The Sensational Southwest!

By Marianne Windham
Owner & Travel Advisor
Windham Travel & Leisure

I just returned from a wonderful 16-day Arizona Adventure. I did three mini trips in one.

Part One was 3-nights in Sedona for our dear friend Julie’s 50th birthday. Highlights included hiking the Bell Rock and Little Horse trails and a visit to Chapel of the Holy Cross. Some of the most beautiful views are from this iconic landmark. We visited the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. We also enjoyed a full day with Sedona Wine Tours, visiting lovely vineyards and wineries in the Cornville and Cottonwood areas, and sampling an array of authentic Arizona wines.

Part Two of our journey was a five-day trek of the nostalgic Route 66 with our best friends Karen and Glenn. 
• First, we headed straight to Gallup, New Mexico. We stayed in the historic El Rancho Hotel, known for hosting many Hollywood stars of the classic Westerns. This was a special revisit for me, having travelled there with my family 50 years ago when I was 10 years old. Wow!

• Next we headed toward Holbrook, AZ and spent hours in the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. One of our favorite spots was the Blue Mesa, where you have spectacular views of the blue, purple, and gray part of the Painted Desert. We had the good fortune to spend the night in the circa-1950 Wigwam Motel, famous for its series of vintage concrete and steel teepees. If you want five stars, this is not for you. But the draw for us was the unique experience of sleeping in wigwams. They are simply furnished, but had everything that we needed. Adding to the character of the place, antique vehicles are parked in front of each room. The Wigwam Motel is one of the real Route 66 locations that inspired Pixar’s Cars.

• Next stop Winslow. We stayed in the beautifully restored historic La Posada Hotel. We enjoyed fine dining at the award-winning Turquoise Room. From La Posada, we took a short stroll downtown for the next highlight on our list. 50 years ago, the Eagles made Winslow famous with their hit song, “Take it Easy”; so in 1999 the small town built “Standin’ on the Corner” Park in tribute. Each year thousands of people go to this special corner-where Old Highway 66 meets North Kinsley Avenue-and just stand. And that’s exactly what we did. We stood as snow was falling. We may have sung a little bit of the song too.

• Last stop was Phoenix. We dined at Compass Arizona Grill, on the 24th floor of Hyatt Regency downtown. It is Arizona’s only revolving restaurant and offers 360° views of the Valley of the Sun. I actually ate here twice during my stay. In February best to get there right as they open at 5 PM, so you can enjoy dining at sunset.

Part Three was an additional week for me with two dear friends of 30 years! Highlights included:

• The Phoenix Theatre Company-wonderful productions of Singin’ in the Rain and The Color Purple
• The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix
• Arizona Biltmore sunset happy hour
• Civic Space Park
• Heritage Square

AND mid-week, I was back in Sedona for a couple of nights. We went to the Red Rock Crossing Vortex, one of Arizona’s most iconic trails. AND we stayed in a unique “dome home” located in Oak Creek Village. The domes were built in 1993 as a tour of “the dome home of the future.” It’s where the Jetsons meet the Flintstones. “There’s no place like dome.”

To sum it all up, my vacation(s) were incredible, exhilarating, fun, relaxing, inspiring, rewarding and majestic. For more info and pics from my travels, follow me on
Facebook at Windham Travel & Leisure or Instagram at @windhamtravel

Happy Travelling! 
Marianne Windham
Owner & Travel Advisor
Windham Travel & Leisure

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