One Perfect Day in Jerome, AZ
Why go in summer: A bubbling art scene breathes new life into this scrappy old mining town.
Vertical city: Just 1 square mile, Jerome’s terrain varies 2,000 feet in elevation.
Which means: To get from one street to the next, you walk a series of staircases.
No sweat: At 5,200 feet, the town is 15° to 20° cooler than Phoenix.
Bone up: Settle into the red crushed velvet seats at the 1918 Liberty Theatre ($2; 110 Jerome Ave.; 928/649-9016), for a 28-minute black-and-white movie on Jerome’s mining past.
Clay makers: At Made in Jerome Pottery (103 Main St.; 928/634-2962), local artists mix, shape, fire, and glaze clay from nearby Mingus Mountain into vases, plates, and other stoneware.
Soda stop: Belly up to the 100-year-old Italian-tiled counter at the Miner’s Pick Rock Shop (302 Hull Ave.; 928/301-9858) for ice-cold sarsaparilla or cane-sugar Coca-Cola.
Revisit the days of ore: Between 1918 and 1938, smudge-faced miners pulled nearly 400,000 tons of copper from the dusty hills that make up the new Audrey Headframe Park. A narrow glass walkway is all that separates you from the bottom of the Audrey Mine Shaft. Special lights and mirrors let you peer 1,500 feet down the shaft–650 feet deeper than the Empire State Building at its highest point. Beside Jerome State Historic Park; 928/634-1066.
Trick your eye: Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes calls itself the largest kaleidoscope dealer in the world, and after peeking through the hundreds on display you’ll be too dizzy to argue. 136 Main St.; 928/634-0255.
Make time for wine: The grapes come from Wilcox, in the southeast of the state, but if you want to sample Bitter Creek Winery’s popular Crusader ( a blend of Barbera, Cab, Zin, and Petite Sirah), you’ll need to visit its cozy Jerome tasting room. Six bucks gets you four splashes plus the chance to enjoy the artwork and photography for sale on the winery’s burgundy-hued walls. 240 Hull Ave.; 928/634-7033.
Go gallery hopping: One night a month, the town’s galleries and art studios open their doors and serve refreshments for the First Saturday Jerome Art Walk. But who says you have to walk? A free shuttle will cart you to the action. Stop by Gallery 527 for live music and bold acrylics, and Pura Vida Gallery, known for its copper jewelry and chocolate treats. jeromeartwalk.com
Make it a weekend: In the heart of Main Street, the historic Connor Hotel features a dozen well-appointed rooms, some with pressed-tin ceilings, and huge windows with mountain views. From $90; connorhotel.com
3 more places worth mining
Mile High Grill is famous for its hand-pressed Angus burgers, the best in Jerome. Don’t miss the Muma, a 3/4-pound beef patty topped with cream cheese-filled serrano peppers. $; 309 Main St.; 928/634-5094.
Some call the Spirit Room a biker bar, but you won’t see Hells Angels slugging it out on the dance floor. This charming 1898 saloon feels downright cordial, with soft lighting, stiff drinks, and live blues, rock, and bluegrass on weekends. 116 Main; 928/634-8809.
The chocolate-dipped cheesecake and other sweets at Gisele’s Cafe & Bakery are well worth forking into but the real treat is the montecao, a powdery, cinnamon-topped cookie based on a 130-year-old Algerian family recipe. $; 115 Jerome Ave.; 928/649-3847.