By Keridwen Cornelius | Photo by Richard Webb
To anyone who's ever felt a teacher's stern glare after dozing off in Algebra 101, take heart: The Noftsger Hill Inn in Globe offers visitors the opportunity to legitimately sleep in class. That's because it's located in a former elementary school, and the rooms are converted classrooms. In fact, USA Today put it at the top of its list of schoolhouse B&B's nationwide.
Vying for the award of Most Unexpected-Looking Inn, the Noftsger stands proudly and hugely atop its namesake hill, looking more like a place you'd go to serve jury duty than learn your ABCs, or spend the weekend. Inside, it's all charm, from the antique furnishings to the scholastic memorabilia to the innkeeper herself.
Veterans of the hospitality industry, Rosalie Ayala and her husband, Dom, bought and renovated the Noftsger in 2001, and run the inn as if it's their own home. Which, actually, it is — the Ayalas live on-site, in one of the converted classrooms.
Rosalie says what makes the inn special is "the history of the school itself and its importance in Globe. It's a real special feeling. People step back in time when they come here. It's an inn, and it's also a museum."
Built in 1907, the Noftsger Hill School, as it was known, boasts a rich history. No less than former Arizona Governor Rose Mofford studied reading, writing and 'rithmetic there. Its history may also be the reason the inn is supposedly haunted by ghosts of the past.
"I've had things happen here that there were just no explanations for," says Rosalie. But not to worry — the spirits are all friendly, and there's nothing spooky-looking about the place.
It's definitely unique, though. The expansive entryway is decked with antiques and academic collectibles, and the walls showcase fading class photos of former Noftsger students. You can even check out their grades in the collection of report cards donated by the alumni themselves.
The dining room — a former classroom — features a large table where guests communally enjoy Rosalie's sumptuous breakfasts, which might include A) poached eggs, B) ratatouille, C) fresh fruit, D) fresh breads or E) all of the above.
"It's pretty elaborate, but I love it," says Rosalie, who does all the cooking.
The rooms are so spacious you could run laps in them, yet with their nostalgic furnishings and whimsical touches, they manage to feel cozy without resorting to the typical cloying frills of many B&B's. Some even come complete with original blackboards, scrawled with comments from guests.
In addition to businesspeople and birders, Rosalie says, the inn sees a lot of teachers, school nurses, principals, historians and long-lost members of the Noftsger clan. Regardless of background, guests are all praises and thanks upon departure. Rosalie escorts each one out, bidding them a good trip and asking if they'd like coffee for the road.
Now that's classy.
Noftsger Hill Inn is located at 425 E. North Street in Globe. For more information, call 928-425-2260 or visit www.noftsgerhillinn.com.