Quaint, Mountain Villages The Place To Relax

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In 1890, when the Mormon families of Rial Allen, Marion Allen, Alexander Allen, Price Nelson, Lee Heward and William Hunt requested permission from the church president to abandon the settlement of Pine, the survival of the small, mountain community was threatened.

By 1900 however, the remaining residents of Pine -- relying mostly on self sufficiency and the sale of timber -- helped secure the future of a town that is today a rapidly growing vacation and retirement community.

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Linda Young (left) and Lynne Geyer (right) have a visit with Barkley (center) of Fossil Creek Llamas, a Strawberry attraction.

Located in the heart of Arizona just below the Rim at an elevation of 5,400 feet, Pine attracts a growing number of residents who retain the strong sense of community pride first instilled by the early pioneers.

The popularity of Pine is often attributed to its moderate climate, rural setting, low crime rate and easy access to the Valley of the Sun.

The area also draws crowds of hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders eager to explore the majestic national forests that surround Pine.

Other popular recreational attractions in the area include hunting, fishing and off-road travel.

The nearest fishing hot spot, Blue Ridge Reservoir, is located less than 30 miles north of Pine off the Beeline Highway. Many an angler has enjoyed mouth-watering pan-fried trout and bass taken from the lake.

For those who enjoy hiking and sightseeing, Pine Canyon trail offers spectacular views of the beautiful canyon, Pine Creek and the basin below. The best way to hike the trail is to begin at the upper trailhead above Strawberry near FR 6038 and descend the Rim to the Pine Trailhead just south of the town near the Beeline Highway.

Rim country mountain bikers frequently take advantage of the many old logging roads that criss-cross the area.

Many of the trails, which are great for exploring but often dead end, can be accessed off the Control Road located just south of Payson.

For those lucky enough to draw a permit in the hunting areas near Pine, the area is home to herds of trophy sized elk, white tail and mule deer and javelina. Bear, turkey and mountain lions also live in the forests nearby.

The trip to Pine and Strawberry is not complete without a visit to the local museum that opened in 1979 with the specific purpose of displaying the artifacts and history of the two communities.

The museum moved in 1990 to its current location in the old Pine School from a single room in the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Public Library.

The museum consists of a main room, dining, bedroom and laundry and archaeology rooms.

The main room's tin ceiling remains as it was in pioneer days. The room also houses much of the history from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, memorabilia from the World War II era and artifacts from the early days when the building served as the community's school.

The museum also has books available for purchase that detail the history of the Pine and Strawberry communities.

A video presentation on the life and times of the early pioneers is a great way to learn more about the communities. A striking exhibit of Tonto Apache dolls also is a highlight not to be missed.

Call (928) 476-3547 for more information about the museum.

Another popular attraction in the area is the Strawberry Schoolhouse, located less than five miles north of the museum on Fossil Creek Road. The one-room log school is an Arizona State Historical Site operated by the Pine-Strawberry Archeological and Historical Society.

For those who want to spend a few extra days exploring Pine and Strawberry, the area has the accommodations for you. They include the Pine Crest Bed and Breakfast (928-476-4265), Pine Haven Bed and Breakfast and retreat (928-476-3809), Strawberry Lodge (928-476-3333) and the Cabins on Strawberry Hill (928-476-4252).

Further north in the Coconino National Forest is the Happy Jack Lodge and RV Park (928-477-2805).

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