Jerome has to be one of my favorite places to visit in the state. It’s so unusual and has so much character, yet it delivers such an experience without even trying. It only takes a day or two to fully enjoy - a perfect weekend getaway.
Our group visited for one day and one night as a part of a whirlwind trip through the Verde Valley. Most of the group had not been in Jerome. I have been a few times and each time I have stayed in different places and done different things. It’s that diverse in this itty bitty place on the side of a hill.
You can walk the whole town in no time, so we meandered in and out of the boutiques, unique shops and art galleries before we checked into our hotel. Jerome is known for its unique art, so it felt natural to begin our journey there. We made our first stop at the artist cooperative, proving to be a cool idea, as many artists from the region have a space in the shop to show their talents – from ceramics, to painting, to sculpture, to wearable art and all sorts of multimedia crafts and artwork. The cooperative not only shows the local talent, but the talent themselves are often running the shop. Personally, I’m of the movement of buying local, and Jerome allows for that approach with ease. Within the hour, I made a dent in my wallet to support the cause, of course. My friends will be seeing some of my purchases come the holidays, no doubt. And next time I’m here, I will spend more time browsing.
We checked into the The Connor Hotel, which had all of 12 rooms. My room was quite spacious, with a Victorian look and feel. I had one of the best views of the street, as well as sights of much of the town from my room, not to mention being situated directly above The Spirit Room, one of Jerome’s liveliest of nightspots. And being the picturesque mountain town Jerome certainly is, you can imagine the draw to bikers. As I looked downward, the motorcycles parked along the street gave me a sense of the free-spirited crowd that inhabits the space. I made my way downstairs to a packed house of locals and weekenders enjoying a brew and the band. Leave your attitude at the door, ‘cause it’s all fun and dancing here. And, open late, folks.
After about 30 minutes there, we walked a few doors down to the Caduceus Cellars & Merkin Vineyards Tasting Room where we were to begin our evening. We were greeted by the owner’s friendly and unaffected dog who could not be bothered to move from the doorway. Of course, it was pouring rain, so he had the right idea – I’d be lazy, too. Luckily there were sofas to lounge upon while we tasted the specialty of the establishment - the local wine, produced by world-famous rock star Maynard James Keenan. It was a lovely surprise, and I departure with a bottle to take home.
I always look forward to a night in Jerome as you cannot beat the view of the Verde Valley from any mile-high perch. We decided on dinner at The Asylum Restaurant, recently given the Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator and located in the haunted Jerome Grand Hotel. Given its prime location at the top of the town, complete with panoramic views, it seemed an award was also due for the breathtaking views. My thought is if you sit at a dinner for three hours, continuously eating and you still want to order desert, it’s a place you not only will return to, but you’ll tell all your friends about it. The experience here will be worth the price of admission alone, but the food is also ridiculously tasty. And, the wine list is even more impressive. I can only say, “Wow!”
The morning after brought forth a new perspective of Jerome; the reason it’s here in the first place – mining. If you are interested in mining history, Arizona is steeped in it. And, Jerome’s interesting take on mining certainly will fulfill any enthusiasts’ need for the history. Visit the mining museum and the Audrey Shaft head frame to get a deep perspective – literally! And capture the views from the hill into the Verde Valley!
Jennifer Sutcliffe is a Travel Industry Marketing Manager working with the travel trade who send visitors to the state of Arizona from around the world. She lives in and loves Arizona for its climate and year-round, outdoor, casual lifestyle. She loves to explore the state because of its diversity of climate, landscape and character as well as proud of the tried and true icons known around the world.