our last days in Sedona
Coming into Sedona, you don’t miss it. This place announces itself without an ounce of self-consciousness. It’s riotous, full of absolutely everything southwest and some that tries hard to be. It wasn’t until close to the end of our trip that we actually stopped in. Funky, up-beat singing-out-loud music, room after room of color explosions, statuary, pottery, icons, spices, ornaments, jewelry, chilies and garlic braids hanging from rafters, cactus (living and make-believe), cow skulls, every sort of kitsch and wanne-be art, and some really cool stuff. We didn’t buy a thing. We had such fun!
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Changing gears completely (and thankful we had an hour or so to do it in) we visited Montezuma’s Castle. The site was inappropriately named because it had absolutely nothing to do with Montezuma – but the namers were rather clueless on that point. It was inhabited by people commonly referred to as the Sinagua between 1100 and 1400 c.a. Then, like so many of the settlements (now ruins) in this part of the world, it was mysteriously evacuated.
One wonders why. It sat in such an idyllic setting. A lovely little valley, treed, alongside a gently rolling river. Crops of corn and cotton were planted on the valley floor. The adobe-bricked buildings, most of them perched high up and inside the cliffs, faced south to take advantage of the solar warmth in winter, while being shaded from the searing heat of summer. It was a spot well-chosen.
We saw beehives, laden with sweet honey, perched inside openings in the cliff.
Swallow nests lined the ceilings.
You could picture them living here. You could almost hear their echoing voices.
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A bit further up the road, a very different sort of settlement, Toozigute, though still likely inhabited by a similar group of people. This one was out in the open, perched on a rise with a view of an entire wide valley. This felt a bit more like a village than others we’d seen. It was multi-leveled complex, built of stones fitted together with mortar, with family dwellings, storage rooms, ceremonial areas, a open flat area on the top where traders from all over the new world came to barter and trade, where children played and the elders danced.
Looking out over the valley from a room on top Toozigute.
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From Toozigute, we headed to the old silver-mining town of Jerome. It’s perched high in the very steep hills, some of its buildings (and quite a few of its cars) had succumbed to the forces of gravity and slid all or part-way down the hill over the years. It’s an old-style western town historically (and visually!) very interesting. A lot of men lived here in Jerome’s heyday, miners mostly – not a lot of families – and some (shall we say) free-spirited entrepreneurial women. It was quite the colorful place. It still is, in its way.
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We drove up to the deserted silver mines and ran our hands over the rusted gears and wheels of an industry abandoned years ago.
We saw signs directing us further up the hill to a ghost town. Intrigued (of course) we went there straight away. The ghost town had a closed sign hung on a wire fence. I’m still wondering why a ghost town would be closed.
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We were good and hungry by then and asked a local shop owner what she recommended. Alice’s she said. Fresh, locally grown produce, much of it organic. We were there as fast as our legs could motate at such an altitude. If you’re ever in Jerome, you must visit Alice’s! We were waited on by a purple-haired joyous girl, just a friend of the owner who happened to be there. Her delight was totally infectious! The meal was wonderful. One of the locals (who has lunch there every day just to make sure Alice’s stays in business) also supplies them with vegetables from his large gardens. He struck up a conversation with my husband, while at a table on the other side of us two transplants from Florida and I talked cameras and about what drew them to life in Jerome.
We walked around the streets a bit longer, past shops with their colorful windows,
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…and then it was time for us to mosey on home. We didn’t have many hours of daylight left, and still quite a few miles of winding road left to travel.
So, until next time, Sedona.
Thanks so much for everything!