Funky Flagstaff is Fun Stop

Hotel Monte Vista in downtown Flagstaff.
Hotel Monte Vista in downtown Flagstaff.

We only planned to stay in Flagstaff to make it easier to catch our flight to Phoenix with a connection to LAX. Originally I had a reservation at the Hampton Inn outside of town. Then a colleague with a love of Flagstaff gave me some great travel advice.

1. Stay at Hotel Monte V

This hotel has seen a lot of famous guests and after parties. It is clean but worn. The art deco lobby and most of the rooms have not been remodeled since opening. Cool except for the swamp coolers in the window. Our room was an unusual layout: 2 rooms with a double bed each separated by a jack and jill bathroom. The rooms are named after famous guests who have stayed at the hotel over the years. Ours was named after a whiskey.

The Hotel Monte V is lit up in neon at night.
The Hotel Monte V is lit up in neon at night.

2. Enjoy the night life.

We strolled across Route 66 and then the railroad tracks to our restaurant, The Tinderbox Kitchen. We enjoyed a relaxing, delicious meal and then strolled around town stopping to listen to a rooftop band and enjoying the variety of people on the street.

3. Appreciate the unique architecture of downtown Flagstaff.

The Grand Canyon Cafe is a blast from the past like so much of Flagstaff.
The Grand Canyon Cafe is a blast from the past like so much of Flagstaff.

Flagstaff must have built its downtown during a timber or other resource boom. The architecture is remarkable cohesive and attractive. We loved being right near the famous Route 66.

We ate breakfast at the Grand Canyon Cafe the next morning. The food was not anything special, but the ambiance was fun. Like Flagstaff.

Majestic Sedona Stuns First Time Visitor

I love traveling with my friend UK Sarah because it helps me see places I have been to several times with fresh eyes. We flew into Flagstaff and picked up our rental car and drove to Sedona on Highway 89A. It is a beautiful drive along Oak Creek. We stopped at Rock Slide State Park to take pictures because all of the other laybys were full of cars also taking pictures.

Great hikes from Oak Creek Village
Great hikes from Oak Creek Village

We spent some time enjoying the amenities at our hotel and then went to Bell Rock and Courthouse Rock for a short hike. It was great fun and we came up with our word for the day: Majestic. We needed to come up with more vocabulary than Wow! and majestic just fit.

Trail to Bell Rock
Trail to Bell Rock

We took the time to read the Sedona Vortex Map. Bell Rock is one of the places that the energy is strong even from the parking lot. Call us skeptics but we did not feel it. Perhaps we are insensitive.

There is a Butte Loop trail around Courthouse Rock--yeah, we didn't do that one.
There is a Butte Loop trail around Courthouse Rock–yeah, we didn’t do that one.

After our hike we drive to the end of Verde Valley School Road to view Cathedral Rock more closely. Majestic. Better than a man-made cathedral.

We returned to the Hotel and changed for dinner. Then we walked to the Cucina Rustica for a delicious Italian meal with impeccable service from Paul. Dining outside in the warm Arizona evening with guitar music in the background would be very romantic with the right person. We took advantage of the ambiance to have a great conversation and to catch up after 6 months in very different time zones.

I love the cloud formations as much as the rok formations.
I love the cloud formations as much as the rock formations.

Today we will visit Chapel of the Holy Cross on our way to the Grand Canyon.