Southwest of Sedona are the historic towns of Jerome and Cottonwood. Here you can explore their historic districts, catch a great meal, see some great art and taste some of the award winning local wines at wineries and tasting rooms throughout the Verde Valley Wine Trail.
Old Town Cottonwood is the business, dining and entertainment district of Cottonwood, AZ. Here you will find boutique hotels, cafes and restaurants, antique stores, galleries, shops and boutiques plus wine tasting rooms. I recommend staying in Old Town Cottonwood as a base if you want to explore the area and experience the Verde Valley Wine Trail. From here, you can easily visit Jerome, Clarkdale, Cornville as well as Cottonwood.
The Haunted Group has a number of restaurants downtown that were recommended by my server at Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill in Sedona. Highly recommended are:
The Tavern Grille located in downtown Cottonwood in the former Rialto Theatre at 914 N. Main. It is known for its burgers, pastas, sandwiches and salads.
Crema Craft Kitchen + Bar: At 917 N. Main St., you can stop in at the window for a coffee and pastry or dine in and try burritos, breakfast sandwiches, eggs benedict, salads, sandwiches and more. I stopped for a latte and a little caffeine on the way to Jerome.
Pizzeria Bocce Patio Bar, at 1060 Main St., is known for salads, and Pizza Napoletana.
At 925 N. Main is Nic’s Italian for steaks, chicken, authentic Italian dishes, fresh seafood and steamed crab.
They also have The Tavern Hotel. This is a small boutique hotel with 45 rooms in downtown Cottonwood. Part of the hotel was originally built in 1925 as a grocery store. The rooms are attractive and contemporary. They offer a free continental breakfast at their restaurant, Crema, across the street plus a welcome cocktail at their Tavern Grille next door. 904 N. Main.
I was excited to visit Jerome for the first time. It is located approximately 28 miles southwest of Sedona. It was built on Cleopatra Hill on top of what was the largest copper mine in the state of Arizona. The first claims were in 1876 and 1883. Jerome then grew from a tent city to a very prosperous town. It was also known as the “wickedest town in the west” with a large number of miners plus a large group of prostitutes! You can still see some of the old brothels that are now shops and galleries. You can still see Jennie’s Place which was built in 1897 by the legendary madam, Jennie Bauters who came to Jerome from Belgium. You can also see Husbands’ Alley located between Main Street and Hull Street in the former Red Light District.
The population peaked in the 1920s at 15,000 but had dropped to 5,000 by the 1930s. The great depression slowed the mining operations and in 1953 the mines were finally closed after the ups and downs of copper prices, labor unrest, depressions and wars. By the late 1950s there were only around 50 residents and it became a ghost town.
Then in the 1960s and 1970s it became a haven for artists who renovated the old homes and abandoned shops. In 1967, it became a National Historic District. Today with a population of around 500 people, it is home to artists, crafts people, musicians, writers and other business owners.
Today it is a fun town to explore. Park your car and head out to visit the galleries, the wine tasting rooms or grab a bite at one of several fun restaurants. If you are there on the first Saturday of each month there is the Jerome Art Walk, from 5pm to 8pm, which features over 15 galleries and open studios.
Other things to do include the Ghost Walk by the Jerome Historical Society and historic home tours.
I enjoyed the Firefly Gallery, at 208 Main, featuring local and national craft artists in a variety of mediums with a nature and garden theme and the Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes and Art Glass. They have some wonderful glass pieces.
Raku Gallery: At 250 Hull St. this gallery, on two levels features, paintings, blown glass, jewelry, ceramics and sculptures by Southwestern artists. The quality is excellent!
I enjoyed a fun lunch at Bobby D’s BBQ. The atmosphere is warm and colorful in a building from 1899. I enjoyed the BBQ brisket platter along with cornbread and baked beans. They have indoor seating as well as an outdoor deck with additional seating. 119 Jerome Ave.
The Flatiron: This is a colorful, casual cafe and espresso bar, featuring breakfast sandwiches and lunch items like sandwiches and salads plus pastries and coffee drinks. Stop in for a latte and a pastry while you explore! 416 Main St.
Jerome Grand Hotel: The Jerome Grand Hotel was originally the United Verde Hospital that was used from 1927 to 1950. After being closed for over 44 years, it was opened as a hotel in 1994. It is supposed to be haunted due to the many deaths plus sickness and pain there over the years it operated as a hospital. Guests still report many weird experiences! Though you may not want to stay there, I wouldn’t, but at least visit this historic site and see some of the pictures, antiques and an old Otis elevator from 1926. It was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1976. You can also enjoy the Asylum Restaurant and Lounge that has a great atmosphere and views.
