If you're finding your Holiday to-do list more frenzied then fun, you may wish to step back a moment for a breather. How about a big step - actually all the way back to 1893 and a visit to the boardwalked streets of Goldfield Ghost Town just 5 miles north of Apache Junction?
Goldfield was a Territorial era boom town that grew around the fortunes dug out of the neighboring Mammoth Mine. From 1893 to 1897 it boasted a population of about 4,000 people with hotels, stage stop, livery stables, saloons, boarding houses, school, church and dozens of shops to serve them. When the mines gold lode wore out, its residents drifted off with it. For nearly a hundred years its buildings sat crumbling in the desert while the mine machinery rusted and became overgrown with sage and cholla.
Then in the 1970s an enterprising gent named Bob Shoose resurrected it. Using original foundations and vintage photos he recreated much of the Main Street, scouring all through the Southwest for period building and building materials. Today you can enjoy most of what its original inhabitants did, from shopping its several Southwest themed stores to having a drink in the authentic 1890s Mammoth Saloon with the only gun play you'll experience timed to the hour and offered by the resident Goldfield Gun Fighters.
Goldfield at Holiday time offers you an escape from crowded malls and a wide variety of gift giving options you wouldn't find in them anyway. How about a vintage tin-type photo of the family taken at the Time After Time photo studio? The Blue Nugget offers a selection of unique Native American jewelry and artefact's while next door the Galloping Gourmet has shelves of Salsas and Sauces to heat up the palates of your relatives out east or up north. There's handmade ceramics at the Mudslingers, hand crafted metal works at the San Tan Metal Arts, plants & cactus at the Living Desert and several other specialty shops including prospecting materials at Pro Mack South. There's even a place to ship them right on site at the Thunder Mountain Postal.
You can also bring the kids along and find no trouble occupying them. There's rattlesnakes and other desert denizens on display at the Reptile Gardens, gold panning, a trip down in the mine at the Mine Tour or a visit to the Depot and a ride on the areas only narrow gage Train. The Goldfield Museum offers a look at Goldfield in its prime while Lulu's Bordello is a family friendly introduction to how a "Sporting House" offered a bit of entertainment and comfort to the rock hard miners and cowboys who climbed its spiral stairs.
Parking and admission to Goldfield is free. The easiest way to travel to Goldfield is taking the US 60 east to the Idaho exit in Apache Junction, taking a left and following Idaho to the Hwy 88 intersection. Take a right and its approx. 4 miles to Goldfield - perhaps a 20 to 30 minute drive from downtown Mesa.
Goldfields exact address is 4650 N. Mammoth Mine Road and their information office may be reached at 480-983-0333. Their hours are from 10:00am-5:00pm with the Mammoth Saloon open from 11:00am - 9:00pm. Visit their website at www.goldfieldghosttown.com for a complete listing of merchants, attractions, upcoming events and other information.