Pages

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Buxom Mascot, The Bordello of Jerome, Arizona

Amusing porcelain sculpture of a heavyset, buxom prostitute stands as mascot outside the front door of The Bordello of Jerome, Arizona, a restaurant, bar, and art gallery.


Jerome, Ariz., has to be the most interesting little artist colony, ghost town, and tourist trap I’ve come across to date. And I don’t like such places normally, so that’s saying something!

A former copper mining town, clasping crags of the Bradshaw Mountains south of Sedona, it reminds me of nothing so much as the Greek island of Santorini, only Old West style.


Santorini, Greece
Jerome, Arizona
My friend, Aaron, and I wandered about the town snapping pictures on Wednesday, Feb. 17, but none of my photos captured the eyrie feeling of the place. That’s “eyrie” as in an eagle’s nest, not “eerie” as in spooky (even if Jerome does have a literally ghastly reputation.) The town’s roads wind up sharply, one atop another, the whole place hanging over the Verde Valley. It feels like the town should be an ancient village in the Alps or Nepal or something, not Arizona. I wish I were a better photographer to capture that essence.

Jerome seems to be about one-third galleries, one-third general gift shops, and one-third restaurants and cafes. The Bordello of Jerome, where the buxom broad at top comes from, is two out of three: restaurant, bar, and art gallery.

Since I’m a tightwad, I didn’t buy anything at the galleries or gift shops. But if you’re into art, the galleries seem to have mostly original, inventive art, not just imported Chinese kitsch for tacky tourists.

Aaron and I weren’t ready for lunch yet, so we didn’t try any restaurants. But if I go back, I might try Bobby D’s BBQ in the historic English Kitchen building, the oldest restaurant in Northern Arizona.

Jerome is a tourist trap, but it’s worth a stop anyway if you’re going to be in Northern Arizona. More interesting than Sedona, IHMO. And it’s a beautiful (if hair-raising) drive through the Bradshaws.