On Rare Earth Pizza and Wine Bar's outdoor patio, servers transport hand-tossed pizzas and glasses of wine in the flickering glow of outdoor fire bowls. Conversation buzzes as guests take in views of technicolor sunsets and the surrounding landscape of Pinnacle Peak. Inside, they can sidle up to the tall wooden bar to take a look at hand-chalked specials, or gather around tables to take turns singing lists of gourmet ingredients from the menu.
After retiring from competitive professional cycling, Scott Keller and Will Geurts decided to share the joys of the worldview from atop a bike with the next generation of cyclists. The pair conducts anywhere from two-hour to five-day forays into Sedona’s airy wilderness, providing expert coaching to riders throughout the desert journey through towering red-rock formations under a never-ending sky. Their solid advice and encouragement keep pedals moving and the scenery rolling past as they imbue others with the passion that led them to spend a lifetime with the sport and replace the lower half of their bodies with bicycle frames.
At Lynda Orescanin’s lampwork studio, she melts rods and tubes of glass into silver-studded spheres and delicate aquamarine swirls. Intricately detailed and no bigger than an eraser tip, the glass beads resemble paperweights for a doll’s desk. “I love the way the glass flows,” says Ms. Orescanin. “I love that you can’t rush it.”
Ms. Orescanin brings that same passion and expertise to her shop’s jewelry-making classes. She seeks out striking materials for her students, from Czech pressed-glass beads and Afghan lapis to metal charms cut from recycled filing cabinets. Inside her intimate studio, she strives to create a nurturing, friendly environment that encourages experimentation. Classes allow up to six students to sidle up to the well-lit worktable and try their hand at making jewelry. Ms. Orescanin walks them through the basics of jewelry making, from tool use to beading technique. “People say, ‘Oh, I’m not creative, I don’t know anything about color,’" she says. "But when they finish something, I’m like, ‘Wow, it's magnificent. I would have never thought to put those together in that particular way.”
Grapes don't usually grow in the desert's dry heat, but the owners of Oak Creek Vineyard and Winery found a way. They nourish vines of syrah, merlot, zinfandel, and chardonnay grapes with pure water from an aquifer 425 feet beneath the earth's surface. Moisture isn't everything, though; western Arizona's brilliant sunlight helps the grapes to develop ideal sugar content. The combination of warm days and chilly nights further brings flavor to life beneath the grapes' dusk-purple skins.
White curtains swirl around the outdoor patio of an adobe tasting room, where visitors pair sips of wine with meats and cheeses. A jaunt through the grounds reveals views of flowering cacti and tumbleweeds wearing pearls on the sun-browned hills.