One ripple effect of the wave in popularity of vegan, raw, gluten-free, no- and low-carb, organic-only, and whatever-else diets is that cooking breakfast can feel like a Chinese finger puzzle filled with glue to a B&B owner. Many of them don’t serve breakfast anymore because they can’t cook half a dozen different meals that respect each individual guest’s food sensitivities. There are still exquisite exceptions (see “Beeline Guest House: Pine”), but by and large, the newest “B&Bs” around Arizona provide amazing accommodations sans breakfast. But there are great restaurants just a pillow’s throw from them all, and probably an art gallery, winery or brewery, too. Here are four new B&Bs to visit in various parts of the Grand Canyon State.
The Jerome Keep: Jerome
Opened spring 2015
The old mountain mining town of Jerome has a spirit much like its layout – high, curvy and funky. Everything here feels like it’s on a downhill slide, and it is. Landslides aren’t unusual in this hilly haven; the ruins of the old Jerome jail shifted 200 feet downhill following a landslide in the 1930s. But the newest B&B-like lodge in town, The Jerome Keep (728 East Ave., 928-639-8474, facebook.com/jeromekeep), is totally “on the level.” Two rooms are available for rent. The first is the Hacienda Suite ($130/night) – a homey, Southwestern-themed room complete with a kitchenette, gas-burning fireplace and private patio with sweeping views of Jerome and the surrounding hills. The other is The Parlour ($150/night), which oozes Old World romance thanks to sparkling chandeliers, lacy curtains and a veranda with a hot tub. The five-story house in which The Jerome Keep is located was built from the ground up by the current owner’s parents, and a stay here is as close to feeling “at home” as you’ll get in Jerome, no matter where you’re from (caveat: there are no TVs in the rooms, but with views like this, who needs them?). Because nearly every street in Jerome is a gravelly, one-way sardine-squeeze, follow The Jerome Keep innkeepers’ parking instructions, lest you find yourself towed or rolling down the hill against your will.
Like many B&Bs advertised on Airbnb.com these days, The Jerome Keep doesn’t have the “breakfast” part of the equation, so you’ll have to wander uphill for morning vittles. Chow down at The Mine Café (115 Jerome Ave., 928-639-0123, jeromeminecafe.com), a snug space with a custom cocktail menu including the Jerome Daly and the Mingus Mudslide. If hair of the dog isn’t what you had in mind, they also serve delicious Mine Café coffee made from beans roasted in Sedona and cook a mean breakfast of organic, fluffy scrambled eggs and lean, smoky bacon.
Long known as an artistic hamlet, Jerome has in recent years gained a reputation as a wine destination, thanks in no small part to rock star Maynard James Keenan’s Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars. The Caduceus Cellars (158 Main St., 928-639-9463, caduceus.org) tasting room is located on the ground floor of The Connor Hotel, and features a replica pressed copper ceiling, a locavore small plates menu (the cheese plate features crackers from Hayden Flour Mills and goat cheeses from Black Mesa Farms), a music mix ranging from Talking Heads to banjo jams, and great wines. Every first Saturday of the month, after Jerome’s monthly artwalk ends at 8 p.m., tasting room manager Brian Sullivan offers “Artwalk Afterhours” in the Caduceus tasting room, complete with art house and indie cinema films shown on a big screen.
Opened May 2014
TheIron Horse Inn (1034 N. Main St., 928-634-8031, ironhorseoldtown.com) is another place that’s technically not a “B&B” because they don’t serve breakfast, but they are the newest lodgings along Old Town Cottonwood’s main wine drag, and there’s fantastic food just across the street. Plus, this is the type of place where wearing your pajamas in public probably wouldn’t garner a sideways glance. Storefront windows are filled with elaborate displays of fake skeletons, old-timey medical equipment and books about aliens, and one gets the sense there could be “Keep Cottonwood Weird” signs everywhere if Austin, Texas hadn’t already trademarked a similar phrase, and if Cottonwood were in any danger whatsoever of not being weird. The town can’t help it, and we love it for that.
The Iron Horse Inn started as a motor hotel in the 1930s and has been made over into refreshing, boutique accommodations – there are currently 14 rooms (including some dog-friendly ones) with rates ranging from $69-$149, and the owners plan to renovate and add five more. Each room is bright and sleek, with a super comfy pillow-top bed, and decorated with modern art. There’s a spacious and sunny courtyard, and its gates lead to a cowboy boot store on the left and the Old Town Pepper Company (oldtownpeppercompany.com) – where you can get a free salsa tasting – on the right. There are two great breakfast options across the street – Old Town Red Rooster Cafe (oldtownredroostercafe.com), which serves traditional hearty breakfast fare, and Old Town Café (928-634-5980), which has a display case of pastries and tarts made fresh in-house daily that look like works of art (“They almost look too good to eat,” a woman behind me said. “Almost too good,” I concurred, through a mouthful of zingy, creamy raspberry custard).
There’s no shortage of stores along Main Street, and a stroll from one end to the other is fun, along with stops at places like Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders (vvoliveoil.com), where you can sample flavored olive oils and vinegars from the Mediterranean and Italy; the quirky Adventures Unlimited Books(adventuresunlimitedbooks.com), where you can find everything from obscure occult books to rubber ducks with mohawks; and for animal lovers, Pawz on Main pet boutique (pawzonmain.com).
Wine tasting rooms are clustered like grapes along Main Street. One favorite is Pillsbury Wine Company (pillsburywine.com), which has enough art everywhere to resemble an art gallery as much as a tasting room. There’s ample space and seating for lounging, playing Cards Against Humanity, and drinking great vino like the bright and fruity 2014 Roan Red. Other tasting rooms on the strip include Arizona Stronghold, Fire Mountain Wines, and Burning Tree Cellars.
