By Robert Stieve | Photo by Nick Berezenko
An unexpected delight. If you had to summarize the Heritage Inn in three words or less, that combination works. There are a lot of other words you could use — charming, inviting, accommodating, historic, pleasant, cozy — but unexpected needs to be in the mix. That's because the Heritage Inn is about the last thing you expect when you roll into Snowflake. That is, if you expect anything at all. Sedona, Pinetop, Bisbee, Flagstaff ... those are traditional tourist towns, where the expectations for inns and B&B's are usually pretty high, but not Snowflake. Do you even know where Snowflake is?
If you don't, grab a map. It's the small town located halfway between Show Low and Holbrook. You'll recognize it by its main street, which is lined with trees and lampposts and mom-and-pop shops. The main attraction on Main Street, however, is the Heritage Inn, which operates like a B&B. Although the town itself leans toward New England or Lake Wobegon, the inn conjures the South, especially when you're reading a book on the expansive front porch — if you have any Faulkner lying around at home, toss one in the suitcase before you go. When you arrive, you'll be tempted to stay outside on the porch, but you need to go inside. It's warm in there, literally and figuratively. Plus, that's where you'll be greeted by JoAnne Guderian. She, too, is an unexpected delight.
Not because of her enthusiasm — a lot of inn owners are like that — but because of her English accent and her genuine disposition. And that's only part of JoAnne's persona. She's also spirited, cute and playful. She's like a kid whose parents went away for the weekend and left her in charge. You won't find a more perfect host. She's hip but gracious, and your stay at the inn is an extension of her. You'll see.
JoAnne has owned the inn with her husband, Craig, since July 2009, and in that short time they've taken an already popular place and made it even better. The historic building, which was once the home of Osmer Flake, the sixth child of William Flake (the co-founder of Snowflake), now features a dozen rooms with big comfortable beds, full baths and the usual inn amenities. If it's available, ask for the Lucy Hanna Flake Room. It's the best, which is probably why Kirsten Dunst stayed there when she was road-tripping through the area last summer.
It's not the bedrooms, though, that'll capture your attention. It's the gardens and the courtyards, the trees and fountains and flowers, and the manicured lawns. Not coincidentally, you'll be reminded of an English garden. It's what sets this inn apart. And so do the German pancakes. Contrary to what you might be thinking, they aren't filled with sausage, potatoes or sauerkraut. They're actually quite light and lemony. It's the signature dish at breakfast, and like everything else at the Heritage Inn, it's an unexpected delight.
Heritage Inn is located at 161 N. Main Street in Snowflake. For more information, call 866-486-5947 or visit www.heritage-inn.net.