I’m off to Prescott this week for a family reunion in the mountains. It’s a lot like going cold turkey, with poor or sometimes no cell phone signal. And wifi? Yipes! if you don’t hear from me right away, you’ll know why.
I’m sharing a couple of blogs from past visits to Prescott:
From April 2014
Last weekend we visited the Hassayampa Inn in Prescott, Arizona. The lobby piano was a lovely McPhail Square Grand Piano.
I imagine this piano is much like the pianofortes our Regency heroines played to demonstrate their accomplishments.
The McPhail, though, is not English. It hails from Boston, where Andrew M. McPhail established his piano company in 1837.
Square Grand Pianos
The Antique Piano Shop describes the history of these instruments:
In the last part of the 18th Century, John Jacob Astor started importing Square Grand Pianos to America from Europe. By the turn of the 19th Century, a handful of makers are recorded as having made some of the first Square Grand Pianos in America. For the next 100 years, the Square Grand Piano would evolve into a larger, heavier, and more mechanically refined instrument. During the 19th Century, American Piano Makers built and sold more Square Grand Pianos than Grand Pianos or Upright Pianos…for as much as $800…the cost of a small house! By about 1880-1890, the American Upright Piano began to win favor as being more fashionable than the Square Grand Piano…the Upright Piano caused the Square Grand Piano to become obsolete by 1900.
But Do not Play…
From February 2014
Hanging out at the local gin mill
On our last visit to Prescott we strolled into Matt’s Saloon on Whiskey Row on a late afternoon. We sidled up to the bar and ordered a couple of beers. A few minutes later, an older (as in septuagenarian) couple in jeans and tee shirts sat down next to us and called the bartender over. It was clear they were regulars. After greetings and personal updates, the husband went off to the restroom and the lady said “Get us our usual”.
The bartender brought her a highball glass filled with ice and a clear amber liquid.
“You know what this is?”
Yep, she was talking to us. We said no.
Even my better half, who has spent more time on barstools than I have, hadn’t heard of it. The whiff of history and the need to be “in the know” hooked us. We had the bartender bring us over the bottle.
Doc Holliday? We were a few doors down from the Palace where he and his cronies played cards. If we were walking in his shadow; we might as well drink in it. So we ordered shooters to go with the beer. We liked it. I won’t bore you with the whiskey review–and yes this is whiskEy since it’s made in the USA.
By this time the lady’s husband had returned and we got acquainted. Like many locals, they had moved up to Prescott from the valley, aka Phoenix, several years earlier. And everything they said about this Kentucky rye whiskey checked out:
It’s cheap, she said.
Less than a double sawbuck, check.
Been around a long time.
Since 1810, check
Nicknamed Old Overcoat.
In the Terry Pratchett novels, check. (According to Wikipedia–I have not read the novels.)
Not as smooth as Jack Daniels Single Barrel, but not bad, and with a lot more fun western history attached.
Alanna Lucas will be joining me next week with her new Regency release, Only a Hero Will Do. It’s on pre-order now, so you can get it for 99 cents until release day, July 13th. Hurry!
Images: The McPhail and Old Overholt, the author; all others, Wikimedia