Clarkdale, AZ – the road less traveled

I know it’s hypocritical but when I’m traveling I’m usually not a big fan of being in settings that are clearly there just to serve tourists. So it was a happy accident when we were planning a long weekend near Phoenix and, for no particular reason other than that the accommodation in Sedona seemed quite pricey, we decided to stay at the Clarkdale Lodge. The last few Airbnb’s we’ve booked have been a bit of let down. Fine as somewhere to sleep but not really places you’d want to hang out. With this in mind I had fairly low expectations as we pulled into Clarkdale. The first lovely surprise was that the lodge is right in the middle of town – across from the park and super close to great options to grab a coffee or a drink (hey, it’s five o’ clock somewhere!). For groceries you need to drive to the next town but it’s not far. Second, the suite was adorable! Bright, spacious, cute little kitchen with all the essentials. Couldn’t have asked for more and no, they’re not paying me to say that. Third, the balcony with its comfy chairs and views of the iconic red mountains of Arizona. Now this is somewhere I could spend hours – in fact, I did.

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Clarkdale itself was also delightful. On our first night we went for a walk and came across Four Eight Wineworks where we were treated to a performance from a singer/songwriter and the company of a few locals who gave us some great insider info including that the bar used to be a bank and was robbed in 1928 and it just so happened that the very next day there was going to be a re-enactment of the robbery and shoot-out. Another example of why I love exploring small towns – you can’t make this stuff up!

In keeping with the slightly off the beaten path theme we decided to skip the Grand Canyon on this trip and check out some of the area between Phoenix and  Sedona instead.

Top left: Montezuma Castle, top right: Montezuma Well, bottom left: Bell Rock, and of course, Larry’s Antiques & Things in the nearby town of Cottonwood.

Random side note: We also made an impromptu visit to the Sedona Rainbow Trout Farm. This is kind of an interesting stop just for the experience of it but don’t expect to stay long. It only takes a few minutes to catch one.

The best thing about the trip was that in this part of the world you really don’t even need a destination. Just driving through the red mountains and rolling hills of cactus forests and wandering through the towns is enough. It was so relaxed and peaceful – even compared to laid-back California! Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s the vortexes. Either way, AZ – you’re just my speed.

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