Happy Wednesday, all!  Today, I’m super excited to share some snaps from a recent weekend trip to Scottsdale and Sedona.  This part of the country is  just amazing – red rocks galore, saguaros towering over agave plants, and 120 degree weather (as I’ve told everyone who gasped – “But it’s a dry heat!”).  I  completed some fantastic hikes and relaxed a ton at our home base resort.  I think the pictures speak for themselves though – check it out!

Don’t have much to complain about when was the view from our balcony at The Westin Kierland!  As a loyal Starwood Preferred Guest member, we used points to pay for this room. Yay!

In addition to a pretty sweet lazy river and water slide (yes, I was the tallest one waiting on the water slide line), there were reptile habitats, an amazing spa, and a bagpipe player every evening – super fun!

I also toured Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Southwestern home and architecture school. FLW is my hands-down my favorite architect so it was especially interesting to learn about his life as well as the design of Taliesin West.

No trip to this part of the country would be complete without a stop to Sedona, home of red rocks, energy vortexes, and amazing hiking.  The skies were a little overcast the first day, so we did some sightseeing – even though I’m not a religious person, Frank Lloyd Wright (again!)’s Chapel of the Holy Cross,built right into the red rocks, was impressive.

Who said overcast skies aren’t amazing?

On the sunnier day, we completed one of my favorite hikes ever – Cathedral Rock! Basically, it’s a short but steep hike to the base of this:

The views from between the spires are spectacular:

And totally worth some uphill and downhill scrambling, even for this klutzy gal:

We also did a Pink Jeep Tour of Broken Arrow and Scenic Rim – if you’re up for some heart-pounding offroading and fun, I’d definitely recommend this!  We also got to see some pretty awesome red rock formations that were harder to see from the road/on a hike:

You see that white line running across this formation? It’s called the Sedona White Line, and adventurous mountain bikers have been known to attempt riding it.  I’m simultaneously relieved and slightly disappointed that there were no thrill seekers attempting it that afternoon!

I’m on a rock!

Of course, a vacation would not be complete to me without some delicious food – what I loosely term “Southwestern” cuisine is one of my faves – fresh flavors featuring corn, avocado, black beans, etc. This salad was simple but satisfying:

If you’re ever looking for a pretty simple but gorgeous trip, I’d definitely recommend Scottsdale and Sedona. We flew into Phoenix airport, used Scottsdale as a home base, and drove up to Sedona, which was about 2 hours one way (I’ve known others to stay in Sedona, which also sounds like a lot of fun!).  I had a great time and can’t wait to plan my next trip!

I loved Arizona! Where should I go next?