Prescott is but a two-hour drive from Payson and a fascinating destination.
It was at one time the capital of the Territory of Arizona and remains the seat of Yavapai County.
This is a good place to spend much of the day exploring several fascinating locations.
The Victorian-style homes and various celebrations during the year make it a good day's outing from Payson.
The town has some 525 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, plus an always-good rodeo held during the 4th of July weekend.
Much of Arizona history was made here and remains well preserved.
I suggest you begin your visit by going "downtown" to Courthouse Plaza.
This is a real town square, featuring stores, galleries and interesting eateries, and if a festival is being held, there will be many interesting booths.
Prescott is a real town that is built out from the central square.
There are several museums of interest. Drop into Sharlot Hall Museum at 415 W. Gurley St. The museum is part of several separate buildings grouped together, giving visitors a living panorama of Southwestern history covering the years from the founding of Prescott in 1864 to the present.
Tour the Governor's Mansion, built in 1864, which housed several territorial officials including Governor John Goodwin.
Constructed of wood, the John C. Fremont House was built in 1875. Fremont was known as the "pathfinder" and was the fifth territorial governor of Arizona from 1878 to 1881.
Arizona became a state in 1912.
The Sharlot Hall building, completed in 1934, is the primary exhibit hall, which includes the Museum Shop, display rooms with pre-Columbian artifacts, some historic Southwestern items and old photographs. You'll feel the old times as you view the photographs that capture the period.
Sharlot Hall was an outstanding writer, poet, collector of Arizona artifacts, and territorial historian who moved to Arizona from Kansas in 1882.
She died in 1943.
The sidewalks circle and connect the museum's major buildings and you'll visit memorials and exhibits, including the Blacksmith Shop, an early boarding house, a replica of Prescott's first public school and the Pioneer Herb Rose garden.
The Phippen Museum of Western Art is at 4701 A-89 North. George Phippen was one of the founders of Cowboy Artists of America.
The Smoki Museum at 147 N. Arizona St. is designed to resemble a Native American pueblo and was opened in 1935. Unfortunately, it is closed during the winter from Nov. 1 through April 15.
Whiskey Row at Montezuma Street, between Goodwin and Aubrey streets, is Prescott's famous "wicked" street.
If you wish to stay overnight, consider the Hassayampa Inn, located at 122 E. Gurley St. and close to the town square. Opened in 1927, it was recently renovated. Phone (520) 778-9434 for more information.
Other locations to stay over include Forest Villas at 3645 Lee Circle in Prescott Valley. This is one of Prescott's newest hotels. For more information, call (800) 223-3449. The Prescott Resort at 1500 A-69 is nestled high on a hill. Call (520) 776-1666 for details.
Stop in at the chamber of commerce at 117 W. Goodwin St. or give them a call at (520) 445-2000. Here, you can receive information and maps of where to go and things to do.