The Tao of tomorrow is not knowing what it brings…
Stairs like these take you up to the next street level in America’s most vertical city
Jerome, Arizona has a complicated past. Each tomorrow brought a random incarnation. And it ain’t over yet.
Depending on where your head is at, Jerome is either a Historic Copper Mining town, the Largest Ghost Town in America, a Hippie-Squatter commune, an Outlaw Biker Hideout, a Destination Wedding, or a gentrifying community of artists, fine dining, and indescribable noire. But no matter what, it’s “America’s most vertical city.” After our harrowing experience in The Grand Canyon, verticality was the exact opposite of what we had in mind, yet here we are. Planning ahead as always.
Local artist on her way to the Artist Co-op, a must-stop … the art scene here is taking off … artists have traditionally set up shop down in Cottonwood and Sedona but it sure feels like Jerome is the next big thing
Jerome may always have a ghost-town motif … they wear it well here
Yup, even the burgers are haunted … the food is surprisingly good, not at all what you expect from a ghost town and far superior to the “tourista comida” down in Sedona
Every great town has a Flat Iron building … this one is still searching for it’s secret sauce in Jerome’s escalating foodie competition but it has a loyal clientele of locals
The only level section of street in Jerome … the buildings are perfectly aged for gentrification … Jerome has been discovered by the first wave of cognoscenti … a place to enjoy before it becomes what it’s destined to become
Like every mining town, Jerome had a checkered past with colorful characters
When a really cool spot becomes hot, people start casting-about for the persona of the place. Miners? Ghosts? Artists? Or ladies of the night?! Everyone is trying something on in Jerome. It’s an open source free-for-all. There’s even a gallery called Winery. Real wineries are springing up all around Jerome so the name works. In the meantime, it’s fun watching people use the past to capitalize on tomorrow.
Specializing in local fine art with a glass of wine … great stuff
We rolled up to Jerome right after our adventure hiking to Phantom Ranch in The Grand Canyon. Accommodations were foremost on our minds after the tortuous trudge around endless switchbacks through a billion year old time tunnel made of solid rock. But to our horror, Jerome greeted us with a treacherous cluster of sharp switchbacks guarding the highest point in the most vertical city in America where rooms awaited us atop the Grand Hotel, formerly known as a sanitarium, currently housing a restaurant-bar called, “The Asylum.”
If Vlad The Impaler wanted to plan a diabolical end to our adventure he couldn’t have topped this. Strangely enough, the Grand Hotel bears a faint resemblance to Vlad The Lad’s infamous fortress. This was going to be interesting.
The Grand Hotel … a great hotel with a great restaurant and bar decorated with historic mining town motif
But Jerome, The Grand, The Asylum, and the first self-serve elevator West of the Mississippi had other ideas and our 3-day stay in Jerome was cuckoo-magic…although we did spend an inordinate amount of time in The Asylum. The whole place felt like home and we needed home at the moment.
The Asylum was a perfect place to relax and reflect on the incredibly strange journey of the past week
The restaurant at the Grand Hotel is great…there’s no need to go out for dinner
For breakfast and lunch you need to venture down to the town-level which involves switchbacks…of course. But it’s well-worth it. There’s a huge foodie scene just taking-off in town and it’s fun trying all the different spots. There’s great local art and pottery at several shops along with dozens of old dilapidated architectural wonders to explore. And like art communities everywhere people can get creative.
Few have succeeded where many have failed
Our last night in The Asylum Bar and Restaurant treated us to a loud huge jovial Brit dressed hilariously in ill-fitting riding clothes accompanied by a small entourage of equal joviality. He was fall-down funny and we couldn’t help wondering what bike he rolled-in on as we looked across our sedate dinner to the elbow-crashing feast of friends, wine, and food at his table. What a treat. In the morning we snuck outside early to get a view of the only bike a Brit should be allowed to ride. The site of His Largeness racing away that morning on his small scoot, wife clinging for dear life made us laugh so hard we couldn’t even get a shot. The whole scene was a marriage made in heaven.
The Norton 850 Commando is a work of art…the Brit rode here from California with his wife on the back…true grit
Jerome is not a place you come across on your way to somewhere. It’s hidden in a verticality above Cottonwood which is above Sedona. You have to know about it and now you do. You should go. But one day is not enough. 2-3 is about right. Stay at the Grand Hotel, hang out at The Asylum and recover your mojo. But remember this—Jerome doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring and neither do you.
And that’s probably a good thing.
You’re in The Asylum…and you think—Manhattan. Hmm. After 3 tries the bartender became quite good at this classic cocktail.
Jerome, Arizona – January 30th – February 1st 2014