One of the most incredible vacations we’ve taken was in the last week of March, 2017; but of course, have visited on multiple occasions. Jerome is nestled a mile high into the side of a Cleopatra Hill, and was a copper mining camp in 1876. This town has survived many fires, and a lot of the locals make reference to the town being haunted. Of course, everywhere is technically haunted; but I won’t get into that here. Per the historical marker once you first reach the town, “Walking down the Main Street is like taking a step back in time. Remnants of the ‘Red Light District,’ Company Hill, old hotels, and saloons still exist. Today the population is close to 500. When the mines shut down in the 1950s, the population was below 100. It was then the town became known as a ghost town. However, today it is a thriving destination tourist town and a national historic landmark.” Cottonwood is the nearby town below, neighboring Camp Verde, and it’s about 30 miles west of Sedona.
On our wedding anniversary, we stayed at a small bed & breakfast, Ghost City Inn. My husband picked this purposefully, as the story behind the place was awesome enough all in itself. The owner had a special breakfast cooked every morning, and all the guests staying there were invited to sit together in a dining room with multiple tables. It was here where we ate the most amazing French toast I’ve ever had such a pleasure to have in my entire life.
Everyone in the town is very friendly. We met several locals just hanging out on a set of very large steps, which is also where we played our djembes at night (so much fun). Otherwise, we mostly visited a few stores and a bar or two. We walked to the top to check out the giant hotel and figured we will stay there next time. I ensured I didn’t wear a Tool shirt because while the trip was for specific reasons, I didn’t want to just be known as a person there simply because we’re fans. Besides, I already always bear Tool symbolism with the Lateralus eye tattoo’d near my elbow. In truth, my tattoos combined represent all three bands. Chris wore a Tool shirt simply because it didn’t really matter.
This town includes The Puscifer Store and Caduceus Cellars, which we always stop by at least the former when we are in town. I had visited once before on our way home from Vegas after our wedding. This time, since we were staying a few nights, we also visited The Verde River to weigh our worth, The Merkin Vineyards Tasting Room and Osteria in Cottonwood, and my first mentor Tom Barry in Sedona (he was the one that explained the city of light to me). This was our first anniversary celebration.
The Osteria was fucking incredible. We ordered the Milanese (bruschetta with prosciutto, arugula, mascarpone, shaved parmesan and EVOO) , Casa Verde (amazing salad), and Merkin Mac and Cheese (red wine and prickly pear infused handmade pasta with pancetta-mascarpone cream sauce, dusted with fresh beet powder – truly it was beyond incredible). Sadly, I am not a drinker of wine, but perhaps my taste simply hasn’t matured in that way yet). All the ingredients are local and organic; truly one of the best places I have ever eaten and highly recommended to visit.
Hiking in Sedona was gorgeous, the red rocks are simply breathtaking and it is definitely a place I wouldn’t mind to live near. The energy of the entire area is quite beautiful, in tandem with Cottonwood and Jerome.
I didn’t even mention we met the most amazing artist selling his work on the street of Mill Avenue in Tempe, AZ on our drive there. I present to you, Art Mishmish:
The entire trip was absolutely magical; everything aligned so perfectly, as things often do when you open your heart and reunite with the Divine of all that is through oneness. What I still find ineffable is just how much of my life has had Keenan and friends’ work interwoven throughout, like listening to his music raises your vibration within itself.
Edit 03/13/2019: We are beyond excited to have the opportunity to visit Jerome this month, two years after this initial stay. This time, we shall visit with presence and even more purpose than ever before. There’s so many more places to visit now, such as the Cottonwood BJJ – Verde Valley Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dojo, as well as a new Merkin Vineyards establishment in Downtown Scottsdale (grand opening TOMORROW)!