Jerome, Arizona (photo albw)
On a recent visit to Sedona, Arizona, I took a short day trip over to Jerome, The Largest Ghost Town in the West. Back in the 20s Jerome was the fourth largest city in Arizona, claiming some 15,000 residents. After the once mining town went bust, Jerome underwent a lot of changes and today has 450 permanent residents and is the place for tourists and artists.
I didn’t fully know what to expect of Jerome other than a little town with a few souvenir shops and boutiques. Boy was I surprised. The town is built in what seems the middle of nowhere on the side of a desert-like mountain, called Cleopatra Hill. Other than some updating and renovations, the overall appearance of the town hasn’t changed much in 100 years. Steep streets, wind to and fro holding Jerome’s winery, a wine tasting room, gift shops, antiques, locally made pottery and galleries, odd hole in the wall shops, a few bars and places to grab a bite, and the Jerome Grand Hotel at the top of the town. Once you drive to the top, it’s hard to turn around on the narrow streets so you may see the sign leading you to Prescott, don’t worry, there’s a turn-around spot just a bit out of town.
To get the full effect of Jerome, you need to walk the streets, the ups and downs of them. The faint-of-heart or weak-kneed may have trouble. Once known as the “wickedest town in the west”, this little mining community, turned ghost town, turned artists community is worth a stop.
Jerome sits only 20 miles from Sedona so it makes an easy day trip when in Red Rock Country.
Related article: Dine in Sedona, Arizona