05 February 2010


An early morning flight from O’Hare to Phoenix and we pick up an hour in Mountain Time. Absolutely no glitches unless you count the hard sales pitch at the rental car counter and the resulting delay.

A great start, and fortunately a bit of research this week led to my discovering a recommended Mexican restaurant just a few blocks from Sky Harbor Airport—Carolina’s, The Original. Just the right amount of dive-ness. You wait on-line with locals stopping by for their lunch break, and grab a table or join a communal table in this no-frills open dining room.
The locals and regulars dig into their meals and seem unaffected by our struggle to figure out the rules. No one seems judgmental or inconvenienced, rather the opposite occurs. We receive smiles and helpful suggestions, and several people express an interest in us… Where are you from? Have you been here before?

It’s an easy-on to I-17 and a two-hour drive to Sedona. This part of Arizona is flat, flat, flat. But, in about 1-1/2 hours we start seeing red rock and mountains. By the time we take a break at Camp Verde we are settling into Arizona.

The directions provided by the Sedona Summit have us exit here at Camp Verde and take Rt-260 into Cottonwood where we pick up 89A to Sedona. (Here’s the better route—stay on I-17 and take Rt-179 at exit 298. The views are immediately spectacular and you arrive in Sedona via Oak Creek Village and have multiple opportunities to pull over for views and photos.)

First impressions of the Sedona Summit are positive, even with the arm-twisting sales pressure we encounter at reception. In a matter of minutes we have booked an appointment, forked over our credit card and incurred a non-refundable(?) $25 fee to guarantee our attendance at a info session on Wednesday at 9:30a.m. Yep! We’ve paid for a sales pitch before we’ve had a chance to view the unit or any of Sedona. And, we have no idea what we really will want to do on Wednesday or any day this week. WE JUST ARRIVED!

The views in all directions from this resort are spectacular. The red rock formations and foliage are outstanding and breathtaking. The landscaping and walkways wind amongst the taupe, brick, terra cotta and sage-colored adobe housing clusters.

Our assigned studio impresses and seems adequate for two people for one week. We get the parking lot/housetop view, but since this is an inexpensive getaway, we won’t complain.

It doesn’t take us long to settle in and jump into the car for a drive further into Sedona to explore. Dinner is on our minds as we wander amongst the kitschy shops. We decide immediately that there should be an ordinance limiting the number of t-shirt shops to one/block.

We don’t find any restaurants on this strip that seem gourmet or feature Southwestern cuisine, so we eventually settle on Oaxaca for dinner and a strictly Mexican menu. The salsa is definitely from a jar, while the chips seem freshly fried. Our entrees don’t measure up to what we envisioned (think Santa Fe) and are used to even at El Molina near home.

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