By Jacki Mieler | Photo by Paul Markow
It’s the dream that very few people can turn into reality. How do you escape the rat race to pursue a slower, more meaningful life outside the confines of a cubicle? Mark and Tammy Charlesworth found their reality in the run-down Creekside Inn bed and breakfast property on the banks of Oak Creek in Sedona.
Maybe it was Sedona’s mystical vortexes, but the Charlesworths knew the risk was worth it as they left the stress of corporate America to raise their children and transform this property into a destination that rivals the beauty of its surroundings.
Mark drew upon his experiences growing up in England and traveling internationally to create a sense of warmth and hospitality that compels everyone who enters Creekside Inn to curl up in front of the communal fireplace. Combined with Tammy’s culinary skills, it’s a wonder they didn’t open a bed and breakfast years before they took the plunge in 2001.
Mark and Tammy see themselves as a chef and server team, with Tammy creating her three-course “breakfasts with a flair” in the kitchen while Mark mingles with guests, recommends local hiking trails and pours freshly brewed coffee into the delicate Victorian china.
Carb-loading for the day is easy with Tammy’s lemon or maple cornbread; and the fruit course, featuring selections like baked pears or brandied grapes, is a refreshing palate cleanse. Heading out to explore Sedona’s red rocks with a stomach full of baked brie and eggs or glazed french toast is all the motivation required to make it back and do it all over again the next morning.
The dining room’s Victorian theme extends throughout the entire property, which is decorated with antiques from the late 1800s, including a once-useful petticoat mirror. Time stands still on the back deck, as the gentle whisper of Oak Creek provides a relaxing soundtrack. Each of the six suites has a private outdoor seating area, and if you’re lucky enough to book the Victorian Suite, you’ll be treated to a wood-burning fireplace.
It’s not surprising that some guests don’t want to stray far from Creekside Inn. Thankfully, the Charlesworths are part-owners of Dan’s Bistro, and they are happy to arrange a romantic in-room dinner from the restaurant.
This confluence of Victorian elegance and Oak Creek beauty was the owners’ escape from the rat race, which they eagerly share with anyone looking for a peaceful break.
Creekside Inn is located at 99 Copper Cliffs Drive in Sedona. For more information, call 928-282-4992 or visit www.creeksideinn.net.