Continuing our week-long visit to Arizona. Read the first write-up here.
After wrapping up our sunny Frank Lloyd Wright tour in North Scottsdale, we grabbed lunch and a couple beers at Four Peaks Brewery. We then spent the next couple hours prepping for the Phoenix Coyotes vs. Detroit Redwings hockey game we were attending that night. (And by prepping, I mean, repeatedly asking myself what one wears to a hockey game in the desert. Hot outside, cold inside. That’s a serious fashion predicament, my friends.)
Anyway, after picking up Kevin at work, we drove out to Glendale, where the Jobing.com arena is located. Aside from the massive Arizona Cardinals stadium and the Jobing.com arena, there really wasn’t much else out there. Just endless rows of parking spaces… until we stepped onto the arena grounds. Surrounding the entrance was an impressive sports entertainment complex. Kind of like an outdoor mall with big screens and bars and lots of foot traffic. It was a great pre-game destination — one that I hope St. Louis’ Ballpark Village can emulate.
Although Mikey and I are die-hard St. Louis Blues fans, we rooted for the Coyotes (because we can’t stand the Redwings). Sadly, the Redwings came out on top that night, and there were surprisingly a ton of their fans there to celebrate the victory.
The next morning, we packed up our belongings and drove north to Red Rock Country aka Sedona. Located only a couple hours away from Scottsdale, the drive was easy as pie.
We checked into our room at the Amara Resort & Spa and headed straight to the pool to lounge around with prickly pear margaritas (for me) and Oak Creek beers (for him). The water was a bit on the chilly side, but the views were pretty great.
In addition to the pool and hot tub, the Amara had some other great perks like free valet, a free shuttle to anywhere within a mile of the resort and pitchers of fresh lemon water at every turn. Below the pool, there’s also a pathway along Oak Creek. It was a nice leisurely stroll. For any yogis out there, they also offer a free yoga class at 6am, but I’m the last person you’ll find up that early on vacation, so that was a perk I didn’t experience. The resort’s proximity to shops and restaurants couldn’t have been better either. Most of the places were completely walkable.
That evening, we dined at Che Ah Chi (the Apache name for Boynton Canyon) on the Enchantment Resort. I didn’t take any photos, but the view we had out the window of a full moon was spectacular. I had the Beef Short Ribs. He had the Wagyu Steak (an American take on Kobe beef that was simply phenomenal). And we left completely stuffed and enchanted, as I’m sure the resort would be happy to know.
The following day, we walked up the hill from the Amara to grab coffee and a light breakfast at the Pink Java Cafe, and by 11:00 it was time for massages at the Amara Spa. The way I see it, you can’t go to Sedona without getting a massage.
A couple hours later, it was time for our Pink Jeep tour through the Coconino National Forest, up 2,000 feet to the top of the Mogollon Rim. That was where I think we got to experience the real Sedona. We saw stunning red rock formations just as the sun was setting. Our tour guide, Ray-Ray (featured on the Travel Channel as one of Samantha Brown’s Pink Jeep tour guides) knew all the great photo locations and was nice enough to snap more than a few photos of the hubs and me.
By the time we returned to our hotel, we were ready for dinner. So we quickly set off for the Oak Creek Brewery. Unfortunately, the wait list was long. The service was terribly slow. And there were a lot of visibly frustrated customers that the wait staff and hostess table didn’t care to console. On a positive note, the beer was good! The Nut Brown Ale goes down as my favorite Arizona beer.
Our time in Sedona was quick, but I felt like two days and nights were enough to cover what we wanted to see and do — although I didn’t get a chance to find a vortex. At least that will give me an excuse to go back.
Next up, the Grand Canyon…