Next week’s 2015 Arizona Rural Policy Forum is being held in historic Clarkdale. Nestled in the breathtaking Verde Valley, Clarkdale not only offers you a beautiful view of the high desert terrain, it also places you right between two other remarkable towns, Cottonwood and Jerome. Here are a few local attractions, dining options, and boutique shops that will make you want to turn your Rural Policy Forum attendance into an extended staycation.
- Tuzigoot National Monument is located on the outer edges of Clarkdale. Part of the National Park Service system, this ancient pueblo ruin allows visitors to learn hands on how the Sinagua people lived and prospered in the Verde Valley thousands of years ago. Tuzigoot exhibits standing structures of over 100 rooms dating back to 1000 AD. Excavated by out of work miners in the 1930’s this historical monument is a great piece of history with a long story to tell.
- Verde River Adventures Company offers an outdoor experience that allows visitors to experience the Verde River hands on. The beautiful stretch of waterway is unique to Arizona, as it’s the state’s last free-flowing river. Create your own adventure by selecting one of many rafting options. Enjoy the beautiful landscape, thriving wild life, and thrill of navigating a river. The trip starts in Clarkdale and ends at the base of Tuzigoot National Monument. There are even river trips that incorporate wine tasting – what more could you want?
- Dead Horse Ranch State Park is the perfect place to visit for all of you favorite outdoor activities. Located in Cotton and covering 423 acres of stunning Coconino National Forest, this park offers several activities. Enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, birdwatching, mountain biking, horseback riding, swimming and canoeing. The unique river system and and forestry are sure to provide you a great outdoor experience.
- Jerome is often said to be one of Arizona’s most haunted towns. If spooky and supernatural are what you like than you will not want to miss a chance to go on one of Jerome’s Ghost Town Tours. These haunted tours are an interesting blend of history and mystery. You will be provided with EMF/”Ghost Meters”, and visit sites of unsolved murders, tragic fatal accidents and ghostly sightings. Your tour guide will present some of the most incredible accounts of the “Wild West” in Arizona, and the stories of Jerome’s most infamous characters.
- If you are looking for an opportunity to get your adrenaline running look no further than Arizona Offroad Tours based in Camp Verde. These guided tours give you the chance to explore terrain typically seen only from the inside of a car. Engulf yourself in the majestic beauty of the Prescott National Forest, the Verde Valley, Verde River and the exquisite Red Rocks of Sedona on your very own ATV expedition. Keep in mind this is not a passive tour where you just watch the ground pass under the wheels, but rather, a full-participation adventure, where you will be in command of your own ATV. Get ready for a ride through high chaparrals, over desert terrain, across plateaus, through creek beds and hidden trails with extraordinary views.
- The 10-12 Lounge, located in downtown Clarkdale, has a sleek upscale atmosphere with comfortable leather seating, large screen televisions and an outdoor patio with a stunning view of the mountainside. The 10-12 Lounge is a happening place on the weekends and game nights. Featuring live music on a consistent basis, be sure to check out a show while you’re in town.
- The Su Casa restaurant, located in downtown Clarkdale, provides authentic Mexican cuisine in a casual dining environment. Fashioned in the hacienda style this beautiful restaurant has been serving the citizens of Clarkdale quality Mexican food at an affordable price for years. Their freshly made smoked carnitas tacos, steak Cancun, and enchiladas are enough to make any mouth water. Featuring outdoor dining, a full bar, and large private room for parties and groups, Su Casa is a must try for Mexican cuisine enthusiasts.
- Renovated from what was once the longest running single-screen theater in the United States before it burnt down in 1998, The Tavern Grille offers a great menu and truly unique atmosphere. Your taste buds will be tempted by what is easily the most diverse menu in Cottonwood. Try Asian-spiced pork potstickers, prime rib sliders or their coconut shrimp. The Tavern Grille is the perfect place to bring your friends for good fun and great food.