Opened January 2015
“If anyone walks away from my table hungry, it’s their own fault.”
Patrick Moore isn’t kidding. The innkeeper of Beeline Guest House (4042 N. Hwy. 87, 928-476-6515, beelineguesthouse.com) has been up for hours, beating eggs, slicing avocados, baking bread, and sprinkling rosemary over plump hand-diced potatoes. His epic breakfast spreads are completely customizable. Gluten-free? No problem. Moore’s thick and grainy “Beeline Bread,” which tastes like dark carrot cake, is too, along with several other dishes. Vegan? So’s his husband Bob Gleason, an expert basket weaver who conducts classes in his studio on the property. Moore communicates with guests in advance, and if he has six guests with six different dietary needs, he says he’ll make six different meals. For omnivores, Moore’s ham and spinach quiche makes a marvelous, cheese-oozing day-starter. He tries to source ingredients locally as much as possible, and the locavore aesthetic extends to the B&B’s décor, which Moore aptly describes as “rustic upscale.”
Most of the art in Beeline Guest House was made by artists in the area – including a still-life by Western artist William Ahrendt, nature scenes from around Pine painted by April Bowers, and a painting of the Beeline Guest House by Ruth Ellen Mason. Each of the three guest rooms is beautifully appointed with art, a private bathroom, electric fireplace and a king-size, four-poster bed adorned with quilts made by a local group called the Strawberry Patchers. The Ponderosa Room, aka the “honeymoon suite,” also boasts a river rock shower and a Jacuzzi tub filled via an antique well pump. The carved wooden plaques and matching keychains for the guest rooms at BGH were made by Ed Farnum, who runs the Westwood Gallery of Fine Art(928-472-4414) next door. Room rates range from $137.50-$200/night.
Pine sits at the midway point on the Arizona Trail, so a lot of hikers ramble through. Those who don’t bunk at BGH can hunker down at a Spartan cabin behind THAT Brewery (3270 N. Hwy. 87, 928-476-3349, thatbrewery.com), Pine’s premier place for juicy burgers and quality craft beer like their buttery Backwoods Blonde. Every month, THAT Brewery hosts a “Brews & Brushes” painting class ($40, including snacks, materials and beer; check website for dates). Another nearby drinking hole, Sidewinders Tavern & Grill (6114 Hardscrabble Mesa Rd., 928-476-6434, sidewinderstg.com), hosts live music almost every weekend on a floor-level corner stage and serves Arizona craft beer on draft, as well as some popular hot wings. While THAT put Pine on the craft beer map, Trident Winery (6261 Hardscrabble Mesa Rd., 928-642-0612) is trying to carve out a vino niche. Winemaker Ray Stephens uses only non-GMO, organic fruits from Arizona farmers, and makes wine with whatever’s in season, from watermelons in summer to honeydew melons in winter.
If visiting Pine in April, a short jaunt to the nearby town of Strawberry is a must, because that’s when tons of baby goats are born at The Ranch at Fossil Creek (10379 W. Fossil Creek Rd., Strawberry, 928-476-5178, ranchatfossilcreek.com). Owners John and Joyce Bittner sell the kids every spring, so if you fall in love with one of the adorable billys, you can take it home.
Opened spring 2015
Saturday nights are pretty quiet in “downtown” Sonoita, a sprawling patchwork town of vineyards and wine tasting rooms, homey restaurants, horse ranches and B&Bs. But those who stay at Casa Next Door, a stylish and spacious two-bedroom, two-bathroom house next to the Dos Cabezas Wineworks tasting room (3248 Hwy. 82, 520-455-5141, doscabezas.com), can fill the house with the sounds of crackling vinyl from the turntable in the dining room, pulling from a crate full of albums ranging from Linda Ronstadt records to Dr. Dre LPs. Everything else one could possibly need is here, from flat-screen TVs to a cooking-show-worthy kitchen (plus multiple grills outside). Guests rent Casa Next Door (sleeps six) for $250 a night. There’s a house out back by the pool – dubbed Casita Next Door – that sleeps four (and also has its own kitchen and turntable) that rents for $130 a night.
Considering the kitchen’s cache of culinary tools, getting groceries and cooking your own breakfast is an option, but if you just want to wake up and eat, take a short stroll down the street to The Vineyard Café (vineyardcafesonoita.com), a local diner with friendly waitresses in blue jeans who pour strong coffee and serve pies the size of small tires. Coffee connoisseurs should cruise the new drive-through coffee shack Stirrups Coffee ‘N’ Such (3115 Hwy. 83, 520-449-3279, facebook.com/stirrupscoffee).
Wine is the reason many people come to Sonoita, and Casa Next Door is down the street from popular spot Arizona Hops and Vines (azhopsandvine.com) and is spitting-distance from the Dos Cabezas tasting room, which emits a classic European vibe with a dash of Southwestern Bohemian: brick walls, long copper bar, a room with rows of oak barrels visible through windows, black cat wandering around outside.
There are a few steakhouses in town, but if you’re looking for more variety, The Café (cafesonoita.com) is just a few doors down from Dos Cabezas. Owner/chef Adam Puckle is a native Sonoitan, and locals love his restaurant. The A.P.E. Burger is a best-seller, a half-pound surprise which varies according to chef’s whims and ingredients. The Cafe’s a great eavesdropping spot, where one can overhear the apparently unanswerable: “What can you do in Kalamazoo that you can’t do here? Name one thing.”
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