A Shooting Star Inn is located at 27948 N. Shooting Star Lane, 21 miles northwest of Flagstaff off U.S. Route 180. For more information, call 928-606-8070 or visit www.shootingstarinn.com.
Situated on a 5-acre meadow in Kendrick Park near Flagstaff, A Shooting Star Inn is Tom Taylor's dream project. It isn't big — there are only three rooms — but with views of Humphreys Peak and a billion stars in the sky, you won't need a lot of company.
© George Stocking
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By Nikki Buchanan
Flagstaff Located 12 miles from Historic Route 66 in Kingman, Hualapai Mountain Resort beckons visitors with a dirt road that leads into the cool, soothing embrace of ponderosa pines and, ultimately, toward the peak of Hualapai Mountain.
With honey-hued pine décor and an abundance of sunshine through large windows, the resort's accommodations exude an aura of warmth and coziness akin to a New England log cabin, but one tTom Taylor, who owns and single-handedly operates A Shooting Star Inn northwest of Flagstaff, is a Renaissance man and it shows. Every nook and cranny of his cabin-cozy B&B is filled with books, pictures, guitars, amps, telescopes, vintage cameras and other objects that reflect his various passions — astronomy, music, photography, art and nature.
With a little help from his friends, Taylor built his 4,200-square-foot dream house on a 5-acre meadow in Kendrick Park, purposefully creating a 26-foot tongue-and-groove ceiling (the better to house his extensively furnished music loft), huge picture windows overlooking Humphreys Peak (the better to watch the deer and the antelope play) and an open floor plan (the better to encourage guests to come together for a glass of wine and an ice-breaking chat when they first arrive).
Because A Shooting Star is remote, Taylor makes dinner for guests who've given him 24 hours' notice and an extra $25 per person. Although the meal might be simple and straightforward — say, steak, potatoes, asparagus and salad — the mood is romantic and convivial, thanks to the soft glow of kerosene lamps and Taylor's easygoing style.
After dinner, the host morphs from chef to entertainer, whipping out his guitar for a serenade of romantic ballads from a Boomer repertoire that includes Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Moody Blues and Leonard Cohen. Before his audience slips into happy couch potato-dom, Taylor hustles everyone outside for a look at Flagstaff's famously dark night sky — even inkier at a 21-mile remove from the city, and breathtakingly Star Wars-ian through the lens of his research-grade telescope. As an amateur astronomer who has worked at Kitt Peak Observatory and a professional photographer who has practiced astrophotography since childhood, Taylor is in his element here, pointing out stars, constellations, planets, nebulae, the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy, all the while conveying his own sense of wonder and excitement to his guests. What a treat to say "awesome" and truly mean it. Diehards may even rent his equipment for the evening.
When the star party's over, guests retire to one of three charming, simply furnished rooms with private entrances and spacious, private baths, each named for a famous astronomer and outfitted with celestial-themed bedding. Because Taylor uses solar power to live "off the grid" as much as possible, his air-dried bath towels are rough to the touch. But those who don't require fancy soaps, plush bathrobes and spa-like luxury are rewarded with hearty breakfasts, beautiful views and solitude, which make this unique B&B a truly heavenly experience.
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