A Weekend in Jerome, Arizona


Article by Christina Barrueta

Photography by Christina Barrueta

Originally published in A Taste of AZ

While destinations such as the Grand Canyon and Sedona remain top tourist draws, Arizona’s smaller towns off the beaten path hold a special charm. Jerome, a former mining town located approximately two hours north of Phoenix, is one of those noteworthy destinations. Founded in 1876 and once crowned the “Wickedest Town in the West,” it also became known as one of America’s largest ghost towns when its last copper mine closed in 1953. At 5,200 feet above sea level, “America’s Most Vertical City” offers scenic views from its lofty perch on Cleopatra Hill. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1967, it’s now a unique tourist and arts destination for travelers who visit to enjoy its relaxed vibe and Arizona vistas.

Where to Stay

The Clinkscale Hotel, Bar + Grill is the newest addition to Jerome’s lodging options. Built in 1899 as a mercantile, its prime location on Main Street means galleries, restaurants and wineries are mere steps away. The lower level houses one of the town’s best restaurants, while above, six individually decorated rooms feature hardwood floors, well-appointed bathrooms, and plush bedding. Tip: The Memories of the Heart guestroom is a personal favorite and offers a view overlooking Main Street and the Verde Valley

Where to Wine

With Jerome’s proximity to nearby vineyards, wine tasting rooms abound. All are within walking distance of each other, including The Original Jerome Winery (owner John McLoughlin), Caduceus Cellars and Four Eight Wineworks (Maynard James Keenan), and Passion Cellars and Cabal Cellars (Jason Domanico).

To explore a variety of winemakers at one spot, visit Vino Zona in the historic Kelly House. Here owner Ginger McKenzie curates a thoughtful list, seeking out smaller producers and hard-to-source wines. Tip: Look for bottles personally signed by the winemaker.

Where to Dine

The Haunted Hamburger has been a long-time Jerome destination, so be prepared for a wait during busy season. Ask for a seat on the patio with its views of the Verde Valley and order the Haunted Hamburger piled high with bacon, cheese, mushrooms, green chiles, and guacamole. Grapes is another local favorite, known for its wine dinners, with a menu offering choices from soups and salads to pastas and pizza.

Another must-visit is the Asylum Restaurant at the Jerome Grand Hotel. While a popular dinner destination, lunchtime takes advantage of striking views from its location at the top of the town. If you’re staying at Tthe Clinkscale, you don’t have far to go for some of the best food in town. Settle in for brunch (beignets, French omelette, hot chicken and biscuits), lunch (fish tacos, grilled cheese and tomato soup), or dinner (steamed mussels, shrimp and grits, chicken Milanese, wood-grilled porterhouse).

They’re also known for expertly crafted cocktails – try the Harvey Wallbanger or the Southwest Sangria. Tip: Mimosas are a penny with any brunch item weekdays until noon.

Where to Go

History buffs will want to stop in at the Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum with its displays and artifacts recounting Jerome’s mining heyday. Save an afternoon to roam Jerome State Historic Park and Douglas Mansion for an in-depth education on Jerome’s history via exhibits, films and historical vignettes. Peruse the art galleries, such as The Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery and award-winning Pura Vida Gallery. Stroll among the unique shops such as The Miner’s Pick Rock Shop where you’ll find beautiful gemstones, crystals and carved wood pieces, Amore Pin-Up Boutique with its vintage fashions, and Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes, which boasts the largest collection of handmade kaleidoscopes in the world. Tip: If you have a sweet tooth, make a beeline to Rickeldoris Candy & Popcorn Co. for candy, popcorn and chocolates or Copper Country Fudge for ice cream and homemade fudge.

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