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Summer Vacation: The Strawberry Inn

The Strawberry Inn is a quaint boutique hotel located in Arizona’s Rim Country, less than 2 hours north of Phoenix. With temperatures typically 15-20 degrees cooler, The Strawberry Inn is the perfect retreat in the summer.

The Strawberry Inn was born in 2016 when husband and wife Carson and Amber Eilers bought the inn and renovated it (formerly called the Windmill Corner Inn). These Phoenix residents have fond memories of summers in Strawberry and wanted to create a place where people could fall in love with the town the way they have.

The Inn operates much like a vacation rental, with all reservations and check-ins via online and email, and a lockbox next to each door to retrieve your key when you arrive. There are eight rooms, each slightly different with their own individual charm.

The front of the Inn is our absolute favorite. There is a large lawn with games and picnic tables, big red lawn chairs and porch swings. It’s a great spot to relax and enjoy the beautiful Northern Arizona weather.

While The Strawberry Inn offers a small town, peaceful vibe, there are still plenty of modern amenities including WiFi, cable TV on a flat screen mounted to the wall and a coffee maker and fridge.

Dining

Being such a small town, the dining options are somewhat limited. Luckily for us, we stumbled across the best restaurants in the area. Opened in May 2016 by Michael Dahling, Old County Inn has become the most popular restaurant in the nearby town of Pine. Just a 5 minute drive from The Strawberry Inn, Old County Inn serves fresh, chef-driven food that is made from scratch. Some must-try items include the Wood-fired Pizza, Buffalo Chips, Cast Iron Cookie and The Tickle Pickle (basically a very dirty martini with pickle juice). Something to keep in mind if you are up there during the week is that Old County Inn is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Just a quarter of a mile from Old County Inn is Michael’s second creation, Pinewood Tavern, which opened in spring 2018. The food and service at Old County Inn was so great, our expectations of Pinewood were high, and they did not disappoint. For starters, try the Bacon & Eggs (really delicious deviled eggs) and the Smoked Pork Nachos. It might sound a little crazy, but the PB&J Burger is a very popular entree at Pinewood Tavern. We also recommend anything that comes with the Cherrywood Smoked Bacon – it is thick, crispy and so tasty. Save room for the Housemade Seasonal Cobbler to finish your meal.

We were so impressed with both of these restaurants, we had to know more about the man behind these concepts. Michael Dahling has quite the resume, attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York and a year of culinary school in Italy. He moved to Arizona in 1999 where he spent 7 years working for Sysco as the corporate chef and then 4 years for Shamrock. He finally took a leap of faith and left the corporate world to pursue his dream of owning a great restaurant in a beautiful, small town. With the success of both Old County Inn and Pinewood Tavern, we think his risk paid off and we can’t wait to go back to visit his restaurants again.

Things to Do

Strawberry, Arizona is a town of around 1000 residents, making this a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the Phoenix area. You can relax in room and on the front lawn of the Inn, or unplug and connect with nature. Just 10 miles south of The Strawberry Inn is Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. The bridge is a natural arch that is believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. There are also hiking trails and streams to explore in this area. Friday through Sunday, stop by the Pine Strawberry Farmers Market to shop fresh, local goods to take back home with you.

Pet Friendly

The Strawberry Inn is dog-friendly! The rooms on the first floor (Rooms 1-4) are dog-friendly. We were in room 4 which had a door at the back that was perfect for taking the pups out for potty breaks. The pet fee is $25/dog, subject to the approval of the hotel owners. You will need to bring your own food/water bowls, bedding, and baggies to clean up after pet waste. As with any hotel or resort, you are advised to not leave dogs unattended in the room as they may disrupt the neighbors – something to consider when planning your trip. Both Old County Inn and Pinewood Tavern have dog-friendly patios.

For more information and to book your stay online, visit thestrawberryinn.com.

7 Comments

  1. I lived in the pine strawberry area for 10+ years and I can’t believe how beautiful the place is. Great job of remodeling! Don’t forget to check out the two local watering holes and find the beer elevator!

  2. Super cute place! We are headed there in a few weeks too and looking forward to just relaxing and doing some hiking. We are also bringing our pup so do you know if there are any more restaurants that are dog friendly? Thanks!

    • Fabulous Arizona

      We think most restaurants with patios allow dogs, but those are the only two restaurants we went to.

  3. You left out the best Restaurant in the whole rim country Mamajoes right across the street from from the hotel

  4. Cant wait to make our way up to your beautiful place ! We have a Bichon and would love our trip with her !!! We have so much to learn about Arizona as we a new residents of ‘Saddlebrooke’, north of Tucson. Looks like a must and soon !

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