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Though local boosters make much of its setting, amid some definitive Southwestern canyon scenery,
the New Age resort of SEDONA adds nothing to the beauty of its surroundings. Architecturally, it's a
real mess, with several miles of ugly redbrick sprawl interrupted by the occasional mock-historical mall
monstrosity. To the artists, healers, walking wounded and wealthy retirees who have flocked here in the
last two decades, however, Sedona is "the next Santa Fe." Whether you love it or hate it will probably
depend on whether you share their wide-eyed awe for angels, crystals and all matters mystical - and
whether you're prepared to pay over-the-odds prices for the privilege of joining them.
Established in 1902 by one Theodore Schnebly, and named after his wife, Sedona remained for most of
the twentieth century a small farming settlement, unmarked on most maps. German surrealist painter Max
Ernst moved here in the 1940s - the bizarre backdrops of his later canvases seem less surreal once you've
seen where they were painted - and Hollywood movie-makers filmed in the area from the 1950s onward.
However, Sedona's big break came in 1981, when Page Bryant, author and psychic, "channeled" the
information that Sedona is in fact "the heart chakra of the planet." Since she pinpointed her first vortex -
a point at which, it is claimed, psychic and electromagnetic energies can be channeled for personal and
planetary harmony - the town has achieved its own personal growth, and blossomed as a focus for New
Age practitioners of all kinds.
If you don't have much time to spend exploring, a cruise along US-89A enables you to see most of the sights,
albeit from a distance; the best parts are south along Hwy-179 within Coconino National Forest. The closest
vortex to town is on Airport Mesa ; turn left up Airport Road from US-89A as you head south, about a mile
past the downtown junction known as the "Y" . The vortex is at the junction of the second and third peaks, just
after the cattle grid. Further up, beyond the precariously sited airport, the Shrine of the Red Rocks looks out
across the entire valley.
Sedona's visitor center , just north of the "Y," has full listings of lodgings and tour operators (Mon-Sat 8.30am-5pm,
Sun 9am-3pm; tel 928/282-7722 or 1-800/288-7336, ). It's an expensive place to stay ; what pass for budget motels
include the Sedona Motel , close to the "Y" at 218 Hwy-179 (tel 928/282-7187; $75-100), and the renovated Canyon
Portal , a little further north at 210 N US-89A (tel 928/282-7125 or 1-800/542-8484; $50-75).
The luxurious Enchantment Resort , 525 Boynton Canyon Rd (tel 928/282-2900 or 1-800/826-4180, ; $200-250),
has taken over ravishing Boynton Canyon eight miles west.
Lots of expensive Southwestern-style restaurants - not all of them particularly good - cater to tourists, and there's
still a smattering of old-fashioned diners. Fournos , 3000 W Hwy-89A (reservations compulsory; tel 928/282-3331),
is a lovely little Greek restaurant, open for dinner at 6pm and 8pm from Thursday to Saturday, and for brunch on
Sunday at noon, while the Sedona Coffee House & Bakery , 293 N Hwy-89A (tel 928/282-2241), is a popular
breakfast hangout near the "Y," serving espresso coffees and pastries, and graduating to soup and salad later on.
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