Weekend Escape to Scottsdale, Arizona & the Sedona

A pleasant weekend jaunt to Scottsdale and Sedona for a little rest and relaxation. Learn about my horseback adventures, ancient Arizona ruins, and the best ribs in Scottsdale!

Weekend Escape to Scottsdale, Arizona & the Sedona

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by candycorey on May 10, 2006

On this trip to Scottsdale and the Sedona Valley my most memorable moment was visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross. The Chapel is such an impressive structure and the view is simply incredible. Marguerite Staude chose the perfect location to implement her vision.${QuickSuggestions} Be spontaneous! If you see a sign on the side of the road pointing you towards a sight, don't hesitate to stop by and check it out! I have stumbled across so many great experiences in this manner. On my trip to Sedona, I just happened to decide to go see Montezuma Castle. Not only was I fortunate enough to see this landmark, but I found a great artist selling pieces of her work on the side of the road. I picked up some great authentic Indian sand art and jewelry for practically nothing compared to the prices in the tourist shops.${BestWay} You really need a car to visit Scottsdale and the surrounding areas. Scottsdale itself is very large and can be very hot, making it difficult to go long distances on foot. In addition, a car will allow you to venture to Sedona which is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Scottsdale. The drive might sound long, but it’s quite a pleasant ride and the trip is definitely worth it. Sedona offers a huge variety of activities for families, couples, and adventurers alike!

Scottsdale Marriott Suites Old Town

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by candycorey on May 15, 2006

Each time my fiancé and I visit Scottsdale, we choose to stay at the Marriott Suites Old Town. It is located about 25 minutes from the Phoenix Airport and just one block away from Old Town Scottsdale.

Transportation: While the hotel does not offer a shuttle service to and from Phoenix Airport, the desk will call a shuttle for guests departing for the airport. A cab fare from the airport usually costs me around $30 with tip. For visitors traveling with a car, the hotel offers free underground parking. I have always found the parking garage clean and safe.

Accommodations: What I enjoy most about the hotel is the room set up. Each room consists of a living room area, bedroom, bath and bar. Generally, you would enter the room into the bar and living room area. This area has a pull-out sofa, TV, desk, and bar area with an empty refrigerator and sink. The hotel offers high speed Internet in guest rooms for about $10 a day. The empty refrigerator is great because it allows you to stock it with bottles of water—staying hydrated in arid Arizona is essential. From the living area, you enter into the bedroom through French doors. I find the beds very comfortable and enjoy having a second TV in the bedroom. The bathroom has a separate area for the sink and the bathtub and shower. This is a nice feature if someone would like to shower while the other person does hair/make-up etc.

Tip: Ask for a room with a view of the swimming pool, it’s a little more exciting than the street side view!

Extras: As I just mentioned, the hotel has a nice pool and hot tub to relax in after a long day of touring around the area. The hotel also allows guests to enjoy bar service from the pool or hot tub. There is also a small gym with a number of cardio machines and the standard weight lifting machines. The concierge is very helpful and has many brochures explaining the various activities in and around the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. There is also a hotel restaurant and bar, as well as a Starbucks vendor station (there is also a real Starbucks one block away). While my fiancé and I usually take advantage of the many nearby restaurants, we have eaten at the hotel and greatly enjoyed the meal. The kitchen is very flexible and will tailor a meal to meet your needs.

To learn more and to determine season prices you can visit http://marriott.com/property/propertypage/PHXST
Marriott Suites Scottsdale Old Town
Scottsdale, Arizona, 85251


Member Rating 5 out of 5 by candycorey on May 10, 2006

Each time I visit Scottsdale, I make a point to visit Bandera in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. The restaurant is stunning on the inside, decorated in dark wood and shades of maroon. It also hosts a large bar right at the heart of the room, which ensures the place is always the happening place to be. Bandera brings a quiet sophistication to the grill/BBQ restaurant scene. Visitors can view their fine meats roasting on the large grill that can be seen from outside the restaurant. Their menu is vast and impressive, carrying a wide range of selections to please even the pickiest eaters. Bandera's food is impressive for its common items, served in a way not seen before. Each item looks simply wonderful and has included a modern touch to a classic meal. Personally, I suggest anyone visiting must try their ribs! I generally do not like ribs, but Bandera's simply melt in your mouth like ice-cream. Their nachos and cheese entree is also simply amazing.The crowd usually consists of a mix of happy hour business execs, tourists, and regulars. While you certainly can show up in casual attire with the kids, a "nice" casual would probably make you feel the most comfortable.The prices might feel a little steep, but the food and portions are worth it. You are guaranteed a midnight snack or lunch the next day.I have never been to Bandera on a slow night, so be prepared for a wait of about 20 minutes. The wait might be a little long for visitors with children, although there are a number of surrounding tourist shops to visit while you pass the minutes. Singles and couples can enjoy a drink on the porch, making the wait just a little more romantic.Bandera is owned by Hillside, so feel free to check out their website and other national locations at www.hillside.com.
3821 N Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale, Arizona, 85251
(480) 994-3524

The Cowboy Club

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by candycorey on May 15, 2006

My favorite restaurant in Sedona is The Cowboy Club! Located in the heart of Sedona, The Cowboy Club will complete your trip to the West!

The restaurant looks like it is straight out of a Western movie! It has all wooden walls and is filled with many old cowboy artifacts, such as art and hunting successes. It is a casual club with a boisterous atmosphere, making it perfect for families.

The menu ranges from the familiar to the completely exotic. As a picky eater I prefer to stick to their fabulous burgers or famous barbecue. My fiancé prefers their more exotic options, such as buffalo steak, fresh game, or rattlesnake fries. However you like it, The Cowboy Club's menu will meet the needs of your group. Portions are large, so be sure to go on an empty stomach!

