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Trip Report - Southwest (Vegas, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Scottsdale)

Trip Report - Southwest (Vegas, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Scottsdale)

Old Nov 1st, 2004, 11:21 AM
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Trip Report - Southwest (Vegas, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Scottsdale)

Can you stand another trip report?! This is long overdue but I got so much help from these boards I'd love to return the favor.

Day 1 - Vegas:
We flew from Charlotte to Las Vegas on a Thursday evening flight putting us in Las Vegas around 11pm. Forgetting it was a holiday weeknd for some (President's Day weekend) we could not figure out why the line for cabs was SO long! We stood in line a good 40 minutes before getting a cab to our hotel Paris. We were very satisfied with our accomodations - room was spacious, clean & nicely decorated. The location of Paris is great - we could see the Bellagio fountains/lights from our window. Plus we felt we were in the center of the strip.

Day 2:
Breakfast buffet at Paris. At $12.95 a person quite the bargain since & I don't think I ate much the rest of the day!! (until dinner late that night) made to order crepes, belgian waffles, omelettes, pastries, etc. YUM! Walked around the strip viewing many of the different hotels. My favorite was the Venetian, Caesar's Palace for the shops & the Bellagio. Tickets that night to "O" which both my husband & I agreed was worth it to see it but we both prefer the more traditional non-water Cirques we have seen (Drallion & Quidam). We had dinner reservations at Olives after the 7:30 showing of "O." Olives - wow, awesome! Highly recommend.

Day 3
Breakfast at the crepe stand in Paris. again, yum! Took bus down to downtown Vegas to walk around. Making stops at the Stratosphere & Circus Circus on the way back (as a child I have memories of my parents taking us to Circus Circus & playing the midway games) also stopped at the mall on the south part of the strip which is nice w/Macy's, Nordstroms, etc. I forgot to pack socks for hiking in the Grand Canyon! We had dinner reservations at Charlie Palmer's steakhouse in the Four Seasons next to Mandalay Bay. Wow, wow, wow! Dinner was awesome, pricey but truly wonderful including the banana split brownie sundae for dessert. We decided we had better walk back to our hotel to burn off some calories. Along the way we stopped in some casinos to try our luck at craps & some slots - we aren't huge gamblers & it showed by our losses!


grand canyon to follow....
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Old Nov 1st, 2004, 11:37 AM
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Day 4 - Grand Canyon
We picked up our rental car at the Avis rental office located in Aladin next to Paris. We're off to the Grand Canyon. We did not stop at the Hoover Dam, why I'm not sure - I was too excited to get to the Grand Canyon I guess. The weather wasn't the greatest when we arrived, gray/rainy so I was crossing my fingers it would get better for us the next day. We actually bought rain ponchos in one of the gift shops at the South Rim. Fortunately we didn't have to use them the next day! We could only secure accomodations at the Yavapai Lodge which I highly recommend for the value. The rooms have newly been redone. You do have to drive to actually get to the rim of the canyon but there is a bus sytem in the South Rim area you can utilize. Being that it was mid October we didn't encounter problems with finding parking. Or maybe we just lucked out? We walked around the rim for most of the afternoon & stopped at El Tovar Lodge to see + peeked in the dining room. Of course I had to browse the gift shops too! We had dinner at the cafeteria next to the Yavapai lodge check in - nothing fancy, the food was decent. There is a grocery store across the parking lot which was nice to pick up drinks, snacks for our room which had a mini fridge. The weather cleared up enough that we got to see the sunset over the canyon although there was still quite a bit of cloud coverag so I don't think we got the full effect.

Day 5 - Hiking the Grand Canyon
Up early to see the sunrise over the canyon....truly amazing to see the gradual light change & the colors! I was initially disappointed when I could not get mule trip reservations. But we ulitmately decided - the heck with the mules we'll hike it ourselves! We took the same trail the mules take - the Bright Angel Trail & set off about 7:30 am after grabbing some bagels & coffee. We had a pack of energy bars, water & snacks. Going in was fun & even I dare say easy! We kept on trucking all the way to Plateau Point where you can look over the rim & down to the Colorado River. So amazing! I encourage those who have the opportnity to actually get into the canyon either by foot or on a mule. The perspective is so different & awe inspiring. So coming up was much tougher of course! The last 2 miles or so we had to stop every couple minutes to get our breath. We are in ok shape but the steepness really takes your breath. But it was so worth it to have that accomplishment - we hiked 12 miles round trip in about 7 hours. Needless to say we were sore & tired & collapsed back in our room before having a pig out dinner again at the Yavapai Lodge cafeteria.

