Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Jerome Preserves Arizona’s Wild, Wild West

Jerome Arizona

Jerome, "ghost town" on National Historic Register

©Bert Gildart: Once again, we’ve been fortunate to have Prescott “Insiders ” taking a little time from their schedules to show us more of this part of Arizona.

Two days ago, Rich Charpentier and his friend Sadira, took us to Jerome, one of the oldest mining towns in North America. Located about 25 miles from Prescott, once, according to Rich, Jerome was considered to be the “wickedest town in the West.”

The town was built on Cleopatra Hill above a vast deposit of copper and today is part of a vast National Historic District. Because of this distinction, plaques everywhere help acquaint you with its past. Once, Americans, Mexicans, Croatians, Irish, Spaniards, Italians and Chinese made the mining camp a cosmopolitan mix that added to its rich life and filled its streets with excitement.

Today, the area is a photographer’s paradise. Gravity has performed its work on some of the buildings, but that adds to their charm for photographs.

SETTING THE STAGE

Rich and I started out with a quick walk around the settlement of about 500 while our two ladies heading toward the pottery shop. The day was warm, somewhere in the mid ‘70s, and Rich and I both gravitated toward all the old signs and bits of nostalgia for which the town has become famous.

We found an old Ford, perfectly restored and images of that seemed to set the stage for further exploration.

Old Ford sets stage

Old Ford sets stage

The “Cribs District” also caught our attention as town’s folks capitalized on the period and used suggestive names for some of their business. For instance, the pizza parlor sports images of fancy ladies in various states of attire and then associated it with a banner reading, “The Best Piece in Town.” Rich liked the images and posted one on his blog .

Unfortunately Rich and Sadira had to leave early, so Janie and I found a series of terraced rock steps and engaged in a bit of people watching. A group of motorcyclists rode into town, and they generated interest. Then we watched two attractive young ladies hail down several nice looking young men. The young woman had cameras dangling around their necks, and they asked the fellows if they’d photograph them. Wow, now that’s quite a handkerchief to drop, but if I were single and lots younger that seems like a technique that might be worth exploring.

BLUES MUSICIAN

The girls left, and our attention was soon diverted, however, to the Hotel Connor just below us from which jazz music filtered out and up. The musicians, we soon learned, were part of an on-going jazz series entitled “Jazz Without Borders,” and their blues sounds lured us into the bar.

Expressive musician

Expressive musician

One man, who appeared to be a Native American, was particularly expressive as he played a huge bass fiddle. As he played I photographed him, and he didn’t seem to mind t all.

Jazz Without Borders

Jazz Without Borders

The town seems devoted to nostalgia and Janie and I walked to the theater shop. Much of the store was devoted to the recollection of old movies, and they’ve constructed an old time theater for projecting old films, one of which interpreted Jerome.

MARILYN MONROE–TRIUMPH & TRAGEDY

But scattered throughout were many wax images, one of Elvis, which attracted Janie.

Elvis and Janie

Elvis and Janie

But there were also images of Humphrey Bogart–and that classic image of Marilyn Monroe with her dress blowing up. The film, “The Seven Year Itch,” was released in 1955 and includes the scene in which Monroe stands over a grate, and the warm air from the grate whips up her dress. For movie aficionados the image has become a famous one, and helped further immortalize Monroe, who has also become symbolic of great beauty, but also, great tragedy, for she cut short her life in 1962 when she was only 36.

Marilyn Monroe, triumph and tragedy

Marilyn Monroe, triumph and tragedy

As we wandered the town, it seemed a number of men had long flowing beards, suggestive, perhaps, of a desire to revert to the past. They may also be attracted here because Jerome seems to be such a throw back in time.  One store owner with whom Janie struck up a conversation said that the town was laid back but wasn’t without a problem that seems insidious to small towns. “Everyone knows your business,” said Janie, recalling her conversation with one of the resident store owners. “And if that business raises eyebrows, you become the subject of much barroom talk.”

Well, we’re not looking for a place to relocate, just for places with much fascination. Jerome sure fits that bill and we left at the ideal time, which is that time when you still feel you want to know more–and stay longer.

Note: Here a posting from last year at this time: National Bison Range .



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