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Best of the west: Cave Creek offers frontier spirit


Elizabeth Medora

CAVE CREEK – July 25, the fourth Saturday in July, has been designated as the National Day of the Cowboy. What better place to celebrate cowboy heritage than Cave Creek?

The town of Cave Creek has a little something for everyone, visitors and locals alike. A variety of galleries, locally-owned shops, and restaurants fill the town, including the Cave Creek Museum, home to the historic Stamp Mill. For a close-to-home staycation, Cave Creek and nearby Carefree offer several lodging options, including the Carefree Resort & Conference Center.

The Cave Creek Info Center provides town information to visitors and residents who want to know more about Cave Creek’s history and current activities. The volunteers who staff the info center share more than just town data – they help provide Cave Creek’s friendly Western ambience.
Lisa Nocella, who has been volunteering at the info center for nine months, called volunteering “her niche.”

“My schedule and area knowledge as a Realtor allows me the flexibility to pitch in and help those who can benefit mostly from my expertise,” Nocella said. “I love to meet people, especially those from other areas around the world, to hear of their culture and lifestyle. I have fallen in love with my adopted home town of Cave Creek.  I have met wonderful people through this organization that I consider now lifelong friends.”

Volunteer Anna Marsolo said she began volunteering at the info center because she “felt good about promoting the town merchants.” She enjoys showing visitors what makes Cave Creek fascinating and why they should visit again with family members and friends. 

Marsolo noted that Cave Creek’s uniqueness is due to many things, including “friendly service, a safe environment, clean air, and our unique history.” She called the town’s history “visible in our town core's western buildings – major attractions for folks coming into our Info Center.”

“To be a part of Cave Creek and the Frontier Town community, is just that, community,” Nocella described, “from the cowboys and cowgirls who tie off their horses in town on a Sunday for a bite to eat at the local eatery to the motorcyclists who stop for a friendly chat at the Hideaway or the families that stop for dinner and dancing at Harold's. Can't forget to mention the Buffalo Chip for the bull riding. How many towns can you think of that have bull riding? It's a unique ‘country town’ that strives to maintain its small town charm while existing in the 21st Century – it’s working!”

The Cave Creek Merchants & Events Association, which the info center is part of, is helping local businesses break through the summertime business slowdown with the Love Our Locals program. Cave Creek and Carefree residents who shop local will get a discount of 10 percent or more at participating merchants.

Love Our Locals participants:  
Cave Creek Olive Oil Co.
Suzanne's Hot Stuff
The Village Coffee Shop
Big Earl's Greasy Eats
Blue Coyote
Buffalo Chip Saloon
Harold's Corral
A Couple of Green Thumbs
Sockfish Trading Co.
Un Jour en France
Cave Creek Candles & Gifts
Hogs n' Horses
Pink Cadillac
Valerie’s Furniture & Accents
Gail Garrett Licensed Massage Therapies
Giordano’s Trattoria Romano
Guido Garcia’s
Carefree Coverings, Inc.
Pro Blind Repair

The Love Our Locals program runs now until Sept. 30. Merchants who want to join the program can email

When it comes down to it, what gives Cave Creek its hometown feel is the warmth of the people there.

Info center volunteer Nocella shared her “small world” story as a newer resident of Cave Creek.

“I was in the center and had just hung up with my daughter from Connecticut, who is attending college there; I turn to my relief coming in the door and said, ‘so sorry I was on the phone with daughter in CT.’ She said, ‘I'm from CT.’ We discussed for the next few minutes where and who we knew. Turned out I lived a few streets from her in-laws growing up. As this is taking place, a family walked in and was listening, they were from NY but their daughter went to college with mine in CT! Such a small world, even here in Cave Creek, a smaller pot, but still a melting pot nonetheless. It's the people that make the town, not the town that makes the people!”

See more about the Cave Creek Info Center and local merchants at http://cavecreekme