The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway in Arizona
Twice a year I travel to sunny Scottsdale for my TAMS (Travel Agency Management Solutions) meeting. Traditionally, my trip has involved a long connecting flight followed by two days of intense and enlightening meetings which leave me thoroughly drained as I rush home to return to the office with a notebook full of ideas and a body full of exhaustion. This hurried pace often leaves little time for reflection and pondering about how I will once again take on the world of travel. However, on my most recent trip to Scottsdale in February, I decided that a few days after my meeting with my significant only, Gary, and visit the immense beauty of Sedona, Arizona was just what the doctor ordered.
As we began our two hour journey north from Scottsdale and began to climb in elevation, you could instantly see a change in the landscape. The saguaro cacti began to slowly disappear and mountains emerged in the distance. Along the way Gary had suggested a stop at the Caduceus Winery in the historic, and most haunted, town of Jermone and I couldn’t have been happier that he did. This town of only about 400 residents is perched atop the mountain and is by-far one of the coolest places I have been. The houses are placed one on top of the other and connected by a main road, which winds up the mountain and past stores, galleries, restaurants and, oh yes, some of the most delicious wineries. With the location similar to a village in Tuscany and the charm of the old west, Jerome was both fascinating and fun and a must see for any traveler looking to take in true Americana.
After a wonderful afternoon in Jerome we continued north on to the city of Sedona and the Enchantment Resort. This resort is located about 15 minutes outside of the city of Sedona in a remote canyon at one of Sedona’s well know vortexes, which made it perfect for our sun rise hikes and mountain biking adventures. With red rock canyon walls rising on three sides of the resort, this locale provides, spectacular views, unlimited outdoor activities such as; hiking, biking, tennis, health & wellness classes and an extensive kids programs. The rooms are spacious and the Mii Amo spa provides a feel of serenity that is sure to please even the most discerning of guests. With an 18 million dollar renovation to the lobby and restaurant close to completion, the Enchantment Resort is perfect for guests who want lots of options in an environment that is truly relaxing and laid back.
The Twisted Branches of the Juniper
The vortexes of Sedona were of particular interest to me, as I had heard that they have healing powers and provide one with a sense of energy and a renewed spirit, which I definitely felt I needed. There are vortexes located around the world; some of which major monuments have been built on, such as the Great Pyramid in Egypt, Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia and the Bermuda Triangle. So, with a map from the concierge and a good pair of hiking shoes, Gary and I set off to find our Mecca in the desert. After a short hike with a beautiful view, we arrived at the first of Sedona’s four major vortexes. As I understand it, the vortex is a spot earth where a strong amount of energy is released in almost a tornado like fashion and you definitely get that feeling, as the traditionally strait juniper trees that sit on the vortex have braches that are completely twisted like a pretzel.
Our visit to Sedona would not have been complete without a visit to the local artist galleries and shopping venues. Although I found uptown to be a bit too touristy for my taste, the Tlaquepague Arts & Crafts Village was right up my alley. Tlaquepague, meaning “best of everything”, has over 40 specialty shops including art galleries featuring local artists, restaurants and wine bars. Built in the 1970 as a Mexican style village with vine covered stucco walls, cobble stoned walkways and magnificent arched entryways, you have the distinct feeling that it has been here for centuries. Although the dining experiences are unlimited, I highly recommend a stop at the Oak Creek Brewery for one of their freshly brewed beers and, if you are very patient soul, dinner at Elote, just up the street is a must, however, be prepared to wait up to two hours in line, since they do not take reservations. If you have the patience of a saint, then you won’t be disappointed.
L'Auberge Resort in Sedona
Our visit to Sedona concluded with a brunch and tour of the L’Auberge Resort. Located in the heart of Sedona and within walking distance of almost everything, this resort is the perfect local directly on Oak Creek. The placement of the resort and the sound of the babbling creek completely drowned out the busyness of the world above and give guests the feel that you have been transported to a whole different world. Cabin accommodations are strategically perched on the hill, giving them the perfect view of the Red Rooks above and although the log cabin exteriors may look rustic, they are certainly not. With modern and bright décor, some with fireplaces and outdoor showers, these cottages are perfect for a romantic getaway. The restaurant is located along the side of the creek and offers wonderful outdoor dining when weather permits, which almost always and one can’t forget to take the time to feed the resident ducks or sit by a campfire, as these are some of L’Auberge Resorts best kept secrets.
Our weekend getaway had to come to an end but not without an overnight at the Canyon Suites at the Phoenician in Scottsdale. Just 15 minutes from the Sky Harbor Airport, this resort was the perfect location for our early morning flight home and was a wonderful combination of an exclusive, concierge style experience, combined with all of the choices and activities that the Phoenician has to offer. Located on the property of the Phoenician, the Canyon Suite, with our own private entrance, lobby and pool and suite that included many wonderful complimentary amenities, this was a perfect way to end our journey. As our personal ambassador, Julian, persuaded us to dine in one of the many restaurants at the Phoenician and temped us with rounds of golf and spa treatments, wild horses couldn’t have pried us out of our Canyon Suite. I’m not sure if it was the palatial estate we called home or the feeling of relaxation we had gathered from Sedona but this was, in fact, the perfect ending to a perfect Arizona getaway. Of course I still returned to my office with all the fresh ideas and plans we had made at our TAMS meeting but I was now rested, relaxed and ready to take on the world.