We are incredibly good friends with our college crew and for years we got together for weddings as well as an annual trip via chartered sailboat to Santa Catalina island. But as munchkins started to come into the picture the sailboat trip was not as feasible for many of us aging crew. So Joe, the summer organizer, has moved the destination a couple of times and this was it's second time in Sedona.
Sedona is absolutely jaw-dropping scenery about 2hrs north of Pheonix (which is where 5 families were from)...and that is where we flew into and rented a car. If you are lucky enough to fly into Terminal 4, home of US Airways and Southwest, there is a huge food court outside security where we grabbed lunch and gathered up with a few others. While lunch was finished two of us with our older walking children in tow hopped the shuttle bus to the rental car terminal. Love this recent renovation to PHX...all rental cars are in one building/parking garage versus spread over several city blocks.
Our house we rented was amazing...with some movement of furniture and vases we even managed to make it kid friendly. There were lots of little areas, water gardens, etc to explore...which sometimes posed a challege for keeping track of the kids as there were probably 10+ exits from the house outside. But in the evening there was a rec room off the garage that was huge and served as baby monitor central/adult socialization point. The pool was incredibly expensive to heat, so our kids enjoyed swimming in the hottub. I hear the house they rented last year was wonderful as well.
I am incredibly excited to take the kids back in a couple of years and shell out the money for a Pink Jeep Tour or go a little earlier in the year and enjoy Slide Rock in the hotter months. But outside the home we enjoyed still enjoyed a couple of ventures into town:
---> Black Cow Cafe: A ice cream parlor on the main drag uptown beckoned us in with it's smell of freshly baked waffle cones and kid sized/priced scoops. Then we took a stroll around town where the kids enjoyed several statues of horses, children, etc..
---> Rene at Tlaquepaque: A wonderful upscale restaurant let the eight of us Moms park for drinks at 4:30. They don't serve dinner until 5:30 which when service started we enjoyed some appetizers. Tlaquepaque even though called a Arts and Crafts Village was super upscale and not so kid-friendly, but definitely worth a Mom's get-a-way stop.
---> Red Rock State Park: Nearly all the families ventured here one morning after breakfast. After visiting the Info Center and relaying to them our situation of lots of little kids they pointed us to a Kisva and Smoke Trail which ran along and crossed a creek in majorily shade and allowed us lots of peeks of Eagles Nest monument. There were also picnic areas as well as various interpretive programs available.
---> Hyatt Pinon Pointe: Yes, it is a Hyatt with timeshare accommodations, but across the parking lot it and on the left side of the uptown Sedona as you enter is a great shopping plaza. There were plenty of boutiques and galleries displaying no children under the age of 12 signs, but we didn't need to go in there. Totally surrounded by shops were a plethora of sculptures....moving, animals, fountains, etc.. My daughter and I spent 5 minutes playing eye spy on the body of a goat sculpture where hidden in the details were fish, butterflies, bees, etc.. And at one end of the plaza is a Starbucks and at the the other a Wildflower Bread Company with kid friendly menu...and between a Cold Stone Creamery, Wine Shop and other indulgences. We spent a good hour+ here.
Prices are definitely on the touristy levels So we dined in for nearly all meals and limited our souvenir purchases to a $8 pair of sunglasses for my daughter, a clay-dyed t-shirt for my son, and a bamboo over-priced, but super comfy t for me.
It was gorgeous...even my daughter one night while enjoying sunset on one of the house's balconies remarked about all the pretty shades of pink and red. We are super-excited about returning here in a couple of years when the kids are a bit older and the $50+ per child 2.5hr jeep ride make more sense.