sedona to follow....
Sedona to follow....
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Old Nov 1st, 2004, 11:41 AM
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I am interested to hear the rest of your trip...a similar trip is brewing in the back of my mind, maybe in the next year or so. Thanks and keep writing!
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Old Nov 1st, 2004, 12:00 PM
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Day 6 - Sedona
We could not pull our poor sore bodies out of bed for another sunrise! We headed out to Sedona after a breakfast of goodies from the grocery store near the Yavapai Lodge. We stopped in Flagstaff for a larger breakfast/early lunch at a Denny's. We took route 89A south into Sedona - some truly amazing scenery! Sedona is just WOW. Unlike anything I have seen before. Hard to believe it is part of the same country I live in! We weren't able to get into our room until 3pm so we stopped at the visitor's center in the main/uptown area of Sedona. We then drove to Jerome to walk around & get a snack. Many great art galleries to browse in. We also stopped at Tlaquepaque to browe the shops. Ok, I browsed while DH had a couple cold brews at the brewery there Off to check in at L'Auberge which is wonderful. I especially like the location in that we could either take a lift or walk steps up to the top of the hill where the The Orchards property is & is smack in the hub of uptown. Uptown Sedona is host to several shops & restaurants. We had dinner reservations that night at L'Auberge's on site restaurant. The whole atmosphere of L'Auberge is rustic & peaceful. We stayed in a room in the main Lodge which was what our budget could accomodate - but we were drooling over the cottages by the creek! None the less the Lodge rooms are incredibly comfortable with feather pillows & soft bedding. We had a little balcony off our room & a slight view of some of th red rock formations. Any guest can walk down to Oak Creek & sit & watch the ducks or just relax & take in the scenery. Dinner was great - I'll be honest it wasn't one of my favorite meals but the food was good & the service friendly & not hoity toity like you might expect. The weather was cooler that they were no longer serving outside but we had a front window table & the windows were open w/screens + there was candlelight so the ambience made for a romantic evening. I imagine their Sunday brunch served by the creek is wonderful.

Day 7 - ok here I have to refer to my notes which are at home so I will continue in another thread!
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Old Nov 1st, 2004, 05:16 PM
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Day 7 Sedona
We had breakfast at Wildflower Bread Company which seems to be a small chain in Arizona. It reminded me of Panera Bread back home but tons better!!!! The breakfast options were awesome & we stuffed ourselves before driving to Boynton Canyon to hike. This is also where Enchantment Lodge is & while extremely beautiful surroundings it was too far out for my taste. I liked being closer to uptown Sedona. After hiking about 3 miles & taking in the scenery we drove to the Chapel of the Holy Cross which was again amazing views & quite a spiritual experience for me. Late lunch at Black Cow Cafe in uptown Sedona. We had their famous hot dogs in a baguette & root beers on draft. Our pink jeep tour left at 4:30pm (sunset tour - book ahead!) so we had plenty of time to poke around in the shops in uptown Sedona plus go back to our room to rest a bit. The pink jeep tour is worth every penny! As everyone has recommended before on this board just do it! It was fun, educational & great views. After dinner we had reservations at the The Cowboy Club which I'm sure is a bit touristy for the locals but the atmosphere was fun & we enjoyed buffalo brochettes, steak & ribs.

Day 8 Sedona
We couldn't resist breakfast again at the Wildflower Bread Company. Then we headed to New Day Salon for some spa treatments. Both DH & I had foot reflexology done. Then he had 60 minute neck, shoulder, back massage & I had something called a structural balancing done. It was nothing like I had before - very cool. Kinda thought it would be something like a chiropractor might do when adjusting a patient. After our relaxing morning we drove to Schnelby Hill Road which is unpaved & better suited for 4x4 or high clearance cars. But my DH not being able to resist a challenge in a rental car decided to drive on up for yet more amazing views. After that I convinced DH to join me for a psychic reading at the Center for New Age. It was interesting - no experience in this area but all that stuff is fascinating to me & of course Sedona is known for its vortexes & metaphysical community. We had another late lunch at Canyon Cafe uptown, more of a quick lunch/snack so we could go back to the hotel & relax by Oak Creek. Have I mentioned the weather was perfect?! Dinner that night we had reservations at Javelina Cantina - talk about stuffing yourself until you almost burst. We enjoyed a great sampling of Mexican food accompanied by awesome margaritas. Finished off by sopapillas.

