We made our way back to Phoenix with some beautiful healing crystals, cactus candies, bundled sage, prickly pear tea and jelly from my friend Nox, a magnet for mom, teal and lavender turquoise pendants and flat arrowheads.
Whenever I travel, I always bring my family some tasty treats and trinkets from the city. My colleagues picked up some goodies from Trader Joe’s and snacks that we don’t get to enjoy in Hawaii.
My team at work had been planning our trip to Phoenix, Arizona for some time. We were scheduled to attend two internal conferences that would help us network, share ideas and strengthen morale within the fundraising divisions across the nation. In the midst of our usual lively banter at lunch hour, one of my colleagues, Tatsu, suggested we (Kris, MJ and I) should visit Sedona if we had time. He described the location as spiritual and majestic, something not to be missed if one should ever find him or herself in Arizona.
Kris, MJ and I quickly looked up photos of Sedona on Instagram and Pinterest. After seeing that it was only a couple of hours away from Phoenix, we looked at flights and managed to cram a day trip into our itinerary.
We had no plan. We Googled lots of things on the way over to Sedona. Sometimes not having a plan presents the best experiences when traveling. Kris and MJ were the perfect adventure buddies, we’re all so laid back and silly, it made the experience even more enjoyable!
Here is a list of what we did and a few helpful suggestions…
Take a tinkle break at Red Rock State Park.
A bathroom break is necessary if you’re driving for hours, so be sure to stop at Red Rock State Park for a clean experience. You’ll understand why the rocks and mountains are red, how there’s running water below the terrain, and gather some tips on how to access these famous rocks.
Visit the open market in Oak Creek
I’m a frugal gal who will look for the best deals. Let me tell you how I held back on buying geodes and turquoise by the satchel before realizing the vendors are actually reasonable compared to the extremely marked up goods in Sedona. MJ and I found that the shops in the heart of Sedona were really expensive. Good thing the market was on our way out and open until 5 p.m., I went back and purchased a few more pretty crystals, Native American textiles, and cactus candies.
Walk around the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village
I’d hate to admit it, but this is a tourist trap worth visiting. Just don’t buy anything there. We walked around peeking into all of the shops, taking silly photos and frolicking around the outdoor wind chime gallery. Then we saw that there were Jeep tours that would take us to the top of the mountains, overlooking Sedona and other mountain ranges. We had researched that most tours cost $100+/person but this Jeep Tour service only charged us $50/person. Our instincts told us to book a tour there. Totally rad find.
Book a two-hour jeep tour and have the ride of your life.
I’m kind of a closeted adrenaline junkie. I was stoked that the tour along Schnebly Hill Road was only $50/person, most places that I researched online were $100+/person. Sedona Jeep Tours really gave us a good deal and were able to accommodate us that day.
We greeted our guide and boarded our dusty, open Jeep. Kris took ownership of the DSLR and started snapping away. The tour was bumpy, entertaining, and amazing. We learned so much about the plants, the history behind some locations that were used for filming various movies, and some deep thoughts about how certain rocks resembled a toilet, shit, and Snoopy.
The view at the top of the mountain range was majestic. It was chilly, quiet, and overlooked Sedona and other mountains. Being at the top makes you feel empowered…gives you that “Simba, everything the light touches is our kingdom,” type of feel. Oh yes I went there.
There are tons of tours you can book in Sedona, from hot air balloon rides to spiritual vortex type of tours. But save your money, they can get pretty expensive.
When in a hurry, eat at the Secret Garden Café
Yelp proved to be our best friend in Sedona and Phoenix. We needed a quick bite to eat before we took off on the jeep tour. Seeing that the Secret Garden Café was open and empty, we told them we have 30 minutes before we had to board the jeep. The staff quickly sat us, suggested the three top popular and quick dishes. We all ordered the BLAT, which was mind-blowingly good. I know, how can you mess up a BLAT? Well they took it to another level with sourdough and pine nut bread and jam-packed that avo like it was the main protein. I loved it and I would go back if there weren’t other good places to eat in Sedona.
Save lots of money!
We realized its best to set some priorities when you go to Sedona. An afterthought was that we should have saved a little more money (I wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride, but it was $220/person).
I finally got these babies in the mail! My high school classmate, Natalie Woo, is a well known jewelry designer here in Honolulu. Her pieces are so unique and trendy, a bunch of local boutiques sell her work and you’ll most likely see one of her pieces on other local fashion blogs. She posts her latest items on Instagram on a weekly basis, so when I saw these, I had to have them! She might have more black arrowhead and Buddha necklaces available at Fighting Eel Downtown.
Summer has been very eventful so far. My little brother arrived in Honolulu the other day and I’ve taken him under my wing for the next three weeks. I’ve been thinking of ways to entertain this 11-year-old wonder-kid, having that he pretty much does whatever he wants in Guam. Since I’m a teacher, I’ve taken it upon myself to have him read at least one book a week, then have him tell me about the characters, plot and literary elements, all in between his golf tournaments, of course.
My brain needs some exercise as well. I’m trying to develop my creative skills and I’ve looked to some artists for inspiration. I’ve just stumbled upon artist and designer Caitlin Peters, creator of Wanderlustings. She designs jewelry on Etsy and has been featured in art shows. Her blog is a wonderful platform to post her designs, fashion tips and photography, I could scroll on forever just admiring her work.
I’m also thinking of taking an art class (either at the university or the Honolulu Academy of Arts) this summer, at least until the Fall semester starts. I’m a natural busy bee. 🙂