I had never been to Sedona, so I was really looking forward to this day trip. I have heard so many great things about that town!
The ride down from Williams was lovely - through forested hills with red rock cliffs all around. Quite stunning! We pulled off to the side of the road to investigate what looked to be a pretty spot, and we were not disappointed. A little forested area with a creek running through it greeted us. On the other side of the creek, red cliffs towered over us. Wow! This is what we had to look forward to!
My friend Eileen had recommended that we stop at Slide Rock Park, so we made that our first stop.
Now how's that for a view??
Slide Rock State Park, originally the Pendley Homestead, is a 43-acre historic apple farm located in Oak Creek Canyon. Frank L. Pendley, having arrived in the canyon in 1907, formally acquired the land under the Homestead Act in 1910. Due to his pioneering innovation, he succeeded where others failed by establishing a unique irrigation system still in use by the park today. This allowed Pendley to plant his first apple orchard in 1912, beginning the pattern of agricultural development that has dominated the site since that time. Pendley also grew garden produce and kept some livestock.
As one of the few homesteads left intact in the canyon today, Slide Rock State Park is a fine example of early agricultural development in Central Arizona. The site was also instrumental to the development of the tourism industry in Oak Creek Canyon. The completion of the canyon road in 1914 and the paving of the roadway in 1938 were strong influences in encouraging recreational use of the canyon. Hence, Pendley followed suit and in 1933, built rustic cabins to cater to vacationers and sightseers. (From the Arizona State Parks website)
Tee hee.... I couldn't help myself
This is one of the actual Tourist Cabins
And the Pendley House
A short walk takes you down to the slides....
There were a few kids playing in the water, but it was WAY too cold for me to go check it out!! But the area is absolutely beautiful. The water area looked like sooooo much fun to play in. If you're traveling with kids, it would be a GREAT place to stop!
From here, it was only a short trip over to Sedona, where we started seeing the famous rock formations....
Having never been to the area, we signed up for a Trolley Tour. It was very reasonably priced and promised to give us an overview of the town and a stop at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which we wanted to see anyway. Before the tour started, we walked around the main street in town for a little bit, and I have to say, it reminded me of a cheesy cruise-ship port. If you've ever been on a cruise, you know what I'm talking about. You get off the ship, and the first street you come to is full of tacky souvenir shop, after cheap t-shirt shop, after cheesy sight-seeing "opportunity". Sedona was just like that. I was actually very surprised! Add to that some seriously loopy people, and well, it's an odd place.
Our Trolly tour took us through some nicer areas of town, where the higher end shopping areas were and some art galleries. The guide showed us the only visitor information center in town that wasn't run by time-shares. He warned that if you wanted information, that was the one to go to or you'd get attacked by salespeople.
He did point out some of the rock formations and told us their names. My favorites were:
Our tour stopped at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. This famous landmark was commissioned by a sculptor as a way to show faith through a work of art.
The church was very interesting architecturally and the location was stunning - surrounded by red rock formations everywhere you looked. The inside was tiny. It is apparently used for services, but I sure couldn't imagine how you'd fit too many people in there!
The outside was nicely landscaped and featured a pretty fountain:
As our tour headed back into town, our tour guide mentioned a Trout Farm just outside of Sedona. We had seen it as we had come into town. Well, it turns out that you can catch your own fish there and make it for dinner! Well, we were pretty done with the loopy people in town and ready for an adventure by then so we decided to cancel our fancy dinner plans and head on over to the Rainbow Trout Farm.
Well - I should start this part of the tour with a disclaimer..... Our tour guide told us they'd cook up dinner for us. That's not entirely true, but you can purchase a "grill packet" and cook up your catch at one of the many grills around the trout lake. We opted for the next choice - bring your fish into town and one of the local restaurants will cook it up for you (more on that later).
So, very confidently we got into the line at the trout farm and started chatting with the gentleman in front of us. He already had a bucket of fish he was about to pay for. As we were chatting, that was about the time that we realized that none of us in our group had fished since we were kids and our dads were with us.....
So, we got our fishing pole, net, bucket, and blob o' bait and off we went.... We baited the hook, dunked it in the water.... As soon as I felt a nibble, I yanked it up, but no juicy trout on the end of my line - no bait either!!!! Hmmmm.... More bait, another dunking, another nibble... no fish..... and no bait either... and then another try, and another... Those trout were WELL fed that day!!
Meanwhile, on the other side of the little lake, we watched this little girl bring in fish after fish after fish. So we ambushed her - HELP US!!!! If it wasn't for her, we'd probably STILL be there trying to catch our dinner :-) But, thanks to Sidney, we had success:
Yep, that right there is my very first fish!
Incidentally, no one told me they bleed. By the 4th fish, there was a horror show in that bucket!!! It took over an hour to get our 4 fish and I'm pretty sure we entertained the entire complex, but hey, it was worth it! The Rainbow Trout farm folks are great - they will clean your fish for you and package them all up on ice so you can head out on your way. We brought our fish over to the Heartline Cafe, back in Sedona:
Where they served it up - pecan crusted with a dijon sauce and a tasty rice medley.
Can you say YUM!!! Nothing like fresh trout, caught within the last hour, served up in a lovely preparation! I have to say, if you're in the Sedona area, I HIGHLY recommend this! It was the highlight of our trip and the end results were incredibly tasty!