Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sedona, Too

As you might gather from the comments below, while we were taken with the setting, the town of Sedona left us bemused at best. With Sharon still ailing, our plan for Tuesday was to drive the Red Rock State Park and then to take it easy and do a few travel chores.

Our host Sebastien, proprietor of Desert Rose B&B, had a better plan for us, however. Just west of where we are staying in Cottonwood, a working class suburb of Sedona proper, is an old ghost town, reborn as a rather charming hillside tourist trap. Jerome began in the late 19th century as a mining town. It has a rich history not just in mining, but as a scene of violent attacks against labor carried out by the mine owners, the Douglas family, in the second decade of the 20th century. By mid-century, however, the town, which had suffered multiple fires and mine collapses, was all but abandoned. It had 50 residents in 1950. When the family tried to sell their home there for $10,000 in the 1960s they could not get it, and instead gave the house to the state which made it into a park. From that point, the town became a magnet for artists, hippies and the like, and then an attraction

The family name was vaguely familiar to me and only as we toured their home did it come to me that Lewis Douglas, one of the several sons of the founder, was a minor official in the New Deal and then rose to greater prominence as a supporter of Harry Truman. Their rather lovely house, built in the 1910s, has been preserved, but sadly, as a museum rather than an historic house, so only the exterior, surrounded by mining exhibits, endures. It was fun seeing it, enjoying the setting and rambling through the town.

Side of the house, as you approach from the parking lot
This is the front, pointed uphill toward the town
Mine car exhibit in front of the house

The town

In the afternoon, we toured by car, and I managed to capture a few more images of this amazing landscape.

Dinner was at a little place in nearby Cornville called Harry’s Hideway, another suggestion of Sebastien’s. Harry, apparently, was a programmer, turned chef, who worked in Phoenix and then decided to open a restaurant here that would reflect purely his own style and values. Wow! Sedona’s L’Auberge, the first night, was elegant and charming, if a bit overdone; Harry’s Hideaway is the real deal, a place for folks who take dining and food seriously.

Today, we are off to the Canyon de Chelly (thanks Jeanne), a 240+ mile drive.

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