Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sedona, Arizona

I never knew about this little gem in Arizona until I came across it when planning my first trip to the Grand Canyon.  The more I read, the more intrigued I became with the town nestled in the great red rocks.  I decided to spend one night there, just to see what was all about and have returned there for longer visits.  It is a beautiful and some believe, a magical place.

Sedona sits in the Arizona desert (about 113 miles from Phoenix to the south and 114 miles from the Grand Canyon to the North) and is surrounded by enormous red rock buttes, steep canyon walls and beautiful pine forests.  You can do your sightseeing by horseback, by jeep or even by hot air balloon. It is home to numerous trailheads and Red Rock State Park which offers great hiking.  We chose to investigate on our own and stumbled upon ancient pueblo ruins just outside of town.  A ranger took us on a private tour we actually could walk in the rooms of the ancient people that built these amazing shelters.

If wandering around in the Arizona desert (home to at least a dozen poisonous species) doesn't appeal to you there is plenty to do in Sedona.  It is home to more that 40 art galleries and artwork abounds in the town.  You can also pamper yourself at more than a dozen spa facilities.  Many tourists visit solely to experience the vortex energy centers in the area.  The Native Americans have always considered this area to be sacred and a place for healing and spiritual rejuvenation.  Modern man has contributed to the popularity of Sedona as well.  There is a recreated Mexican village, complete with cobblestone streets that is full of shops and restaurants and is a great way to while away a couple of hours.  One of my personal favorite man made attractions is the Chapel of the Holy Cross which was designed by Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and sits nestled in the gorgeous red rocks.  It happens to be a Roman Catholic church but no matter what your belief it is well worth a visit.

Again, there all kinds of accommodations in Sedona.  There are many luxury properties (including spa resorts) but I have always stayed at the Best Western Arroyo Roble Hotel and Creekside Villas.  On our first visit, we just booked a standard room and the views were spectacular and when traveling with the kids we booked one of their villas, which was great.  It is close to  attractions, within walking distance of some restaurants and shops and offers free breakfast. It is a great mid-range hotel and I will stay there again when I return.  

There are a wide variety of restaurants in Sedona for every palate and pocketbook.  Depending on the time of year, reservations may be a good idea.  During peak tourist time, the lines can get long.  Again, I recommend that you try the local fare, we really enjoyed  buffalo burgers with cactus fries.  We ordered it again on our return.  Be adventurous, why eat something that you can get at home!

If you want to take a beautiful drive from Sedona, head for Oak Creek Canyon.  Words won't do it justice but if scenic drives are your thing don't miss it.  You will also find the local Navajo selling their wares along the way.  If you are a sucker for Native American turquoise jewelry, like I am, you will find everything imaginable at a really fair price.  We purchased an original piece of art painted on a piece of red rock and spoke with the artist at length.  It is one of our most cherished souvenirs.

So, if you are headed to the Grand Canyon, consider stopping in Sedona for a couple of days.  It is a place worth exploring and will leave lasting, cherished memories.

Until next time, safe travels!

Quote of the Week:  People don’t take trips, trips take people.     ----John Steinbeck