Sedona is a scenic two-hour drive from North Scottsdale. One of the prettiest towns in Northern Arizona and home to the famous red rock mountains, some named according to the image they conjure up such as Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock.
Visitors to Sedona are sure to leave better than when they arrived, if not on account of it's healing powers from the Vortex it is said to be - a swirling center of energy conducive to healing, meditation and inspiration. If the Vortex doesn't uplift or recharge your spirit, the sheer beauty, clean fresh air, good food and hospitality of the locals will not disappoint.
Here's how Sedona provided everything two shopaholic, hiking diva, food junkie midlife women could possibly want in 24 hours... minus anything Gucci!
First stop, check in at our hotel, the Best Western PLUS Arroyo Roble in the heart of uptown Sedona with magnificent views of the red rocks on one side and the main thoroughfare of shops and restaurants on the other. We needed to work up an appetite and what better way than to go shop!
We walked along the main shopping street to the arts and shopping village of Tlaquepaque nestled beneath the shade of the sycamores on the banks of Oak Creek. The atmosphere is reminiscent of Europe although it's fashioned after a traditional Mexican village, with cobbled walkways, fountains and flower beds, Spanish style buildings with wrought iron gates and tiled stairways. We went in every single shop, we don't discriminate! There's high-end art and sculptures, jewelry, sensible walking shoes and candles that smell of everything known to man. Curiously these candles held our attention for a very long time, try as we might to find one that didn't smell as it was intended. Every candle nailed it, from the roasted coffee to gasoline!
There's shopping and then there's shopping. Sedona didn't get the Gucci memo... be warned! A $300 Salomon Trail Runner is Sedona's equivalent to Jimmy Choo... and a wax candle doesn't go amiss!
All this candle sniffing works up quite an appetite! We continued our walk further out of town to a Mexican restaurant called Elote Cafe which has quite the reputation... it is VERY popular! I have never seen a queue this long for Mexican food which was almost to the street. When we finally reached the hostess, there was still a wait of more than an hour for a table, so we decided to try it next time!
We went instead to The Hudson, an American eatery with a chic atmosphere, a large central bar, great wine and very good food. We were not disappointed, our change of dining venue may have been a blessing of the Vortex!
Yes, sorry for the half-eaten dessert photo, when this dreamy delight arrived, we became all unnecessary and had to dive right in! Or was it the extremely handsome young man that took up residence next to me that made us go unnecessary... either way, it was all good!
Glad of the long walk back to the hotel to work off some of the scrumptious dinner and prepare us for an early night before the hikeathon the next morning! We battened down the hatches and spent the rest of the evening binge watching The Real Housewives of New York, I had a lot of catching up to do!
the next morning
After a delicious buffet breakfast included in the hotel rate, we were packed up and on our way to the first trail head at 8.30 am.
A Red Rock Pass must be displayed in your car windshield in order to park at any of the trail heads. These can be purchased in the town at various stores, tourist information office, or via vending machine at the more popular trail heads. It's just $5 a day or $20 for an annual pass. It's a small price to pay for washroom facilities and well-kept trails.
There's a hike for every palate in Sedona, from wooded trails along Oak Creek Canyon running alongside the creek itself to more advanced levels involving steep and arduous rock climbing for those seeking more thrill and adventure.
We planned on two hikes, first the short but challenging Cathedral Rock. The stunning beauty of this rugged red (more like orange) country can be seen for miles throughout the ascend to the top. It will take your breath away if not from the climb itself, but the magnificence of the surrounding country.
The rock is smooth hardened sandstone built up in layers. Cathedral Rock is a 1.2 mile hike out and back but rated as difficult due to some steep areas that for me, required climbing on all fours!
I highly recommend gloves for the climb, my wedding ring took quite the beating! Also recommended, wear your least favorite pants because there's a number of areas where slithering down on one's butt is the safest option, and red rock dirt doesn't come out of clothes easily!
Heights affect me differently depending upon where I am in relation to said height. Reactions run the gamete from stomach drop pains to full on hyper-ventilating... I'm not overly keen! So, this hike was a challenge, especially as there is no trail per say rather, rock climb after rock climb!
There were a couple of borderline terror moments... specifically a part of the climb where I'd managed to get part way up a slope several feet high, only to find myself clinging on paralyzed with fear. A gentleman on his way down asked if I needed help. Frozen in position I responded with "I'm scared". He said that was okay and it was better to be scared than to be foolish. Somehow, this gave me the confidence to propel myself up bringing me to the safety of the next flat surface. I was decidedly worried about how I was going to get down, but quickly discarded those concerns as I had no idea what still lay ahead!
A jutting boulder narrows the pathway to this ledge and must be negotiated in order to enjoy the exhilarating photo opportunity! People wait in turn to risk life and limb. I made it; I am now officially a rock hugger!
My friend and I were up at the trail's end for some time as we became surrogate photographers for all the Billy-no-mates (British term meaning person with no friends, in this case solo hikers)! Sound travels well between the spires of the Cathedral Rock. One lady took advantage and was doing all kinds of yoga poses whilst her photog snapped away mindlessly. I think she heard us when we said, "Enough already, there's a time limit!" Well, we needed Billy on the ledge so we could finish our work and begin the downward journey!
I was surprisingly deft on the way down, perhaps due to having faced my fears head on and lived to tell the tale! My butt served as an additional stabilizer on more than one occasion, but once at the bottom, I brushed myself off, and in true British pompous style said, "Piece of cake, where next?"
