My companion and I have visited Wickenburg together for four winters now. It is a long trip from Maine, but in our opinion Arizona is far superior to other winter hot spots such as Florida and Texas. We specifically love the small-town, western feel of Wickenburg.
The first winter was hot and dry and we stayed in town in a nice, cozy apartment owned by a friend. The next season (cooler, but dry) found us at the Rancho Casitas Guest Ranch, where we enjoyed a quaint apartment with a gorgeous view, great neighbors, and lots of hospitality. That summer, back in Maine, we decided to buy a fifth-wheel, work fewer months, and travel more. Knowing you can’t just show up in Wickenburg (or anywhere in the southwest) during prime winter months with no reservation, we thought of West Park and the good impression we’d gotten when driving through the previous year. Since I needed to stay put for shoulder surgery in December, we made a three month reservation and moved on in. What a great place it was to spend a very wet, cool winter! I can’t imagine having been in other places effected by the water, or dry camping for that matter. And may I add that having surgery in Arizona was so much easier than back home. Both my surgeon from Phoenix, and the PT people here in Wickenburg were the best! So here we are back again in West Park this season, enjoying the sunshine and warmth, and the camaraderie of friends.
The activity center at West Park.
Within the park there are numerous activites to keep the mind and/or body active – swimming, shuffleboard, tennis, billiards, dance lessons, crafting, games galore, trips, the list goes on… There is a great Recreational Club, whose voluntary members work hard to provide fun and entertainment for all who participate. As we learned from others and personal experience, the fine management of the park itself certainly lends a hand in making West Park an outstanding full-time community or winter residence.
The heated pool at West Park.
We have gotten to know people from Wyoming, Missouri, Michigan, Montana, Illinois, Alaska, Canada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona (of course) and so on. As just turned 55ers, yes, we are younger than most here, but age is of little consequence in West Park. Few seem to act or look their age. Most will wave or stop for a moment of small talk. No one seems to mind that we are not married (yet), and they genuinely seem to enjoy bantering with a younger couple. And even if time flies and we’re busy with out of the park friends and happenings, it’s OK. We’re forgiven for not always socializing.
Because snowbirds are from various places around the U.S. and Canada, and with so many senior Arizonians having lived elsewhere at some point in their lives, it makes for interesting conversations. These individuals have worked hard all their lives to finally enjoy their retirement in Arizona, whether it’s full time or part time. With their age and experiences come wonderful stories of the past and the ‘way things used to be’. People are a wealth of information; many having traveled extensively, while others are still in the traveling process. Their life stories are diverse, with tragedies suffered, but there remains for most strong spiritual roots, a sense of humor and a willingness to share, to listen, and to accept others as they are. It’s that goodness of heart, along with the West Park amenities, that keep two Maine “kids” coming back to Wickenburg and planning it as the place to eventually retire.