The town of Cave Creek found a new home for its tourism bureau. Visitors now have a larger, more centralized place to get recommendations on the best restaurants, sights and hikes the town has to offer.
Cave Creek Tourism Bureau started its third season in October in its new space, which is near the action happening in the town core.
It’s located on the corner of East Cave Creek Road and North Hidden Valley Drive and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Around 30 full-time and substitute volunteers operate the town-sponsored Cave Creek Tourism Bureau, helping visitors find information about the area, as well as brochures, maps and menus.
“It’s a lovely place. It is probably three to four times larger than the previous location,” said Nina Spitzer, tourism bureau coordinator and long-time Cave Creek resident.
The previous location was located on North Cave Creek Road near North Skyline Drive next to Oregano’s Pizza Bistro.
Cave Creek Tourism Bureau invites local artists to display their pieces on its gallery wall. Spitzer explained the gallery is reserved for art that “boasts of the beauty of our area.”
The walls are filled with artwork depicting images of nature scenes with cactuses, vibrant Sonoran sunsets, and dramatic desert landscapes with lightning.
The spacious new building has a shaded patio and features a bigger gallery wall than the tourism bureau had in its previous location, Spitzer said.
The Cave Creek Tourism Bureau operated in its prior location since October 2018 for two tourist seasons until the town chose to move the bureau to the new location, she said. Tourist seasons typically start at the beginning of October and end in late May, she explained.
This season is different than most, for the obvious reason of the county restrictions in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which brings forth fewer tourists, Spitzer said.
“On average here, we probably help between 3,000 and 4,000 people in a season,” she explained. “Our numbers have gone down this year because of COVID, so it’s a lot slower.”
In previous years, the Cave Creek Tourism Bureau put out a monthly calendar detailing all the exciting events happening in the area, she said. However, the bureau had to adjust as COVID-19 restrictions prevent most social events from occurring.
While COVID-19 has slowed things down everywhere, including the tourism bureau, volunteers are still excited to share “all the great things about our area and our talent,” Spitzer said. “We get to see people from all over the world.”
Precautions protect the volunteers as well as the visitors from any potential COVID-19 transmission, Spitzer said.
During a normal season, the bureau stays open until 4 p.m.; however, its hours were reduced to account for the smaller number of tourists coming in acquiring information, Spitzer said.
Its operations were adjusted to provide ample social distance between visitors, she said. One person is allowed in the building at a time, and all visitors must wear masks. If additional people wish to enter the building, they are instructed to wait outside until the previous person exits.
Pre-pandemic, visitors could walk around the building and browse through brochures, she explained.
“Unfortunately, now when they come in, our desk is right at the front door and the volunteer speaks to the visitor, asks what their interests are and goes around and collects the brochures for the visitor,” Spitzer said.
Until the pandemic is over, visitors cannot roam around the inside of the tourism bureau, she said.
“However, that has not stopped our volunteers from wanting to be there,” Spitzer said, adding, “That just says a lot about the people who volunteer with the tourism bureau. They want to be there, to be available to share about the town, and I think that’s commendable on their part.”
In 2013, Spitzer started managing and coordinating what was once the Cave Creek Information Bureau, which was sponsored and financed by Cave Creek Merchant’s Association and was located in Frontier Town, she said.
She said a majority of the bureau’s volunteers were also part of the Cave Creek Information Center.
“We’ve got some really wonderful, dedicated volunteers who have been with us a long time,” Spitzer said.
When the information center closed, the town saw a “void” and a need for a tourist information center, Spitzer said.
This prompted a town representative to approach Spitzer asking if she could help create what is now the Cave Creek Tourism Bureau, Spitzer said, adding that she was “happy to oblige because I enjoy doing this.”
“We have a beautiful, eclectic Southwestern town and I, and the other volunteers, love Cave Creek and enjoy sharing information about it with whoever comes by,” she said. “So, we jumped at the opportunity.
“I love Cave Creek, and this is my way of giving back to the community and its merchants and residents,” Spitzer said. “What really makes it work is the amazing group of volunteers that we have. Without them, the door would be closed.”