- If you are in the mood for pizza you cannot miss Pizzeria Bocce in Old Town Cottonwood. With a chef that has been trained and certified in Naples, Italy, these artisan pizzas are made the old fashioned way in a wood burning stove. The delightfully crispy crust combines perfectly with their hand stretched mozzarella, ricotta, fontina and provolone cheeses. Add fresh basil, sauteed mushrooms and sun ripen tomato and you have the perfect pizza.
- If you are looking for a place that is committed to making the perfect sandwich, look no further than the Hilltop Deli in Jerome. After a day of walking the town’s hills and shopping, the Hilltop Deli offers guests a refreshing outside atmosphere. Here you can sit and enjoy a cold drink, a sandwich made from top quality meats and fresh produce and take in the stunning views of the Verde Valley.
Known as the heart of Arizona’s wine country, the Verde Valley is home to several wineries and tasting rooms. Wine connoisseurs, enthusiasts, or those looking to try a new hobby can find Arizona’s most unique, locally made wines throughout the Verde Valley, but more specifically on the wine trail that stretches from Jerome, through Clarkdale, and into Cottonwood. Wine types you can expect to see range from the small batch, meticulously maintained, boutique wines available at Burning Tree Cellars to big, bold varietals influenced by the love for Tribal lands at Fire Mountain Wines. Caduceus Cellars, in Jerome, focuses on the artistic side of wine making, while 4-8 Wineworks helps up-and-coming wineries by giving them an outlet to sell their small batch bottles. Vineyards themselves, like Alacantara Winery offer stunning views of the Verde Valley to take in while you sip. The wine tasting rooms all offer a quaint ambiance to relax in while you enjoy new unique flavors. As you immerse yourself in new tastes, let the wineries teach you something about who they are. Such as Arizona Stronghold, who is committed to creating minimally mucked-with wines that retain their natural vitality and character.
Several of the wineries have been awarded for their hand-crafted wines including Pillsbury Wine Company, whom recently won the Best Growers Cup award for their dessert wine Sweet Lies. To ensure the best experience possible remember to look up the Verde Valley wine trail here so you can be sure to see as many as wineries possible.
- Built from the remains of an old rail car, The Clarkdale Caboose Gift Shop offers unique items that embody Clarkdale’s spirit. This well-preserved Caboose helps promote and support the local art scene by offering items from local artists, and by showcasing handmade greeting cards, souvenirs, snacks, and homemade baked goods. A quaint sitting area is located just outside so that you can enjoy the beautiful northern Arizona weather and scenery in historic downtown Clarkdale.
- The Red Geranium Boutique is where the unconventional meets the audacious. Owner, Jeanne Lorche, specialize in providing beautiful collections of art driven apparel, jewelry, and accessories. While she is always searching to feature and showcase new designers and artists, her collection features clothing that is breathable, flowing and artfully crafted. Many items are made from fine fabrics like linens, cottons and other natural fibers featured in beautiful, soft and natural colors. The clothes offer a casual, but sophisticated style that is perfect for women of all ages.
- Old Town Cottonwood is known for their large collection of antique stores, but Larry’s Antiques & Things takes the cake. Offering an extensive collection of antiques and special trinkets you are sure to find something special at this two acre collection site. Larry’s has everything from farm equipment and tools to vintage gas pumps and accessories. Plus, they have a huge collection of vintage Native American jewelry and collectables, housewares, glassware, china, books, vintage clothing, purses and metal signs. Larry’s loves all things unique and rusty and you will too.
- In Jerome you can find a year round winter wonder land at Mooey Christmas & Udder Things, where they bring you the holiday spirit every day of the year with an enormous collection of all things December. Owners Diana and Fred Martin love to see the joy on guests faces as they enter this special shop. You are instantly surrounded by sparkling Christmas trees, cheerful music and a wide collection of holiday decorations. If you are looking for a beach themed holiday decor they have it! Cartoon characters more your style? you can find it here.