Following our train excursion on the Verde Canyon Railroad in Clarkdale, Arizona (featured in last week's newsletter), we headed up the hill to the old mining town of Jerome. Ms. Karen's brother Paul, and his wife, Linda, followed us in their car toting their electric bicycles on the rear.
We, at first, missed our turn off to the Grand Hotel and found ourselves on the way to Prescott. We had to do a six-point U-turn on a very narrow highway to get back to the hotel but eventually arrived safely. The Grand Hotel is perched precariously on the side of a mountain with a stunning view of the Verde Valley below. It was once the United Verde Hospital. The off-ramp to the Hotel from the main road is easy to miss. It looks more like an alley or dirt driveway.
We checked in and took our luggage up to our 3rd-floor room, using the ancient Otis elevator. We had to close two doors and use our room key to operate it. Once inside our room, we stepped onto our balcony with an expansive view of the valley and the rooftops of the buildings of Jerome.
Shortly after arriving, Ms. Karen called down to the award-winning hotel restaurant called the Asylum Restaurant, only to be told that the first available reservation would be 8 PM. That left us with a two-hour wait and we were getting hungry. We ended up scrounging through our luggage for such morsels as granola bars and apples which we consumed on our balcony with a few bottles of wine.
We never did get to enjoy the Asylum restaurant, much to our disappointment. It is only open for lunch and dinner, not breakfast. So for breakfast, we got yogurt, bagels, fruit, coffee and tea from the hotel front desk and brought them back to our room and again enjoyed the view. So much for a Full-Service hotel. I would have expected more for the price of a view.
Our room was plenty comfortable, especially with the big balcony which we were glad we had paid extra for. It had a flat-screen TV, two comfortable lounge chairs, a private bath, and a comfortable queen-size bed.
Upon our departure from the Jerome Grand, the garage doors under the Asylum Restaurant were open. There were two cars in the bays. One was a Rolls Royce and one a Pierce-Arrow. We took a peek around. The old vault was also stored here.
Paul and Linda found the original boiler room, still in use today. For a history of the Jerome Grand and the boiler room visit this page on the website.
Leaving the hotel, Paul and Linda followed us to the Jerome State Historic Park, most of which is housed in the former Douglas Mansion. The Douglas Mansion has been a landmark in Jerome since 1916, when James S. Douglas built it on the hill just above his Little Daisy Mine. This former home is now a museum devoted to the history of the Jerome area and the Douglas family. The museum features photographs, artifacts, and minerals in addition to a video presentation and a 3-D model of the town with its underground mines. There are more displays outside along with a picnic area offering a beautiful panoramic view of the Verde Valley.
Douglas designed the house as a hotel for mining officials and investors as well as for his own family. It featured a wine cellar, billiard room, marble shower, steam heat, and, much ahead of its time, a central vacuum system. Douglas was most proud of the fact that the house was constructed of adobe bricks that were made on the site.
He also built the Little Daisy Hotel near the mine as a dormitory for the miners. The concrete structure still stands.
The Jerome State Historic Park and Museum is open 10 AM to 4 PM daily. Entry fee is $7.
From the museum, Paul and Linda headed for California. Ms. Karen and I headed to the Haunted Hamburger for lunch. We got there at 11:30 AM, just a half-hour after they opened. And they were already crowded. But we were seated right away, something that wouldn't have happened if we had been a half-hour later.
Karen ordered chili and I ordered their haunted burger. What else would one order, considering where we were? I got mine with fries, which were very good. Karen couldn't finish her chili, having helped herself to my fries. But I ate all of my burger. It was excellent. Parking for the Haunted Hamburger is across the street in a very narrow parking lot without enough spaces for the size of the restaurant. We backed into spot. So if you go, be forewarned. Everywhere in Jerome is like this. A parking lot at the bottom of the hill and a shuttle into town might be in order, considering the line of cars coming into town as we departed.
With lunch complete, we headed back down the hill and to home in Tucson to see our doggo, Dozer. We had been away for two nights, had a great time, particularly on the Verde Canyon Railroad. Our only disappointment was not dining at the Grand Hotel restaurant, the Asylum, that last night. We had been looking forward to the experience. We don't know if they offer room service as a rule (sans Covid), but it was not offered while we were there. Perhaps try calling the Asylum for a reservation if you go.