Approximately two hours north west of Phoenix lies a beautiful Arizona treasure, the small mountain town of Jerome. Nestled on the side of Cleopatra Hill and overlooking the Verde Valley, Jerome is a sight to behold.
The town was established in the early 19th century, and at one point reached a population of approximately 10,000 people. During its heyday Jerome supported several copper mines and was known as a lively and bustling town. However, as of the 2010 census there are only 450 people currently residing in the town.
Raina and I took the drive up to Jerome on a Saturday, passing through from Anthem to New River taking in the scenery as we headed up the mountain towards Arcosanti. Once you get to Camp Verde and head west onto the 260, the drive gets a bit tedious (way too many round-abouts) but the payoff comes once you start zig-zagging up Cleopatra Hill, going up, up, up until you gradually find yourself on a narrow, bumpy road that brings you right into the heart of downtown.
Walking around this little mountain town is a beautiful and strange experience. The town is filled with quirky vintage clothing and antique shops and restaurants and bars that cater to everyone from the regular tourist to the old town regular.
We stopped at a few places on our little trek. First into the library where we had a fun conversation with the librarian about the many artists who reside in the area. He talked about the arts festivals and several well known musicians who have lived in the area, including the infamous James Maynard Keenan of Tool. After the library Raina and I walked around town a bit, enjoying the quirky cars on the side of the road, the catchy signs on the windows, and the art galleries all throughout. Raina checked out a neat little vintage clothing shop while Nugget pulled endlessly on the leash.
No trip is complete without enjoying some of the best food in town of course. So to finish off the day we enjoyed drinks and food at Grapes, a cozy local eatery on the edge of town. Jerome is an experience to take in. You can’t just read about the place, you just have to go.
Here’s a little video I cut together that highlights some of the special moments :)