Day Trips: Jerome and Sedona

Sedona's Rocks, from Jerome
My friends and I have always said that the best part of living in Phoenix is that it is a great place to leave.  There are so many diverse destinations within a few hours drive that Phoenix is an ideal jumping-off point.  Jerome and Sedona are two unique stops within two hours if you take the interstate or about three and a half if you take the scenic route.  If you are unfamiliar with either town, they are each emblematic of the southwest.



Jerome is an old copper-mining town that is something of a ghost town, both figuratively and literally--though its status as a tourist destination has revived the small downtown area without making it feel like a tourist trap.  Jerome sits at around a mile in elevation and is somewhat unique in Arizona towns in that you experience the elevation by virtue of its perch on the middle of a mountain.  This makes the views from Jerome, many of which include Sedona's red rocks, spectacular.  In addition to great views are unique stores and restaurants.  Grab a coffee from the Flatiron Cafe or a midnight mocha from Mojo to Go! (if you can ignore the cheesy name, the midnight mocha is delicious) while you walk around downtown, but be forewarned that some businesses forbid food/drink.  If necessary, take your coffee to the park and enjoy the view and the weather.  After you have checked out everywhere else (or before, if you are not the shopping type) stop at the Caduceus Winery for a taste or glass of Arizona wine; alternatively do what I did and read a book on one of their sofas while drinking your wine.  There is a saloon and several restaurant if wine is not your thing.  If you decide to stay the night, there are a few hotels in downtown.

If you are ready to move on, you can head south on 89A to Prescott, or follow my tracks and head "north" on 89A to Sedona/Oak Creek.  If you time the drive correctly, you will be treated to the red rocks glowing in the sunset as you drive into town.  You have two choices from there, head up to the Sedona Airport overlook for an even more spectacular view of the rocks, or find a patio to enjoy dinner with a sunset view.  The Elote Cafe has a great panoramic view of the mountains on its second-floor deck, but you will pay for it with entrees priced at or over $20.  Another expensive option, shockingly, is the Oak Creek Brewery, which prices its burgers around $14 and pizza at $19.  I opted for the Javelina Cantina for a reasonably priced, and very tasty taco salad; and they will still provide a nice view if you sit on the patio or by a window.

Congratulations on the best 8 hours you have ever wasted.

Directions for the scenic route to Sedona, to get to Jerome, follow the signs in Cottonwood for 89A South:  http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Phoenix,+AZ&daddr=sedona+az&hl=en&ll=34.157273,-112.302246&spn=2.577163,5.410767&sll=34.157273,-111.94519&sspn=2.577163,5.410767&geocode=Fblh_gEdy-JR-SnLeaFQ7RIrhzGsG0o1-MdpjA%3BFewRFAIdoqlW-SkNsEL5MqEthzH9jmz6I8VIVQ&dirflg=h&mra=ls&t=h&z=8&source=gplus-ogsb

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