Thursday, April 22, 2021

Sedona's splendors unfold in train trip through red rock country

An engineer steps into the train to begin the four-hour journey. 


Cooke and Keller
riding the rails.

We've traveled by rail on Japan's bullet trains, crossed Australia's deserts by rail, followed in Paul Thoreaux's path on the Old Patagonian Express.
In Europe, we're huge Eurail fans, traversing from country to country in comfort, sipping a nicely served cafe au lait or glass of wine while each new landscape unfolds.
The Verde Canyon Railroad cars are nicely kept
and named after various landmarks and towns.
Fields of lavender in Provence, vibrant yellow rape seed, vineyards of Tuscany golden in sunset glory.
It's all glorious from inside a well tended train car with its deep windows and comfy seats.

thrilled to discover Arizona's Verde Canyon Railroad while researching Sedona and what to do during a week of work and play.
The popular four-hour trip takes the passenger on a relaxing journey into wilderness thick with willow, juniper, oak and the shrubs of chaparral country, all framed by towering pinnacles of red  rock, synonymous with this part of Arizona.  
The journey begins in historic Clarkdale, where the Box Car Gift Store and Whistlestop Shop offer souvenirs and sundries.  The John Bell Museum awaits, with vintage artifacts artfully arranged. 
Storyboards tell the tale of the railroad, and show the route.
Copper Spike Cafe offers patio seating so you can view the cars you'll soon board.
Century-old switch locks and sturdy railroad lanterns take the traveler back in time, then a stroll past detailed storyboards tells Verde Canyon Railroad history. Soon, it's all aboard.
 WE ENJOYED a soundtrack of railroad songs, a nostalgic musical trip in time from the 1930s and '40s to modern day --  Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, and a host of other singers.
A lively taped commentary sprinkled with insights from real-life hosts add color and personality to the trip.
An outdoor car offers a chance to change venues from your
comfy vintage car, and get a close-up look at the terrain.
You'll learn about local history, the importance of the river, the discoveries among the rock, the life of the native people and miners who lived in this remote but beautiful area.
We enjoyed the open-air viewing car, which offers fresh air and a bird's eye view as nature's grandeur unfolds.
Our first-class car was comfy, with champagne as we took off and a lovely appetizer tray of cheese, meats, strawberries and brownies.
As the landscape changed, we learned of animal residents, the native people and settlers. Our guide pointed out birds of prey looking for lunch. All fascinating and in leisurely fashion.
A tunnel, some wide turns and a chance to see the other
cars in your train await on the Verde Canyon Railroad.
Said one passenger, "It's a great feeling to sit comfortably in a train and listen and look.  I loved the cars and their excellent condition.  It's a wonderful way of preserving history.  Traveling in a train through these ancient rocks and valleys made me feel like I was part of history -- if only for a few hours."
AFTER SURVIVING the pandemic, the train excursions are back in business with a special event returning as well --  to the delight of regulars.
Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers
enjoy a relaxing time in their vintage car, with bar
“Rhythm on the Rails,” a rotating concert of several musical acts, adds a musical show to the syncopation and clickety-clack of the train's steel wheels on the track.
This musical train event will be offered on May 29, June 26, July 24, Aug. 21 and Sept. 18 at 5:30 p.m.
The afternoon train trip unfolds at 1 p.m. A fall foliage trip, "Ales on Rails," and Christmas Journey are also planned, along with a chocolate lovers' train trip and eagle watch.
While you're in a train frame of mind, here are a few other favorite rail rides in other places:
Rocky Mountaineer's First Passage to the West – Canada; Glacier Express – Switzerland; TranzAlpine – New Zealand; West Highland Line, Glasgow to Mallaig – Scotland; The Ghan – Australia; Trans-Siberian Railway – Russia, and Norway's famous Flåm Railway.
More information or booking:; 1 800 293-7245

Up, up and away, as Sedona Air Tours takes us over the
glorious red rocks and canyons that make Sedona famous.

Sedona by air. Come with us for a helicopter lover's delight.  We'll enjoy an airborne extravaganza over Sedona's famous red rocks and canyons. It's wonders are world famous -- popular with naturalists, geologists and students of history. In recent years, Sedona has also become known as a haven for spiritual wellness. The helicopter ride pleases any taste -- as the guide points out energy vortexes and well known formations, honed through millions of years.  Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us each week for a fresh look at travel, the arts, nature, family and more:


  1. Such a delight to enjoy train travel in this wonderful part of Arizona.

  2. We live in Arizona in tue winter. This is a perfect snowbird sojourn which we will tale next season....want the caboose. Sounds fun.