Briar Patch Inn is open year-round and is located at 3190 N. Highway 89A, 3 miles north of uptown Sedona. For more information, call 888-809-3030 or visit briarpatchinn.com.
© Jeff Kida
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Out of SightIn addition to its outstanding amenities, the Briar Patch Inn offers privacy. In fact, it's barely visible from the busy highway that leads to its door.
By Nikki Buchanan
Sedona Tucked away amid the trees and red rocks of Oak Creek Canyon, the Briar Patch Inn is barely visible from the road, revealing little more than a flash of rooftop or a glimpse of graveled path to the cars winding along State Route 89A above. So private and sequestered is this little constellation of cottages — 19 of them set on nine lush acres of oaks and sycamores, neatly trimmed lawn and flowers — that it feels like a secret, all the more delicious for being unraveled in stages.
Here, Adirondack chairs overlooking the clear, rumbling rush of Oak Creek. There, a pair of hammocks, just right for a nap beneath the trees. And just beyond, resident sheep, named Wooly and Bully, grazing the meadow with their two new babies. It's entirely possible to while away whole mornings out on the deck (each cabin has its own), reading a book from the lodge's extensive library or watching acrobatic squirrels leap from tree to tree. This, of course, after a healthy breakfast of home-baked breads and muffins, fresh fruits and juices, granola, yogurt, quiche, eggs in the shell, herbal teas and great coffee — all to be enjoyed by a crackling fire in the lodge, on a tray in the cabin or out along the creek, listening to a chorus of birds.
In the summer months, breakfast at the creek is irresistible, thanks to morning concerts performed by a classical violinist and guitarist. Summer is also the time for weekend yoga classes on the verdant lawn. For those whose frazzle can't be calmed by fresh air and exercise, the inn arranges facials and massages, the latter offered in-cottage or at a creek-side gazebo.
Really, the toughest decision anyone ever has to make is whether to stay outdoors or in when both are so extraordinarily pleasant. Each cozy cottage is furnished with Southwestern furniture, Native American artifacts and a wood-burning stone fireplace. Many of them were constructed in the '40s by a German carpenter whose name (Raacke) became "Rocky," his cowboy cottages frequented by the Hollywood set who came to Sedona to make Westerns. In the early '80s, Ike and JoAnn Olson bought both the Briar Patch and neighboring Terracotta Resort (originally Rocky's Cottages), combining the two properties into one rambling, tranquil retreat. Although JoAnn wisely retained most of Rocky's original design features (the clunky door latches, for example), she's also put her own stylish stamp on the inn, creating an utterly unique place that captures the romance and rusticity of the West, both past and present.