Other spots that come recommended include:
Hilltop Deli, at 403 Clark St. #88, that is known for its sandwich menu.
The Haunted Hamburger: At 410 Clark St., The Haunted Hamburger has great views and offers a menu of ribs, burgers and creative milkshakes.
Grapes in the former Pony Express Station, at 111 Main, is known for its for burgers, pizza and local beer and wine.
Both The Haunted Hamburger and Grapes are part of The Haunted Group that has, The Tavern Hotel, The Tavern Grille, Crema Craft Kitchen + Bar, Nic’s Italian Steak & Crab House and Bocce Pizzeria in nearby Cottonwood.
The Spirit Room: This is a fun old tavern at 166 Main St., Suite 155.
Paul & Jerry’s Saloon from 1887, at 206 Main St., is a great spot to grab a drink and play pool.
Vaqueros Grill & Cantina is a casual Mexican spot at 363 Main St.
Verde Valley Wine Trail
You don’t normally think of Arizona as a prime wine producing area. However, the Verde Valley is an up and coming wine growing region southwest of Sedona. With its elevation above 3,200 ft., volcanic and rocky soils, hot days and cool nights make Northern Arizona a perfect environment for growing grapes. It is similar to California, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Bordeaux region in France. Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel and Malvasia are varietals that do well in this climate. Check out the Verde Valley Wine Trail website to plot your trip of visiting the vineyards and tasting rooms, of which there are now 18.
In Jerome my favorite winery was Cellar 433 Wine Tasting Room & Art Gallery, at 240 Hull St. Their grapes come from the winemaker’s vineyard Dragoon Mountain Vineyard in Wilcox. The tasting room has spectacular views of the valley below.
Others to try include Arizona Stronghold Vineyards at 1023 N. Main where you can taste wine, shop for art and listen to music on certain nights. Passion Cellars at 417 Hull Ave. is a tasting room for the family-owned winery featuring wines produced in Wilcox, AZ located southeast of Tucson. Caduceus Cellars at 158 Main St in a hotel from 1901, is a small production family owned and operated winery. They produce a number of reds, whites and rosé wines under the Caduceus and Merkin labels. They also serve espresso drinks at the tasting room.
Recently opened in town is the Four Eight Wine Works at 140 Main St. It is run as a cooperative with all of the wines offered, come from tenants who share a winemaking facility in nearby Camp Verde.
Chateau Tumbleweed is located in Clarkdale, AZ between Jerome and Cottonwood. I enjoyed tasting their dry 2017 Rosé which is a blend of Barbera, Granache and Sangiovese, the 2016 Cousin Idd a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec and their 2015 Cimarron Vineyard Syrah. 1151 W. State Route 89A.
Old Town Cottonwood
In Old Town Cottonwood you can check out the tasting room of Pillsbury Wine Company at 1012 N. Main St. Their vineyard and winery is located in Wilcox, southeast of Tucson, where they produce 22 wines.
Merkin Vineyards Osteria: At 1001 N. Main, this is a fun spot featuring their wines and ciders of Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars, along with house-made pastas and breads, sandwiches, soups and salads.
This was my favorite area in the valley, where you can actually visit tasting rooms located within the vineyards. Here you should visit:
Page Springs Cellars and Winery: This is a winery located in Cornville, 15 minutes southwest of Sedona at 1500 North Page Springs Rd. They have wine tours, lovely outdoor patios to taste and the PSC Bistro where you can try farm-to-table hors d’oeuvres, charcuterie and shared plates. They also offer massages and yoga. I thought their Vino de la Familia, a blend that was very drinkable and full-bodied.
Oak Creek Vineyards: This is a Cornville vineyard and winery that has been serving local wines since 2002. In addition to tasting their wines, you can try a selection of cheeses, salami, olives and chocolates. They focus their 10 acres on Syrah, Merlot, Zinfandel and Chardonnay grapes. They also make a cream sherry and a port. I enjoyed tasting the rosé and the zinfandel. 1555 N. Page Springs Rd.
Javelina Leap: This boutique winery with award winning wines is located at 1565 Page Springs Rd. in the Oak Creek Valley. They produce wines from 100% Arizona grapes including Zinfandel, Barbera, Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc and a rosé wine.
D.A Ranch Lodge & Estate Vineyards gets good reviews for its wines as well. Varietals on the property include Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Tannat and Seyval Blanc.
Upon the death of Arizona Senator John McCain in August 2018, I read that his beloved ranch was located in Cornville as well and that besides grilling on his deck, he loved the Up The Creek Bistro Wine Bar in a rustic setting. I would love to try it on my next trip! 1975 N. Page Springs Rd.