Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Southwest Inn in Sedona

When you look for a hotel in Sedona, there is a confusing profusion.

“Sedona has been discovered,” my best friend from college tells me. She named her daughter Sedona, and she is one of the reasons Sedona is high on my list of places I want to experience. She had described Sedona in glowing terms, some forty years ago.

It took forever to figure out where we wanted to stay. We don’t like bedbug motels, and neither do we like resorts. We don’t like paying for services we don’t want, and we don’t mind paying for services we do want. We like relatively small, and we like our privacy. We are introverts. We want to experience Sedona.

After a lot of research, we chose the Southwest Inn in Sedona, and it worked for us. We had a lovely spacious room with a balcony, very quiet, in a part of town where we were only about five minutes from any where we wanted to go.

As we drove in, we loved it. There were hummingbirds dive-bombing the tree where we parked, and we watched the as we unpacked the car. We had an upper level in a two level building, so we had to haul our goods up stairs, but I had my FitBit and I needed the credit for stairs; we didn’t mind the stairs. We loved the brown adobe finish, and the private balconies with the views of the red rocks.




Breakfast was in this cheery, sunny breakfast room at the top of the entry building. They had home-made breakfast burritos, frozen, and two microwaves in which to heat them up, as well as pastries, cereals, fruits, juices, coffee, tea, water – one step up from continental breakfast, and it is included in your room. Many people take their breakfast back to their room to eat out on the balcony.


The hotel had a hot tub and a nice swimming pool and lounging deck, which we never used our entire time in Sedona. We kept intending to, but there was always too much to see and to do!

Our room was fine, spacious enough, good sized bathroom, but I didn’t take a photo and it wasn’t special enough that I can remember a single detail, other than the lovely balcony and the view, and oh, yes, it had one of those Southwest corner fireplaces, very fun. It was fine; it housed us well, and you can spend a lot more in Sedona and get a lot less. We wanted Sedona style, and we felt this fit the bill; it fit in well with local aesthetics, and it was quiet and modest with little luxuries, but without excessive showiness.

We also liked the management, very laid back, and very thoughtful. The room had nice things in it – bathrobes to wear to the pool, a nice coffee maker, the fireplace for cooler evenings. When I needed more shampoo, the man at the desk gave me a big container and asked if I wanted conditioner, too. They had a large, elegant dispenser of cool lemon water in the lobby, as well as coffee and tea all day long. There was a graciousness to it all that I liked, a generosity of spirit. They were very helpful telling us about things we needed to do (join the crowd at the airport vortex to watch the sun go down, for one) and the roads we needed to take. We followed all their advice, and it paid.

Our hotel was full of European hikers, families and people who, like us, look for a good value for the money.

April 20, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Civility, Customer Service, Fitness / FitBit, Hotels, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Quality of Life Issues, Road Trips, Travel | , , | 2 Comments

The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and the Tonto National Forest

There is nothing so lovely as the American Southwest in the Spring. This is a glorious day, and we are on our way to an amazing park, the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, with is a huge indoor and outdoor park and museum. It is one of the best stops on our trip.


There is a huge parking lot, and we got there around the time it opens. We were still in the third row away, but the rows go on and on forever, and we wondered why so much parking? As we left, we understood. We had been there about three or four hours, and the parking lot was filling up fast, buses, travelers from every state and many nations, coming to this beautifully thought-through museum.


One of the things we are picking up on is that everywhere we go, there are people our age, physically fit, volunteering. We saw this at the Benson – Rio Grande Valley Park in Texas, where I thought they were the happiest volunteers I had ever seen, and then again, at Tombstone, AZ, participating as characters in the daily dramas. People our age are living their dreams, and we met a lot of really happy people, working for various parks and volunteer agencies.

I volunteer in several areas, and one of my favorite is with the Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council. The Department of State sends delegates here to meet with counterparts in specialized areas – environment, juvenile justice, fair election processes, women entrepreneurs – it can be anything. You never know what comes next, which I love. Another part of it that I love is introducing our foreign delegates to the volunteer experience, whether it be dishing out hot meals for the homeless or packaging food for the food bank. For most, it is a new experience, and the idea of giving your time voluntarily to work to help others is a revelation. They are so often surprised at how good it feels.

This is what we are coming across again and again. At this museum, there is a volunteer passing out maps, and others selling entrance tickets. There are volunteer rangers, volunteer guides, and volunteers answering questions. They are happy, they are fit and tanned (LOL, yes, this is Arizona!) and they work for free. They are doing what they want to be doing. It is a joyful experience to find all these happy volunteers, and to benefit from their expertise. It is a joy to us; I feel so proud and humble to be a part of this kind of community.

This museum is so first rate. These are the bronze sculptures at the entry:



Museum entrance:


There are all kinds of walking trails, and every exhibit is also reachable by wheelchair.

Grounds-map 2014-5

The museum cactus display is gorgeous along the wonderful walking paths:


They have a wildlife display with all kinds of snakes and frogs. This is a poisonous frog:


AdventureMan and I separate; he has a mission, he wants to see the Butterfly garden and what is planted there. I take a few trails, and then head for the gift shop. I also have an agenda 🙂

In the wonderful gift shop, where I found unique and really fun gifts for grandchildren, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, I also saw two of Mary Doria Russel’s books about this area, about the legendary Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. There were also books and puzzles about bugs and desert creatures, and wonderful edibles, hot sauces, salsas, BBQ rubs. Great gifts.


It is a wonderful visit, but even this early in the season, by noon, it is getting very warm. We decide to head on for Sedona, and because we are not so fond of big city traffic, we skirt Phoenix and stop for lunch at one of our favorite places, Whole Foods. What a treat!


We wanted to take the scenic route to Sedona, so we went through the Tonto National Forest. At the beginning, I started laughing and said to AdventureMan, “It’s a Saguaro Forest!” Later, the Saguaros stopped, and small scrubby pines began, and then taller pines, and taller, thicker pines until we were in a truly dark forest with a lot of trees. Driving was a lot of twisting and turning on this road, and we were glad when we headed out towards Sedons.


We knew we were getting close when we saw the beginning of the famous red rocks. This is the view from our hotel balcony:


April 20, 2015 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Community, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Fitness / FitBit, Generational, Geography / Maps, Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council, Hotels, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Quality of Life Issues, Road Trips, Shopping, Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments