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Sedona is one of my favorite places in the world. I never expected a random land-locked area in the middle of Arizona to hold that title… but you know what they say: Love always comes to you when you’re not looking for it!
I found Sedona by accident. I was driving from Tucson to the Grand Canyon and decided to take U.S. Scenic Byway 89A thanks to a local’s suggestion. I’ve never been a hippie dippy, but as I drove closer, Sedona grabbed my chakra by the orbs and said, “WAKE UP.” I had to pull over; the place just does something to your soul. It’s not just the smell of the lush juniper tree forests… or the towering red rock against a royal blue sky… or the absolutely vivid landscape you’ll never have enough camera memory for. It’s a feeling that many have experienced and attempted to explain – is it natural beauty? Spiritual? Extra-terrestrial? I’m not sure, but I’m officially addicted.
Honestly, I think Sedona is better than the Grand Canyon. That’s right, I said it. I know, I just committed National Monument Blasphemy, but let me explain. The Grand Canyon isn’t exactly accessible; it’s a celebrity. You drive forever, you wait in line, you stare at it in awe, you take pictures… but you don’t really talk with it. Sedona, however, is right there with open arms. Whether you’ve got 2 minutes to grab a coffee or 2 hours to go on a Pink Jeep Tour, you’re going to see some amazing stuff.
The Airport Vortex
.5 miles up Airport Rd. on the left from 89A
“Airport Vortex” doesn’t sound very glamorous compared to the rest, but it’s the lazy-man’s shortcut to experiencing a vortex and an incredible view.
If you’re saying “Wait. Backup. What the hell is a Vortex?” check out this VORTEX GUIDE for an explanation and map of Sedona’s 4 vortexes.
Palatki Heritage Site
Forest Road 525 to Forest Road 795, Sedona
There are two short paths from the parking lot – one leads you to the Sinagua cliff dwellings, the other to cave drawings. The cliff dwellings can only be viewed from afar, which was disappointing (They’re working on building a viewing platform). However, I found myself fascinated with the cave drawing area. You can get just inches away from layers and layers of paintings and carvings. Several native cultures of the Verde Valley acquired the alcoves over time, and “made their mark” over the previous occupants’ work. Volunteer guides are camped out at both locations, and are brimming with historical information if you inquire. They will also show you pottery artifacts and demonstrate how the paint was made with rocks picked up right off the ground! And yes – you can totally get your face painted if you so desire.
Call Palatki Heritage Site at (928) 282-3854 between 9:30am and 3pm to make a reservation, and for help with directions! The “reservation” is more of a courtesy call to let them know you’re coming. Some travelers have been wary of the dirt roads and warn to do it only with an SUV… are they joking?! I did it just fine in an RX8, which is an extremely low to the ground sports car with rear wheel drive… I just had to inch my way over about two spots that were a bit rocky.
Pink Java Cafe
206 N State Rt 89A, Sedona
Chapel of the Holy Cross
780 Chapel Road, Sedona
Is that a cross on the side of the mountain or am I just feeling enlightened? Whether you’re religious or not, you’ll agree that this ain’t yo’ grandma’s chapel. The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a work of art described by its builder as “A spiritual fortress so charged with God, that it spurs man’s spirit godward”. Whew! I guess just about everything is intense in Sedona! Parking is free on the road below, and complimentary golf-cart rides are available to the top. Sorry ladies, no weddings permitted.