Finding a place to enjoy outdoor time in the Arizona summer isn’t easy. Hikers and those who spend a lot more time enjoying nature than Greg and I know that sunrise is the time to get out — before the temps rise into the triple digits.
We often joke that we’re outdoorsy in the sense we’ll drink cocktails on the patio or by the pool. Nevertheless, we’ve both camped and hiked in our past. We love to walk and ride horses. We enjoy sailing and are both capable with kayak paddles. So, when nature called us to spend a little time outside, I found a shady, fun option just a couple hours away from home in the Verde Valley.
The charming, colorful Tavern Hotel in Cottonwood offers a “water to wine” package that fit the bill perfectly. We dropped the top on the convertible and drove north where the temps are a full ten degrees cooler than home and the sounds of nature include buzzing insects and chirping birds.
We arrived in Cottonwood’s historic old town in time to check in early and grab lunch at the Tavern Grille. Refreshing cocktails, paired beautifully with my prime rib sliders and Greg’s avocado tuna salad. We had plenty of time to relax before changing into clothes suitable for our mile-and-a-half kayaking trip down the Verde River. Mario from Sedona Adventure Tours met us at the hotel and drove us to the kayak launch site. He gave us a few instructions, including when to take the right fork in the river, and sent us on our way.
We floated leisurely most of the time and paddled ferociously when needed down the gentle “rapids.” We each got stuck twice (only once requiring us to get out of the kayak). The trip was a bit more of a workout than expected but the sites and sounds of nature along the river were just what the doctor ordered.
The trip ended at the Alcantara Vineyard and Winery offering both motivation to keep paddling and a “we made it” bonus. The package included a VIP tasting, so we ordered up a little nosh and settled on a table under the shade of an umbrella to sip and savor for an hour before Mario arrived to deliver us back to our hotel.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Even citified folks like us should get out in nature from time to time.
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