Exploring Sedona

by Julie Cohn

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Yesterday was the 100th birthday of  Arizona’s statehood.  Our state had changed much over the past 100 years, but we still have a little wild west in us, just as Arizonians did in 1912.  If you have not already had the opportunity to visit Arizona, I hope you will learn something new, and perhaps be inspired to visit.  If you have already visited Arizona, please share stories of your experience, and think about coming back, as there is so much beauty in this state!  Our first stop?  Exploring Sedona!

Exploring Sedona

It continuously surprises me at the number of people who are not familiar with Sedona, especially considering it is one of the most beautiful areas of the United States!

Sedona is known for it’s red rocks, but when I say rocks, I don’t mean small boulders, I mean ROCKS…giant spectacular formations of red sandstone, each a natural architecture of crimson, brushing against our brilliant Arizona blue skies.  It’s difficult to describe exactly how spectacular the Sedona rocks are, but their names give credence to their magnificence, such as Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, The Coffee Pot, and Devil’s Bridge.  Don’t just rely on there photos to experience Sedona, though…to get a true sense of their beauty, you have to visit the rocks in person.  To stand small among its majestic beauty,  is to re-affirm all that is wondrous of this world.

Cathedral Rock

Known for its vast network of hiking trails and parks, Sedona is an outdoor lovers dream.  If you are not into hiking, there are several thrilling jeep tours to take you deep into the canyons surrounding Sedona.  There are several state parks in the Sedona area, including Red Rock, Slide Rock, and our favorite, Crescent Moon Ranch (within Red Rock Park).  When you visit Sedona, be sure to come for sunrise, and stay for sunset, as the sun casts a brilliant glow on the rocks that is absolutely breathtaking!

Oak Creek

One of my favorite places to visit in Sedona, is the Chapel of Holy Cross, a Roman Catholic chapel built right into the rocks.  One cannot help feel a spiritual connection when within the beautiful chapel.  It is a small chapel though, so come early, and expect a packed house if you stay for mass.  The Chapel of the Holy Cross was modeled after the Empire State Building, and the chapel was designed so that at sunset, the light of radiates into the chapel.Sedona is more than just rocks, though.  A thriving art and new-age community, Sedona has an abundance of shops to satisfy every whim, including native American art and jewelry. Two of my favorite shopping areas are Tlaquepaque, a beautiful art village, modeled after the town of Guadalajara, Mexico; and Hillside Sedona, with its many art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.  Some facts about Sedona:

  • Sedona was named after Sedona Arabelle Miller Schnebly, the wife of the first postmaster.
  • The sandstone that forms the Sedona rocks, was formed during the Permian period, and is only found in that general area.
  • Sedona has a more temperate climate than Phoenix, with mild winters (sometimes with a little snow) and warm, dry summers.
  • Yavapei and Apache Indian tribes resided in this area for hundreds of years, until they were forcibly moved to the San Carlos Indian Reservation in 1876.
  •  More than 60 television and movie productions have filmed in the Sedona area, including John Ford’s Stage Coach, Angel and the Bad Man, Billy The Kid, The Quick and The Dead, and Starman.
  • Sedona hosts the Sedona International Film Festival, with past recipients including:  Ed Asner, Sean Young, Ann Miller, Diane Ladd, Ted Danson, and Donald O’Conner.
  • The drive on 89A, from Flagstaff through Oak Creek Canyon, is considered one of the most scenic drives in the United States, according to Rand McNally.
  • Sedona is 130 miles north of Phoenix, two hours south of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and 40 miles south of Flagstaff.
  • New Age enthusiasts from all over the world come to Sedona to experience it’s “new age” centers of energy, or vortexes.  I don’t know if the vortexes really exist, but it is certainly a life-altering, peaceful experience to be among this beautiful landscape.

*Hint:  One of the more spectacular places to photograph Sedona, is up near the Sedona Airport.  Here, you have the vantage point of the vast panorama of the Sedona area, especially at sunset.

Chapel of The Holy Cross
A chapel in Tlaquepaque Village
Tlaquepaque Village
Tlaquepaque Village
Vortex rocks near Oak Creek  
With my sister and brother-in-law at the Sedona Airport.

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