History and Hospitality in Yuma, AZ
Recently, I was lucky enough to join a group of friends from the International Food, Wine & Travel Associate on a press visit to Yuma, Arizona. We were invited by Yuma tourism to spend a weekend in the area. Having never visited I was excited to spend the time exploring the food, history and culture of the city. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint and I’m happy to share with you a a series of posts about this diverse corner of Arizona.
During my visit, I stayed at the Historic Coronado Motor Hotel. The property was built in 1938 and originally had 14 guest rooms. Over the years it has expanded and expanded eventually encompassing a block either side of the centrally located Fourth Avenue. When built, the Coronado was the first motel in the state of Arizona and one of the original Best Western inns (although it is no longer affiliated with the chain). You know I love a good historic property so I was pretty excited to stay there although I wondered how it had aged over the decades.
Well, it’s aged beautifully. I stayed in one of the more modern structures and was right at home in my room. It was beautifully appointed with modern furnishings and historic pictures. The room was spotlessly clean and had every amenity I could wish for. The bed was comfortable and I spent a pleasant two nights there.
The Historic Coronado Motor Hotel is owned by John and Yvonne Peach and John just so happens to be the son of the founders. Together they share a true love of Yuma and its storied history. So much so that Yvonne created the Casa de Coronado Museum on the premises in a cottage originally built as the family home.
In the museum you’ll find numerous displays on the history of Best Western, the town of Yuma and the family itself. Many of the artifacts are from their personal collection.
Casa de Coronado reminded me very much of the Valley Relics Museum in Chatsworth. John and Yvonne have a love for Yuma as strong as Tommy Gelinas has a love for the valley. Just like him they’ve devoted much of their time to preserving the history of their historic home.
As such, I was equally as smitten with Casa de Coronado as I was with Valley Relics. The family artifacts are a well preserved glimpse into 20th Century American life and the Best Western artifacts are tons of fun.
I could have spent hours exploring all the nooks and crannies of the museum but, alas, we had other stops to make. When I make it back to Yuma I’ll have to stop by again as it’s open to anyone – no need to stay at the hotel (though I’d recommend it).
In addition to the hotel and museum Yvonne and John also own the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill next door. It has an aviation theme for a surprisingly specific reason – the very first plane to land in Arizona landed where it currently stands! As such, it’s filled with tons of aviation memorabilia. It’s a quirky place that’s fun to stop by and if you stay at the hotel it offers a free breakfast with your room.
There’s a whole menu to choose from and each dish is flavorful. They make a mean pancake!
John and Yvonne are one of the most hospitable couples I’ve ever met. They helped make my first visit to Yuma very memorable and I hope you too can experience it one day.