Stacey Wittig

Correspondent

  • Flagstaff, AZ, USA

Stacey Wittig is a correspondent based near Sedona, and she covers the area for Forbes Travel Guide. Wittig is also a freelance writer and travel columnist for Arizona Vines and Wines and Amigos805 magazines. Her culinary adventures have led her up the Inca Trail in Peru eating fried caterpillars, across the plains of northern Spain on El Camino de Santiago enjoying steamed barnacles and through the vineyards of Cinque Terre sipping Chianti Classico. Her work has appeared online at National Geographic Traveler, USA Today Travel and SheKnows City Guides, among other publications.

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  • On November 30, 2012
    Stacey Wittig answered the question: Stacey Wittig

    What are the five best ways to experience Sedona’s Red Rock Country?

    Seeing the red rock country around Sedona is a must; the only decision you have to make is how to take it all in. We think these are the five best ways to experience Sedona’s red rock country:

    1. Glide in a hot air balloon. After a gentle lift-off, enjoy a panoramic, bird’s-eye view of red rock formations and Valle Verde as you slip along the early morning skies. Your early awakening will be rewarded with a champagne picnic after a calm landing. When you make your reservations, be sure your balloon operator has the permits needed to fly over red rock country.

    2. Take a Tai Chi class. Tai Chi classes are offered twice a week at Los Abrigados Resort & Spa on the banks of picturesque Oak Creek. Experience the inspiring red rock country through the practice of the Chinese tradition while gaining life-changing benefits. Begun in China, the tradition has been adapted by westerners as a graceful form of exercise.

    3. Go for a hike. A favorite Sedona hike, the Bell Rock Pathway is a relatively easy way to get out and among the red rocks. The 3.6-mile trail rewards hikers with breath-taking views of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. This is a well-traveled pathway with vault toilets and paved parking. Bring your camera — as the trail climbs higher, you’ll have opportunities for great shots. Be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen too, as there’s no shade on this trail. More adventurous hikers can try out Devil’s Bridge or Vultee Arch trails.

    4. Ride a mountain bike. Broken Arrow Trail is a fun and relatively easy mountain bike trail that takes you straight into the heart of red rock country. You’ll ride by Devil’s Dining room, an active sinkhole. Submarine Rock to the east offers a slickrock play area.

    5. Tour Red Rocks State Park. This magnificent park affords many stunning vistas from one of the ten hiking trails. Explore the visitor’s center, or watch a film at the park theatre. At 10 a.m. daily, a naturalist bring the outdoors alive on guided nature walks, while at 2 p.m., you can join in an activity led by a guest speaker or park ranger. Ask about special events like bird walks or geology hikes. You can’t get any closer than this to red rock country!
  • On November 30, 2012
    Stacey Wittig answered the question: Stacey Wittig

    What is the best thing to bring home from Sedona?

    Besides photographs of your visit to the red rock formations around Sedona, we suggest you bring home a souvenir that’s tied to the place. For people who appreciate jewelry, there’s no better souvenir than a piece of turquoise-and-silver jewelry crafted by a local Native American artisan. Sedona’s proximity to many Native American communities including the Zuni, Hopi, Navajo and the Yavapai-Apache reservations make this an ideal spot to find a special treasure. Ask your shopkeeper or concierge to explain how you can tell if the piece is authentically Native made.
     
    Another favorite thing to bring home from Sedona is artwork.  With many choices to fit your style, it is easy to enliven your home or office with contemporary painting, modern sculpture, Native American pottery, Western art, masterworks, wearable art of all kinds or framed photography. On the first Friday of the month, don’t miss special art receptions at the First Friday Gallery Tours. Most galleries will pack and ship your selections. Art connects at so many levels, that it will spark memories of your Sedona vacation for years to come.
  • On November 30, 2012
    Stacey Wittig answered the question: Stacey Wittig

    What are the five best Sedona food experiences?

    There are a surprising number of local flavors to experience in Sedona, which has a culinary culture inspired by Mexican, Western and Native American dishes. Here are the five best food experiences in Sedona:

    1. Arizona wine. Wine from the highlands of Arizona is surprisingly good. With the wide variety and blends, there’s an Arizona wine for every palate. From the Rhone varietals grown near Sedona to the Spanish whites and reds of southern Arizona, high-desert grapes are producing delicious, full-bodied wines. You’ll spot Arizona wines on many Sedona restaurant menus, discover your favorite along the Verde Valley Wine Trail or do a tasting at a Sedona wine bar.

