Travel Journal

My travel journal

My travel journal

When I was visiting in Virginia, my sister in law shared a great idea with me.  Every time she and her husband go on vacation, she takes with her a journal in which she writes about her trip.  She also takes the opportunity to purchase her next journal wherever she is.  I thought that was a really cool idea, and I adopted it.  While I was in Virginia, I bought myself a cool notebook and wrote about my Virginia trip.  Since then, I used it while I was in Jerome and will use it next time I go camping.  I think she only uses hers for “big” trips, but the nice thing about ideas is that they can be individualized.

I have a tendency to write things in different places and have no idea where I’ve written it down later.  Or, I’ll find something and have no idea when I wrote it, and be sad that I lost it. I’m trying to be more organized… I’m a work in progress.  🙂

So far, I really love this method of writing about trips.  I chose a small journal, and next time, I’d choose a regular sized one.  The small journal is cute and fits nicely into my purse, but my hand cramps when I write in it, so a bigger journal next time.

Tales from Jerome

This past weekend, my mom and I went to Jerome.  I knew she’d love it because I did, and we tend to have the same kind of taste when it comes to that stuff.

Sunrise view from our hotel; Photo credit: Doree Weller

Sunrise view from our hotel; Photo credit: Doree Weller

I was there a year and a half ago with my husband, and I loved it then too.  But I “see” different things depending on who I’m with.

The Grand Hotel, high on the hill; Photo Credit Doree Weller

The Grand Hotel, high on the hill; Photo Credit Doree Weller

My mom and I stayed at the Grand Hotel.  It sits high on the hill above the town and is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in Jerome.  We did a ghost tour, and went from boiler room to 4th floor and heard tales of suicides and a potential murder.

See, Jerome was a mining town from the 1900s, and the Grand Hotel was the United Verde Hospital, built in 1926.  They had an emergency room, a psych ward, and later, a maternity ward.  The hospital was shut down for years, until it was purchased and renovated into a hotel.  They tried to keep it quiet that there were ghosts, but people kept asking, so in 1998, they went public and started giving tours.

During the tour, Chris, the owner’s nephew, gave out EMFs, laser thermometers, and digital cameras.  I had a camera and got a few orbs, but nothing terribly exciting.  Something banged in the boiler room at a dramatic point in the story, but it could have just been coincidence.  It probably was… right?

So what do you think?  Orb?  Speck of dust?

So what do you think? Orb? Speck of dust?

After the tour, my mom was determined to encounter a ghost, so she talked to them and kept prompting them to talk to her.  Chris said people could borrow the equipment for the night, so we borrowed an EMF and thermometer.  But still… nothing.

After my mom fell asleep, I started to hear an odd rattling.  We had already been there the night before, and I hadn’t heard anything like that.  It wasn’t like a cell-phone-on-vibrate-rattle (and besides, neither of us missed any calls).  I bought a book, Arizona Ghost Stories, by Antonio R. Garcez from the gift shop.  In the book, someone mentioned hearing a squeaking noise, as if from an old hospital cart being pushed down the hall.  Yeah… I heard that.  It also felt like something nudged the bed, hard, about three or four times.  So, I’m pretty sure I had a run in with a ghost, and it felt playful rather than malicious, as if they were joking around with me since my mom had been so eager to make contact.

In my opinion, no trip to Jerome is complete without a stop to Nellie Bly, the kaleidoscope shop.  So we did that and I bought myself a new and fun kaleidoscope (or three) and then came home to my ghost free environment.

Have you ever encountered a ghost?

Rained Out… Onward to Jerome!

I posted just a few days ago about how wonderful unexpected rain can be.  Well, this past weekend, we were supposed to go camping in Aspen, AZ.  It was to be our first camping trip, and we were pretty excited… until we realized it was supposed to rain.  A lot.  Now, I’m all about making the best in a tough situation, but we decided to change our plans.

Instead of going camping, we took a trip to Jerome, AZ, which is only about three hours north of us.  I had heard of Jerome as kind of an “artsy” place, and pictured it as something like Sedona.  Sedona is great, but has a very “commercial” feel.  Jerome is more authentically artsy, and I loved it!

We booked a night in the Connor Hotel, right in the center of town.

The hotel was built in 1898, and is rumored to be haunted. I’m not sure if the person manning the desk was the owner, or just the shopkeeper, but everyone we met was wonderfully friendly and helpful.  Our room was amazing.  This is not the place for you if you like the height of modern and streamlined.  The floors creaked and the room was crooked.  But, if you love places with character, stories, and the possibility of seeing a ghost, this is the place to be!

After we checked in, we set off exploring.  We found Nellie Bly, the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope store.  I could have spent the day just in their store, looking through all the incredible kaleidoscopes they have.  Some of them are true works of art, and they have everything from affordable to oh-my-goodness-I’m-afraid-to-touch-it.  The staff there were wonderful, taking time to show us different kaleidoscopes and answering all our questions.  I honestly could have stayed there all day.

From there, we walked several blocks and browsed in a bunch of different stores.  On someone’s recommendation, we ended up at Quince for dinner.  The atmosphere is inspired by Dia De Los Muertos, and the food is out of this world.  I had the Blue Corn Enchiladas, and the husband had Drunken Fish Tacos.  Both entrees were a-maz-ing.

Back out on the street, we walked some more, passing all sorts of interesting stuff.  I’m lucky that my husband is patient with my obsession with taking photos.  I see all sorts of interesting things I have to stop and “take notes” on.  

We passed the “sliding jail,” that moved 225 feet after miners blasted in one of the many tunnels running under the city.  Oh yeah, did I mention that Jerome is a former mining town turned ghost town, turned art/ historic community?  Settlers came to Jerome in the later part of the 1800s for the rich metal deposits running under the city.  The blasting the miners did caused many of the original buildings to shift, and some of them to become completely unstable.  Many of the original buildings were demolished, but the town is a study in historical buildings, as many of them still stand, even if they can’t be used anymore.

We met many very nice people, including the proprietor of the Cody DeLong studio.  He was closing up shop for the day, but took time to tell us a little about the town and give us a map of the area, since the Visitor’s Center was closed for the day.  We also met some ghost hunters, who assured us that the Connor Hotel was giving off pretty high readings of haunted activity!

All in all, it was a great trip.  We were there only 24 hours, but it was one of the more fun 24 hours I’ve ever spent.  If you live in AZ or plan on visiting, I highly recommend you take this trip.  I’ve only posted a few of the many pictures I took.  If you’re interested in more, check out my Facebook page.

Looking up at Jerome from below.

The Grand Hotel sits high above the town.