Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sedona, AZ (3/6/2017)

I fell in love with Sedona about thirty years ago and have re-visited several times without becoming tired of it or getting bored.  Not only does it have uncommon beauty and consistently moderate weather, there is so much to do that appeals to my outdoors spirit.  In fact, the only negative is its very popularity, resulting in ever larger crowds in town and on the many trails.  Sedona has dealt with this as much as possible, sharing the tourist wealth with nearby towns to spread out the mobs of people.  Driving through town has been improved by wider roads where possible and construction of eleven roundabouts to replace bottleneck traffic lights.  The city has strictly enforced its architectural standards to preserve its particular beauty and charm.  The Sedona McDonalds is the only one in the world with green arches.

Several RV parks are located in the towns outside of Sedona, helping keep that traffic off the main streets.  Pam and I stayed at a nice little park in Camp Verde, about twenty-five miles from downtown Sedona.  We would discover that Camp Verde is a charming little town in its own right, including less expensive gasoline and excellent ice cream.  It is also the home of Montezuma Castle National Monument, our first attraction.

Montezuma Castle is a set of well-preserved  cliff dwellings built by the Sinagua people, a culture that occupied this region  between approximately 1100 and 1425 AD. The main structure consists of five stories and twenty rooms, and was built over the course of three centuries.Neither part of the monument's name is correct. Early settlers in the 1860s named it for the famous Aztec emperor Montezuma in the mistaken belief that he had been connected to the construction. In fact, Montezuma wasn't even born at that time.  Also, the site was far from a "castle" in the traditional sense, but instead functioned more like a "prehistoric high rise apartment complex".

In the town of Cottonwood, on the long way to Sedona, we stopped to view a lovely Catholic church called Immaculate Conception.  The baptismal font was unique, having a hinged lid with a statue of a priest performing a baptism.  Nearby was a colorful statue of the mythical flute player Kokopelli.

Sedona is known for its colorful red rock formations formed in the process of creating Oak Creek Canyon and the Verde Valley.  Many have been given appropriate names, such as Coffee Pot Rock, Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte.

For the shoppers in the family, Sedona offers many options, ranging from the sublime Tlaque Paque shopping mall to many individual shops, galleries and boutiques.  Some are cheesy, some are elegant...something for everyone.
The town is further decorated by art work on the sidewalks and on the various shops.

There will be lots more to come from our four busy days touring this special region.

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