Thursday, March 06, 2014


I have mixed feelings about Sedona. On one hand it's a beautiful location with fantastic rocky scenery, good restaurants, and great hiking trails. On the other hand the hillsides are overrun with the mansions of the rich which frankly turns me off a little.

We hadn't decided our plans in advance so we ended up booking a place to stay in Sedona at the last minute (that morning). Trip Advisor showed The Inn on Oak Creek as the #2 rated hotel, and the last minute price was comparable to a chain, so what the heck. I booked through Expedia because that's what came up with the best price. Sometimes hotels treat bookings through web sites like Expedia as second class, but The Inn cheerfully upgraded us to a creek side room without us even asking. We liked the place so much we immediately booked two more nights. They couldn't give us the same room for the third night so they upgraded us again to the huge over the top fancy suite for that night (at no extra charge!) We'd definitely recommend this place.

view from our balcony
the view from our balcony

We were still a little worn out from our hiking and climbing and other activities in Phoenix so the rainy weather in Sedona wasn't a big problem - it gave us an excuse to relax a bit for a change. We still got in a 15 km hike - a loop including the scenic Highline Trail. We ate at Elote and Rene - both very good and both within walking distance of the inn.

Shelley on the Highline Trail
Shelley on the Highline Trail

One of the best parts of travel is serendipity - take advantage of it when you can. About a year ago when we were on our round-the-usa train trip we stopped at the Holland Hotel in Alpine Texas (recommended) to hike in Big Bend National Park (also recommended). Chris Jameson, a young singer/songwriter played at the hotel and we were pretty much the whole audience. (Alpine is a tiny town, and it was off season.) We really enjoyed his music and bought his cd's and listen to them fairly often. Fast forward to this trip. We happen to stop in Sedona, find a place we really like, stay a few extra days, get some bad weather, and visit Page Springs Cellars. While we're tasting wine, we happen to see that they have live entertainment and Chris Jameson is playing the next night. So we came back to hear him and had a great evening sipping wine and listening to great music. Again, we were pretty much the whole audience (although other people were there for the wine). It turns out that he's now living in Jerome, AZ - not far from Sedona.

Of course, serendipity doesn't always work so smoothly. A few years ago when we were traveling in Australia we saw posters for The Pirates of Penzance, a Gilbert and Sullivan musical, that happened to be playing that night. I convinced Shelley it would be good and we bought tickets. It turned out to be a bunch of very young local school kids dressed up as pirates singing and dancing (and falling down). I think we were the only members of the audience that weren't parents! Shelley will never let me live it down.

We also stopped at a birding area just near the winery. We again saw northern cardinals but the best photo I got was pretty poor - just enough to prove we saw them! There was a big group of great blue herons that were fun to watch and photograph. I don't think I've ever seen them in groups in a dry field or perched in the top of tall trees. Maybe they're migrating?

Northern Cardinal
colorful Northern Cardinal

Great Blue Herons
Great Blue Herons

See all 31 photos as a slideshow or overview

See also Shelley's blog post


  1. You have such amazing photos, Andrew but your writing is very informative as well. Thanks for the insights into areas that we may one day visit as well.

  2. Did I actually read the words "worn out from hiking and climbing?" Have loved following your adventures and photos. Safe travels you two!