We went on to do Bell Rock, getting our fill of those Vortex vibes in the 24 hours! We were expecting an easy trail, but lost the pathway and began the ascent to the top... again. Bell Rock is more of a free for all, no markers to show the best route and it becomes more difficult and dangerous the higher up we went. We called it a day... a grand day!
I hope you enjoyed this short travel and hiking blog. Feel free to leave a message if you have any recommendations in Sedona or other parts of Arizona. I would love to hear from your experiences.
You can shop my hiking outfit below via the thumbnail links.
There are affiliate links in this post which means I may receive a small percentage of sales made. This does not affect the price you pay.
A life of interesting stories leads to a face of interesting wrinkles!
I wasn’t overly concerned until my early-fifties, that is when the ravages of age laid it’s claim to my face. I’ve been afraid to try anything invasive including Botox… the needle, injecting something into my face, what if I don’t like the results? I’m probably beyond fixing anyway… if my face was Earth, some of the wrinkles would be relative to the Grand Canyon!
Thank you to two of my blogging friends Hilda Smith and Robin Lamonte who both nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Hilda and Robin are loyal insta-friends who I very much look forward to meeting one day. We've followed each other on social media for a while as women of a certain age with something to say… which we do via our blogs! I’m greatly chuffed that fellow bloggers like my work, the nomination is a lovely surprise.
In the never-ending struggle of wardrobe maintenance, ensuring a perfect outfit for every occasion from walking the dog in monsoon rains, attending a fashion show on a balmy spring evening and battling the furnace that is Arizona in the middle of an August day… let’s just say I have my work cut out.
Not only can this be a costly endeavor but an overcrowded one, and with neither a pile of money or a spacious closet, strategic measures must be taken.
While the fad for easy-care clothing continues, I was recently intrigued by a new offering from a well-known retailer, Chico’s – a white cotton shirt that repels stains, specifically red wine. The brands marketing targets midlife women, which might suggest we are clumsier than our younger counterparts, or perhaps we drink too much resulting in a few tipsy spills?
When style and functionality come together in the form of a trench coat, it's a modern-day fashion fairy-tale! Inevitably such pieces have been around for donkeys’ years and for good reason - everybody loves a fairy-tale! In the ever-fast-moving fashion industry, when something is here for the long haul it's generally worth the investment.
Say hello to my "little" friend... the mini trench coat. In short (pun intended), the fresh and updated version of the classic trench coat, this year's spring must-have, and undoubtedly many more springs to come! And, if you’re old enough to remember the trench coat’s predecessor, you’re welcome to call it a mini mac!
They say when little girls grow up they marry their daddy. I was one of those little girls. I had the best daddy in the world, and now I'm all grown up I have the best husband. I am truly blessed to have experienced only good men in my life, I know there are many women who are not as fortunate.
Kimonos are a blessing to the fashion world. Their ability to add the finishing touch to an otherwise plain outfit is like the icing on the cake! They bring color, drama, texture, movement, an utterly feminine statement and the ultimate top layer of forgiveness to whatever may be going on underneath... like food babies!
Just because you don't get to wear white trousers everyday doesn't mean you don't need a pair. In fact, white pants score high when it comes to evening functions and special occasions giving your look more panache than the common alternative, black pants! They also make the perfect dressy look for day or evening, just tweak how you style them, and you've got versatility nailed.
Would you wear a hat that originated in the 17th century worn by peasants in southern France? How about a hat worn by revolutionary activists or military forces across the globe? If your answer is yes to any or all the above, you are clearly a fashionista with an eye for style!
Never under estimate the skill of a good tailor. A true professional can transform a garment from looking cheap to chic, frumpy to fabulous, ill-fitting to something that alludes to custom made!
Garment fit is crucial to looking our best whatever size and shape we may be. It’s a factor between stylish and style-less, provides the ability to emphasize one’s best attributes and camouflage the others. Skillful stitches with a nip and tuck can turn an outdated garment into a current trend or give an old dress nine lives!
Most of us have been making new year resolutions since we were old enough to decide we wanted to improve or change ourselves in some way. Whether it be a short-term resolution to return to a svelte figure after the over indulgences of the holiday season, or perhaps a more long-term plan to get into a fitness routine, it's a steadfast way to press the reset button in our minds eye and instill some positive inspiration.
Chili and cold weather go hand in hand. It's a tasty bowl of goodness with enough spice to clear the sinuses and warm the cockles of the heart. Eaten by itself topped with all your favorite accoutrements or laid bare on a bed of rice, it's a classic turnkey dish that begs to be made en mass and served every day until it's gone... or freeze for later enjoyment!
Here's a twist on the traditional recipe forsaking the beans and making it Keto friendly. I'm not a rigid Keto dieter, I simply prefer this version as it makes me feel less blah after eating it! And, if you are following a Keto diet, the cauliflower rice suggestion is a delicious nutritional accompaniment.
The current obsession with animal print is rather like a number one hit record. Every time you turn on the radio, it's that song playing again and everywhere you look, it's animal print again!
Before the numbness sets in and we go off it altogether, the fashion powers that be have decided to spice things up! What better way than to throw in some unexpected colors. Rich deep reds, blues, greens and yellows are now sporting our beloved leopard spots and snake prints, yes indeed... step aside neutrals, colored prints matter!
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50