Last week, Grant and I honeymooned in Sedona, Arizona. It was magical. Sedona is incredible, and I can’t even remember the last time G and I had that much uninterrupted time together. Maybe never?
That said, we definitely have different ideas about the perfect getaway. We talked about it and decided that Grant prefers a trip, and I prefer a vacation.
Grant would be happy to go on a honeymoon that was 100% scheduled with activities, and I would prefer for there to be 50% activities, 50% drinking by the pool. In a true act of marital compromise, we were able to make this trip fit a little bit in both worlds. There was plenty of hiking, and I did get to take one drunken pool nap.
Where we hiked:
Airport Vortex: This was our first hike of the trip, and it was short, sweet, and very special. It’s a tiny, very easy hike to a little vista, where we cinched our hoodies and watched the sunrise in the crazy wind.
If you’re not familiar, Sedona’s energy vortexes are spots that are said to carry special energy. I’ve read about it being described in different ways, but mainly a feeling in the head or heart of deep warmth and positivity. Maybe it was placebo, maybe it’s real, but I loved it.
There are many vortexes in Sedona, but there are four major, mainstream ones. Many of the undocumented ones were used by Native Americans for ceremonial purposes (and may still be today).
Cathedral Rock: This was one of the hardest hikes I have ever done (and I’ve done some doozies). It’s only 1.5 miles long, but you gain 600 feet of elevation. Which means that portions of it are basically vertical.
The summit is totally shaded by the “cathedral towers” on either side. It is breathtaking (well, however breathtaking it can be when you’re already totally winded). The vortex on this hike is beyond the summit (to my right in the photo below). Even though we didn’t go off-trail to reach it, I felt so at-peace even being in its presence. I don’t know if that feeling is different than the feeling I get after reaching any summit, but I didn’t try to interrogate that too much.
Boynton Canyon: The highlight of this hike, another vortex, was Grant’s unexpected yoga class. When we got to the end of the trail, there was a spire of rock that looked scaleable. It was technically off-trail, but there were already two men at the top, so it couldn’t have been that bad.
Being the murderino that I am, I wasn’t really willing to climb to the top to a very small standing area. For all we knew, those dudes at the top were in some sort of cult and were waiting for fresh meat! (Hi, I’m dramatic.)
Before I could totally explain my concerns to G, he had bounded off and was climbing. And, while I sat and watched at the bottom, he learned ujjayi breathing from these two men, who were apparently about to livestream a mindfulness practice workshop from that spire. (They must have had killer service because I could barely send a text.)
Devil’s Bridge: This is definitely the most Insta-famous Sedona destination, meaning that it was one of the more crowded hikes we took. While I wasn’t crazy about that, it did mean there were plenty of people to take our photo at the top!
I thought the view from under the bridge better showed how cool this rock formation is.
Bell Rock: This, our final Sedona hike, felt incredibly special. I, in all honesty, didn’t really want to do it at first. It was nearing lunchtime, we were feeling tired, and I wasn’t sure I had it in me. I’m so glad Grant convinced me to go.
The whole Bell Rock area is known as a vortex space, so we set off on the trail with the mindset that we wouldn’t find a particular vortex spot. Before we’d gotten very far up on the rock formations, the trail markers stopped. Now, that Boy Scout up there ⬆⬆⬆ is a big stickler for parks service rules (as we all should be). But he really, really wanted to go higher on Bell Rock. So we went off trail. 😲
It was incredible. So beautiful and so calming, we worked together to find safe ways up, and neither of us died!
We kept going until the rock faces were too sheer. And, at the random spot where our hike ended, we found a piece of paper, weighted down by rocks.
Maybe it seems silly now, but to find this special spot together without the guidance of signs felt fortuitous. It felt like the world was on our side. I will never, ever forget that.
Grand Canyon (not in Sedona): G hiked all the way to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with his dad and brother years ago, so he wanted to go back and show me what all the fuss is about.
We didn’t hike all the way, but we did do a nine-mile loop called the Bright Angel Trail.
It was, to put it mildly, a challenge. But we did it! (I plan to write another post about this experience, so stay tuned.)
This may seem like a lot of hikes, and it was, but we really enjoy hiking together. There is nothing like the endorphin rush of reaching the summit, especially with your new husband.
