Chloe, Christopher & Brigitte in the Coconino National Forest
It is hard to imagine a place more beautiful than Napa Valley. But with the impact of the lockdown still lingering, and the idea that traveling to a new area can be the perfect way to refresh and recharge, we recently hit the road for a visit to Sedona, Arizona.
Along with seeking out new cultural and culinary destinations to explore, mountain biking and hiking have become favorite pastimes for us. Both offer a fun way to get outside; something that we can do together. To say that Sedona is a mecca for hiking and mountain biking is a bit of an understatement.
With the dramatic red rocks of Boynton Canyon as a backdrop, we debated about which TV show the line about treating yourself came from. Irrelevant to the incredible scenery of course, but getting some exercise and feeling a sense of connection to nature together—with a little bit of mellow adventure mixed in—seemed like a perfect counterbalance to all the relaxing and fine dining we planned to do.
We could not imagine a better place to reward yourself than the Enchantment Resort and Spa. Aside from being located right at the base of Boynton Canyon, which makes it possible to experience all of the wonderful mountain biking and hiking trails without having to get in the car and drive anywhere, the resort has a unique fine dining option, Che Ah Chi, exclusively available for registered guests.
The restaurant bills itself as modern American cuisine with a Native American influence, centered on locally grown ingredients. With a mouth-watering menu created by Chef Jose Martinez, incomparable views of the canyons and an award-winning wine list, it exceeded all of our expectations.
Our stay at the L’Auberge de Sedona was also an incredibly memorable experience. In addition to an unforgettable spa and a variety of distinct cottages/lodge accommodations, the resort offers unique revitalization retreats and a creek-side restaurant that is a perfect complement to the property’s transcendent natural beauty. The cuisine at Cress on Oak Creek is Southern European-style, with a blend of inspired local ingredients hand-selected from Northern Arizona purveyors.
If that were not enough, we were able to tour the scenic Coconino National Forest inside a rugged and modern Jeep Wrangler, as a part of our time with Sedona Jeep Tours. This might have been my favorite part of the trip, as it provided us with a chance to go four-wheeling on top of the iconic red rocks and view incredible scenery that would be difficult or next to impossible to see otherwise.
Another place I would love to revisit, whether in person or in a daydream, would have to be Elote Café, an award-winning Mexican/Southwestern-themed restaurant. Led by chef/owner Jeff Smedstad and overlooking the red rocks, the place has a fun vibe and delicious fare incorporating seasonal, locally-grown ingredients, plus a diverse cocktail menu highlighted by the finest tequilas and mescal.
For us, the only bad thing about the trip was seeing it come to an end. Simply put, Sedona is well-worth the time and effort, so I have to ask, did it remind you of anywhere you’ve been? Is there something we missed seeing or a restaurant you would like to recommend? Chris and I are always searching for new destinations to visit and I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and insights, as always.