Off Season Escapes in AZ
It’s July in Arizona, and guess what? It’s hot. Today it is looking at 110 degrees in Phoenix. Of course, we live in that one spot in the Valley of the Sun that is always just a few degrees warmer than anywhere else, so we are talkin’ two steps from Dante’s inferno. That being the case, we need to escape and escape often. Luckily, Arizona has many ways to escape. Over the years, we have discovered some awesome, local hotels along the way. I want to shout out a few cool spots that we have visited recently.
In preparation for our radio show, we travelled to Flagstaff to pre-interview a guest. We had been to Flagstaff a few times as a pit stop on our way to somewhere else, but we had never spent any time in the revitalized old town. What a blast! The old town of Flagstaff is a true small, city center with entertainment in the square, fine dining, outdoor cafe’s and lamp-lit streets made for strolling.
We stayed overnight at the Hotel Weatherford. This is one of those classic western hotels right in the heart of everything. It’s is 110 years old and has seen the full evolution of Flagstaff. At various times, the red-brick building housed restaurants, a theatre, a radio station, a billiard hall, and the first telephone in town. After a 30 year restoration, the hotel is back to its original luster and is one of our new favorites in AZ.
Talking to the folks around Flagstaff, we learned that the Weatherford is the center of activity in the town. It is the place where people gather for weddings, New Years celebrations (the infamous pine cone drop occurs here), town meetings, or just family get-togethers. In short, the Weatherford is where memories are made for the people of Flagstaff. You have to love a place where the most common description of it includes the phrase, “It’s all about family.”
A lot has been written about Sedona. If you are into hiking, Native American Culture, photography, vortexes, being a bit odd or engaging in extracurricular activities involving growing your own herbs; Sedona is the place to be.
When we go to Sedona, we like to stay at a funky little place called the Briar Patch Inn. Located in Oak Creek Canyon just out of the town, Briar Patch Inn has 19 cabins along the creek. The cabins range from quite nice and comfortable to absolutely luxurious. We have worked our way up over the years. The last time we were there, we stayed in the Casa De Piedra where you wake up in what seems like a tree house.
What we love about the Briar Patch is that we can grill our own steaks, sit by a river, swim and feel as though we are still part of nature then fall sleep in a heavenly bed (near a fire in the winter). They have spa services, but you will not find golf courses or WIFI here. This is a place to go if you truly want to get away.
While it is difficult to escape the heat and remain in the Valley, but summer does allow for some great rates at the higher end resorts around town. One of the more interesting is the boutique resort of Sanctuary on Camelback.
The rooms are luxuriously funky, and it certainly has one of the best views in the city. The summer heat made it difficult to sit on the deck and enjoy during the sunset, but at night with a cool drink it works out well. We are told the pool is wonderful. Unfortunately, we did not get the chance to hit it because our stay was working vacation.
In all honesty, we were there on a pass. Still, at this time of year, the rates are very affordable. The mountain casita where we roomed had its own kitchen, but there was no way that I was not going to go to the Elements Restaurant and experience Chef Beau (Iron Chef America victor, host of Worst Cooks in America and all around great guy) MacMillan’s fare. Given that it was chicken wings that got me there, I had to try Beau’s. Right on brotha! Beau knows wings.
We had to run off to a meeting in Scottsdale during dinner, but we did return for lunch the next day. I had the best turkey sandwich I have ever tasted. It was on ciabatta with avocado, bacon and a garlic aioli. I will definitely be back for more.
So if the heat is getting you down or you just need a break, go check out some of the local hotels or resorts in your area in the off season. Just one night away can be completely rejuvenating, you are helping the local economy, and you don’t know what you might discover.
Live well, Eat Well