Cornville is Cowboy Country! This is where you’ll find the big cattle spreads, plus the “Gentleman’s Ranches”. If you’re a horse person and you want to buy something we’ll absolutely start looking in Cornville.
And this is D’Artagnion who lives there, and his consorts.
Cornville is bisected by both the Verde River and Oak Creek, which makes for some gorgeous greenbelt property. We’ll also be able to offer you some high desert views, which are outstanding.
Cornville offers the whole spectrum – million dollar plus properties to affordable mobiles in Lower Oak Creek Estates.
There’s not a lot happening here, mind you. The little town on the banks of Oak Creek boasts about 3,000 residents, lots of horses, cows and goats and chickens, and not much else. The heart of Cornville’s commerce district consists of a feed store next to a gas station next to a Laundromat acroos the street from the best Italian restaurant ever. But if you want to enjoy Oak Creek without the red rock crowds, lie in the shade and listen to the Cottonwoods rustle in the breeze, Cornville has it all, plus a little more for the more activity-inclined.
For some lounging creekside, just pack a little picnic and park yourself in Windmill Park (you can’t miss it if you’re driving through Cornville – it’s the park with the windmill), abut 8 grassy acres on Oak Creek with picnic facilities and a working windmill. If you have more time, check out Eliphante, a fantasy-scape lovingly assembled over the course of 20 years by artists Michael Kahn and Leda Livant. The three-acre outdoor art sanctuary was named for the first amazing component, a kind of sculpture/secret hideout adorned inside and out with amazing paintings, mosaic work and even a built-in piano. As the years passed, the inspiration grew, and Eliphante slowly filled with structures, sculptures, found-object art, paintings, water features, even a whimsical musical instrument or two. The most recent installation is Pipe Dreams, an underground gallery space composed of a web of tunnels and caves with a painting housed in each amazing nook. It’s joyful, inspired, whimsical, and absolutely one-of-a-kind. While it’s very much Michael and Leda’s home, they do share it with visitors with prior arrangement. (Call 928.634.4341)
For a town the size of a smallish urban high school, Cornville actually has a surprising number of good restaurants, and in its unassuming location on Cornville Road, The Manzanita Inn stands out as one of the more popular fine dining experiences in the whole Verde Valley.
While Cornville has its share of small-scale agriculture, don’t expect cornfields as high as an elephant’s eye. In the late 1800s the little settlement was known as Pitchner Place until the community submitted a request to the US Postal service to change the name to Coaneville, in honor of a pioneer family. The request came back with the Postmaster’s blessing to name the town Cornville, which apparently was close enough for the good people of Pitchner Place. Ah, bureaucracy, thy name is stupidity and laziness. Oops! No editorializing. Sorry.
However, a new agricultural enterprise is booming around Cornville, at least on a micro-level. The area around Oak Creek is becoming Northern Arizona’s Wine Country, with no less than three wineries within just a few miles of Cornville. Page Springs Cellars operates a tasting room and vineyards from 11 am to 6 pm daily (928.639.3004). Echo Canyon Winery offers tours and events but does not have a tasting room (928.634.8122). Oak Creek Winery is open from Wednesday to Sunday 11 am to 5 pm for tasting and tours (928.649.0290). Alcantara Vineyards will blow you away, too!
While you’re in the area, you can check out the Page Springs Fish Hatchery, just five miles down Page Springs Road.
With its show ponds with giant trout, an interpretive center, a lovely nature trail and a designation by the Audubon society as an Important Bird Area, wildlife lovers will find quite a bit to explore here. It’s interesting to note that the hatchery is involved in cultivating species of native fish of the Colorado River that are facing extinction, including the razorback sucker and the Colorado pikeminnow.
So if you’re looking for a day in the slow lane during your Sedona adventure, consider spending the day poking around Cornville! Cap it off with a world-class dinner and know you’ve had a unique, authentic, small-town Arizona experience.
Article by Sarah Horton.