Sometimes you just need a brain-break. My husband’s birthday seemed reason enough to “fly” away. I told him to pick his pleasure. He picked Sedona, Arizona. We’d never been there.
When our photographer/artist/illustrator…so talented!! daughter heard we were going, she begged a ride-along and that meant our 2.5lb. teacup chihuahua aka our furry grandson, Mason, would join us.
Jody and I decided to take a shot at our first adventure as a travel writing team, but first we needed our hook. Since Mason would travel with us we thought “Dog Friendly Sedona” would be our quest. I pitched it to my new best friends and Morro Bay neighbors at AnimalRadio.com. Hal Aaron and Judy Francis were game. (I’ll let you know when the interview will air at more than 100 affiliates across the US and at KVEC-Radio in San Luis Obispo.)
We already had reservations at the Bell Rock Inn, a Diamond Resort Timeshare property. I called Jacob, who assured me Mason was welcome. They were, indeed, as advertised a dog-friendly resort. When we arrived the entire staff was excited to meet our VERY friendly Mason. He got all the attention…well, mostly…and gifts, too. They offered us a handy bag with treats, dog-sheets and towel, poo-bags, and blanket. They had re-assigned our room to the designated pet-wing area of the resort near the pool with convenient parking. It also had a nicely appointed designated dog-walking area. They quoted a daily charge of $20, but when Jacob heard Mason is so tiny and would be left in his crate if we left him at all – don’t tell Jacob’s boss – but he reduced our charge to $20 for our entire 3 day stay. Yes, I’d say the Bell Rock Inn staff is very people and dog friendly.
Note: This is a Diamond Resort and we were also told the CEO of Diamond Resorts has mandated companion dogs must be accepted at Diamond Resorts…so all resorts in the system are somewhat dog friendly.
Touring and Hiking: Our concierge recommended we book immediately with the Red Jeep Tour Company. It was spring break and jaunts filled up. This was the only instance on our visit, Mason was not welcome. We quickly discovered why. Our jeep bounced up forest service roads to trails and buttes of significant red rock beauty. Our guide was a college educated geologist turned NY web designer with an eye for beauty and customer service. His brother lived in Sedona so longed for retirement and chose his “good life” taking people on tours of Sedona nooks and craggie overlooks. Tried to tell us Elvis was vortexing around one of the trees as he filmed his worst or bad movies there. Well, we took the picture anyway. Jody was able to get multiple images and panoramic views of the entire Sedona valley…one even looked 30 miles out to Jerome. No pollution here! She posted them at Facebook/JodyHollier. Still new at this so not sure I’ll add pictures that are certainly appropriate for a travel article…especially with a professional photographer touring with the writer. Oooppps! *this is Jody, I have added pictures for Mom, so I hope you enjoy!*
I will note we saw lots and lots of hikers on trails and their furry friends were with them. We were delighted with our Red Jeep Tour and Steve was the best guide we could have stumbled upon.
Eating in Sedona: I quickly learned the rule when traveling with a pet. Picnics are great if you bring along your own food, but if you are looking for dog friendly dining, outside patios might offer what you need. Wind and chilly evenings will hamper your search, however, early bird dining isn’t so bad! Patio access needs to be from the outside so the animal doesn’t sneak inside the restaurant. Health Department is not keen on co-habitation with people-food. Jody’s husband, Michael, had googled pet friendly restaurants and found 4 in Sedona and one in Jerome. Blue Moon Cafe had American fair and great pizza! Cuchina Rustica was moderately priced and yummy Italian home-styled menu items. Long established by a Sedona Italian family it was delish and the ambiance was first class. Their outdoor patio had heaters and their wait staff was pleasantly attentive!!
Jerome was a day excursion about 30 miles from Sedona – an old copper mining town carved out of a hillside and who said only the Indians could survive hillside living. We were told Jerome was the the most populated towns in Arizona during its heyday. It now dependent on tourism. The 3-block town with S-curved narrow streets is an artist haven and yummy eatery sprinkled with ghosts and history to discover in converted storefronts and restaurants, b&b’s and museum more friendly to children than our furry grandson. But that’s understandable. Their unique train will soften the time the kids will endure a museum. And don’t miss the converted county schoolhouse which is now an Art Coop. Catch it on the way down the hill on the right side with the copper art gallery across the street.
Many restaurants accommodated dogs by leash-tie-ups and water and treats outside while you ate. We only found one that had patio access. However, a smart promoter at The Quince Grill and Cantina suggested we carry out and we did and had a picnic at Art Park…yummy.
I loved the concept for Jerome’s Art Park. It was property donated by a lady who deeded the double-or triple wide lot to the city fathers if they would keep it for licensed art vendors. Nice idea and interesting to see the variety of arts and crafts they offered for less … great deals for the kids to spend their fun-money…Mason didn’t get his allocation, but did get a collar at the leather store!! Art Park didn’t have the overhead of a storefront and employees. In most artsy stores in Jerome, we were talking to the artist or family of…especially when we were told to stop by the Art Co-op down the hill at the school. We traveled early in the week and the big rush of visitors…and vendors…is Thursday through Sunday!
Shopping: Sedona and Jerome stores were all dog friendly to Mason…even the Urgent Care we had to take Jody to for an infected leg abscess she brought with her! The Red Jeep Tour and hiking did wonders to make a trip to Urgent Care imperative. But it was just another example how dog friendly Sedona was. It seemed everywhere there were lots of furry friend owners and travelers around so lots of Sedona friendly dog-talk.
Tlaquepaque is an must-see for most Sedona tourists…shopping for arts and crafts from paintings to fabric art to candles and healing lotions. The setting is quaint with Sedona Mesa-Native style architecture…and VERY dog friendly. They had one outdoor patio restaurant for eating. My husband checked out the Micro Brew Pub, but it was upstairs and Mason was not welcome. All the stores….most quaint … were dog friendly. I’ll suggest using your shopping etiquette as you would with children going into small places with lots of displayed wares. Tlaquepaque had lots of places for someone to sit outside with pooch and people and pooch watch while someone else shopped. Take turns!
Sedona is an amazing Red Rock Mesa with gorgeous land formations. Spring weather was pleasant and much like Morro Bay is most of the year, but I have to admit I love my Central Coast Pacific Ocean weather and setting best of all. No matter where I’ve traveled and we tend to get a week or two away each year, I appreciate coming back to my bay and seaside paradise. Why would I want to go anywhere else? To discover what I have at home…and tell you all to visit us someday.
Morro Bay and Cayucos are especially dog-friendly. Check out http://www.morrobay.org or http://www.winecoastcountry.com. And then there is the happiest city in the US according to Oprah…San Luis Obispo so http://www.visitslo.org. You and your furry friend will be more than welcome.