Friday, April 6, 2012

Magic Places

Do you have a place that you retreat to from time to time?  A place that has a sense of magic?  I found Jerome, Arizona in 1972.  I was a senior in high school, and I drove up for the day with my boyfriend, Bruce Martell.  Our remaining two musketeers, Bill Kleinman and Tim Walker, joined us.  It's hard to believe that was forty years ago.  Since then, I've gone back many times, and the little town still manages to capture my heart. 

Located between Prescott and Flagstaff, and spread out on the side of Cleopatra Hill, Jerome faces east and looks down upon the Verde Valley.  On a clear day, you can actually see the San Francisco Peaks, north of Flagstaff.  At 5,000 feet up, the air is crisp...lilacs and tulips bloom in the springtime, and it sometimes snows in the winter.

An old copper mining town, Jerome was quite a wild West town in its heyday.  In 1930, a New York newspaper called it, "the wickedest town in the West,"  possibly because of its reputation for gambling, prostitution, and vice. By then, over 15,000 people lived there, and those miners were a rowdy bunch.  After the mines played out in the 1950's, Jeome's population dwindled to ghost town level.

About the time I first puttered up the hill in my Volkswagen, artists had begun moving to Jerome and establishing galleries.  Since then, the town has a pull on creative people, and it's a photographer's dream.  These days, I believe the population is around 450 people, and I envy every one of them.  It's unfortunate that the little town is overtaken by tourists on weekends, but they do spend their money there.  To really capture the feel of Jerome, though, you should visit during the week, and you should definitely spend the night.  Night time is enchanting there.  From down below, it looks look someone has taken a handful of diamonds and thrown them up on the mountain.  If you stay is on one of the higher roads, you can hear occasional laughter and bits of music floating up from one of the town's bars.  You can hear wind chimes hung from porches, and you can see stars so bright they almost hurt your eyes.

I'm staying at a bed and breakfast called The Surgeon's House.  Owned by a wonderful host named Andrea Prince, it is remarkable.  I haven't taken many photographs yet, but will remedy that tomorrow.  In the meantime, here are just a few taken after coming in from dinner.

Dinner, by the way, came highly recommended, and it did not disappoint:  great Mexican food at Quince.  Take a look at these chili rellenos with pomegranate seeds.
Yep, that's a Tanqueray and tonic in the background.  It was good, too.
This is Easter weekend, and it looks like springtime here in Jerome.  Flowers are blooming, and there was a nice breeze in the air today.

I spent time walking around, meeting new people, and just enjoying looking at things.

This is Judi from Jerome Ghost Pepper Company.  Lots of great salsas and hot sauces are at her place!

Tomorrow is Art Walk Saturday, which should be lots of fun, plus I'm driving down to Chino Valley to visit my friend Holly and her pups.  Stay tuned for more photographs. 


  1. Looks like great fun! I would love to get back there sometime but will have to settle for enjoying it vicariously for now. Enjoy the rest of you trip.


  2. We can't wait to meet you!!! xoxox

  3. Beautiful photos, Vickie! Especially like the one of the lighted lamp in the window.

  4. That mexican food looked great! Posie is full of chicken, roast beef. and we will start on the turkey today. Happy Easter! Willie