The Cowboy Club also boasts a wonderful bar and many specialty drinks. I love their selection of Cactus Cocktails, especially after a hot day in the sun!

While reservations aren't necessary for small groups, they are recommended if you want to sit in a particular room, avoid waits or have a large group. I generally find the wait to be about 15 minutes for a group of two. You can call or email for reservations, simply visit www.cowboyclub.com to make your reservations online.
Cowboy Club
241 North State Route 89A
Sedona, Arizona, 86336

Horseback Riding

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by candycorey on May 15, 2006

On this trip to Arizona, I chose to try a horseback ride coordinated by Red Rock Jeep Tours (www.redrockjeep.com, 928-282-6826 or 800-848-7728) located right on the main drag in Sedona. The 2 hour trail ride cost $93 per person.

Once my fiancé and I arrived at the Red Rock Jeep Tours location in Sedona, we were shuttled in a van to the ranch. We were surprised that the van ride took about 30 minutes and took us well out of the central Sedona Red Rock area. The van ride was very bumpy and dusty. Our final destination was the M Diamond Ranch (www.mdiamondranch.com). While the ranch, staff, and horses were all friendly and well kept, I was disappointed in the lack of picturesque Sedona scenery. The area we covered on the trail was generally flat and boasted lush greenery for the Sedona area. We did not get to see any of the Red Rock formations the Sedona region is known for. The trail ride was generally boring and consisted of simply following the horse in front of you. The trail simply weaves back and forth across the cattle pastures of the ranch.

I do not suggest this trail ride if you are hoping to enjoy the Red Rock scenery of Sedona. I suggest Trail Horse Adventures (www.trailhorseadventures.com) for those visitors interested in enjoying the immediate Sedona region.
M Diamond Ranch

Sedona, Arizona, 86335

Chapel of the Holy Cross

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by candycorey on May 18, 2006

What it is: The Chapel of the Holy Cross is one of the most interesting sites in Sedona, bearing large cross that seemingly rises out of the surrounding red rock formations. The Chapel was designed by Marguerite Brunswig Staude, who studied architecture under Frank Lloyd Wright, in 1932 and was completed in 1956. Today, the Chapel belongs to the parish of St. John Vianney in Sedona and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

Why you will want to visit: This is a must-see during your trip to Sedona. Whether you are religious or not, the architecture of this Chapel is incredible. The Chapel appears to simply grow out of the red rock. Also, once you make the short hike up to the Chapel, you are rewarded with some of the best views of the surrounding valley—you can see for miles! I enjoyed taking a few moments to wander inside the Chapel's minimalist interior, which added a serene feeling to my visit.

How to find the Chapel: From Uptown Sedona, take 179 South. Take a left onto Chapel Road and you cannot miss it.

Tip: Wear comfortable shoes! While the hike is not long, it is a bit steep. The day we visited the parking lot was very crowded and we had to wait a couple of minutes for a spot to become available. There is a special parking lot for visitors that are unable to make the trek to the top, simply ask one of the volunteer parking attendants.

Logistics: The Chapel is open daily from 9am to 5pm (and closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Good Friday and Easter). Once inside the Chapel, there are stairs on the left that will take you to a small gift shop (although you can find post cards in just about any Sedona gift shop).
Chapel of the Holy Cross
780 Chapel Road (east Of State Route 179)
Sedona, Arizona, 86336
(928) 282-4069

Montezuma Castle (National Monument)

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by candycorey on May 18, 2006

Background: Montezuma Castle is the ancient dwelling of the prehistoric Sinagua Indians. This group inhabited the castle and the surrounding land by Beaver Creek over 600 years ago. The National Park Services (NPS) claims it is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America.

Fun Fact:The structure, which is five stories high and consists of 20 rooms, was never actually a castle; it was used more like an apartment building. Also, Montezuma never set foot anywhere near the area.

Why you will want to go see it: This is a great side trip for families! Visiting the Montezuma Castle is a short half hour/hour stop. Visitors enter through the park museum, which displays a timeline of world events and an array of tools used by the Sinagua to build the Castle. World travelers will appreciate the timeline that covers concurrent world events; e.g., while the Sinagua were building this structure, the French were building Notre Dame. The Museum also hosts a small gift shop, where you can pick up postcards and get a stamp for your National Park Passport.

To visit the actual Castle you exit the other side of the small museum and follow a short paved trail. The trail has markers providing detail about the area and the Monument. Halfway down the trail you approach the Castle. It is quite imposing from below.

As you continue around the trail you walk along the Beaver Creek and come past a small Castle replica. The National Park service built a replica with an audio system that tells about the Sinagua who inhabited the structure so many years ago. This is a great stop for kids, as it talks about the Sinagua children and their pastimes.

Logistics:The park is open in the summer (May 30 - Labor Day) from 8am until 6pm and in the winter from 8am until 5pm, 7 days a week. A fee of $5 dollars is charged for admission (16 years and under are free). Before you go, be sure to check the NPS website: http://www.nps.gov/moca/index.htm. The NPS has brochures available that suggest day trips to the area and provide more information on the Castle.

Tip:If you arrive 30 minutes or less prior to closing, the fee is waived and you will have adequate time to see the Castle.

How to find it: Montezuma Castle is located 3 miles off Interstate 17. Use Exit 289 and simply follow the signs!

Montezuma Castle National Monument
2800 Montezuma Castle Hwy Off Highway Southeast Of Oak Creek
Camp Verde, Arizona, 86322
(928) 567-3322


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