For years, Sedona, in my mind, was always where U2’s Concert At Red Rocks was held. Don’t know why as that concert was filmed in Colorado. It was the beauty of the surrounding landscape that made me think Sedona..and I wanted to be there, with or without U2. (Couldn’t help myself!) Was it the same..you’re asking me?
Let’s say…I can’t wait to go back. People come to Sedona for its incredible main red sandstone formations – not mountains, I was quickly corrected – the Red Rocks. These glow in whatever light you see them – every color of orange and red, especially at sunrise and sunset. This stunning background has beckoned artists, campers and those in need of rest and relaxation. It is now very popular with those seeking spiritual guidance as well, thanks to the discovery of the vortexes. (For all you grammarians out there – in Sedona, the plural of vortex is vortexes rather than vortices.) These are special sites throughout the town where, they say, the energy assists prayer, meditation and healing. It is hard to define but let’s just say it is good for you! Mix a little good food and shopping and it’s not surprising that you’ll want to come back.
THE COWBOY CLUB
241 North State Route 89A,, Tel: 1 (928) 282-4200
Ever wonder if rattlesnake tasted like chicken? This boisterous restaurant serves up rattlesnake, cactus, buffalo and other tasty Southwest fare you might expect in the wild west. Deep-fried cactus strips with prickly pear dipping sauce, mini buffalo kabobs, and the intimidating rattlesnake in meatball form make up the Appetizer Sampler (see photo). Either a prickly–pear margarita or locally brewed Oak Creek Amber Ale will get you uninhibited and ready to dive in. First, try the safest item on the plate, the cactus strips, buffalo kabobs next, then, gasp, the rattlesnake…well, does it taste like chicken? You will have to find out for yourself. It’s really for the rest of the menu that people flock here: the Cowboy Wedge, a half a head of iceberg lettuce slathered in their homemade blue-cheese dressing, the lip-smacking, finger licking Baby Back Pork Ribs, and a pot roast that grandma would be proud off, thus the name Grandma’s Pot Roast. All topped off with the Hot Fudge Sundae at the end, making your tough climb up Schnebly Hill worth it.
PINK JEEP TOURS
You got do this at least once. It is touristy and silly but it’s got to be done. Pink Jeep was started 50 years ago and know what they are doing. Tours are lively, guides know everything. We did the Scenic Rim since the Broken Arrow Tour was all full…so book early!
771 State Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86336 (928) 203-0105
The guidebooks rave about this spot and with good reason. The chef takes southwest fare and makes it his own. Do not miss the elote starter: the best creamed corn gone mexican you have ever had. As they say on the menu: Fire roasted corn with spicy mayo, lime and Cotija cheese . In fact you’ll want a double order. They don’t take reservations and sometimes the wait is more than an hour…but it’s all quite pleasant. You line up, give your name, then get in the bar line, order the Margarita of the day and then wait on their outside porch for your name to be called. Under the stars in Sedona, it’s not tough especially when they have heaters and blankets for those cool evenings. We bought a cookbook and the chef came out to sign it – I loved that touch!
CHAPEL OF THE HOLY CROSS
780 Chapel Road Sedona, AZ 86336 (928) 282-4069
This spectacularly situated chapel sits perched on one of the many vortexes about 5/10 minutes outside of Sedona proper. The sculptor who commissioned it said, “Though Catholic in faith, as a work of art the Chapel has a universal appeal. Its doors will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed, that God may come to life in the souls of all men and be a living reality.” You really feel the spirituality of the place when inside, on top of the vortex, looking out through the stained glass window. PS. Gave you an inside photo, check out the website for an outside shot!
MONTEZUMA CASTLE NATIONAL MONUMENT
After seeing the chapel, drive down the 179 – a gorgeous drive, by the way, past the tiny town of OAK CREEK toward the Interstate 17. A few miles down, sits Montezuma Castle – which has nothing to do with the Mexican leader Montezuma. It’s all about the Sinagua Tribe down here – they were about to survive although there was not much water round these parts (sin = without, agua = water). It’s technically a 3000 year old apartment building…very cool.
BELL ROCK VORTEX
On your way back on the 179, stop at second entrance to the Bell Rock Vortex and hike up as far as you can. You can park here and the Vortex is right in front of you. It is very well posted and you can make it at least halfway up. You can climb all the way up at your own risk but make sure you have no-slip shoes as it gets a bit steep. The views from even halfway up are amazing and you can sit and be one with nature on one of the many cliffs. Even if you aren’t a hiker, it is worth it to walk around the easy path. You feel amazing after it’s done and are ready for a Prickly Pear Margarita!
TLAQUEPAQUE ARTS & CRAFTS VILLAGE
336 State Route 179
As you make your way back from the Bell Rock Vortex toward town, you should hit this mini-mall. Hacienda in style, it really is quite pretty, even if you don’t want to buy anything. You can get original Native American art, arts and craftsy pots, contemporary art galleries, and the such. There are places to eat and sit outside. There is even a little chapel if you haven’t had enough contemplation and meditation yet this trip.