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Trip Report Sedona/GCNP 3/30-4/6

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Trip Report Sedona/GCNP 3/30-4/6

We absolutely loved Sedona! We’re fortunate to travel 2-3 times a year but this vacation was only our second trip to a non-beach destination. We missed snorkeling a little, but WOW the eye candy of those red rocks and the peaceful atmosphere of the town left nothing to be desired. My husband’s parents generously gifted us with their unused timeshare points. We considered and researched a few timeshare properties and decided on the Sedona Summit resort. Not having any experience with such points transfers and with questions regarding condo accommodations, my husband emailed with Summit general manager, Michael Pena. He responded very quickly and not only did he answer our questions, he attached a photo of the ‘partial’ view from the unit we would be assigned. We were impressed with his desire to please and his quick responses.

Sedona Summit – we couldn’t have been more pleased! I stayed in the car while my husband checked in at the front desk. He was encouraged to bring me inside for what I assume was THE timeshare pitch. He refused, telling them that we had been up since 4am and were tired. We never heard another word from them. The unit we were assigned was nearly perfect in every way. The ‘partial’ view was gorgeous. The only thing that ‘blocked’ our view was one 8 foot tall pine tree. The view of Cockscomb rock was amazing! Nicely decorated and extremely comfortable…we loved the unit. The bedding and towels were great. The kitchen was appointed with everything needed. We loved the little gas fireplace and used it almost every morning and evening. Toiletries, dishwasher soap, paper towels, garbage bags are all provided. The only thing that isn’t provided is laundry detergent. Just so you know I’m not a paid spokesperson…I will point out a couple of negative things. The bathroom is large with a huge tub. However, the shower stall is only what I would call medium size…and there’s no ledge to prop your foot on when shaving your legs (this is a girl thing, I realize). There is no full length mirror in the unit (again, a girl thing). Neither of these things were more than a minor annoyance. We used the washer/dryer a few times and the lint filter in the dryer was broken. My husband fiddled with it enough to get by, but it needs to be serviced by a professional. Again, no big deal. We truly loved our unit at the Summit and encourage anyone planning to stay there to contact the manager before your arrival, as he is extremely approachable and helpful.

Food – I cooked a few breakfasts and a couple of simple dinners in our unit. We awoke early and were so busy during the days that we were usually pretty pooped by evening. I will add here that we picked up supplies at Safeway and later at Basha’s. The Safeway store is probably the worst stocked and arranged grocery store I’ve ever been in. Basha’s was only slightly better.

Here are the restaurants we enjoyed:

The Coffee Pot in West Sedona – I cannot say enough good things about this place! The buckwheat pancakes, omelets, homemade biscuits…all very delicious. The Bloody Marys are the BEST I’ve ever had at a restaurant. Tangy and very very good!! Cute little gift shop there too.

The Hideaway (near the “Y” in Uptown Sedona) – Pretty views and the antipasto salad was huge! We were skeptical that it would be enough for the both of us, but the server assured us it would be. She was right! A delicious dinner! We stopped in the bar upstairs after dinner and chatted with some locals, which was hilarious.

Picazzo’s Pizza in West Sedona – Good pizza and nice atmosphere by the firepit on the patio. GREAT service!

Barking Frog Grill in West Sedona – We were tired one afternoon and only wanted a snack and drink instead of a full dinner and this was the place. Happy hour appetizers…chicken nachos, were delicious, as were the prickly pear margaritas.

Heartline Café in West Sedona – fabulous breakfast! Monte cristo, crab benedict on a bed of spinach. Both were very tasty.

Canyon Café bar - uptown Sedona. We stumbled into this place by accident while we were shopping. GREAT views of Snoopy Rock and delicious margaritas. Good bartenders too.

Pepe’s - Cottonwood. We were hungry for breakfast on our way from Phoenix to Sedona. Loved this little place. Great service and breakfast at a bargain price. Chicken fried steak and eggs. (Calories don’t count on vacation, right?)

Tours – We enjoyed two tours.

Verde Canyon Train…We didn’t book this until our arrival in Sedona. We called the train office and were lucky that they had available space in the 1st class car on the day we wanted to go. We got a AAA discount as well. Total cost was around $160 (w/tax) for two 1st class tickets. In our 27 years of travel, we’ve never taken a train together and these 4 hours were wonderful. Very relaxing. We boarded in Clarkdale and the train wound through the Verde Canyon and up into Perkinsville. At that point, the train stopped and the engines moved to the other end for the reverse trip back to Clarkdale. We thoroughly enjoyed this trip. In 1st class, we were given a small glass of champagne to toast our departure. Free snacks were provided: chicken wings, salad, vegetable and cheese tray, tiny brownies, chips, small sandwiches. There is a cash bar and drinks were tasty and reasonably priced. Very good. Very worth the price.

Pink Jeep Tour…A few weeks before we left home, we booked the 3 hour Scenic rim/Broken Arrow combo tour. This was completely exhilarating! We paid about $240 (w/tax) for two seats on the jeep. Again, worth EVERY penny!! You do not travel fast but it’s bumpy. Not for anyone with a bad back, for sure. We loved this trip and would probably consider it again on our next visit. When in Sedona, one MUST enjoy a jeep tour of some sort!

GCNP – We followed the advice from several TA members and we took the East entrance Desert View drive to GC Village. This was the BEST ADVICE we could have possibly followed! Thank you to ALL who suggest this route. We arrived around 11am and stopped at the watchtower at Desert View, Lipan Point, Tusayan Ruin, Grandview Point and wound up at Grand Canyon Village. We truly appreciated this route as the stops weren’t crowded and we were able to comfortably spend as much time as we wanted, just taking in the views and taking photos. Once we arrived at the Village the crowds were thick and parking was difficult.

