The Family Photo

My family’s coming for Thanksgiving!  Actually, we’ll gather before Thanksgiving Day for a long four-day weekend to make the holiday work for everybody.  I’m excited!  I’m gathering recipes, cleaning the guest room and shopping for the right turkey. 

My daughters gave me an errand to do for them.  They booked a photographer and want a photo of our family.  They asked me to find an interesting background for it, preferably with red rocks.  I drove around and found a private spot just west of Sedona. 
A little history of Sedona
I like the story behind the town’s name.  Sedona Schnebly, young and newly married, moved to Arizona in the early 1900’s and settled in a tiny community known for its red rock formations.  Mr. Schnebly, a hard working farmer, transported his crops up the hill to Flagstaff.  The rocky road is still called Schnebly Hill Road today.  His wife, Sedona, served her community well.  Her hospitality became an oasis for those traveling through the area.  When the community grew, the post office needed to register a name.  Thus, Sedona was named after Schnebly’s wife.

I like the fact that the famous Tlaquepaque Village stands on the grounds where the Schnebly’s first dwelt! 

What’s the best spot for a family photo?
After driving through the outskirts of town, I noticed every hiking trail that offered a pretty backdrop also drew a crowd.  The meager parking space discouraged me.

I found a rough, private road off the main highway and traveled about 14 miles north to a place called Honanki Ruins.  The cliff dwelling features petroglyphs drawn by the Sinagua Indians between 1130 and 1280 A.D. based on archaeological evidence.   

The area took my breath away!

I’m a hummer girl, but I like jeeps too!  
The first few miles of the long road to the cliffs make up a treacherous composition of caliche rock but then it turns to a smoother red rock dirt road.  A car can make it, but a truck or jeep is best.   

A lone car appeared on the side of the road.  A couple about my age relaxed with a picnic lunch.  I enjoyed pleasant conversation with them and they knew the area well.  The husband walked with two trekking poles because he just had a knee replacement like me!  I’ll tell you, people with fake knees are everywhere.  We swapped stories!  They were so nice to take a photo of Tom and me!

Mostly, this area attracts the Pink Jeep Tours.  The informed tour guides offer detailed stories of the ruins and charge about $100 per person for a tour.

A jeep load got out and wandered by the creek.  I posed by their vehicle.  

It’s always good to include props in a family photo.   Don’t you love to see a family sitting on a sofa placed in the middle of a cornfield or meadow?  The Honanki Trail still sports a few props here and there from a movie set featuring John Wayne and Jane Russell.   At least that’s what I heard a Pink Jeep driver say.

I’m still scouting around to see if there’s other places to consider that would be private with interesting scenery for our family photo but it’s hard to beat Honanki Trail with its privacy and magnificence.

The kids liked my photos.  We may, after all, end up in this place!


  1. You found a beautiful place for family pictures! Hope they all turn out great!

  2. Honanki Ruins seems to have the perfect background for a family picture.
    The red, dramatic color of the rocks, and the history of the place make it an interesting, unforgettable setting.

  3. Hi Mary! Look at you walking around the Red Rocks with your sporty blue cane! Congratulations! I think you've found just the spot for a beautiful photo, and I hope you'll share when you get it taken. What a joy our family is to us, right? Such a gift to be thankful for as Thanksgiving comes along.
    God bless,

  4. Beautiful! I believe you just found a great spot with plenty of props for your family photo.
    My dad, when he was alive loved Sedona and would make sure he and mom stayed there on their way home to Colorado from Arizona in the spring time.
    Thank you for that piece of information, I must share it with mom.
    Lovely photo of you and your husband.

    Bless you ♡

  5. What a beautiful area! Hope you share some of those photos when they are taken!

  6. Any place in Sedona would be great for a picture, but you found some great ones in your exploration! I saw an interview of the great granddaughter of Sedona. She had written a book about her great grandmother (I had already known Sedona was named for a person). It sounded like a fascinating book to potentially read down the line!

    Wherever you choose for the family portrait, I'm sure it will be a great one!


  7. Oh, how neat! What an interesting place! We just did the same thing for our son's school photos! We found the most amazing waterfall and several other beautiful spots along the way. God's coloring book is everywhere we look...sometimes, life is so busy and burdened and bogged down, we fail to see it all. I hope we get to see the photo of your dear family once it's finished! What fun lies ahead of you, sweet friend. Enjoy every moment!!! Praying for you often.

  8. The name "Sedona" is unique and I think applies to this unique place. Thank you for the tour sister! And what a beautiful spot you found! Glad to see you in pic wandering already. Time really goes by so fast! Thanksgiving Day is around the corner again. May you have a wonderful time together (I'm sure it will be!) and no doubt, with all those beautiful scenery that abounds, your guys' picture will be amazing!

  9. Oh my gosh ... my arms grew goosebumps when you mentioned your daughters booking that photographer. What a precious gift ... something that will live on (and on, and on).

    I never considered using a prop in a family photo. Great tip!

  10. Wow! This is a beautiful spot for photos. I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Thanksgiving.

  11. Good for you! That's awesome that you get to hang out with your family. What a gift.

    Love that area. I suggest sneaking down beside Oak Creek! That place makes me want to write novels!

  12. Like the pictures.. you reminds me Sedona trip 5 years back.. But i really didn't know why the name Sedona.. Thanks for sharing the history...

    Please visit:

  13. It looks like you found the perfect spot to take a family picture! Will be fun to get your family all together and to enjoy a day and such a beautiful setting, exploring together! So glad to hear that you are doing better with your knee!

  14. Happy Thanksgiving sister Mary. God bless you and your whole family!

  15. Happy Thanksgiving! I love your adventures to find a spot for your photo, and seeing all the photos along the way!! One of my favorites is the pink jeep (I like pink!), and overall just love the story of the history of the area, and its hospitality and it made me think of your hospitality to make a beautiful thanksgiving for your family, so it really seems a perfect spot!! Just wrote this a little run-on, and on the run, hope it makes sense;)) Love to you and blessings!!


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