Jerome, Arizona

Jerome, AZ

Jerome, AZ

July 26, 2012 // In Arizona

Jerome is like one of those old sepia-toned photographs come to life…. then killed in a tragic mining accident, then come back to life. In its hay day, it was a thriving copper mining community known as “The Wickedest Town in The West.” Four fires, a mining tragedy, a few murders and 100 years later, its now “The Largest Ghost Town in America.” Population: 450. (Though, I think I saw 3.)

Locals have transformed the ghost town into… well, a ghost town. The truth is, it hasn’t been transformed at all, which is great. It is a tourist destination, but don’t expect one of those cheesy traps with reenactments and fake storefronts with “distressed” wood they sandblasted a few months prior. Jerome is the real deal. Souls of the early 1900s mix with artists, hermits, chefs, musicians, writers, photographers, and historians to form a very unique vibe. It’s eerie, gritty, peaceful, lonely, thriving, inspirational and funky all at the same time. So saddle up for some hauntings with a side of turquoise sculpture and don’t forget a slice of homemade pie on your way out.

There are several tours available (ghost, wine, historical), but I took a self-guided tour of Jerome’s 25 galleries and studios, meandering through the narrow streets with the whistling desert wind. I was waiting for the sound of spurs and gunshots as I looked over the golden valley toward Sedona. I yearned for my motorcycle and a harmonica.

There is some cool shit being made up in them there mountains. Now, all of the shops sorta look like crazy thrift stores from the outside… but I assure you, it is their 19th century window panes warping the truth. In actuality, they are really unique boutiques that could sell their treasures for 4x as much if they were located in Los Angeles or NYC.  It’s as if Etsy jumped out of the cyber world and manifested itself on a hilltop. Ladies, you must check out The Fool on the Hill, Christy Fisher Studio & Magpie for some beautiful handcrafted jewelry and clothing that you can actually afford: Modern bubble skirts with saloon girl twists, earthy rings that rock, and pieces that have actually graced the runways of NYC’s fashion week. I lifted the photos below from their Facebook pages to illustrate the amazingness!

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