When you leave Scottsdale, it feels like you are driving into the old west with towns like Black Canyon City, Bumble Bee and a place called Sunset Point. On the day we drove up to Sedona, it was the day of the solar eclipse. The Sunset Point rest area was a great place to view the eclipse, and there were plenty of people there viewing with their solar glasses. We did not have any glasses since they were tough to find in the weeks leading up to the eclipse. But as we walked around, a very nice older woman asked if we wanted to use her glasses to view the eclipse.
The area in Arizona that we were at was not in the path of the total eclipse, but it was a sight to see through the glasses. Sunset point has excellent 360 degrees views of the valley and the mountains beyond.
The concierge at the Westin Scottsdale recommended a historic town on the way to Sedona called Jerome, Arizona. This town is up in the hills on top of Cleopatra Hill, about 5,200 feet. The town sits on the side of the mountain and is an old ghost town which is a US National Historic District. To get to Jerome, you drive up the hill on a very winding steep, narrow road with hairpin turns and the cliffs on each side. It was an exciting ride up and on the way down the person behind me wanted to go much faster down the steep hill than I did, but we took our time and enjoyed the scenery.
Jerome was a copper mining town back in the 1800’s and was very prosperous at the time with as many as 15,000 residents. Over the years Jerome saw many fires that burned down much of the town. After the demand for copper slowed, Jerome became a ghost town. Today there are about 480 residents. The town has evolved over the years as a tourist destination and an artist haven. There are many galleries and artist studios along the main street. We found a beautiful gallery that had the best view out to valley below. A recommending place to eat is the Haunted Hamburger. The restaurant was named this because when renovations were being done after the new owners purchased the property to restore it, strange things began to happen. The spirits that lived in the house liked hammers and would often take them and then give the hammers back at a later time. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the Haunted Hamburger has an outdoor patio with the most spectacular view of the valley below. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Grand Canyon. The food and burgers are good too.
This historic old town is a fun stop on any trip in the Scottsdale and Sedona area, and you never know you may run into an old mining spirit.
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