Day 9 - off to Scottsdale
We opted for a quick bagel breakfast at NY Bagels & Donuts. And then a drive up to the airport area for one last view of Sedona & the red rocks. I wonder if people who live start to become immune to the beauty of their surroundings?! We are headed south to Phoenix/Scottsdale.
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Old Nov 1st, 2004, 06:31 PM
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I live in AZ, and no, we are NEVER immune to the beauty of the state, especially Sedona. When visitors come to town, I rarely take them to the Grand Canyon, just Sedona. There are so many beautiful pictures of the Grand Canyon that are almost as good as the real thing to me. But Sedona has something spiritual about it. I'm not into cosmic woowoo, but Sedona truly is a special place on earth.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 03:37 AM
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I agree - Sedona is truly unique & special. I'm so glad I had the chance to visit...I hope to be back again someday!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 05:30 AM
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Glad you enjoyed your trip, stephn. I agree that Sedona is truly a gem with gorgeous scenery. Of course, Vegas, Grand Canyon and Jerome all have their qualities, as well.

Did you see the sliding jail in Jerome?
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 05:47 AM
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I ACTUALLY JUST POSTED THIS ELSEWHERE. HOPE IT HELPS OTHERS WHO FIND YOURS HELPFUL:

Message: So we flew into Phoenix, rented our convertible Seabring from Dollar and headed on our way up. The drive was amazing.

We arrived in Sedona and stayed at the Raddison for 2 nights. The room was very great. No complaints. Ordered room service one night, and had breakfast at the onsite restaurant one morning.

Definately go to the Visitors Center in town. It's off the main street on the left if you are heading north. Very helpful.

One thing to remember. EVERYONE is going to ask you where you are staying, and if you need a map. Most of them have an agenda to sell you a timeshare or something else similar. We learned to tell them that we are only passing through. That way they'll leave you alone.

We did some hiking and the Jeep tour. We chose A Day in the West. Went shopping at the Talaquerie (sp.) but things were REALLY expensive. DEFINATELY go to the top of the mountain for sunset. If you ask for directions to the Sedona Airport you will find it. You have to drive all the way up, but at the top you will see probably 100 people there with camera. Dress warm, because when the sun sets... it gets cold!

Our third night we stayed at L'Auberge. L'Auberge is a beautiful resort, we stayed in a cottage. My complaint with L'Auberge is the dining room. We were stuffed into a tiny porch dining room.

On that third day we did the Hilton Spa. It was nice, not cheap, but was worth the money especially before you go to Vegas and get crazy.

One thing to consider before going to Sedona. We're 29. We found that the other travelers were a generation older than us. Sedona is great for a couple days, you can do most of the hiking and trips out there. We took one of our 3 days and went to the Grand Canyon. Next time we would stay in Sedona for 2 days (probably not at l'Auberge), 1 day at or near the Canyon.

Drive to the Canyon early! You will have beautiful sunlight when you get there. On the way stop in Cameron at a Trading Post and have some breakfast. It was cheap and delicious. There's a gas station there too. You never know where the next one will be.

We drove back to Sedona from the Canyon in the evening on a different route. It was very scenic.

The next day we drove from Sedona to Vegas. Stayed in the Luxor. Normal hotel room. Nothing special at all. Did a lot of walking. It took a lot of time to figure out how to get around. Get a map as soon as you get there. If you're into clubs, go to Rain, the club at the Palms. A good time, but might have to wait to get in. We got a discount card from our Taxi driver. 20 bucks for 2, entry was 20 per person, so we save 20. When you leave there will likely be a huge line for the taxis. We gave a limo driver a 20 and he took us right away... (you can take the guy out of Jersey, but not the Jersey out of the guy)

Be sure to have dinner at Paris at the cafe on the street. It is directly across from the Bellagio water show, so you have entertainment the whole time you eat. Plus the people watching is great on the sidewalk.

Next time:
2 day in Sedona
1 day at the Canyon
3 days in Vegas

2 days in Vegas was not long enough. We spent 1 whole day walking, finding our way around. 3 days would be perfect. We flew out of Vegas and left the rental car there.

Hope this helps.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 10:27 AM
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Statia -
We missed the sliding jail in Jerome. I'm not sure exactly what we missed, apparently I didn't do enough research on Jerome. I admit my DH was tired & cranky after driving from the Grand Canyon. He has no patience for me while I "putz" around in galleries & shops....which is why Tlaquepaque is so great because I could shop & he could sit with a microbrew!
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