A friend of mine grew up in Bisbee and suggested a visit to see this historic mining town in southeast Arizona. It was built in the mountains at 5,710 ft, so the streets are either uphill or downhill. The popular destination retains an early 1900s sense of the thriving Queen of the Copper Camps.
There were lots of hotels, bars, restaurants, antique shops, and art galleries. I wandered in and out of the storefronts and chatted with the clerks. Santiago’s restaurant was recommended, but I had already eaten. Up the street was the famed Copper Queen Hotel, noted for ghosts that roamed the halls (I didn’t see or hear them) and their old saloon.
A walk up Brewery Gulch found St. Elmo’s Bar, second oldest operating in the state. Also saw the Old Bisbee Brewing Company, the Stock Exchange Saloon and a mural on the side of a vacant building. Once known as the saloon and brothel district it still had that ambiance.
In the JF Thamm Gallery, I met the artist and we shared stories about painting. He had some pretty nice plein air pieces and character portraits. Another gallery had some good contemporary work. There were also plenty of jewelry, crafts and clothing boutiques.
There were plenty of other things to do, like the Old Bisbee Ghost Tour at night, Lavender Jeep Tours in the surrounding hills, Queen Mine Tour deep into the bowels of the earth, the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum and Heritage House. But, strolling around and getting a feel for this interesting town was enough for me.
Camp: Whitewater Draw SWA boondock
Scene: Mountains, saloons, hotels, galleries