We stopped at El Tovar lodge to look around, check out the gift shop and have a drink at the bar. Very nice. When we planned this trip there were no available rooms at the lodge, so we booked a room at the Best Western in Tusayan. This was the only disappointment of the whole week. Perhaps we were spoiled by the lovely condo at the Sedona Summit, and/or the peaceful environment in Sedona…but the crowds at the GC Village and Tusayan AND the Best Western…well we just weren’t feeling the vibe there. We had a fun dinner at Yippee-Ei-O! steakhouse. The food was just okay, but the atmosphere was fun! The free breakfast at the Best Western was quite good. You sit at large, communal tables in an upstairs dining room. Buffett choices: eggs, pancakes, fruit, biscuits and gravy, cereal…it was a full breakfast. Nice gift shop at the hotel as well. Again, we just didn’t feel the vibe there and wouldn’t stay again.

Shopping – We landed in Phoenix at 9 am, so we had all day to meander before we could check in at the Sedona Summit at 4 pm. We had breakfast in Cottonwood, then headed to Tlaquepaque when we arrived in Sedona. It was a great way to spend time. Absolutely gorgeous photo ops, cute stores and we enjoyed our 1st-ever prickly pear cactus margaritas at Oak Creek Brewery. (I later discovered that their small margaritas are way more expensive than any others I found in Sedona…just an FYI). I must mention the Renee Taylor Gallery. I spotted some earrings in the window, and when we went into the shop we were treated like royalty by a sales associate named Kimberly. She must have showed us every pair of earrings in the store! So nice and helpful and I did buy TWO pairs of earrings from her! Another great shop was called Nectar. I was pleasantly surprised as I expected this to be an area of exclusive and expensive galleries. Sure, there were some like that…but there were plenty of other shops as well. This was a great way to burn some time until we could check into our condo.

Stores we loved:

Whiskers Barkery in Sinagua Plaza, Uptown Sedona. A % of all sales benefit local animal charities. Great store! Great merchandise. We bought a cute mug for our petsitter. Perfect!

Mexidona, West Sedona. This was a huge store, but a bit of a disappointment. A large sign outside advertises Zapotec rugs. They only offered a few rugs and they were all large…REALLY large…and pricey. We’ve been to Oaxaca several times and those rugs were WAY overpriced.

Cameron Trading Post. We stopped here on our way to GCNP and we’re glad we did! Before we arrived in AZ I decided I wanted to purchase a turquoise ring. I dislocated my finger a couple of months ago and have been working hard with a physical therapist to rehab it. The ring would be my reward. I never expected to find the perfect one in Cameron, but alas…I did!! Some junky stuff at the trading post, but lots of cute, seemingly authentic stuff as well.

The Native American booths/tables at the Oak Creek Canyon vista and the Dairy Queen in Oak Creek Canyon – very nice jewelry, very nice people. Stop here on your way to/from GCNP. Do note that they weren’t set up early in the morning. I wouldn’t expect to shop at either stop until after 10 am or so.

Ye Ole Hippie Emporium on Main Street in Cottonwood. Cute hippie clothing and other groovy things. Spoke with the owner, who is hoping to sell the business soon, so get there quickly!

We probably would never have planned a trip like this on our own. My husband’s parents had those timeshare points that were going to expire if someone didn’t use them. I’m so delighted that we did and we chose Sedona and the Sedona Summit. As I said earlier, we are ‘beach people’ so this was a very different type of vacation. A very good one. We did not find the town to be too touristy at all, even though we were there during Spring Break/Easter. We didn’t find the prices bad either, but we’re not fussy eaters or foodies. We think it’s a charming place….peaceful…good energy….kind locals. We will come back for sure. Sincere thanks again to all who post advice on TA.

West Yellowstone...
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1. Re: Trip Report Sedona/GCNP 3/30-4/6

Thanks for posting your thorough and entertaining trip report. I enjoyed reading it and am glad you enjoyed your time in AZ.

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2. Re: Trip Report Sedona/GCNP 3/30-4/6

Very enjoyable and interesting trip report with lots of great tips on everything. So glad you had a wonderful time and glad you shared it with us.

Wickenburg, Arizona
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3. Re: Trip Report Sedona/GCNP 3/30-4/6

Glad you enjoyed the train ride too! Sounds marvelous; I've never traveled first class on it.

Sedona, AZ
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4. Re: Trip Report Sedona/GCNP 3/30-4/6

Great report! Thanks for sharing.

I believe that you might have caught a touch of Red Rock Fever. You obviously sensed the vibe and the serenity of Sedona. You got a taste of it from Kimberly in the RT Gallery. You had already gotten some from Michael Pena too. Whether you realized it or not, you were enjoying it in those first few days and by the time you arrived at Tusayan, you realized that something was missing. The Grand Canyon is awesome, but when it comes to serenity, Sedona still wins IMO.

When you were encouraged to come in at the Summit registration, it was for a welcome, not a TS pitch. That would have been a separate appointment. Never on arrival.

So I'm not surprised that you enjoyed yourselves so much. You followed the good advice you were given. You booked the right tours. You approached the GCNP the right way. And you have shared the spirit that you found in Sedona. I hope it remains with you. Sedona does that.

5. Re: Trip Report Sedona/GCNP 3/30-4/6

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