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What's Wickenburg Like?

That’s the question I got from a woman living in Sonoma, CA. She was sending her college-age son to live in Wickenburg for the summer and wanted to know what the town was like.

For a moment, I didn’t know what to say. Then the information started spouting from me like water from a fountain.

It’s a small town of about 4,500 year-round residents. Most of the residents are retirees, but there are also a lot of ranchers, builders, and health-care professionals. The people in town are in all income brackets, from very low income to millionaire status. Homes are similarly varied.

The population just about doubles in the winter time, when snowbirds (I refuse to call them “winter visitors”) descend on the town from the midwest and points north. License plates tell the story. Most of these people are retirees, so although the town becomes more crowded, the pace never really picks up. In fact, its just during the winter when you can occasionally find a traffic jam in town, despite what ADOT and the town goverment would have you believe in planning their bypasses.

The town has two supermarkets, an Alco department store, several well-stocked hardware stores, and a variety of other stores where you can get the necessities of life. There’s more shopping in Surprise, which is 40 miles away. “Is there a movie theater in town?” she asked. I assured her that there was, but I didn’t mention that it was only a ‘one-plex’. I also didn’t mention the few bars and the fact that most restaurants are closed by 8:00 PM, when they roll up the sidewalks in town.

In the summer, I told her, it gets brutally hot, especially during monsoon season in July and August. But there’s air conditioning everywhere, so comfort is easy enough to find.

“Do you like it there?” she asked.

“I’m here, aren’t I?” I replied.

I’m curious to see what her son thinks of the place when he arrives in May.

Last 5 posts by John Aabbott

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