Journey to the Verde Valley of Arizona
This Valley is smack dab in the center of Arizona and is filled with everything from ancient ruins to ghost towns and vortexes. Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Jerome and Sedona may all be small towns located close together on a map, however these towns couldn’t be any more different.
In fact, the Verde River might be the only thing they have in common. First, let’s start with our favorite and no, it wasn’t Sedona. I know, Gasp!
Jerome, the city in the sky. A place where friends go to hang, it’s quirky, a little strange, historic, an old mining town, an old ghost town, has the smallest visitors center ever, a cool art scene, a haunted (probably not) hotel and has a really great restaurant with a cool name. Now that’s one giant small town!
Quince is definitely the place to be with great food, affordable pricing and if you can make it on a Wednesday they have $5 burgers. A big thanks to our friends Peg and Dave for sharing this gem with us!
Clarkdale. While we didn’t hang around Clarkdale much we did stop by the train station…only to find out the train wasn’t running that day. Bummer, it looked kinda cool and we were looking forward to the scenic tour.
Since we didn’t spend our time on the train we headed over to the Tuzigoot National Monument. It’s a 110 room ancient pueblo built by the Sinagua people around A.D. 1000.
So this is what a high rise apartment looked like in ancient times.
Sedona. In case you haven’t heard, Sedona is full of energy centers or vortexes of energy. Some say just driving in you can start to feel the healing powers and if you go to one of the vortex sites, which is where the energy is strongest, you will feel uplifted and the effects can last for days.
I will admit that the formations and red rocks are beautiful but other than the normal ‘happy’ feeling we get from being in nature, we couldn’t tell a difference. Maybe had we made it inside the Chapel of the Holy Cross we would’ve felt differently? Or at least that’s what we were told. However, the chapel is one amazing site from the outside!
The Catholic Chapel was designed by architect and sculptor Marquerite Brunswig Staude. Now, If you were thinking to yourself it looked like a Frank Loyde Wright, it’s because Marquerite was one of Frank’s students (yea, we’re on a first name basis :). The most intriguing fact to me is that it only cost $300,000 to build! That was 1956 but even so, compared to other Chapels of the world, this seems like a drop in the bucket.
Now, I don’t want to leave you thinking we didn’t find that warm fuzzy feeling anywhere in Sedona, because we did. Granted, it was probably the fire and the cocktails but never the less we were all warm and fuzzy inside and out!
While chatting up a local woman (a volunteer at airport lookout) she had mentioned that her all time favorite cocktail and dinner spot was a non-descript place called Elote. She warned us there would be a wait and it wasn’t the cheapest place in town but was worth every penny. And she was right.
The cocktails were all made with fresh fruit and the food was spot on. I do have to say, if you make your way there skip on the desert. It was just ok in comparison to everything else, instead have another cocktail.
Cottonwood. It’s a quiet, small town with cute antique stores, cafes and hiking trails all around. Jason’s favorite was the little bakery on Main Street. They sell all of the previous day’s bread for only a buck! I can’t make jalapeño cheese bread at home for that cheap!
We stayed at Thousand Trails Verde Valley campground just outside of Cottonwood. I thought this was the perfect spot for base camp. We’re filming lots of campgrounds this year for Thousand Trails and we are hoping they’re all as scenic and ideally located as this one!
If you’re wondering about those stars at the end of the video…yes they are really that bright out here! (a word of caution: bring flashlights ’cause when the moon isn’t up this campground is surrounded by nature, not artificial lighting).
So there you have it! Should you make your way to the Verde Valley hopefully this gives you some ideas of where to start.