Sierra Vista, Tucson, Tombstone and Bisbee, and even Phoenix, these are my old stomping grounds.
**/ Start southern accent*
Way back, many moons ago, when I was a young, strapping lad, I served my county in the US of A military and Sierra Vista was my home.
**/end southern accent*
I have told Joanna before we decided to move here, that she’d like Arizona. And, as usual, (shhhhh.. don’t let her hear I said this), I was right.
So, a while ago, I suggested that we visit Tombstone and Bisbee as both are close to Sierra Vista and I had visited them frequently. I figured, again, she would like these towns. I even told her that Bisbee is Arizona’s best kept secret.
Of course, she paid me no mind, until she discovered this little half-hour show on local TV, called Arizona Highways. The premise of the show is to visit, and highlight, all the cool and interesting places in the state. And, as you’d expect, (because I’m usually right), they highlighted Tombstone and Bisbee – a lot!
Well, that finally got Joanna on-board and interested to pay them visit.
So, one morning, out of the blue, we decided to go. We packed our water bottles – always have it handy in Arizona – put on our walking shoes, and headed southeast of Tucson.
Onward to Tombstone and Bisbee!
First stop: We decided to go to Bisbee first because it’s the furthest south, and we’d figured we’d stop in Tombstone on the way back. It was a good choice.
We were armed with a list of the things we wanted to see (I have seen most of them already 😊):
- Old Bisbee
- The town itself
- The Copper Queen Mine
- The Bisbee Breakfast Club diner (Joanna saw it on the show)
- The old Allen street where all the cool stuff happened
- OK Corral
- Have a beer in one of the old saloons
OK, that’s not a small list for a day trip but we were determined to do it all.
Tombstone and Bisbee: Bisbee
As I expected, Joanna loved Bisbee. No seriously, she really loved it. In my opinion, Bisbee is actually much more interesting than Tombstone. So, why then doesn’t everyone know about it? Simple. They didn’t have a guy named Wyatt Earp and a shootout at the OK Corral. Otherwise, Bisbee is fantastic – I knew she’d like it.
What’s not to like? Bisbee is picturesque and quaint, old-world town with lots of western charm.
With lots of hip bars and restaurants, too. We stopped at the famous Bisbee Breakfast Club diner for lunch and we were not disappointed. I don’t think I’d call this a diner, the food here is top notch.
There is a tons of mining history you see at ever corner in Bisbee. It’s a mile-high town, so guess what? Cooler temps are really nice. And it’s just a little strange and peculiar – lots of alleged ghosts everywhere.
in 1917 open pit mining began in Bisbee to meet the ever growing, copper demand of World War I. This is the Lavender Pit, that was opened on a site of a previous mine. About 600,000 tons of copper was produced here, with gold and silver as byproducts, between 1950 and 1974.
Historically, Arizona has been the leading copper-producing state in the USA, accounting for as much as 60% of overall production. Bisbee was built on mining and its first mine, the Queen Mine, opened in 1880. It continued to operate until 1975 and is open for tours today.
So, of course, we had to do the Queen Mine tour – something I haven’t done before. It was very cool, indeed. I especially liked that they only hire old miners to be tour guides.
Hmmm….. I wonder what this might be? Stinky? Probably. But hey, at least it’s only 58 degrees in the mine, but can you imagine the stench if it was a 100 degrees?
Tombstone and Bisbee: Tombstone
After spending the morning and early afternoon in Bisbee, we finally headed to Tombstone.
Well, I don’t know folks. What can I say about Tombstone? It’s the quintessential, old west. The main drag, although pretty touristy, is pretty neat to see. It is everything you’d expect, saloons, parlors, diners, and even old style coaches doing tours up and down the streets.
If you’re into old west America, you won’t be disappointed here because it really does feel like you’ve been taken back in time. By the way, the dirt street is closed to motorized vehicles, instead it’s feet only. Human or animal 🙂
Of course, we had to take a break for a beer or two at the Crystal Palace Saloon. Who could pass up a sign like that?
Cheers! Hat-hair and all! Hey now, we did just spend the morning wearing hard hats in an old mine…
We didn’t linger here but hit all of the highlights on our list. You know, everyone has to see the OK Corral, right?
By the end of the day, we were pretty tired and decided that we will come back for a longer visit to both Tombstone and Bisbee next time. Joanna, now wants to spend a couple of days in one of the haunted hotels in Bisbee, perhaps in the fall around Halloween time.
Hmmmm.. didn’t I predict that she’d like it here?
But I digress because it was a great trip indeed. We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves – Joanna for exploring new towns, and me for visiting my old stomping grounds. And I got to see a few new things too..
We will be back!