Exploring Jerome, Camp Verde, and Oak Creek, Arizona

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Up early and on the road by 9:30 a.m., we pulled into Jerome and met up unexpectedly with my Canadian cousin Luba and husband Dick for a cup of coffee.  This is a rare treat for me since 98% of my relatives live in Canada and I grew up in the U.S., I don’t often get the opportunity to get together with extended family. After a short, but fun visit, my cousin descended down highway 89 en route to Havasu while my husband and I set off to briefly explore Jerome.

Jerome is an old mining town perched on the side of Cleopatra Hill just outside the Prescott National Forest.  No longer filled with minors, the area is a mix of artists, alternatives and bikers.  The streets are narrow, uphill, and one way—parking is limited.  As an admirer of historic buildings, Jerome has many, and most in original condition.  Unfortunately, the streets of Jerome were overly filled with people–thanks to the government shut down, so I took this as a sign to move on.  After snapping a few shots of the Hotel Connor (in honor of my grandson), we descended down the hill into Fort Verde State Historic Park in Camp Verde.

Jerome_Ft Verde_Sliderock 027Built in 1873 and once an active military fort, Fort Verde was created during the times of the Indian Wars to protect settlers from the raids of the Apache and Yavapai Indians.  Abandoned and sold at public auction in 1899, the Fort was owned by private citizens until the mid-50s then dedicated as a state park in 1970. Out of the 22 original buildings, all that remains today are three nicely preserved officer’s quarters, the original administrative building, and the parade grounds.  Each building is open to explore and furnished with period furniture and accessories. The administrative building doubles as a museum and contains interesting military and native american artifacts from the era.  The staff at Fort Verde was very friendly and knowledgeable of this interesting and well-preserved time in Arizona history.

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Our last excursion today, Slide Rock Park, is located in Oak Creek Canyon just outside red-rock heaven—Sedona, Arizona.  Once privately owned, it became a state park in 1987 and is one of the most popular tourist spots in Arizona—even in October.  As returning visitors, we chose to walk the Cliff Top Nature trail in lieu of braving the steps again to Oak Creek.  We sat for a bit above the creek admiring both the view and courage of swimmers braving the cold water slide.  After snapping a few more pictures, we headed to the car as the park closed and back to Prescott, tired but content from the visual and historical experiences of the day.

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