Sitting on top of Cleopatra Hill overlooking the signature red landscape of Arizona lies the old mining town – Jerome, Arizona. Now popularly known as a ghost town, Jerome is located two hours north of Scottsdale and 45 minutes southwest of Sedona. Jerome was originally a copper mining town discovered in 1876. After the Great Depression hit Jerome took a hit because copper wasn’t as wildly needed. Jerome was targeted once again after WWII ended because again, the demand for copper decreased. This caused many people to move away from Jerome because the town was completely dependent on copper and the economy tanked. The once-thriving town was now… a ghost town. Finally, in 1967 the town was designated a National Historic District by the government, and Jerome began to see tourists once again.
Stopping in: A Mini Trip to the Jerome Ghost Town
When I moved to Scottsdale for my travel nursing assignment, I had heard “Jerome” repeated over and over. This mystic ghost town intrigued me so I decided a road trip was in order. As I left behind the beauty of Scottsdale, I drove north passing vast landscapes and driving through the beautiful Coconino National Forest. As I inched closer to the town of Jerome I began to ascend up a winding hill. Up I went passing worn down houses looking as though they were ready to topple over the hillside. It wasn’t until I reached the top that I was in awe. This Jerome ghost town was not only creepy… but charming. Having the reputation of the “wickedest town in the west”, it is now a thriving tourist destination with 450 inhabitants of its own.
Upon arrival to this eerie town, my first plan of action was to wander the streets. While you can sign up to participate in a Jerome ghost tour, I preferred to wander alone. Stopping in quaint shops as I pleased, leaving when it didn’t suit me. Stores of knick-knacks, haunted stores, chocolate shops, and more. This tiny town of Jerome seems to have about everything. Bizarrely enough Jerome is also known for the wine tasting rooms scattered throughout the town. Opening at 11 am (closed on Wednesdays), I headed to Cellar 433 (or The Original Jerome Winery). Set where the town begins, this rustic wine tasting room offers sweeping views down the Verde Valley. While the wine was mediocre (at best), the views are what did it for me. After all… Arizona isn’t much known for its stellar wine producing abilities. Once lunch rolled around it was time for giant margaritas and chips and guac at the delicious Mexican restaurant – Vaqueros Grill & Cantina.
While a quick day trip from Scottsdale satisfied my desire to explore Jerome… if you really want to explore what makes this town so ghostly book a room for the night at the Jerome haunted hotel – Jerome Grand Hotel. After all, do you get a true feeling for a ghost town if you leave before the sunsets?
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