For four days in December, Sedona locals and visitors were treated to a spectacular light show - the inaugural Sedona Northern Lights. Projected onto Camelhead Rock, this special illumination became the country's largest 3D mapping project displayed on nature's canvas.This ambitious undertaking was created by LA-based PaintScaping and involved state-of-the-art Barco projectors located over half a mile away. The show could be seen from a variety of viewing locations, but the best setting to experience it was one of my favorite Sedona destinations, the Amara Resort and Spa, a Kimpton property.
We were invited for the kick-off festivities on December 14 at a VIP launch party as guests of the resort. We checked into our beautiful room (you can see more photos and details of a past visit here) with its picturesque vistas of Camelhead Rock, and welcomed with "movie" snacks for the evening's event.
Sedona Northern Lights took place on December 14 through December 17 at 6 pm, 7 pm, 8 pm and 9 pm at the top of every hour. Camelhead Rock is the striking rock formation seen prominently in the photo below, and Amara's signature restaurant, Salt Rock Kitchen, and its scenic patio was a prime location for "dinner and a show."
After checking in, I immediately headed to the bar at Saltrock to say hello to my favorite Sedona cocktail craftsman, Ardi Dulaku. I'm a big fan of savory notes in my libations, so when Ardi explained the work that goes into his sweet potato and fig puree for the Bourbon Farm, I knew what to order (made with Bulleit bourbon, sweet potato-fig reduction, fresh lemon juice, walnut bitters and egg white).
Ardi also gave me a sneak preview of two cocktails he was debuting that night at the VIP party created specifically for the weekend's light show, including his Naughty Turtle with pecan-infused bourbon, gingerbread-spiced caramel reduction, chocolate bitters and a gingerbread man cookie garnish.
At the launch party we enjoyed cocktails and an array of dishes and desserts and were among the first to view this special sight (see my Instagram live video here) accompanied by coordinating music on KYBC 96.3FM and AM1600 radio. Click below for a Sedona Northern Lights video depiction:
Starting our night with the first show meant that we would be able to see it throughout the evening as we joined our friends Jan and Anthony on the Saltrock Kitchen patio. A Northern Lights holiday $55 four-course prix-fixe included a complimentary bubbly toast and mouthwatering choices such as deviled eggs with pasilla-maple syrup and bacon-onion marmalade, osso buco with chorizo-white bean cassoulet, and achiote-spiced shrimp with lemon grits and smoked poblano-tomatillo salsa.
Each table received crunchy jicama sticks and citrus dipping sauce as a complimentary amuse, and we also shared the creamy aerated beer cheese with fresno chile oil and tortilla chips. and fried softshell crab with huitlacoche puree, jalapeno drizzle, and mustard vinaigrette. I skipped dessert to order Ardi's second featured cocktail, the Desert Snow (with vanilla-infused reposada tequila, eggnog, spiced froth and nutmeg), before we moved on to s'mores around the fire.
Throughout the evening we soaked in red rock vistas under the stars and took in the beautiful Northern Sedona Light show. The Courtyard was set up with plenty of heaters and cozy blankets on a clear December night, along with a menu of specialty holiday cocktails, hot chocolate, and warm cider, and sweet treats of s'mores kits, candy, and popcorn for purchase.
Bundled in soft blankets around a crackling fire, I ended a magical night with the Fernet About It, combining Plantation rum, Campari, Fernet Branca and cola syrup.
Another wonderful stay at Amara Resort and, as always, I can't wait to return.
Amara Resort & Spa is located at 100 Amara Ln, Sedona, AZ 86336. To book your stay call (928) 282-4828.
I was invited as a media guest and my stay was complimentary.