High atop Cleopatra Hill on the southern edge of the Verde Valley sits Jerome. This old mining town with a rich history was once known as the "Wickedest Town in the West." The drive to Jerome is not for the faint of heart, much less a motorhome. (In fact, they're not allowed.) The road is steep, narrow and features more than a few tricky switchbacks. We did it in the Jeep, and it was definitely worth the ride.
We made the trip with Jim and Ellie, who are staying in Dead Horse State Park. We checked out the park the other day with (another) Jim and Sandie and thought it was very nice. After stopping by to pick up Jim and Ellie this morning, we have Dead Horse at the top of our list of places to stay when we pass this way again. It was great to meet these fellow travelers and spend a fun day getting to know them. They're standing in front of the oldest buildings in Jerome: the old city jail. There's not much to it today, but according to a local that passed our way it survived a fire or two and a tumble down the hill to the spot where it now sits.
Jerome has evolved from it's wild, mining roots to a modern day tourist attraction and art destination. Many of the old buildings around town have been refurbished and our now home to elegant art galleries and quaint shops.
One store had an incredible display of kaleidoscopes. I wondered what would happen if I put the camera to the eyepiece of this one and snap. Here's the result! Cool, huh?
From Jerome, the view across the Verde Valley is spectacular. The snow-covered San Francisco Peaks are some 50 miles to the north, near Flagstaff.
A much closer eye-catching landmark is the Douglas Mansion. Built in 1916 by mining magnate James Douglas, this big house served as a hotel for mining officials and investors and was home to the Douglas family. Today it sits on a state park and serves as a museum that chronicles Jerome's history. Unfortunately, Jerome Historic State Park is closed. Building repairs and budget cuts have kept the park off limits since February 2009. For now, the only way to appreciate this historic spot is the view from Jerome.
After a tasty burger lunch at The Mile High Club we poked around a few more shops. Ellie couldn't resist this Jerome gem...
...and, I found it hard to pass up this exquisite couture. But, somehow, we managed!
On the way home we stopped in a cute little quilt store that was moments away from closing to pick up, among other things, my four Arizona fabrics. Aren't they great?
Thanks, Jim and Ellie for a great day in Jerome. We look forward to seeing you down the road.