Ever since I started dating my husband, almost 7 years, he’s been talking about taking me to Arizona. His family used to travel there for family vacations and he has many, many fond memories with his grandma, aunts and uncles, cousins and of course his parents and brother. I’ve heard countless stories over the years and have always told him he needs to take me to Arizona. This year one of my personal goals is to visit at least two new states. Eddie and I travel a fair amount but we rarely stay in the US and that is something we want to change a bit. We took at look at our schedules and our credit card points and decided on Superbowl Sunday to book a last minute, long weekend, Valentine’s Day trip to finally visit Arizona together!
We traveled from a Thursday to Sunday so we definitely had a lot to cram into our short stay. We took an early flight out of Chicago and flew into Phoenix. A friend of mine told me about the Desert Botanical Gardens so we decided to stop there first before heading up to Sedona and we are both so glad we did. This place is COOL!
The day before we left I checked the weather and saw that there was some pretty serious rain in the forecast both in Phoenix and Sedona, so I quickly Googled and found a spa close to our hotel and booked us a couples massage. The perfect rainy day/Valentine’s Day activity. We left the botanical gardens just as the rain began and drove up to Sedona to check into our hotel.
We stayed at the Orchard’s Inn per a recommendation from my mother in law and would 1000% recommend it to anyone. The location was perfect, the staff was super friendly, the amenities and room were nice, the breakfast (included) was delicious and the views were AMAZING and it was super affordable, especially considering we booked last minute. They upgraded us to a suite and my husband surprised me and had us greeted by chocolate covered strawberries and champagne. What I also loved about this hotel is that every room has a view, and the view is incredible!
Close by Orchard’s Inn is the Amara Resort where my husband and I both enjoyed the steam showers and each had the best messages of our life. It was such a relaxing and refreshing afternoon!
If you’re headed to Sedona soon, FYI there is no night life there. And I’m not talking about bars or clubs, I’m talking that during off season all restaurants close at 8 pm. Okay, fine, that makes sense, but during peak travel season they are only open until 9 pm! So needless to say, don’t wait until 7:30 pm to try and decide where to go for dinner like some people I know…
Day 2 we hiked Devil’s Bridge which was absolutely BREATHTAKING. While the trail started off wet and muddy because of all the rain the previous day, the views at the top made it all worth it.
The rest of our day was spent eating lunch at Mariposa (views included), hot tubbing at our hotel (views also included) and enjoying some adult beverages. We had so much fun!
After a few local and Facebook recommendations we decided to take a quick detour to the little mountain town of Jarome before heading back to Phoenix. We stopped at an adorable place for a quick cup of coffee and only really got to see the town via our Jeep Wrangler windows, but we were both really glad we at least drove through.
That afternoon we met up with my cousin who goes to school at The University of Arizona in Tucson and drove up to spend some time with us. Together we hiked Camelback Mountain and then enjoyed a delicious meal full of tacos and margs in old town Scottsdale. For dinner we (surprise) got more mexican food with one of Eddie’s colleagues and his wife who recently transferred from Chicago to Arizona. It was a long but fun-filled day!
Because we booked the trip only about a week and half in advance, we sort of scrambled to make our arrangements and then decided to keep our itinerary loose, which is usually not like me. You’ll find out soon enough that I’m a planner. Despite that we ended up having an amazing time in our quick 72 hour visit. Due to a horrible snow storm in Chicago, our flight coming home was delayed, then cancelled, rebooked, then delayed some more and we got extremely acquainted with Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport but in the end we look back and consider it part of ‘our first trip to Arizona’ memories.