by: Editor on 11/2/2016
The Red Rocks are renowned for hiking, mountain biking and exploring, but don’t miss out on Bell Rock, one of Sedona’s smaller hidden gems. It’s a short, accessible hike at just 0.75 miles long and takes you up the northern face of the aptly named Bell Rock. The trail is marked clearly and begins at the Bell Rock Pathway. At the peak, you’ll take a loop before gently descending.
This is a favorite short hike for locals and can be a popular pick on weekends and holidays. It’s best to tackle this outing early mornings or on off days, such as weekdays and key holidays (Thanksgiving is a perfect pick!). Many rock climbers also try to take on the rock itself.
A Rocking Good Time
The slide area is a unique challenge that some hikers like to attempt, and to the east is a spot where you can try to climb even higher. Getting to the peak of the spires is an obstacle nervier hikers attempt, but you’ll need plenty of experience for this. To go above and beyond turns Bell Rock into a hazardous and strenuous hike. However, the rewards are incredible with views you can’t get anywhere else in Sedona.
The short trails and numerous options make Bell Rock a great choice for groups with a variety of skilled hikers. Take the northern parking lot to the base of Bell Rock for a simple hike, or choose the Lower Bell Rock Trail. A moderate hike can be made via the Upper Bell Rock Trail, or try the Ascent if you’re an experienced hiker.
by: Editor on 9/18/2016
The 8th annual Sedona Winefest kicks off September 24-25 where great food, music and, of course, wineries come together to celebrate the perfect glass of vino—and a weekend of fun! Tickets are available now, and securing them early is wise as this event can sell out. The 2016 Winefest is open from 11a.m. – 5p.m. both days at the Posse Grounds Park in the middle of Sedona. Local Arizona wineries are the headliners, along with food vendors highlighting some of the best and most innovative grub in the region.
Enjoy stunning views of the red rocks as you sip on the best wine of the year (and years past!). Tickets are on sale until September 23 at early bird prices of $25, and admission may be available at the door for $30. Saturday is the busiest of the festival, and door sales do temporarily close when the event is at capacity.
Every admission includes eight tasting tickets as well as a commemorative glass. You can purchase additional tastings, including a special 24-ticket bundle for just $20. Parking is plentiful and free, including a number of handicap accessible spots. This year is slated to be the biggest and best yet, hosted by Sedona Pines Resort, and with Verde Valley and Southern Arizona wineries pouring up specialty wines that you can’t get anywhere else.
Head to the Education Tent for a number of mini seminars from wine experts, and don’t forget to enter the raffle drawings throughout the day.
by: Editor on 9/17/2016
Sedona is rich with southwestern type, all-America cuisine (often with strong Mexican influences), as well as wholesome, organic and locally sourced restaurant fare. However, sometimes all a traveler wants is traditional comfort food via their favorite Chinese dish. Luckily, Sedona is home to Szechuan Sedona, half-Chinese restaurant and half-cocktail lounge, but 100 percent the perfect spot for lunch, dinner and late nights.
Explore the full sushi menu, or dive right into the variety of dishes on the dinner menu. For appetizers, try the tempura shrimp, chicken lettuce wraps with special house sauce, or BBQ pork spareribs. Tofu or shrimp lettuce wraps offer a lighter treat, and the pu pu tray has a little something of everything.
A variety of soups are available, including the extra spicy hot and sour soup, but many regulars come for the famous egg foo young with your choice of protein or a vegetarian option. Choose from a selection of shrimp, pork, chicken, beef or tofu-based dishes, or head to the noodle and fried rice menus for the house special crispy noodles or cashew shrimp with a side of pineapple rice.
For dessert, there’s sliced coconut cake, fried sweet banana, or exotic ice creams including mango, red bean and green tea. Try it with a plum wine, sake, or one of the specialty drinks like the Geisha Girl or Blue Ninja.
by: Editor on 9/16/2016
Head to Sound Bites Grill in Sedona every Wednesday to indulge in local wines and listen to a talk by wine experts, telling the story of each varietal’s journey. Choose the wines you want to try with four pours for just $10. Of course, the regular taps are readily available, too! Enjoy the views of Snoopy Rock, and watch the desert sunset while sipping on a new favorite glass of vino or pint of beer. It’s the perfect destination for date night or a company get together.
Sound Bites Grill is a leading Sedona lounge, nightclub and bar—but the full restaurant menu is what really keeps regulars coming back. Open for lunch, dinner, happy hour and late night, make sure to check out the dessert menu first so you know exactly how much room to save! The Angus beef sliders, ahi poke, and Fleetwood mac and cheese bites with smoked gouda and panko crusted parmesan are perfect to share.
Their coffee desserts and nightcaps are a treat in themselves. The Hot Tub Coffee features Irish cream, Frangelico, Kahlua and coffee with a whipped cream topping. The Keoke coffee has Kahlua, brandy, coffee and crème de cocoa with a thick whipped topping.
And for dessert? The pumpkin cheesecake and truffle trio are great to share. The martini cheesecake with granola and berry compote is divine, but the brown betty a la mode with granny smith apples in a caramel sauce with granola and ice cream really takes the cake (or pie!).
by: Editor on 9/2/2016
At Yavapai College (OLLI) in the heart of Sedona, September 9-11 marks the first annual Sedona Book and Arts Festival, with authors, actors and artists on site. This year’s theme is “a story runs through it,” and attendees will get the chance to get books signed and photos snapped with their favorite authors and artists. Theatrical energy runs strong at this event, with authors creating the words for actors to play out amidst gorgeous backdrops and with stunning visual images.
It’s a one-of-a-kind festival that blends the literary, artistic and theatrical world with a slew of workshops for attendees of all skill levels. Join a seminar to learn more about creative crafts, or head to an intimate reading with one of your favorite authors. This first year is an experimental one, and attendees are encouraged to share, explore and contribute.
Teaching the Craft
Distinctive teachers in a myriad of fields are coming together to make this year special. Wear flamboyant costumes if you like! Dress up as your favorite character from a book or movie—or simply come as yourself. Costumes aren’t required but are encouraged. This is an “anything goes” type of Sedona event that’s expected to grow and thrive in coming years.
Exhibitors are still welcome to apply, and you might be able to squeeze in last minute by registering online.
by: Editor on 8/10/2016
The Starlight Ride is a seasonal tradition for many, leaving during the late afternoon on select Saturdays June through September. You will be whisked away on the local train across the riparian canyon through a stunning sunset and into the moonlight. The August event takes place on the 20th and admission starts at $59.95. From 5:30-9:30 p.m., you’ll be covered under a blanket of stars as you’re guided through the Verde Canyon to see the gorgeous vista in a way few Sedona visitors get to enjoy.
It’s a romantic getaway that takes you to the turn-around point at Perkinsville during just the right time to give you a glimpse into the nightlife of Sedona. Celestial bodies provide the perfect backdrop to once-in-a-lifetime sightings, such as bald eagles flying into the horizon, all while the Verde River flows below you, reflecting the unbelievable sunset hues.
The Romance of a Train
These Saturday night train tours are a popular choice for date night, but they’re also great for families. It’s also a great alternative, or complement, to a hike through the canyon, and the on-site menu, like the Prickly Pear Margarita, goes perfectly with the scenery. See the unspoiled beauty of the canyon up close in an intimate setting where you can kick back, relax and take it all in.
Tickets do sell out, so book yours early here.