Arizona has some wonderful treasures, I could spend weeks here and not see it all. The old mining town of Jerome and the red rocks of Sedona were our destination yesterday. Over Highway 89 through Prescott to Highway 89A took us through the narrow streets of Jerome, built on a hillside above the United Verde mine in the late 1800’s. At one time 25,000 people resided there, now it boasts just 100 permanent residents.
The Arizona State Parks department owns the Douglas mansion, a very utilitarian structure with large rooms and a lot of square footage, but none of the embellishments you expect to see in a mansion. There are no balustrades, no wainscoting, just solid adobe walls and lots of fireplaces, even the bathrooms are austere. The history of the family and the mines is well displayed and helps you to appreciate how hard the living was for the miners of the area. One of the things we’ve noticed is that when it comes to mining, the only money to be made is for the investors. The miners worked very hard for very little, even though the United Verde and the Little Daisy mine brought more than $725 Million dollars to the investors over the years.
Continuing the route north on Highway 89A will take you through a number of historic towns settled in the 1800’s, including Clarkdale and Cottonwood, but it also leads to the Red Rock area. The Lower Red Rock Road takes you to the front gates of the Red Rock State Park, also run by the Arizona Parks department. It is a quiet, 286 acre ranch with numerous intersecting trails, a river and the House of the Apache Fires. Built with all natural, local materials, the house sits like a sentinel on the hill overlooking the stream below. Over the years, the land and home have been through many owners, finally settling with Arizona Parks. The trails are easy and plentiful and the views are amazing.
Sedona is within miles of the Red Rock State Park, a sprawling town known for its art galleries and energy. Years ago, Sedona became known as a place where there was a “vortex” of energy, so is inhabited by many that believe in the power of the earth to heal, etc. It has an interesting population. A beautiful city to be sure, we stopped for lunch at Oak Creek Brewery, and while the local beer was interesting, the food was far better.