Garland's is open April 1 through November 15, and is located on State Route 89A, 8 miles north of Sedona. Information: 928-282-3343 or www.garlandslodge.com.
© Paula Jansen
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Garland’s Oak Creek LodgeNot only is it situated in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the food at Garland's is every bit as impressive as the surrounding landscape.
By Robert Stieve
With the possible exception of El Tovar, which has the unfair advantage of being perched on the edge of the world's seventh natural wonder, Garland's Oak Creek Lodge is arguably the most scenic place to spend a night in Arizona. Lodge, hotel, B&B, campsite … good luck finding accommodations with a better view.
Located in the heart of Oak Creek Canyon, about 8 miles north of Sedona, Garland's is surrounded by millions of years of red-rock geology, towering pines, hearty oaks and a healthy dose of pioneer history. Like most of the canyon, the Garland property was homesteaded in the 1800s — the first structure, now the kitchen, was built in 1908. It wasn't until the 1920s, however, that the lodge really started to take shape. That's when the Todd family began building cabins to accommodate guests from Flagstaff and miners from Jerome, who came to fish in Oak Creek.
In 1972, Bill and Georgiana Garland, longtime friends of the Todds, bought the lodge and started laying the groundwork for what would become one of the most spectacular overnight stays in the Southwest. In addition to the rocks and the trees and the birds in the sky, there's the creek, for which the canyon is named. The hikes along the water are wonderful, and the fishing is even better — fly fishermen have been known to make day trips from as far away as Fountain Hills. The pools of the creek are stocked with rainbow trout from May through September, and native brown trout are present as well. It's not surprising, then, that trout shows up regularly on Garland's menu, which is every bit as impressive as the surrounding landscape.
The emphasis on food dates back to Georgiana, who contributed a slew of old family recipes. Today, that dedication is carried on by Amanda Stine, Garland's resident chef for the past 25 years. Recently, Stine and Mary Garland coauthored Sharing the Table at Garland's Lodge, a critically acclaimed cookbook that features more than 275 of the lodge's recipes, some of which you'll get to sample firsthand.
As if the surroundings aren't enough, a stay at the lodge also includes afternoon tea, an elegant dinner and a hearty breakfast, which is cooked to order. The breakfast menu changes daily, and the dinner menu includes things like tomatillo bisque, mixed greens with spicy slaw and pumpkin seeds in a cumin-lime vinaigrette, and grilled Alaskan king salmon with mango Serrano salsa.
After a meal like that, you might expect the sleeping quarters to be a little anticlimactic, but they're not. Among other things, the large cabins at the lodge come with wood-burning fireplaces, and the small creekside cabins feature porches overlooking Oak Creek. Other than a room perched on the edge of the Grand Canyon, it doesn't get any better than this.