Not to Miss When You’re in Flagstaff for NonfictioNOW

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