When planning vacations my first inclination is always to look somewhere tropical. Mexico, Bahamas, Caribbean, I'm all in. But with the scare of Zika, we decided it would be best to stay within the US, preferably somewhere high and dry with a low risk of mosquitos. After exploring a few options, we decided on Sedona, with a brief stay in Phoenix beforehand. I've never been out west, so I was pumped to get to explore a new part of the country.
T and I also never really took an anniversary trip to celebrate 3 years of marriage, so this trip doubled as both an anniversary trip and babymoon. We have a goal to visit a different state for each anniversary, so we killed two birds here with being able to cross Arizona off our list. T's mom is a travel agent, which is such a blessing. We found the hotel where we wanted to stay in Sedona, and picked a weekend that worked for us. And then she did everything else, and just sent us all our travel documents once they were ready to go.
Thursday afternoon we flew from Charlotte to Phoenix and spent our first night there. I don't know if it was the stress, the sudden changes in altitude, dehydration, or a combination of all three, but I had contractions all day long. Throughout the day I probably had close to 40 contractions. Very scary considering I was only 31 weeks along at that point. We were NOT going to have a preemie across the country. NO WAY. So we laid pretty low on Thursday, and went to dinner at a place called Barrio Cafe.
Dinner was incredible. Prices were very reasonable, food was fresh, and we totally felt like locals when we were there. Score. The guacamole made tableside was definitely the star of the meal. It was made simply with avocados, lime juice, cilantro, red onion, and jalapeño. But the real deal breaker was the fact that it was topped with pomegranate seeds. I've never considered the combination of pomegranate and avocado, but it was perfection.
T had a margarita (or two) and I was happy to see that they offered a few non alcoholic house-made drinks, too. They're well known for their Horchata, but the Agua de Jamaica (hibiscus flower water), sounded so enticing I had to order it. We filled up so much on guac that we both went pretty simple with our entrees. I opted for tacos and T had a torta. Both were very tasty.
We went to bed early that night, which thankfully was just what my body needed. After a good night's sleep, my contractions subsided. The next morning we woke up early and headed to the Grand Canyon, about a 3 hour car ride away. The three hours flew by, because there were so many cool things to look at along the way.
T has been to the Grand Canyon before, but this was obviously my first time. I was in awe the entire time we were there. What everyone had told me was true. It was far bigger and more beautiful than I even imagined! We used this blog post to help us get there and navigate the Park. The park is so large, that there are several different options you can take once you get there. We preferred to stay in our own car and ride along at our own pace, so this was the perfect option for us.
After a few hours at the Canyon, we headed about an hour south to Sedona to check in to our hotel. We read great reviews about L'Auberge de Sedona, and were so excited to get checked in. Unfortunately the part of the hotel where we were staying had just undergone a renovation that wasn't 100% complete. We tried not to let this put a damper on the rest of our trip, but it was quite disappointing. The silver lining to the situation though was that it made us get out more and explore the town versus staying in our room or hanging around the resort.
For dinner on Friday night we wanted something casual and low key. T heard one of the nearby restaurants served rattle snake sausage, and after that the decision was made. We had dinner at The Cowboy Club right downtown. It was very casual and a little touristy, but that's what we were wanting for our first night.
That night our hotel offered stargazing led by a local astronomer. I hope he doesn't read this, but T has the cutest fascination with stars and space. It was so great to see him fascinated with all of this. We were the only ones there at the end of the night with the astronomer, so we got a little private session with him. He pointed out several constellations around us and we looked through a humongous telescope to get closer glimpses at stars and planets.
The next morning we were up early, grabbed coffee and pastries from our hotel lobby, and went out to the creek to feed the ducks. Each morning the hotel supplies corn at 8:00 am for the guests to feed the ducks. Probably an amenity for the kids, but I totally got a kick out of it.
That day we had lunch by recommendation of a friend at the Oak Creek Brewery and returned to the hotel for a few hours by the pool. Their pool is heated year round, so it was a perfect temperature for swimming. This is the first time I've been swimming since having a big belly, and the weightless feeling was quite a relief to my back.
Later that afternoon at 4:00 we were scheduled for a Pink Jeep Tour around Sedona. I originally turned my nose up to this idea because it just seemed totally touristy, but it was honestly one of the highlights of our trip. Pink Jeep offers several off-road tours, but the only one available for pregnant women is their Scenic Sedona Tour. While we missed out on the off-road experience, I really felt like we had an incredible experience just staying on paved roads. Our guide was super friendly and knowledgeable. He knew so much history about the people of the area as well as the geology of all the rock formations, and he was always willing to take our picture when we made a new stop. We visited several places and learned so much more than what we would have if we'd just done this on our own. If you ever visit the area, I'd highly recommend doing one of these tours.
We also ordered the Fireball Lollipop Chicken Drumsticks and the Roasted Beet Salad which were phenomenal. We just devoured them too quickly before I could snap a photo. Plus at that point I felt like enough people were staring at me and my gigantic belly, I didn't want to give them another reason to look by bringing out my huge flashing camera.
We had such a great time, and it was the perfect getaway for a babymoon. Now that we're back home it's just countdown to baby time! We've got roughly 8 weeks until my due date, and I feel like there's still so much to do to prepare for his arrival.