Our first stop on our trip was to a little town outside Prescott, Arizona called Jerome. Jerome is a former mining town turned touristy location, and the only reason we wanted to go was…wine. Last year we watched a documentary called Blood Into Wine, which followed former Tool lead singer Maynard James Keenan on his wine adventures. I felt we needed some where to start our trip, so with Jerome being close to the Grand Canyon (where our second stop was going to be) it was the perfect place to spend the first night on the road. We were going to be splitting up our time between camping and staying in hotels/with family and after our longest day in the car (12+ hours) I felt a hotel would be warranted.
The first day in the car wasn’t bad, I think the newness and the excitement helped. The one thing that I didn’t think of was how my kids were going to react to the heat during our trip. Living in Monterey, we get spoiled with the weather. Even on the warmest of days it usually only gets to about 80 but it takes a bit to get there and cools off fairly quickly at night. The first time I opened the car door to let everyone out for our picnic lunch in Needles, CA was epic. Nomadic Daughter started screaming because it was too hot. Literally screaming. Awesome. We have 2 more weeks of this. It was a little dramatic, but we coaxed her out of the car to sit in a little park near the Colorado River and have some lunch. Nomadic Son did fine, and he kept telling us it was hot (yeah, we know) but didn’t seem too bothered by it. We ate quickly and hopped back in the car to continue the journey. The promise of their first wrapped car gift helped motivate them.
Driving up to Jerome was a pretty neat sight. We came through Prescott and up the canyon. Jerome is located on the side of the mountain, with views overlooking the Verde Valley. It really only has one main road winding down the mountain creating different levels for the town. We arrived into Jerome in the late afternoon, checked into our hotel, and lounged a bit before exploring the town. Our hotel was the historic Connor Hotel, built in 1898.
We grabbed dinner at the Haunted Hamburger, which had some pretty decent burgers and while they didn’t have a kids menu would make something in a smaller portion for the kids. We sat outside on their terrace/patio that overlooked Jerome with views of the valley (top 3 pictures). Time to get some energy out! I wish I would have taken pictures of the little park that was situated smack dab in the middle of the town (a few swings, 1 slide, a rocking horse, and a climbing structure) but didn’t get a chance, the kids liked it though. Mainly the swings, they’re swing people when we go to any park.
Next morning we woke up early (well maybe not that early, but it seemed early). Alex got sick that night with the tummy bug that he’s had in the past, which I’m guessing is from a change in eating habits because of the trip and just the trip in general. Luckily he was only sick that one night and we brought stuff along just in case. We got breakfast at a little place down the street, but I don’t remember the name. Most likely because the food was unimpressive, just something you would find in any town. Basics like omelets, waffles, etc. After breakfast we needed to kill more time before the tasting room opened (though we got some coffee from their coffee bar, carmel latte with locally made carmel sauce, mmmm) so we hit up the park one last time, then went back to pack up.
Caduceus Cellars has 6 different vineyards throughout the area that it pulls its grapes from (you can read about it on the page). When you think of wine, Arizona doesn’t come to mind, but they have some interesting things coming out of there. We ended up doing 2 flights, and I should have written down or taken a picture of what we had, but we ended up liking 2 out of the 8. A red and a white, and we opted to have the tasting room manager pick us out another bottle of red to take home. We ended up with a 2012 Nagual Del Marzo (red), and 2012 Anubis (red) both by Caduceus vineyards and a 2012 Chupacabra Blanca from Merkin Vineyards (New Mexico).
After the tasting we packed everyone into the car and got on the road to the Grand Canyon. We wanted to make sure we got there with enough time to set up camp and have dinner. The drive was beautiful, heading through Sedona and Flagstaff. We saw elk coming into the park and the kids were excited at the prospect of seeing wildlife.
Stay tuned for the Grand Canyon post!