I didn't know much about Sedona, AZ before I got there. It was a convenient location for scattered family members to meet up for a vacation, and we planned the highlight of the trip to be a visit to the Grand Canyon.
On the flight out to AZ, I sat next to a group of four travelers who looked to be in their late 60's who told me that they try to plan a trip out to Sedona at least once every three months.
It seemed like a strange choice to keep spending all their vacation dollars in this one small town in Arizona. After visiting, I keep thinking that it makes a lot of sense to visit again and again to soak up enough of that peaceful feeling to carry you until the next visit.
In the 1980's, Sedona became a central destination for the new age movement. A psychic, Page Bryant, identified certain spots in Sedona as vortexes, where energy supposedly intersects between electromagnetic lines and ley lines.
In my experience, I didn't find the supposed vortex spots any more restful or energetic than the rest of the area, but that said, I did find being out in nature in Sedona to be particularly peaceful compared to other places I have hiked or visited.
If you drove through Sedona 15 years ago, you might not have even noticed it. At that time, the downtown area aimed for a "wild west" aesthetic to appeal to tourists. Over time, the town has worked to develop a much cleaner, elegant aesthetic, which reflects the more upscale lifestyle that has become part of life in Sedona. Fancy restaurants and art galleries fill the area.
As a tourist, you don't have to be into the upscale art scene to enjoy the area (we certainly weren't). There are tons of great hikes in the area, short and long. There are meditation centers, parks, jeep tours and ancient ruins.
Some short hikes we enjoyed were Sugarloaf Summit and the West Fork trail.