Highlights of visits to Sedona, Arizona
Where can you find turquoise McDonald’s arches, the mountain that inspired Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and rattlesnake on menus? The answer is Sedona, Arizona. The “M” on the side of McDonald’s is painted turquoise to fit in with the colours of the town. Walt Disney owned property here in the 1940’s and 1950’s and the rock formation Capital Butte helped inspire him to build Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. However, what many people most associate with Sedona is the stunning beauty of the red rock mountains surrounding the town.
Sedona Arizona mountain view
I’ve visited Sedona twice, the first visit over ten years ago, the second this February. Both visits were only a few hours, too short to take in all the town and area have to offer, but enough to feel its charm.
The scenery and outdoor areas around Sedona are worth exploration. You could visit many times and see something different each visit. On our first visit, we drove to Sedona through Oak Creek Canyon on highway 89A, driving south from Flagstaff. Along this snaky road, you’ll find colourful rock formations and tall pine trees. Oak Creek Canyon has been described as a smaller cousin to the Grand Canyon.
On our recent visit, we drove into Sedona from the south on highway 89A from Jerome. This route provides an excellent view of the red sandstone mountains. The deep red colour is due to the presence of hematite, otherwise known as iron oxide or rust, that stain the rock layers. Opportunities for hiking and off-roading abound. You can rent bicycles or ATVs or take a guided off-road tour. Friends recommend the Pink Adventure Tours.
Seven Canyons Golf Club and Villas, Sedona, Arizona
Old Town Sedona, Arizona
In Old Town Sedona, called the tourist part of town by the locals, one can browse through interesting shops or stop for a drink or a meal, with views of the mountains around you. It is here that I saw a roadrunner dash across the street on our first visit. Up until that time, I thought roadrunners existed only in the cartoon world.
Bell Rock near Sedona, one of four vortexes in the area
One can find psychics, card readers, and alternative healers throughout Sedona. If you so desired, you could schedule a psychic reading at one of Sedona’s vortex sites. Vortexes are areas of enhanced energy that facilitate prayer, healing, and connection with the divine. Sedona bookstores and spiritual centres offer lectures and guides to Sedona’s vortex sites. Some claim that there are different types of energy at different vortex sites. Upflow vortex sites, such as Bell Rock, make you feel positive and rejuvenated. Inflow vortex sites are good for introspection and spiritual problem-solving.
Tlequepaque Arts & Crafts Village, Sedona, Arizona
Sedona also has a reputation as an artists’ enclave. Galleries, studios, and gift shops can be found throughout the town. We visited Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, a shopping centre modelled after a traditional Mexican village. The shops are filled with beautiful things, most of which I cannot afford. The centre is a piece of art in itself, with its cobble-stoned walkways, arched entryways, quiet courtyards, and sycamore trees, evoking a sense of calm. In addition to the art, there are a variety of dining options. We ended our day on the patio of
El Rincon Restaurante Mexicano with an excellent
chile rellenos dinner. A friend highly recommends the
Oak Creek Brewery and Grill, also at Tlaquepaque, but we didn’t have time to get there this visit.
Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, Arizona
Before ending our day in Sedona at Tlaquepaque, we visited Chapel of the Holy Cross. Although not one of the four vortexes of Sedona, this Catholic chapel built on the edge of a hill is said to be a place to connect with Sedona’s sacred energy. The front of the chapel is all glass. I don’t know if it would be spectacular or distracting to attend a service with the view of the red mountains in front of you. The view from the grounds around the chapel are certainly worth the walk up the hill. Whether I connected with sacred energy or not, I felt a definite sense of calm and peace. In fact, all of Sedona felt serene.
View from Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, Arizona
Have you been to Sedona? What do you recommend I see or do on my next visit?