If your plans for fall break include a leisurely road trip with your family, the town of Jerome in Arizona can provide a fun change of pace. Start out on the scenic drive down Highway 89A with its awe-inspiring views, then settle in to explore all this historical community has to offer.
First established at the end of the 19th century, the town became famous for its rich copper deposits, which were among the largest in any one location in the world. By the 1950s, the deposits of copper became mined out, leading to the gradual closing of the mines and the exodus of most of the population. In recent years, Jerome has seen a revival. In addition to a growing tourist industry, it is the site of art galleries, wineries and quality restaurants.
What to Do There
1. Douglas Mansion
Located near the town center, this historic mansion is now a museum featuring minerals, artifacts and a 3-D model of the town’s underground tunnels. After your visit, enjoy the beautiful view from the hill.
2. Haunted Tours
With its reputation as a haunted town, Jerome is a great spot to get an advance taste of the spooky Halloween spirit. Professional historian guides lead you through the town’s infamous haunted buildings and sites.
3. Gold King Mine and Ghost Town
Visit the location of the historic Gold King Mine, where miners in the 1890s struck gold instead of the copper they were expecting. The museum showcases antique mining equipment and a sawmill, all of which are still operational, with demonstrations performed daily. You can also walk through a real mine shaft and see an authentic early 1900s blacksmith’s shop. Other attractions include a petting zoo and the largest gas engines in the world.
4. Art Galleries
A visit to Jerome’s busy art district is fun for all ages. Watch artists as they paint, sculpt and blow glass, or check out one of the many local craft studios.
Wine aficionados will enjoy a visit to one of the local vineyards, many of which offer tours of their facilities in addition to the opportunity to buy a bottle of wine. Explore on your own or book one of the wine tours that cover several vineyards in one day.
Jerome is a perfect destination to enjoy over a long weekend, with a wide range of activities for all ages. With its mix of historical attributes and modern artisans, there is something here for everyone to enjoy.