Sedona, Arizona Travel Guide
West Meets Nouveau Chic
by Monica Galvan and Angele Sionna
from the Sky or in a Pink Jeep, Sedona is Breathtaking
has many faces — an old Western town
with deep cowboy roots, an outdoor adventurer's
dream, a metaphysical mecca for relaxation and rejuvenation,
and, increasingly, a destination for fine arts and
culture. Whatever the motive behind your visit to
this Arizona gem, the city's red-rock monoliths
undoubtedly define its draw. More than 350 million
years in the making, stunning crimson buttes and
mesas surround this quaint town, leaving visitors
awestruck as they watch the red rocks glow in changing
light against clear cobalt skies.
just a dusty stop on the way to the Grand
Canyon, Sedona has developed remarkably
over the past half-century. It was founded
in 1902 by T.C. Schnebly, who named the town after
his beloved wife, Sedona, but it only became incorporated
in 1988. The location, situated next to spring-fed Oak Creek, proved to be a habitable
place for early settlers who farmed everything from
apples to wine grapes in this high-desert climate.
1950s and 1960s saw a huge influx of artists to
the area, after Egyptian sculptor Nassan Gobran
created Sedona Arts Center with
the help of local arts enthusiasts including German
surrealist Max Ernst. Sedona became an artists'
hub, where creative people flocked to learn and
work together in a naturally inspiring environment.
The Cowboy Artists of America, one of this country's
most prestigious arts alliances, was formed in a
back booth at a local tavern, now the Cowboy Club. Since then, many renowned
national and international artists have called Sedona
Western film fans, many of Sedona's red-rock
formations will look familiar, more than 60 Hollywood flicks
have been filmed here, including "Tall in
the Saddle" and "Billy the Kid." Sedona's film connection continues today with the annual Sedona International Film Festival every February/March, which draws top actors, directors and writers.
a lot has changed since Sedona's early days,
but locals are proud of this town's roots,
even naming businesses and streets after the area's
ancient Native American tribes and Western movies.
Now prestigious galleries, renowned restaurants
and award-winning resorts and spas thrive in Sedona,
which make it a great place to reconnect with nature
while still indulging in all the finer things in
vary greatly in price range and amenities, but families
might consider such options as the reliable Hilton
Sedona Resort & Spa; a quaint bed
and breakfast like The
Inn Above Oak Creek; or the modern, centrally
Resort & Spa, A Kimpton Hotel. Luxury accommodations
include El Portal, L'Auberge
de Sedona and the internationally heralded Enchantment
Resort and Mii
amo Destination Spa at Enchantment located in beautiful Boynton Canyon and surrounded
by Coconino National Forest on all sides.
SEDONA, ARIZONA ITINERARY DAY
acquainted and don't be ashamed to be a tourist
today. Start the day off with a sound breakfast that
won't eat up too much of your time. Head to Wildflower
Bread Company in uptown Sedona, where you can
choose from such items as a honey-cured ham and brie
frittata, banana walnut pancakes or a simple fruit salad
drizzled with yogurt and granola. If it's not
too hot, snag a seat on the outdoor patio, where views
of this town's most famous red-rock formations
abound; look for Snoopy lying on his back, and Sedona's
icon, Cathedral Rock, in the distance
to the southwest.
you're ready to take on Sedona's Main
Street, which is host to all things tourist-friendly.
Take your obligatory walk through uptown's galleries
and souvenir shops. If you're looking for rubber tomahawks
or red-dirt T-shirts, you've come to the right
place. Art lovers will be pleased to find an eclectic
selection of fine art at Goldenstein Gallery,
beautiful Indian jewelry and Native American artwork
at Turquoise Tortoise Gallery,
and impressive locally-crafted sculptures, paintings
and photography at Sedona Arts Center,
the gallery that started it all. History
buffs may want to stop by Sedona Heritage Museum,
located on Jordan Road, to see old photos and learn
about this city's past.
