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Historic Mill Avenue

The joy of being retired was never so apparent as when we spent time leisurely drinking coffee at the Coffee Plantation, reading the New York times and strolling the shady brick sidewalks on historic Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe. Here many of the original old town buildings have survived and have been renovated to serve as restaurants, nightspots and specialty shops. There are so many restaurants that it is said if you leave hungry ... you just weren't hungry to begin with.

There is a nice mix of national chains and one of a kind businesses to make the area interesting ... such as Rula Bula an authentic old world pub and restaurant built in Ireland and shipped to Tempe ... Hippie Gypsy, the local 'head shop' ... and the 1940s vintage Valley Art Theatre (which was screening one of our favorite films).

Tempe was founded in 1872 by Charles Hayden and grew up around the old Hayden Flour Mill. The mill still operates on Mill Avenue and has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operated business in Arizona. At the end of Mill Avenue, located in Hayden's original homestead, is Monti's La Casa Vieja, a local institution. The waiter at Monti's was kind enough to give us a tour of this historical landmark... and we vowed to come back for a steak dinner ... but never made it. There's always next year.

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