Sedona, the Beautiful ~ AZ, USA

Vortex: a funnel shape created by a whirling fluid or by motion of spiraling energy; anything that flows such as wind, water, or electricity. Think: whirlwind, tornado, water going down the drain.

The first time I saw Sedona was through a car window. Four years ago, we’d headed to Los Angeles via the Grand Canyon. Driving for miles past nothing but flat land and cacti, we found ourselves suddenly engulfed in a valley awash in red. At every turn, we were faced with grand rock formations, eroded into abstract shapes, and layered with colours that ranged from yellow, to sand, to burnt sienna. This was Sedona. As we hadn’t planned a stop at the time, I vowed to return. And so we did.

Sedona is a town set at an elevation of 4,500 feet, with a population of 15,000, and is a tourism destination catering to millions of visitors annually. Despite these numbers, the hiking trails that weave in and around it are so peaceful; hearing the whoosh of the wind is a constant while seeing large groups of people is not.

Long regarded a spiritual land by the Ancient Indians, “the Yavapai-Apache tribe consider this sacred ground their Garden of Eden, believing this is where the first woman mated with the sun to begin the human race.”

30 years ago, Page Bryant declared that Sedona was a key area for vortexes – subtle energy that interacts with the being of each person that comes within 1/4 to 1/2 mile of it. These days, Sedona is a popular town to visit for its healing powers.

How to find the strongest points of energy? One way is by observing the Juniper trees around those rock formations pinpointed for their vortex strength. “Juniper trees respond to the vortex energy in a physical way that reveals where the energy is strongest. The stronger the energy, the more of an axial twist the Juniper trees have in their branches.”

I adore Sedona, especially now that I’ve experienced it underfoot and all around me. While I became a treehugger, trying to soak in as much energy as I could, my husband was overcome by the power of the vortex. Either that, or he was feeling the effects of a prickly pear margarita, consumed straight after 5 hours of hiking/walking under the rays of the warm Arizona sun.

Enjoy this snippet of a town that I am so happy to have finally visited.

Sedona as seen from the top of Cathedral Rock – a site of vortex energy

Bell Rock – one of the most powerful sites of vortex energy

Twisted branches may mean strong points of energy. Seen from top of Bell Rock.

Saluting the sun halfway up Cathedral Rock

Prickly pear cactus

Sunset in Uptown Sedona

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The Proposal ~ From New York to Los Angeles

Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness.  ~Ray Bradbury

Foothills of El Paso’s (TX) Franklin Mountains via spysgrandson (all rights reserved)

Thank you so much readers, for the suggestions of where to visit as part of a cross country road trip from NYC to LA. In my last post, many seasoned travelers highly recommended Utah as a place to see. As much as I’d love to stop here, I know spending 1-2 days wouldn’t do the state justice; it’s worthy of a lengthy trip in the near future.

So…

Moonrise over Washington DC via pentaxforums.com

I am in unison with Bradbury in the sentiment that there’s beauty in venturing, uninhibited, into the unknown. But just as his words read, that’s half the fun. The other half, in my opinion, is influenced by the trip’s framework; there’s comfort in setting (loose) parameters. Wandering about aimlessly under time restrictions – a little over a week across 3,500 miles – promises a whole other set of challenges.

THE (loose) PARAMETERS

Keeping in mind that visiting New Orleans is a must, I’ve drafted an itinerary that traces a southerly route of the US. The list includes cities that I have never been to before (the Washington DC and Sedona drive-thrus don’t count). If you can advise, I’d love your thoughts on what to see/do, and where to eat/play.

Cafe du Monde, New Orleans ~ via myneworleans.com

I’ve done some preliminary research but am also looking for the not-so-seen, and hungry for local knowledge. I want to know what lies under the skin of place; I want to take in the smells of fresh produce markets, bite into a deep fried beignet, feast my eyes on centuries old architecture and innovative design, be immersed in nature’s stillness. Most importantly, I want to see how people live.

While I’ll certainly be documenting the details, a head start never hurts.

PROPOSED ITINERARY: NEW YORK TO LOS ANGELES

Brooklyn, New York > Washington, DC > Charleston, South Carolina > Savannah, Georgia (brief stop) > Tallahassee, Florida > New Orleans, Louisiana > San Antonio, Texas > El Paso, Texas > Sedona, Arizona (2 days) > Los Angeles, California

*Thinking of adding in Raleigh, NC between DC and Charleston as a stop. Not only will it give us more time, but I am reading wonderful things about this city.

Sedona, Arizona via prx.org

ADVICE NEEDED ON MUST SEES

Readers:

What are your favourite DC monuments? Can you recommend a noteworthy restaurant or bar in this great city?

Any recommendations re: where to feast on good Creole cuisine while in New Orleans? What about jazz clubs?

What are the Charleston essentials – sights, shops, cafes, neighbourhoods?

Know of a part of Savannah where one can linger for a couple of hours?

What do you love about Sedona?

What’s hot in Raleigh? The City of Oaks has me intrigued.

What about El Paso and Tallahassee; have you been to these cities? I’ve read that Tallahassee has an abundance of seafood – know of an oyster shack?

Look forward to tips, thoughts, and suggestions on anything, or all, of the above.

~Thank you!

Avenue of Oaks in Charleston, South Carolina via davidallenphotography.com