Tuesday, 26 April 2011
Sedona is up there with the Grand Canyon as a tourist destination, but it has an edge in that you are right there in amongst the rocks and canyons and, as a town in its own right it has further attractions in a vibrant arts community, excellent restaurants and the distinction of being the New Age capital of the USA. In the 1980s, Sedona's red rocks were 'discovered' to be the source of a series of electromagnetic 'vortexes' which focus spirals of healing energy and spiritual enlightenment for those who spend time within their influence. Everyone knows that I am the most sceptical of unbelievers, but there is definitely something deeply restorative about a gentle. trek through those massive, layered sculptures that represent millions of years of geological time.
And of course there's more to Sedona's New Age status than a vortex or two. Stroll down the main street and you can have your pick of crystal purveyors, shamans, psychics, native spirit guides, tarot readers, aura readers, reiki therapists and a bloke who resembles Gandalf and wants to help you regress to your past lives. We settled for a nice massage.
Great meals at The Barking Frog and Angels Mexican Restaurant, as well as the local whole foods store; two places that made decent coffee*; a buttock-clenching but brilliant jeep tour around the canyon rim at sunset; wonderful walking trails through the rocks and down through Oak Creek Canyon; an overwhelming abundance of high quality artworks ... The only downside was that there was a big crowd in town for the Easter** weekend and it was a bit difficult to park anywhere uptown. Despite the crowds (they get over 3 million visitors a year) it was very easy to find a quiet place of your own to relax and enjoy the beauty of Sedona.
* How can the world's greatest consumers of coffee tolerate such crap coffee? Everywhere you go, they serve boiling dishwater in gigantic buckets. 'Gourmet coffee' means they put some disgusting flavoured syrup in it. For the record, the Oak Creek Coffee House and a small French patisserie at the downtown end of the main drag got it right.
**We found it weird that Easter was such a low key festival in the US, given the number of holy rollers on the loose and the opportunity it presents for merchandising. Around these parts at least, there were virtually no choccy eggs in shops and Good friday wasn't even a holiday!