Vacation Sedona, Arizona
West Meets Nouveau Chic
Famous Cathedral Rock
SEDONA, ARIZONA TRIP: DAY
enjoy Sedona in all its scenic glory. Set your alarm
to wake you for an early morning hot air balloon or
helicopter ride, where you'll see the sights from
above. An ancient ruins tour, via helicopter, ventures
into canyons unreachable by foot, revealing preserved
archaeological sites made of stacked sandstone or carved
into elevated caves.
a big day ahead, treat yourself to a hearty breakfast
at Coffee Pot Restaurant in West Sedona.
Don't be put off if there's a wait at the
door; instead, peruse the gift shop, which is filled
with unique items from the owners' adventures
around the world. From Indonesian carvings and tapestries
to Oaxacan dishware and sculptures, international delights
are this shop's specialties. Coffee Pot offers
your usual breakfast foods, from pecan waffles to bacon
and eggs, plus huevos rancheros, and a selection of
101 omelets. Lunch items are available as well, but
good luck ignoring the list of tempting omelets.
and stuffed, you'll need to burn off that breakfast
with a hike or mountain bike ride exploring Sedona's
sights from the ground. Mountain Bike Heaven, Absolute Bikes and Sedona Bike
& Bean offer mountain bike rentals and
trail maps. There are plenty of hikes in Sedona and
its surrounding environs — more than one million
acres of Coconino National Forest border
this town, after all. Our favorite hike is West Fork,
located about ten miles north of Sedona in Oak
Creek Canyon, but Cathedral Rock and Devil's Bridge are other
West Fork trail starts at an old homestead, where you
can check out a long-abandoned chicken coop and the
remnants of a home. Continuing on, apple trees lead
the way to Oak Creek, which has blessed this trail with
plenty of greenery, from butterscotch-scented ponderosa
pine trees to yucca, blackberry bushes and fern meadows.
This beautiful trail is an easy, flat hike, but be a
little careful on its numerous creek-crossings, which
may require good balance to skip from rock to rock,
lest you end up with a wet shoe. There are plenty of
places to take a dip, and if you follow the trail far
enough, you'll have to wade to get deep into this
your way back to town, stop for a snack at Indian
Gardens Trading Post, where the deli/general
store can quench any thirst or soothe any hunger pangs
from the hike. The back patio is shaded by sycamore
trees and makes for a wonderful place to rest those
tired feet. Next door, Garland's Indian
Jewelry may feature the most impressive collection
of first-rate Native American jewelry in the country.
If you're serious about finding quality, one-of-a-kind
works of wearable art, Garland's is a must.
If you opted for a Sedona hike, numerous
delis and gourmet take-out locations abound on Hwy 89A
in West Sedona, including vegetarian and raw food restaurants. One to try: ChocolaTree Organic Oasis. This beautiful eatery includes a garden sanctuary where it grows its "happy vegetables, fruits, berries and herbs." The restaurant itself features a 100 per cent ganic menu with diverse raw and cooked options that are entirely processed-sugar-free. They also have their own chocolate shop.
adventure continues with Pink Jeep Tours to explore Red Rock Country in off-road style. Many
different trail options and price levels are available,
but the most popular tours sell out in high season,
so make a reservation and hold on to your hats! The
Jeep drivers are an entertaining bunch, full of information
to answer inevitable questions like “What makes
the rocks red?” and “What is a vortex?”
Pink Jeep Dwarfed by Red Rocks
back to your hotel to rinse off the dust from the day's
activities and regroup. Take a trip to The Art
of Wine in The Shops at Hyatt Piñon Pointe to taste a flight of Arizona wines in a chic, polished
atmosphere. Some locals admit to developing a taste
for wine after meeting some of this wine bar's
there's time, consider going to the top of Airport
Mesa to enjoy the desert sunset — a bird's-eye
view of the entire town makes this lookout point a must
some time during your stay.
dinner, enjoy spectacular views and sumptuous cuisine
Hillside Grill, located at Hillside Sedona
on Hwy 179. Start with the blackened shrimp saganaki
and for the main course try the whiskey barbecued duck
or scallops Sedona — colossal sea scallops stuffed
with crab and wrapped in bacon. Or delight in a charming
evening at the French-country-style Heartline
Café, where chef/owner Chuck Cline
serves up inventive seasonal dishes for every preference including
lemon gremolata topped black cod with lobster mashed potatoes, seared Hudson Valley duck breast potatoes cooked in confit withgrilled lemon and rosemary, and chive papparadelle pasta with roasted butternut squash, garlic brown butter and oyster mushrooms.
a pleasant end to this long day, relax and appreciate
Sedona's dark skies as you stargaze from your
hotel and sip on Arizona wines that you purchased earlier.
Breathe deep, take in the fresh mountain air and get
ready to indulge tomorrow.
to Day 3
* Cathedral Rock photo from Sedona
Chamber of Commerce. Pink Jeep photos from www.pinkjeep.com.
Shugrue's Grill photo from www.shugrues.com
(Updated: 02/27/12 SG)