What do you think Of Arizona

Is it just the desert wind
Or a delta flood plain valley
Where the towering cactus live?
It’s the Call of the Canyon
Bell Rock, Cathedral, Mitten Ridge
It’s Sedona, Sedona
Where the lovin’ people live
Lyrics by Donna Loren
Sedona is an easy 115-mile drive up I-17 north of Phoenix.  My earliest memories of Sedona are from graduate school, when we would just pop up there for the day to sample margaritas and cactus fries.  Later in life, it has become a place we go to celebrate anniversaries or Valentine’s Day.  There are many lovely places to stay, including the most famous, which are the Enchantment Resort, with the relaxing Mii Amo spa, and the L’Auberge de Sedona, situated right in the heart of Sedona on Oak Creek.  This trip, however, was planned as a spur-of-the-moment girls trip (me and my two girls, that is), and we had two last minute add-ons which ended up driving the direction of our trip.

“Please take us with you to Sedona, Mama”
So this was the pet-friendly version of a Sedona trip.  They are good travelers and are just happy to be included.  This was going to be easy.  I booked a room at the Best Western Plus Inn of Sedona on Highway 89, which is a pet-friendly hotel that boasts some of the best views in Sedona.  It was very comfortable, and, yes, had wonderful views.


I felt like I had to start the weekend off with a margarita at Elote Cafe.  A friend of mine gave me the Elote Cafe Cookbook some years ago, and every since, the restaurant is a go-to for me in Sedona.  The cuisine of Chef Jeff Smedstad is inspired by his travels around Mexico.  Having spent a good amount of time traveling and taking cooking lessons in Mexico, I find his menu refreshing and muy delicioso.  This trip I tried the Ahi Tuna Asado while my daughter ordered the Chile Verde Pork Tamale.  Be sure to try the namesake dish of Elote, fire roasted corn with spicy mayo, lime and cotija cheese.  Wash it all down with a Jeff’s Margarita made with one of my favorite tequilas, Don Julio.  (You can find the Elote Cafe Cookbook on either or on the cafe’s website, listed below.)


Grilled Hawaiian Tuna with Chile Verde Sauce and Roasted Corn Salsa
Poblano Chile Braised Pork Shoulder Tamale
In the morning we meandered back up the highway to the town of Oak Creek to try the Red Rock Cafe, which locals have said has wonderful blue corn huevos rancheros.  I couldn’t dream of a better meal to get me ready for a day of hiking.  It is located in a nondescript strip mall, and once inside is an inviting atmosphere surrounded by paintings of the scenery of Sedona done by local artists.  Other house specialties include Southwest Chicken Fried Steak and Cowboy Style Benedict, poached eggs served atop biscuits and sausage and covered with gravy.  Breakfast is served until 3 pm for those of you who like to sleep in.

Blue Corn Huevos Rancheros
Painting of Cathedral Rock
Interior of Red Rock Cafe
I chose a hike that the kids and dogs could handle.  There is a website,, that I used to find the Little Horse Trail, billed as one of the most scenic hikes in the area.  It is located right off Highway 179 in between the Village of Oak Creek and Sedona.  Described as a moderate hike of 4 miles round trip, it was easy enough for anyone in relatively healthy shape to enjoy.  It is level with very little altitude gain.
Our destination was to the right of the two spires
All the trails are well marked
Very cool house as seen from the trail
Getting closer…
…almost there…


In case you were wondering, the red dust is a bear to wash off
Heading back to the car…can you believe those views!


Chapel of the Holy Cross, as seen from the Little Horse Trail
A trip to Sedona is a treat in and of itself, but if you have the time, swing by the old mining town of Jerome on the way back to Phoenix.  Even if you only have an hour to spare, that is a nice amount of time to get an introduction to this historic copper mining town.  Now a tourist and artist community, Jerome has a population of 450, down from 15,000 in the 1920’s when the nearby mine was producing 3 million pounds of copper per month.  The town is perched at 5,200 on the side of a mountain, and has incredible views.  Popular attractions include the Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum and the Sliding Jail, the former jail that slid 225 feet downhill due to settling issues.  We watched a glass blowing exhibition and had a quick lunch of pizza on the patio of Grapes Restaurant before heading back home.  All in all, a successful weekend.
From Jerome, a view of the San Francisco Peaks of Northern AZ
Best Western Plus Inn of Sedona
1200 Arizona 89A
Sedona, AZ  86336
Elote Cafe
771 State Route 179
Sedona, AZ
Elote does not take reservations…it is first-come-first-serve
The Red Rock Cafe
100 Verde Valley School Rd, Ste 107
Grapes Restaurant
111 Main St, Jerome, AZ


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