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Last year’s inaugural three-day Sedona Hummingbird Festival (; 928-284-2251) attracted 400 to 500 people each day, so it’s not surprising that organizer Ross Hawkins says the event is on its way to becoming the biggest hummingbird festival in the U.S. The 2013 festival takes place Aug. 2-4 with presentations, lectures and a “hummingbird mall” at the Sedona Performing Arts Center; garden tours; the Sedona Sunrise Hummingbird Breakfast; banding demonstrations; and hummingbird hot spots at private homes where spectators can watch the birds in action. Admission to activities ranges from free (for the banding demos, mall and hot spots) to $45 for a three-day pass. Proceeds benefit the Sedona-based nonprofit Hummingbird Society.

“It’s really a multipurpose event,” says Ross. “It provides hands-on experiences and the chance to talk to experts about hummingbirds. Two of our lecturers are two of the world’s current experts on caring for hummingbirds in captivity – one of them is coming from France. Last year we had people from 21 states attend the festival, and we’re just going to continue to grow. It’s the most beautiful place in America to see hummingbirds.”

Hot Water

When we first moved here more than a decade ago, Buddha’s Beach was a little-known swimming hole frequented by locals only. That’s not the case anymore, but it’s still a great place to cool off on a hot summer’s day. The beach is located at Crescent Moon Ranch picnic area, better known as Red Rock Crossing. We like the fact you can access it from Upper Red Rock Loop Road near West Sedona (follow the signs) and from Verde Valley School Road in the Village of Oak Creek. Hike up the creek past the crowded Cathedral Rock photo spots until you reach a sandy beach populated with stacks of rocks. (If you are coming from the VOC, hike Baldwin Trail for 1.5 miles until you reach the beach.) There are shade trees for picnics and a rope swing for a little adventure. The creek is so deep in some spots that you can completely submerge. Not a bad way to beat the heat.

Hot Valley Survival Tip

We’ve gotten to the point where we give serious consideration before driving to Phoenix during the summer. There’s a reason why Valley residents head north this time of the year, right? But there is a way to make your trip to the face of the sun a bit more bearable, and it comes in the form of the iPic Theaters in the posh Scottsdale Quarter (15257 N. Scottsdale Road; 480-483-3232). The eight-auditorium movie theater includes two types of seating. Premium-plus seats are reserved (you choose your seats when you buy tickets online), fully reclining chairs that come with a pillow and blanket, popcorn and in-cinema food and beverage service. Premium seats are large leather chairs with food and beverages available at the adjacent Tanzy Express and Salt Lounge (the food – and the alcohol – can be brought into the theater). Before or after your movie, hit the Salt Lounge, which boasts TVs, signature cocktails and appetizers, and a DJ on the weekends. Check out the upscale menu at Tanzy Restaurant – separate from Tanzy Express – that offers up indoor and (covered) outdoor seating. Movie tickets aren’t cheap: $18.50 for premium seating and $27 for premium-plus seats for nonmembers (sign up for a free membership and you’ll pay $12 for premium seats and $17 for premium plus), but for the right film, it’s worth it. And it’s air-conditioned.


Carly Grantham, this month’s cover girl, was born in Virginia Beach, Va., but she has lived in Cottonwood since she was 5. After being teased and tormented for her weight while she was in school, Carly exacted her revenge by getting fit and posing for an iconic men’s magazine. Today, she models for local boutiques while working as a teacher’s assistant with Yavapai College’s emergency medical technician program. Carly, who’s 23 and married to a firefighter, says modeling is more of a hobby right now; it’s the medical field that’s her true passion. “Right now, I’m considering becoming a flight nurse,” she says. “I like the adrenaline aspect of it. I need constant stimulation.”

MORE THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN SEDONA: Sedona festivals, secret Sedona, Sedona Bluegrass Festival, four-wheeling, kayaking, hang gliding and skydiving, Sedona confidential, wine tasting rooms, best pizza in Sedona, Sedona calendar of events, Sedona skygazing, Sedona dance classes

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