Everybody Loves Sedona

© Diane Goldberg

Everyone loves Sedona. Really. But, they’re all in love with a different town. Some of them come to bask in luxury. Others come to commune with the unearthly red rocks. Still others come to wallow in foodie culture. Some folks may come to see the setting of their favorite cowboy movies. Or hike. Or shop. Or for the concentration of spas unique to the setting.

Touted by glossy travel mags as one of the top ten beauty spots in the USA. Celebrated in the shabby chic press as New Age Central and the home of spiritual enlightenment for a price. Sedona is a multifaceted little town that’s a haven for hikers, nightlife lovers, conspicuous consumers, the stressed, distressed, nature boys, family groups, and the sort of spontaneous traveler who take a four-day weekend to search for the perfect margarita.

Whatever brings you to Sedona; the best first thing to do is the Sedona Trolley Tour (928-282-4211). With scheduled starts from 10 AM until 5 Pm the Trolley’s two routes are the perfect orientation to Sedona and the surrounding sights. You’ll learn enough lore and legend to make sense of surroundings, see the jump off points for several hiking trails, and get grounded in the gallery and shopping scenes. The cost is $9 for one route or $16 for a two-route ticket. In addition to hearing the history of the Chapel of the Holy Cross and seeing a spectacular view of Boynton Canyon the Trolley tour was my introduction to what’s amazing about Sedona. I’d taken Gator’s Sedona Village Shuttle (928-282-0510) a handy little service that will get you anywhere in the area from the Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa (928-284-4040) to pick up the Trolley Tour. I had the pick up point for the Trolley wrong. Not to worry, Gary Carons from Gator Shuttle trucked me around town until we found it. Then few of my fellow tourists overstayed their time at one of the photo ops. I panicked wondering how I’d get back to my hotel. I was sure that Gator’s Shuttle would zoom off without me. Not to worry the trolley driver told me, if the Shuttle left, he’d be more than happy to take to me to the Hilton. After all, Gator was his buddy. When the Trolley made the last stop, there sat Gary in his Gator Shuttle, he’d waited for thirty minutes, he wouldn’t leave knowing that I was depending on him.

The Hilton Sedona Spa and Resort is the perfect base for honeymooners, hikers, or hedonists. Many of the most luxurious resorts in the area are timeshares, most of them cluster near the downtown strip, located a few miles away from the main commercial drag the Hilton is paradise with room service. The concierge desk can arrange day trips, tours, restaurant reservations and transportation. The spa features a holistic approach that centers on the staff carefully consulting with clients regarding exactly which services are right for the individual. The on-site restaurant, The Grille at Shadowrock serves an interesting mix of heart healthy choices that seem decadent as well as meat-based meals that are decadent. The resort is nonsmoking in all indoor areas.

Sedona offers access to several U. S. Forest Service Hiking Trails with ratings ranging from easy to strenuous. In the West Sedona area Boynton Canyon, Trail number 47 is an easy hike that gradually climbs 400 feet following Dry Creek Road to Boynton Pass. Its entrance is accessible next to Enchantment Resort (a spot you’ll see on the Sedona Trolley Tour.) Also in the area look out for the Kachina Woman, a rock formation that seems to be a laughing woman.

Sedona is infested with vortexes and energy spots. Many people relay anecdotal tales of seeing auras, hearing unusual sounds, and experiencing healing energy. Bell Rock Vortex is reputedly the site of sounds and is supposed to attract UFOs. For a more western approach to spirituality and a great view, visit The Chapel of the Holy Cross, from "uptown" Sedona; take 179 south toward the Village of Oak Creek. Turn left on Chapel Road. Every Monday at 5 PM there’s a brief evening prayer service in this modern chapel set into the red rocks. The more skeptical who simply want to watch the sunset from a great vantage point should check out the Sedona Airport Restaurant (928-282-3576) for casual dining in a photo op setting.

Sedona is low on the kitsch factor; most shopping is akin to a gallery crawl. If you crave the touristy you’ll have to make do with one of the t-shirts on sale that’s been dyed red using the area’s iron rich soil as a natural dye. But brush off the clothes you bring with you to avoid making your very own Red Rock shirts, shorts, and shoes, the stuff stains and is best shaken off before tossing in the wash. Sunscreen and water are your must haves; you can dehydrate rapidly in the dry air.


This page was last modified on 28 November 2011 at 22:03

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