Arts & Crafts Village
Next, head down Hwy 179 from Hwy 89A to explore Gallery Row. First stop: Hillside Sedona, a shopping center where pleasant landscaping complements shops, restaurants (including Javelina Cantina and Shugrue's Hillside Grill) and, yes, galleries. For a dose of contemporary art, visit Gallery of Modern Masters and wander around Hillside Sedona while taking in sweeping red-rock views in every direction.
Continue back toward uptown to Hozho Center,
where you'll find numerous fine-art galleries
such as James Ratliff Gallery, Lanning
Gallery and Turquoise Tortoise Gallery. Following
the road north a short distance, be sure to stop at Garland's Navajo Rugs, a beautiful
gallery featuring the largest selection of Navajo rugs
in the world. If you're lucky, you may see some
of the weavers bringing their work inside to sell at
the street, you'll find Tlaquepaque Arts
& Crafts Village, a beautiful Spanish-style
town-within-the-town, where charming cobblestone streets,
towering sycamore trees and stately fountains bring
Old World appeal to this Southwestern town. More fine
art galleries abound, including Kuivato Glass
Gallery and Point of Sedona Gallery, which features an eclectic collection of southwestern art.
at Tlaquepaque, stop for lunch at one of its popular
Rincon, where Mexican food and margaritas
are mainstays; The Secret Garden Café,
a serene garden setting with fresh salads and delectable
desserts in a small bistro atmosphere; Oak Creek Brewery and Grill for one of their many award-winning beers and a burger; or René
at Tlaquepaque, which offers a more luxurious
dining experience with
menu selections ranging from Kobe beef burgers to rack
of lamb carved tableside. If you want to let your big lunch settle in or have children with you on your trip, you may want to stop for a quick round of miniature golf at the back of Tlaquepaque. The mini golf and small adjoining park are hidden treasures under large trees that block the sun for an even better time.
and ready to see more sights, drive north on Main Street
(Hwy 89A) into Oak Creek Canyon. This
lush riparian area is a welcome relief from the summer
heat, and the red-rock mountains studded with cottonwood,
oak and ponderosa pine trees make for one of this state's
most scenic drives any time of year. Fall brings amber
and orange leaves to this winding canyon road, and winter
offers majestic views of snow-sprinkled peaks.
five miles into the canyon, Slide Rock State
Park features a natural water slide eroded
into slick rock surrounded by massive rock walls, as
well as a 43-acre apple orchard and historic barn. The
slide makes this park a favorite of kids and families,
and summer days can get quite crowded. A green meadow
is the perfect field for tossing a Frisbee, and picnic
benches surround the park offer a welcome spot to enjoy
of the Holy Cross
you've dipped your feet into Oak Creek or taken
a full-fledged swim at Slide Rock, head back down the
canyon into uptown Sedona for a sunset trolley tour. Sedona Trolley offers two routes, one
into the quiet serenity of Boynton Canyon and other breathtaking vistas, and one up
to Chapel of the Holy Cross, a historic
Sedona landmark offering divine views. Each option is
about an hour long, and the tour guides will share all
kinds of geologic and historical information about the
Sedona offers many dining options on Main Street, but
for dinner try the famous Cowboy
Club Grille & Spirits, where creative
renditions of Southwestern fare grace the menu, from
rattlesnake, cactus and buffalo to prime cuts of steak.
dinner, a little window-shopping may be in order, or a drink at Canyon Breeze bar. Here, you can sit outside on comfortable chairs as you star gaze or watch how the moonlight changes the look of the red rocks below. The
Black Cow Café, located a few doors
down from Cowboy Club, serves homemade ice cream and
pastries for folks with a sweet tooth.
to Day 2
* Top Sedona Photo from www.pinkjeep.com.
Uptown Sedona photo from Sedona
Chamber of Commerce. Amara Creekside Resort photo
Tlaquepaque photo from www.tlaq.com.
Kuivato Glass Gallery photo from www.kuivato.com.
Slide Rock State Park photo from www.azparks.gov.
Chapel of the Holy Cross photo from www.chapeloftheholycross.com