Being flexible during the pandemic is really important – you should always have a Plan B and Plan C if Plan A goes awry. Our Plan A was to go to Belize for a week – but 30 days out from our trip Belize goes on the “Do Not Travel” list from the CDC and State Department for high COVID numbers. UGHHHHHH! What to do? It was easy to decide to postpone our trip to Belize, but we still wanted to go someplace fun. So we got together with our travel buddies Jamie and Karen and came up with a plan – go see one of our favorite musicians, Frank Turner, then fly out to Arizona and travel to Sedona.
You really need to check out Frank Turner if you have not heard of him – he is just amazing! In concert it was just him and one of his bandmates, Matt Nasir, playing for a couple of hours. They were very funny and loose, and the audience really connected with them. We saw them at Delmar Hall in St. Louis, which is a great venue! Check it out!
On to Sedona! We flew into Phoenix – easy peasy – then went to get a rental car. I feel like I need to mention this next part as a PSA for those renting cars right now – sign up for any program that allows you to go directly to your car and not the counter – seriously. Jamie and Karen were able to go directly to their car (they’re smart) while Tim and I stood in line for two hours (not smart).
When we arrived in Sedona it was already dark, so I had no idea of the majestic beauty we were traveling through. We stayed at the Poco Diablo Resort right outside Sedona – great location, close to the town of Sedona and hiking trails/scenic routes. It was a Monday, and a lot of places were closed, but we found a great little pizza place called Sedona Pizza Company and had a bite to eat and some wine. Travel days are always so exhausting.
The next morning Tim and Jamie got up and hiked the Cathedral Rock Trail. According to Tim, it was a lot more challenging than the “moderate” rating listed. When they returned we drove the Red Rock Scenic Byway. I don’t think I would ever get tired of this view!
Afternoons are made for relaxing, and I don’t know a better to relax than with a glass of wine 🙂 We headed to Vino Di Sedona, a place that had come highly recommended by several of our wine store peeps. Wes Schemmer, the owner of the wine bar, used to live in the Chicago area and worked for a wine distributor whose territory included Springfield. He’s got a great place in Sedona and we loved it! You can buy a glass, flight, bottle, drink it there or take away, food, cocktails, beer, you name it! They also have music every night and a really sweet patio. Tim and I loved it so much we went there twice during the trip!
After wine we headed up to Airport Mesa to Mesa Grill to eat dinner and watch the sunset. Gorgeous views and great food! The shrimp and grits were especially good – the pork belly was yummy.
Our next day consisted of more rocks, more wine, and more food – of course! Karen and I even did a little hike 🙂
We went to the Art of Wine for some pre-dinner drinks and snacks. Very cute place close to everything in Uptown Sedona. Our server Ruben did a great job helping us pick out our wine.
For dinner we went to the The Cowboy Club, a restaurant that back-in-the-day hosted several of Hollywood’s greatest Western movie stars. The food and drink was really good!
Finished the night off with Orin Swift’s 8 Years in the Desert – it seemed like a very appropriate wine for the area!
Sadly, Jamie and Karen left the next day to go back home. Tim and I did a drive through Oak Creek Canyon – it was just beautiful! Unfortunately no pictures since I was the driver 😦 Trust me, it was amazing!
After the drive we went back to Vino Di Sedona – of course! We really loved this place, and was introduced to some delicious Arizona wines.
Our last day – boooooo! A “must see” site in Sedona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross. But if you don’t get there early (like right when they open), you will have trouble finding a place to park, and it will be overrun with people. We tried to go there late morning on the previous day (Thursday), and I almost had a panic attack with the amount of people and cars that were there. Different story on Friday – the gates open at 9:00 a.m., and we were there by 9:01 a.m. No problem!
The chapel is located at one of the vortexes in Sedona – and I think I felt a spiritual cleansing and calmness while I was there, but I am sure I did not the day before with the tons of people of and cars. Anyhoo, I highly recommend going. The view from the chapel is unbelievable!
So on to Arizona Wine Country! Yes, you heard me right – Arizona has great wines! Our friends Nancy and Zach recently returned from a trip to Arizona, and when she told me Arizona wines were legit, I was skeptical. But after having a couple of these wines during the week, Tim and I ventured to the Verde Valley Wine Trail.
The wineries we visited are only about a 30 minute drive from Sedona on easy roads. We started at Page Spring Cellars, and Caden was our server. She was really awesome, and talked to us about each wine as she was pouring. This winery grows their own grapes, and if they need extra they get them from Mexico. Caden also explained that they made Rhone-style wines, which is probably my favorite style at the moment. We really enjoyed our time here 🙂
Less than half a mile up the road is Oak Creek Vineyards & Winery – another great place to visit! We were very lucky that the weather was great and not hot, and were able to sit outside on their patio. We did not eat here but their charcuterie plate looked awesome!
The last winery we visited was Javelina Leap Winery – you could literally see this winery from Oak Creek Vineyards. We had a nice glass of wine there and listened to some music – a wonderful way to spend the day 🙂
Exciting things are on the horizon for Arizona wines – we learned while taking to everyone at these wineries that Arizona is on track to be the next AVA – which is great news! Don’t be afraid to buy an Arizona wine – you’ll be happy you did 🙂
I had one last thing to do before getting on the plane and heading home – we had lunch with Tish, an old friend/co-worker who had relocated to the Phoenix area and is loving life! So good to see her and reconnect! I would also recommend eating at the Perfect Pear Bistro – it’s close to the airport and the food is amazing. Check it out if you are in Phoenix!
I’m not saying goodbye to Sedona, I’m saying “See you later!” Here’s to Plan B’s <clink, clink> May our Plan A’s work out as well!