Daily Pampering: Private calligraphic portraits sessions in Sedona

Sedona is a magical and mystical place. From the vortex of the Red Rocks to peak of the mountains, there’s a special healing power that takes place in Arizona‘s desert retreat.

Mii amo, set in Sedona’s dramatic red rock country at Enchantment Resort, has been ranked among the world’s top destination spas for the past 10 years, thanks in part to its ability to attract unique artists, healers, health practitioners and spiritual leaders for one-of-a-kind events and retreats. As 2011 kicks off, the Enchantment Resort offers up some one-of-a-kind experiences just for its guests.

“Calligraphy of the Heart” takes place February 8 – 15 and if the perfect gift for the romantic traveler. Alok Hsu Kwang-han, an acclaimed Zen calligraphic painter from China, returns to Sedona to create romantic calligraphic portraits in private sessions for individuals, couples or families in time for Valentine’s Day.

The price for your potrait? $1,450 – $1,650 per portrait session.

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.

Best vacation day: Slide Rock

Friends of mine recently returned from a trip to Arizona with news of a hands-down favorite day that pleased the whole family. Slide Rock State Park near Sedona made the parents, a 16-year-old girl, an 11-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl happy at exactly the same time. Amazing. For anyone who has traveled with an age range of children of both sexes, an activity that fits everyone’s desires and then matches their expectations at the same time is golden.

Jaunted’s review of Slide Rock mirrors what my friends said made this day a crowd pleaser. Slide Rock is a chance to interact with nature in a way that’s much cheaper than a water park and more environmentally friendly. A slick creek bed and rushing water reflects a simpler childhood where fun costs $2 a person. (A carload is $10)

Along with being some of the most gorgeous scenery imaginable, Sedona is an easy pairing with a trip to the Grand Canyon which is something I did. The drive through Oak Creek Canyon is spectacular.

One time to head here might be September 19-20 for the Apple Festival, a time of celebrating the area’s agricultural history. The state park used to be an apple farm.

Photo of the Day (3.29.09)

As luck would have it I’m currently tramping around New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park. All the majestic outdoor scenery and beautiful vistas have me in a particularly “natural” frame of mind. Exactly the reason I chose Flickr user Tina Hsu’s shot for today’s selection. Tina took this photo near Sedona, Arizona. I love the reddish rocky outcroppings and the perspective, framed nicely by a nearly cloudless blue sky.

Have any fantastic travel photos of some beautiful outdoor scenery? Or perhaps just the local botanic gardens? Why not share them with us by adding them to the Gadling pool on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

New York Couple Takes 2400-Mile Cab Ride

Betty and Bob Matas are retiring from NYC to Arizona. Though the next big hurdle for them will be the move, the couple has already hired movers to haul their stuff. But wait: how will they get their cats to Arizona? Though they could’ve shipped the cats via airliner, the Matas didn’t want to force their cats to endure a trip in the cargo hold. They’ll just drive, right? Well… no… they don’t drive. Consequently, in order to cross the country, they decided to do what they know best: hail a cab.

Cab driver Douglas Guldeniz agreed to drive his yellow SUV cab the 2400 miles 10 hours a day for a flat fee of $3000, plus gas, meals and lodging. According to David Pollack, executive director of the Committee for Taxi Safety, the standard fare would’ve been about $5000, but city Taxi and Limousine Commission rules allow drivers and passengers to negotiate a flat fare for trips outside the city.

Novel solution — or stupid? What are the Matas going to do when they arrive in Sedona, a city NOT noted for having extensive taxi services?