Monday, November 16, 2009

Sedona and Jerome Arizona

Monica and I have just returned from a wonderful drive vacation through Northern Arizona and New Mexico, including Sedona, Canyon De Chelly, Santa Fe and Taos and I wanted to share some of the highlights with all of you. This post will feature Sedona and environs.
I gotta be honest and say that Sedona itself didn't overwhelm me. Waaaaaay too commercial for my tastes, but the beauty of the red rocks and surrounding areas made it worth while. As did the really terrific B&B that we stayed at. This is the view from Grace's Secret Garden B&B, run by Grace (tough to figure that one,) a Polish ex-pat who adopted Sedona and has come to know the ins and outs of the area. The picture shows the view from the front of Grace's property, although in truth, the horses are boarded on an adjacent parcel.

Oh, and not to be outdone by the horses, Monica insisted on me taking her picture as well.
OK, that was a joke.
See, Monica is smiling?
Anyway, this is on Grace's property.
And by the way, Grace will prepare almost any kind of breakfast. Meaning, it doesn't have to be the heavy and sweet stuffed french toasts that we normally find at B&Bs. A nice touch from a nice lady.
Now, on to Sedona and the surrounding area.

As mentioned, the red rocks are really beautiful. We decided to visit the Bell Vortex and I insisted we do it close to dusk (or magic hour as we pretend photographers like to state authoritatively.) Wellllll, this did cause a problem. Dusk falls quickly and we weren't at all familiar with the trail out to the vortex. Or, more importantly in our minds, the way back! This shot gives you some idea of the trail and our objective some distance up ahead. This trail was blocked by a beautiful but ancient tree. Off we had to go in another direction, wondering if this was such a bright idea at all. But we were determined! A photographer and his unwitting assistant will do anything for the one and only shot.

Here you can see the type of terrain that yours truly and company had to traverse. This steep canyon must have been at least 100' to 200' feet deep, with treacherous loose rocks everywhere just waiting to send us tumbling. However, my Sherpa, I mean Monica and I kept going and the light was fading fast!
OK, I seem to be getting carried away.
Time for a confession.
This canyon was only about 10' deep.
But, as Monica pointed out to me, we did have to enter it.
And cross it. And it was really slippery in the failing light.
I just couldn't get over how the camera made it look so deep and foreboding.
Hey, this would be a great place to film a Godzilla scene.
Sorry about that. I won't let that happen again.

Well, the light really was failing, but we made it and we did get that one shot of the day that really sings.

And, we actually found our way out, in the company of several equally wussy tourists and got back in time to enjoy a well deserved Italian meal at a very nice restaurant that Grace suggested. A perfect end to a lovely day.

I must say that if you're in Sedona, instead of spending a great deal of time downtown, you should instead head out of town and visit the quirky and wonderful old mining town of Jerome Arizona. For all of you South Westerners, the best way to describe Jerome is to bring to mind Bisbee Arizona. And then, think what Bisbee would be like if it never grew up (as though it ever did.) And for the rest of you, think Quirky! 
This might give you some idea......

Yes, it's a bar. And a skull.
And no it's not. I think.
It's name is 15.Quince. During the day, a lunch and espresso joint (very, very good Cafe Latte)
By evening, a bar. Judging by the bar decorations, perhaps a pretty scary bar.
In all fairness, this was taken very close to Halloween.
But, I'm not so sure that quite covers it.
Jerome has so many back streets and alleys, some of which makes you wonder if you can get your car through them (and I certainly don't

have a large car.) Not to mention that Jerome, like Bisbee, is built sort of straight up and down.
Makes for fun, whether you're getting around on foot or by car.
And some of these old mining towns were the center of civilization (as ornery as that could be) for vast areas of wilderness. This helped create some of the most striking grand hotels.
Bisbee has its' Copper Queen Hotel (hey, Monica and I have stayed there. In the John Wayne room. They told us John stayed in that room. No way to tell, but it did have corner windows so the view was outstanding. We enjoyed it.)
Jerome's hotel is aptly named the Jerome Grand Hotel.
Really handsome on the outside (and really decked out for Halloween,) with a beautiful and ornate grand entrance staircase out front. However, after wandering around the inside, I wouldn't book a room too quickly. We've been told that the restaurant is pretty good.
And I'm still not going to try it.

Lastly, I'm going to leave you all with an interesting shot taken in Jerome. Monica has become most interested in owning a Harley motorcycle ever since we moved to Tucson (must be the wide open spaces and the wind in your hair and Easy Rider and....oh, you get it.)

Well, look real close in the above shot of the Harley, just above the Harley logo.
Darned if it ain't Monica. This could be as close as she's gonna come to one of these hogs.
Or, maybe not?
My next post will be about Canyon De Chelly. The canyon was one of the real highlights of our trip and we think that it's a must see for anyone visiting Northern Arizona.
And don't forget, for a full size view of any picture, just place your cursor over the shot and click on your left mouse button.
See you soon.
Leigh and Monica.