One of the biggest misconceptions about Arizona is that it is all desert. Ask someone who doesn't live here about our Southwestern home and they will conjure images of tumbleweed, cactus and Wyatt Earp. While it is true that the greater Phoenix Valley features some of the most beautiful desert vistas that you will ever see, the diverse terrain of Arizona is as rich as our colorful history.
One of the primary reasons that this native son continues to call Arizona home after 32 years is the immediate access to wonderfully divergent topography. Here in the Valley, we are treated to (spoiled by) 8 months of perfect weather. It is November 26th as I write this, and I could go play a round of golf here in Scottsdale in shorts and a polo shirt. "Glorious" is the term I would use to describe our winter weather.
However, when we test the constitution of the thermometer in the summertime, or if we simply want to go play in the snow for an afternoon in the winter, it is imperative that a haven be readily accessible.
My family owns a cabin in such a place. In an hour and 45 minutes door to door, I can trade a day in Scottsdale for a day in the mountains. Saguaro cacti and creosote yield to magnificent Ponderosa pine trees as the quick jaunt North sees a significant climb in elevation. By the time we reach our place in Mund's Park, just 20 miles south of Flagstaff, we are at nearly 7000 feet.
We made the short trip this past holiday weekend. With overnight lows in the neighborhood of 15 degrees, we were treated to the taste of the season.
On this particular pilgrimage, we planned an additional excursion. We made the 30-minute trek into Sedona on Saturday night for a special evening of viewing the holiday light displays. A local resort and timeshare, Los Abrigados Resort & Spa, puts on an annual display with over a million total lights for the public to view for a small fee ($6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children ages 4-12, free for children under 4). We had seen this display years ago, and were anxious to compare this year's effort to our memories.
The drive into Sedona is one of the prettiest stretches of road that you will ever encounter. The only more scenic route that comes to mind is the southbound exit out of Sedona through Oak Creek Canyon. The renowned red rocks are always magnificent, and the color of the rock was as resplendent as I have ever seen it. Awash in the last sinking vestiges of the sun as it dipped below the horizon, the rock almost seemed to chide me for the length of time that had passed since my last visit. Cathedral Rock and other favorites absolutely sparkled.
We found parking just as the natural wonder of our surroundings yielded to the man-made marvels of illumination.
As the little ones sipped hot cocoa, and the adults coffee, we thoroughly enjoyed these works of art. I am pleased to say that this was one of those rare occurrences in life where the present actually outdistanced the sepia tone memories of the past. We could not have had a better time ... despite the stoicism on display by the little ones in these photos!
For those Valley residents who are looking for a unique experience this year when planning an evening out to look at holiday lights, or for our out of town visitors who have never experienced the magic that is Sedona, it is well worth the short drive. Make a weekend out of it, and continue on to Prescott or Flagstaff for a taste of the season that many do not think exists in the Grand Canyon State.
Happy Holidays to all from the Slaybaughs!
Paul Slaybaugh is your Scottsdale AZ Realtor. Proudly serving the Scottsdale, Phoenix and Paradise Valley AZ Real Estate market since 1999.