Don’t Miss This in Arizona: Sedona/Cottonwood

Most travel writers will inform readers about all the highlights, most iconic things to do and see in a particular part of Arizona. Sedona Arizona is a prime example. Guidebooks and information centers are plentiful, offering the most popular (and most populated) sights. They steer people to such sights as Red Rock Crossing, Cathedral Rock, Slide Rock and Bell Rock… all those rocks! But so many excellent activities and sights are not given enough due in other websites. Here are a few:

Many folks travel to nearby wineries for tasting. Most will sample the vintages at Page Springs Vineyards and Oak Creek Vineyards. We suggest also including a stop and spending a bit more time at Javelina Leap. Step behind the winery’s original main tasting room into the new “Arizona Room” and you’ll find a larger gathering spot for trying out the best vintages from Javelina Leap. There’s even a airy patio for nibbling and noshing when the weather’s right. We not only sampled wines, but some excellent appetizers — tapas —  to cleanse our palate.

Javelina Leap’s Arizona Room

 

Stuffed mushrooms at Javelina Leap Winery

 

Before you spend an afternoon instagramming rock cairns at Red Rock Crossing, which by the way will now cost you $10 to park, visit Red Rock State Park. for a short stroll along Oak Creek or a moderate climb to Eagle’s Nest. It’s amazing what you may see along the way.

Oak Creek weaves through Red Rock State Patk

Doe and fawn mule deer spotted near the visitors center

Gorgeous views at Red Rock State Park

Many Sedona/Cottonwood visitors may have Montezuma’s Castle on their itinerary, but Montezuma’s Well — maybe not so much. Stop at Montezuma Well and follow the trail to the end. You’ll see the native inhabitants’ cliff dwellings and natural springs which feed the well. Roaming rangers and docents will provide the history of the well and its original water users.

Dwelling ruins

US Calvary troops left their names on these ruins

Montezuma Well overlook

Random images from our Arizona getaway to Cottonwood

We recently made a weekend getaway to Old Town Cottonwood and found there’s lot to do and see in this quaint, historic section of the central Arizona town.

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We started out the morning with a short hike along the Jail Trail in Old Town Cottonwood. At the trail head, we noticed beautiful morning glory vines weaving along the fence at the Wild Rose Tea House.

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Views along the trail include these giant pampas grass clusters on the banks of the Verde River.

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Pampas grass plumes bent to the morning breezes, resembling billowing ostrich feathers.

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Fungus took over residence in a downed cottonwood trunk.

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We lingered for a while at the edge of the Verde River, near the Tuzigoot Road bridge.

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The far end of the Jail Trail connects to the entrance of Dead Horse State Park.  (Tip: Walk-in entrance fee is only $3.)

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After walking along the river, we stopped for a bit of brunch at the Red Rooster Cafe.

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There’s nothing better than a frothy latte on a chilly morning in Old Town Cottonwood.

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Even if you’re not enthusiastic about antiques, you’ll find enjoyment browsing Larry’s Antiques & Things.

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While shopping for unusual antiques, we not only found a “alien receiving” sign, but we found an alien to go with it… 🙂

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Finally, we topped off the day with wine tasting at one of several tasting rooms in Old Town Cottonwood including the Pillsbury Wine Company Tasting Room on Main Street.

Thinking about a road trip? Now is the perfect time to visit Cottonwood:

March 29 is the Verde River Runoff.

The Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival is April 24-27.

A blues festival, guitar concert and local history program are among the events dot at the Old Town Center for the Arts.

Check the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce calendar for more events.

Enjoy your Arizona Getaway!

 

Ready for winter hiking in Arizona?

Winter provides stark beauty to San Pedro River area

Winter provides stark beauty to San Pedro River area

Two mile nature trail weaves along San Pedro River

Two mile nature trail weaves along San Pedro River

Saguaro Lake's Butcher Jones Trail is perfect start-of-season hike for winter

Saguaro Lake’s Butcher Jones Trail is perfect start-of-season hike for winter

 

Hunter Trail is a popular option at Picacho Peak

Hunter Trail is a popular option at Picacho Peak

 

Don't forget Phoenix's South Mountain Trails, take the National Trail to Garden Valley and Fat Man's Pass (shown here)

Don’t forget Phoenix’s South Mountain Trails. Take the National Trail to Garden Valley and Fat Man’s Pass (shown here)

 

Boulder Canyon 103 heading back

Another winter hiking possibility starts across from Canyon Lake Marina: Boulder Canyon Trai

Chuck, Molly and I in front of the forest service sign

Hieroglyphics Springs Trail is a great one for showing off the Arizona desert to your visiting out-of-towners.

Ready for a winter hike? Take a look at AZGetawayTravel’s hiking list.

See you on Arizona’s hiking trails!

Variety of car activities makes long road trips more fun

How do you keep your children occupied on long road trips? Do you open up an activity case? Do you set up a DVD player, portable video game, iPod or other device, and… you’re off down the highway?

 

Recent trips with friends and relatives prompted me to wonder whatever happened the conversational, interactive road trip games that would cure the car-riding doldrums? I was able to find a few sites and blogs that brought back some memories, no doubt produced by grown-ups in attempts to capture their youth or unleash part of their upbringing on their kids, as a last-ditch effort to steer them away from these vehicular, electronic babysitters. Shuffling through these sites brought me back to my own childhood memories of road trip games we’d play to pass the time – or more importantly, to keep Dad alert and awake.

 

Because we started playing road trip games when we very young, my family’s games were very simple. “I Spy” was a variation of the 20 Questions-type of game. We would usually pick an object from the passing scenery or vehicles, or even from inside our car. “I spy something blue,” someone would start. Sky? Nope. Big truck passing us? No. Mom’s handbag? No. We’d take turns until the selected objects or the guesses became too ridiculous.

 

We then graduated to an alphabet game for which we had no name, so I’ll just dub it the “Alphabet Sign Game.” It’s best for ages 3-7. The first player would start the alphabet by spotting an “A” in a warning sign, billboard or retail banner, etc. then each passenger would follow suit and continue through the alphabet. Naturally, many miles would pass before unlucky players assigned with the letters, Q or X or Z would see their signs.

Zit-Zingo: The Travel Game. (Not sure what was meant by Zit or Zingo.)

 

Zit Zingo car bingo game card from the 1960s.

My favorite was a car bingo game called, “Zit Zingo.” Now obsolete, it sometimes pops up on ebay.com. Each player would identify various objects along the road, such as cows, horses, birds, buildings, modes of transportation and people. The first player to complete a line or diagonal of objects would be the winner. “Zit Zingo” was fun for all but in the backseat between the three of us kids, the competition ran especially fierce. The hours in the car, as did the miles of highway monotony passed quickly. Another benefit – watching the scenery helped prevent motion sickness. You can find road trip games online including many bingo-type games. Or you can just make your own. On your next long road trip: rather than watching in the mirror as your kids zone out with a movie or music, why not break up the ride with an activity that is engaging, challenging and fun for everyone in the family?