What we ate:
First of all, I highly recommend Sedona just based on food. We had so many delicious meals, and G was always able to find something to eat, even with his allergies and restrictions. I have never seen so many vegan options sprinkled into a “regular” menu. I was able to order whatever I wanted, and G still had choices (often way more than he’s used to having, which I think overwhelmed him a bit).
SaltRock Kitchen: One of my favorite tips is to eat dinner at the lobby restaurants of fancy hotels. They’re often delicious (check those reviews!), and it’s an excuse to see the property. Order the grilled octopus appetizer and the watermelon salad.
Mariposa: The kind of Latin-inspired steakhouse that serves chimmichurri on everything. I don’t think you can go wrong here. We loved the lentil-walnut croquette appetizer, and the grilled shrimp were very tasty.
Che Ah Chi: Another fancy hotel meal. This restaurant is at the Enchantment Resort, which is huge, very luxurious, and very expensive. It was very fun to have an excuse to wander around for a bit. The Cathedral Rock toast was AMAZING. Thick-cut chewy toast topped with avocado, ricotta, tomatoes, shallots, and a lemony olive oil.
Creekside American Bistro: One of the best crab cakes I’ve ever eaten. Weird, I know, but the server pushed it, and I’m glad I listened.
Tamaliza: Must-eat. Cafeteria-style Mexican food, including vegan tamales.
Secret Garden Cafe: My favorite meal of the trip. Hot tip: the caprese salad is served with a huge mound of arugula and baby spinach, and it’s perfect with a steak on the side.
Whyld Ass (Flagstaff): We went to Flagstaff specifically to eat breakfast here. An all-vegan menu, owned by a very cool and friendly dude. The biscuits and gravy were next-level and the snickerdoodle we got for a car snack was 🎉.
True Food Kitchen (Phoenix): Awesome menu that combined traditional offerings with vegan options, all around an anti-inflammatory diet. (Which means they didn’t serve coffee, a real bummer since we ate there for brunch. I ordered kombucha instead.) G had a butternut squash pizza with vegan ricotta, and I had a mushroom and Brussels sprouts pizza with non-vegan Taleggio.
Nami (Phoenix): All-vegan and incredible. We both had enormous breakfast burritos, and we shared the banana churros, which were perfect, cinnamon-sugar-rolled donut holes.
Where we stayed:
Poco Diablo (Sedona): We stayed here for the majority of the trip. While the service was not great (a little slow, seemed annoyed at normal requests, and our room service tray lay outside our room for days), we would probably stay here again. The room was large and comfortable with plenty of storage. There was a fireplace in the room and a private deck off the sitting area 💓. The robes — a metric by which I judge all hotels — were plush and warm.
Since it was off-season, we barely saw another guest, which was awesome. Even at afternoons by the pool, we had our pick of chaises in the shade and the sun.
El Tovar (Grand Canyon): This hotel is situated right on the canyon rim, which was cool and beautiful. We watched the sunset Thursday evening and even saw a couple get engaged.
It was awesome to walk from our hotel room to the trail head Friday morning. That’s a definite plus of this hotel. But I’m not sure we’d stay here again. Service, especially in the bar and restaurant, was not great, and the whole place badly needs an upgrade. The outside had recently been redone (paint and shingles) and looked great. The rest of the hotel could do with that facelift.
Hotel Palomar (Phoenix): We stayed here our last night. Comfortable, stylish, beautiful rooftop pool. The robes were waffle-weave, which I didn’t love, but you can’t win them all.
Overall, this was an amazing trip. I know that this post was more about logistics, but it felt so special to spend so much uninterrupted time with Grant. We spent a lot of time talking about what we want our life and marriage to look like and feel like, we lingered over dinner, we took naps together in the middle of the day — basically all of the things that we never, ever have time for in the real world. I think that’s part of the reason Sedona felt so magical. It was totally separate from our normal hyper-busy, hyper-connected life.
Love you, G. Thanks for marrying me, thanks for teaching me to hike, thanks for sparking my love of food, and thanks for making sure I got plenty of time to read my vacation book.
If you have questions about Sedona, or more recommendations for next time we go, leave a comment!
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