Celebrating an Anniversary in Enchanting Sedona, AZ

The Wonder of Sedona

Our inaugural day in Sedona, AZ began with lunch at Butterfly Burger, a local gem famed for its delicious gourmet burgers. After lunch, we headed on a scenic drive toward the iconic Chapel of the Holy Cross. We were both in awe of the rugged beauty of Sedona’s red rock landscape that surrounded this architectural marvel!

The Peace Garden Casita in Clarkdale

We made our way to the Peace Garden Casita in Clarkdale. Every detail of the casita was thoughtfully crafted to complement the beauty of the surroundings. As we stepped onto the property, we were greeted by breathtaking views that stretched across the horizon. Novie was our host and was simply the best! She answered any questions we had and even gifted us a bottle of champagne for our anniversary. Novie even set up a display of handmade magnets from a local artist in the casita and encourages all guests to take one home as a gift.

Dinner at BOCCE

Eager to immerse ourselves in Sedona’s culinary delights, we ventured to Bocce for dinner. We loved our server! She was friendly and very helpful. For an appetizer, we ordered the Bocce Balls, which were chicken and sausage meatballs in marinara and topped with bocce hand stretched mozzarella. Our dinner included a wood-fired vegetable medley and cheese ravioli over organic greens, drizzled with a creamy pesto dressing. Following our meal, we opted for a stroll down Main Street to enjoy the town’s festive Christmas decorations and various shops.

Violette’s Bakery Cafe

The morning welcomed us with a breathtaking sunrise offering a view over the valley. This view was precisely what we had hoped for on this getaway! Acting on Novie’s suggestion, we treated ourselves to hour-long massages at Vital Essence. Kim, the owner of Vital Essence, also shared insightful recommendations for our evening meal.

Following Kim’s advice, we ventured across the street to Violette’s Bakery Cafe. Drawing inspiration from her studies in France, Violette’s baking expertise shone through in her handcrafted pasteries. Despite its unassuming appearance, the line of patrons waiting until closing time spoke volumes about its popularity!

Smelter Town Brewery

John had caught wind of Smelter Town Brewery and was particularly intrigued by their Modern Miner milkshake IPA. He ordered a flight of their top brews and was impressed with each one. Across the street from the brewery was the local park, bustling with festive cheer. Santa even made an appearance! Stepping into the park felt like walking into the setting of a Hallmark movie—a scene straight out of a charming, idyllic town.

Penumbra Guest House Suites

Novie’s recent venture, the Penumbra Guest House Suites, has quickly become a gem nestled on the edge of Clarkdale and Cottonwood, AZ. The property was near our casita. We aksed Novie if we could tour the property and she welcomed us with enthusiasm! The Guest House Suites were once an abandoned school. Novie envisioned transforming this space into a sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation. Her passion for creating a haven for travelers seeking wellness is evident in every aspect of this beautifully repurposed space. Novie also was the general contractor for this enormous project!

The attention to detail throughout the Penumbra Guest House Suites was nothing short of remarkable—each element carefully curated. Novie shared her vision and plans for the future, including the forthcoming transformation into a health and wellness retreat. The Penumbra Guest House Suites, with its serene ambiance, left a huge impression on us.

View of the Clarkdale valley standing on top of the hill

Dinner at Eden

Kim’s recommendation for an authentic local dining experience led us to Eden in Cottonwood, nestled away from the usual bustle. At Eden, we were greeted by live acoustic guitar from a local musician. John, our attentive waiter, ensured our dining experience was nothing short of exceptional. We enjoyed the seasonal bruschetta, a combination of whipped goat cheese, hazelnuts, smoked bacon, sriracha honey, and arugula. For our entrées, we ordered a perfectly cooked salmon filet and a rich, flavorful Bolognese.

Exploring the Haunted Encounters in Jerome, AZ

As we sipped our morning coffee, we heard a sudden burst of relentless barking at the back door. It was Otis, one of the dogs we met when arriving at the casita. We laughed and Otis’s insistence on not only gaining entry to the casita, but also demanding our undivided attention. Once we opened the door, and took a seat outside, Otis immediately jumped into John’s lap. Not far behind was Araya, the other dog on the property, also eager to show her love by bringing us sticks or any trinkets she could find. Along with Otis and Araya, we started the day in the best possible way—overlooking the sunrise and the breathtaking valley views!

We heard about Jerome, a town with less than 500 residents, that piqued our curiosity. We set out to explore this charming community nestled on the hillside overlooking Clarkdale, Cottonwood, and beyond.

We immersed ourselves in the local art scene, supporting talented artists through our shopping excursions. Our lunch destination was the Haunted Burger. John’s ordered a vanilla milkshake and an overflowing chili dog. I ordered a bunless burger alongside their famed jalapeño coleslaw. The soup of the day, Pasole, beckoned memories of a similar soup my mom made on new years eve.

Later in the afternoon, we opted for an early dinner at Clinkscale, touted as the town’s premier dining spot. True to its reputation, the restaurant delivered an exceptional experience! I enjoyed in scallops while John savored the wood-fired cauliflower steak burger.

Panoramic view from Jerome overlooking the Clarkdale valley

Exploring Sedona

We kicked off our day with a hearty breakfast at the Pump House Station, conveniently located near Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village. The morning was spent leisurely strolling through the shops and art galleries. Later in the morning, we drove across town to Crescent Moon Ranch for a brief hike. After our hike, we stopped by the Local Juicery for a refreshing smoothie.

Dinner at Cucina Rustica

As we drove to dinner, the scenic route along HWY 179 offered breathtaking views of the stunning red rock landscapes. Our dinner was set at Cucina Rustica, a local Italian favorite. Unfortunately, the restaurant fell short of our expectations. The service lacked warmth and the much of what we ordered lacked significant flavor.

For starters, we opted for the Polpette Di Carne, handmade beef meatballs served in marinara. My choice, Pesce e Limone, featured wild-caught Pacific Northwest Petrale Sole with a white wine herb butter sauce accompanied by broccolini. Meanwhile, John ordered the Pollo Parmigiana, a filet of chicken sautéed and finished with signature marinara and mozzarella, accompanied by capellini Pomodoro.

Dessert and Drinks at Merkin Vineyards

A roughly 45-minute drive back to Clarkdale took us on a different, scenic route. On that route, we seized the chance to visit the newly opened Merkin Vineyards. We ordered a cannoli after learning that the Tirimisu was unavailable. John ordered one more milkshake IPA. This was a great way to toast 11 years together while cherishing the beauty and moments shared in the stunning backdrop of Sedona.

Lunch at Arcadia Farms in Scottsdale

Leaving the tranquility, panoramic views, and exceptional hospitality was bittersweet. Reflecting on our time spent in Sedona, it’s certain that we’ll be back sometime soon. With some time to spare before our flight, we followed a suggestion and made our way to Arcadia Farms in old town Scottsdale. We enjoyed lunch on the patio and John ordered the Gruyére and Parisian Ham Crepes while I ordered the French Country Chicken Salad.

Our excursion to Sedona proved to be a soul-nourishing experience that exceeded our expectations in every way! For anyone considering a trip to Sedona, I recommend exploring accommodations in Cottonwood or Clarkdale where you can relish the enchantment of Sedona’s beauty at a fraction of the cost, all while being just 20 minutes away from the vibrant hustle and bustle.