Two weekends ago my husband and I went with the Localists down to Bisbee, AZ. Before I went, I had heard wonderful things about this old mining town turned artist enclave 4 miles from the Mexico border. It seems that it has really grown up - as in more artists, more hippies, better food, and greater tourism in the past few years.
Bisbee is nestled into the Mule Mountains and, as we heard several times during our stay, it was once the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco. About 5000 people live there now and I suspect that there are many part-timers.
The area is rich in minerals - copper, gold, silver, lead and zinc all come from those hills and it made a lot of people rich. There are several very grand homes and the once grand Copper Queen Hotel had guests such as John Wayne and Teddy Roosevelt. The town is steeped in history and lore and even if you are only mildly interested in the past the stories this town tells are pretty remarkable.
I can tell you that everything we did and everywhere we went was awesome. My list is after the photos!
Here are some photos from our trip.
There are thousands of steps in this town, all kinds of steps, they have an event each year to bring attention to it.
There are more steps than roads in this mountain town - some houses only have stair access.
Sometimes the steps are adorned with art. These sculptures by Ben Dale.
There is lots of art on walls, fences, steps, foundations, etc around Bisbee.
This is a refurbished Airstream - motel? park? You can stay there.
Garden art surrounds artist's home.
This renowned muralist has several pieces around town and in Phoenix, she died tragically adding to Bisbee lore.
The shops and restaurants are not just for tourists.
The sign on the side of the building says "The Bisbee District Has The Best Year Round Climate On Earth."
Could be 100 years ago.
Lack of parking make this tunneled garage a gem. The sign says, "Do Not Even THINK of Parking Here"
RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES IN BISBEE
- Lavender Jeep Tours - Our driver Tom grew up in Bisbee and pointed out all the landmarks and told great stories.
- Cornucopia Cafe - Homemade sandwiches and salads. I had a green chile sandwich.
- Bisbee Breakfast Club - This is near the last few photos above. Breakfast (and coffee) was great.
- Old Bisbee Ghost Tour - We had a lot of fun and the town looked very different after hearing of all the nightly visitors.
- Old Bisbee Brewing Company - Lovely patio to watch (and eavesdrop) on the locals.
- Though I didn't stay there, a local recommended the Letson Loft Hotel. When I return I may try The Shady Dell or getting a vacation rental.
- Our group had dinner at Cafe Roka and Fred the bartender at the restaurant helped organize much of our trip. Despite being a large group the food was delicious and worth another visit.