Mostly everyone who grew up in Southern California — like I did — has made a sojourn through America’s Southwest at least once or twice in their lifetimes. As you cross the picturesque desert, cities such as Santa Fe, Tucson, Prescott, Sedona and Flagstaff crop up like islands in the sand. And the views are always amazing, no matter what the season. The history, art and cultural traditions behind the Southwest are also captivating, and of course, the cuisine — especially in Santa Fe — is spectacular.
This summer, our five-day escape to the Southwest started in California, continued through Arizona and New Mexico, and took us all the way to Lubbock, Texas. Our six favorite stops along the way included:
- Wine tasting: There’s lots of wine tasting to be done in the Southwest. We stopped at Javelina Leap Vineyards, outside of Flagstaff, and next time plan to hit Alcantara and Page Springs.
- You don’t want to miss Montezuma Castle National Monument, near Prescott, where Native Americans once lived in an extraordinary “castle” built into a cliff.
- Breathtaking Sedona is known the world over for its vibrant red rock landscape. A fun family outing in the area is Slide Rock, where smoothed-over rocks serve as a natural water slide. Check out our 8-second Vine video to see how it works: https://vine.co/v/hatnluadU03
- Flagstaff is a beautiful town with a fun downtown night life (who knew?).
- Walnut Canyon National Monument, featuring dramatic rock formations and Native American cliff dwellings, offers a nice hike and beautiful views.
- Santa Fe is undoubtedly the gem of the Southwest with amazing art, cuisine and architecture. The cozy Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, just off the main square, is a must-see for anyone who admires this great artist.
Our trip was made even better by stays at fantastic bed & breakfast inns:
1. England House in Flagstaff. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and is beautifully appointed and walking distance to downtown. With a fantastic breakfast and service and delightful owners, the inn was built circa 1902 by a master stone cutter.
2. Casa Cuma in Santa Fe. WIth a classic Santa Fe adobe design, Casa Cuma sits on the edge of town and features a sunny patio with views of both the city and the hills. It’s about a 10-minute walk into the town center, where you can enjoy the park and all the fantastic restaurants, shops and museums.
3. Hotel Vendome in Prescott. This inn is also historic and offers guests a lobby bar, a covered porch and a convenient downtown location just minutes to the center of town.
If you haven’t taken a trip through the vast expanses of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah or Nevada, you’re missing out. In the photo essay below, we’ve captured highlights of our recent journey — an unforgettable trip that served as a reminder that 10 years is too long to wait to go back and visit again.