    2. Huevos rancheros. A breakfast egg dish with origins in Mexico, huevos rancheros is a hearty breakfast meal found at many Sedona restaurants. It starts with two fried eggs (huevos) placed on pan-warmed tortillas and topped with cheese and tomato sauce spiced with green chilies, cumin and chili powder. This spicy breakfast meal filled cowboys and their boss men (rancheros) in preparation for a hard day’s work of moving cattle. Today it’s the perfect energizer for hiking or exploring the western landscape.

    3. Oak Creek Nut Brown Ale. This Arizona favorite can be found on tap from Tucson to the Grand Canyon, and of course, in Sedona where it’s brewed. The  deep copper, nutty-tasting ale is named after the creek that flows through Sedona that helped carve the world-famous Oak Creek Canyon centuries ago. The brew master won a gold medal from the North American Brewers’ Association.  Look for the deep copper-colored brew in the glass of the satisfied local sitting next to you.

    4. Anything cactus. From specialty cocktails to gourmet dishes, the prickly pear cactus  fruit called tuna and paddles (aka leaves) are a staple in Sedona cuisine. Most often, you’ll find the prickly pear cactus fruit’s sweet fruity nectar in margaritas and mojitos, as well as tea, ice cream and coleslaw. The leaves of the cactus — called nopales — are harvested from the desert with tongs to avoid the sharp needles. Try fried cactus tuna at the Cowboy Club Grille in uptown or nopalitos at Elote, though both are used on many menus around town.

    5. Green chilies. Not as hot as its cousin the jalapeño chile, the mild green chile — after being roasted, peeled and chopped —is added to favorites such as green chile and pork stew, huevos rancheros, chiles rellenos (roasted chilies stuffed with cheese, battered and deep fried) and enchiladas. Green chiles add a smoky taste and a hint of spice to any dish. You’ll find green chilies as an important complement to omelets, corn dishes, salads or even pizza at any Sedona restaurant.
  • On November 30, 2012
    Stacey Wittig answered the question: Stacey Wittig

    Where is the best nightlife in Sedona?

    There are all kinds of different evening amusements to be found in Sedona, from pubs to poetry and posh restaurants to live music venues. The best nightlife depends on what you enjoy.  Here are five different kinds of evening excursion that can all be enjoyed in Sedona:

    1. Mary D. Fisher Theatre. From poetry slams to live performances to world film premiers, the Mary D. Fisher Theatre hosts a variety of Sedona nightlife options. Watch Shakespeare in high definition straight from the Globe Theatre in London or operas piped in from Venice. The 100-person theatre is home of the Sedona International Film Festival and the Sedona Performing Arts Alliance. Watch the online calendar for listings of current shows or grab a copy of Kudos, the free entertainment guide at newsstands and hotels.

    2. Blazin M Ranch Chuckwagon Supper and Western Stage Show. Located on the banks of the Verde River in Cottonwood, the Blazin M is well worth the drive. Top-notch cowboy music and tomfoolery will have you slapping your knee and your neighbor’s back. Performers are Hall of Famers and the chicken and baby back ribs are good and plentiful. Make sure to arrive at 5 p.m. so you can try riding the tractor pull, petting ponies and other farm animals, shooting an authentic Colt 45 and learning to rope.

    3. Cliff Castle Casino Hotel. Invest in a short 30-minute drive to Camp Verde and be rewarded with top-notch entertainment at the popular Cliff Castle Casino. Check the online calendar for a roster of hot national acts at the outdoor Stargazer Pavilion and live music in the Dragonfly Lounge. Play blackjack on the finest tables with professionally trained dealers. Or find some action in the casual poker room away from the slots.

    4. Sound Bites Grill. For live music and dancing, check out Sound Bites, which features different performers evenings Wednesday through Sunday. The dance floor, one of the largest in Sedona, draws visitors and locals alike. From roadhouse rockers to fiery Cuban dance orchestras to 70s rock and roll to classic jazz musicians, Sound Bites offers an eclectic mix of entertainment in a venue decorated with celebrity guitars.

    5. Hoppy Grape Lounge at Sedona Wine and Beer Company. Mingle with locals and visitors for a laidback evening of sipping wines and beers, including some local Arizona products. Local musicians play on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This casual, classy lounge has a noshing menu that includes fresh and local ingredients. Sit at the bar in front of colorful beer taps from around the world or grab your spot on leather couches.