Downtown Jerome. The town's population is south of 600, so it doesn't take long to cover downtown. Start with breakfast at the Flatiron Café (three tables, three stools and three employees at 416 Main St.) and browse the antiques and bric-a-brac at House of Joy (416 N. Hull St.), which was once a brothel, then a restaurant, now a shop open Thursdays-Sundays. Then take measure of the area's recent wine boom by sipping a bit at Jerome winery or Cadaceus Cellars.

Jerome Grand Hotel. Once a hospital for miners, then idle for decades, this old pile was refashioned into a hotel about 15 years ago. It stands at the top of tiny, rustic Jerome, which clings to Cleopatra Hill like a miner to his last drop of gin. The Jerome Grand's guests rely, warily, on a caged 1926 Otis elevator, and the place gets a lot of attention for being "haunted." 200 Hill St., Jerome; (928) 634-8200, Rooms for two $120-$195, more for suites.

15.Quince Grill & Cantina. Pronounce that keen-say as in the number 15 in Spanish. Great New Mexico-style cuisine served in a striking dining room. 363 Main St., Jerome; (928) 634-7087, Dinner main dishes $8-$17.95.


Arizona 89A. Head northeast from Prescott on this meandering mountain road, and the crazy rocks will begin just outside town, followed by handsome Watson Lake, followed by miles of winding mountain roads. The drama increases with the drop into the old mining town of Jerome (which is best executed in daylight). And then comes 89A's finest hour, the stretch that leads north through Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon toward Flagstaff — some of the most dramatic scenery in the American Southwest.

Palace Restaurant & Saloon. The bar dates to the 1870s (when Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were among its customers), but its signature moment came in 1900, when a fire threatened the building. In fact, fire destroyed the building — but not before patrons saved the ornately carved wooden bar by dragging it out the door and across the street. Now it's back in place, neighbored by display cases full of historical knickknacks. The saloon serves food along with drinks and often hosts live music. 120 S. Montezuma St., Prescott; (928) 541-1996;

Hotel Vendome. Tom Mix slept here. This 1917 lodging has 20 rooms, 12 of them with claw-foot tubs. New owners have been working on upgrades (including a wine bar in the lobby) since 2011, but it's still a modest place with modest rates. 230 S. Cortez St., Prescott; (928) 776-0900; Rooms for two usually run $79 (weekdays) to $129 (weekends).

Raven Café. This is where Prescott's cool kids come. It's a coffee house by day and a bar by night, with full lunch and dinner menus in between, all sorts of local art on the walls, and frequent live music. 142 N. Cortez St., Prescott; (928) 717-0009, Dinner main dishes, $9-$18.


Flying E Ranch. Wickenburg, about 90 minutes northwest of Phoenix, once was center of the dude-ranching universe, but now there are two dude ranches left. This one, opened in the '40s, is the modest mom-and-pop option, with 12 rooms, three suites and two family houses; a pool; about 50 horses, and access to about 20,000 acres. Open November through April. 2801 W. Wickenburg Way, Wickenburg; (928) 684-2690; Rates $308-$392 per night (for two people). Includes three family-style meals daily. Trail rides extra.

Rancho de Los Caballeros. This prosperous ranch dates to the '40s too, but about 30 years ago, somebody decided to build a golf course and go upscale. Guests at this 79-room retreat divide time between riding (about 100 horses) and golfing (18 holes) — and for dinner, men wear jackets or vests. Open early October through mid-April. 1551 S. Vulture Mine Road, Wickenburg; (800) 684-5030, Rooms for two, $415-$635, meals included, depending on room and season, plus 15% service (in lieu of tipping) and tax. Trail rides are extra.

Screamers Drive-In. Need road food? This burger joint has it. There's nothing more than $5, with a $2.75 root-beer float if the kids are good. 1151 W. Wickenburg Way, Wickenburg; (928) 684-9056; no website.

Anita's Cocina. This busy Mexican spot in downtown Wickenburg is big with locals. The menu tops out at $16 (surf and turf fajitas). 57 N. Valentine St., Wickenburg; (928) 684-5777.

Phoenix area

Arcosanti. In 1970, when architect Paolo Soleri began constructing Arcosanti in the desert 65 miles north of Phoenix, he envisioned the "arcology" as a solution to urban sprawl — a new kind of urbanism that melded architecture and ecology. The site offers a fascinating look at alternative architecture as well as beautiful views across desert plateaus. It's windy at Arcosanti, and good thing, as development is partly financed by the sale of hand-cast ceramic and bronze bells. Swing by for an hour-long tour or a lunch at the tasty Arcosanti Café buffet. 13555 South Cross L Road¿, Mayer;¿ (928) 632-7135, Daily tours 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Cave Creek. This former mining town, 30 minutes north of Phoenix, is a great place to "cowboy up." Sure, the shops can be a little kitsch. But so was "Gunsmoke."

Rock Springs Café. Here's an old-fashioned roadside attraction, 30 minutes north of Phoenix, with cafe, bar, a big patio area and a reputation for serious pies (apple crumb, blackberry crumb, walnut brownie crunch…). 35769 S. Old Black Canyon Highway (off Exit 242, Interstate 17), Rock Springs; (623) 374-5794.

Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa. The Wigwam, a low-rise throwback, has sprawling grounds (440 acres), spacious rooms (331 casitas and suites), newish owners (who have spent several million on upgrades since 2009); and more than 90 years of history. To that add 54 holes of championship golf. Rooms for two usually $159-$399 in season, $99-$149 in summer. 300 E. Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park; (623) 935-3811; Daily resort fee $20.