Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Beautiful Bisbee Weekend

About a year ago the hubby and I bought a LivingSocial deal, it's like Groupon where you get daily deals in your e-mail.  It was for a 2 day trip for two to Bisbee Arizona. We finally decided to re-deem our discount and book our trip. I think we were both very excited about a mini vacation! Don't you just love getaways?!

Bisbee is 90 miles outside of Tucson, our hometown. It sits higher in elevation than that of Tucson therefore it has cooler temperatures year-round. With Tucson being over 100° this busy trip seemed like a rather cool (in every sense of the word) trip. The community of Bisbee was founded in 1880 as a mining town. In its heyday it produced gold, copper, silver, lead, and zinc all from the Mule Mountains. The beauty found in Bisbee is amazing. After about 1975 when the mines became unprofitable Bisbee evolved into an artist colony and retirement community. Local art can be found everywhere and it's awe inspiring.  As a not so creative person I often wonder how artists "see" beauty in their own minds first then create it with their hands. It's so amazing to me. I suppose one could ask how I cook, my own form of art. I see that as simple comparatively speaking.

Metal work: A fence in a front yard
 There are many different types of artists in Bisbee.  Artist shops line the streets as do galleries. You can find everything from jewelry, paintings, large-scale figurines, oddities, various types of food, as well as homes and stores decorated from the inside out.

Sam Poe Gallery Entrance
There are even places that are fully decorated on the outside that I have no idea what lies behind the front doors.

Art comes in many different varieties
 We didn't hit many museums in this small town, not this time anyway. However, I did ask to go to the Mini Museum of the Bazaar. And let me tell you it was definitely mini! This museum was created by Renee Gardner. She is formally known as a Ghost Host for the Old Bisbee Ghost tour as well as a Hearse tour. She started collecting odds and ends and when word hit the street that The Source Within would be opening the museum in their store others brought their own oddities to share.  There were several artifacts from a 2 headed squirrel, to shrunken heads, and dirt from Jim Morrison's grave site. It was definitely bizarre. Next time we'll take the Ghost Tour, it sounds like a frighteningly good time!

I don't believe it's real!
As we walked around town we realized nearly everyone is incredibly friendly. I guess in a small town if you're not friendly everyone will know. But, because it's more of a retirement community there are few young families. It's not necessarily the most kid friendly town. It was hard to find highchairs in restaurants and with so many stairs and steep hills it made it hard to let the little one run around. We did, however, find a cute little park where my little one found a friend. I know the folks of Bisbee want young families to come in so the town doesn't die down.

My little one, on the left, met a friend who was very intrigued by shoes.
 As you can see behind the fence in the picture there is even more art. It seemed a rather random place to have art and it seemed like rather random art. But, like I said art comes in all different forms, right?

It seemed as though this little girl did not encounter other young folk to often. She was very friendly!
 What I don't find in a larger city like where I'm from is trust among storekeepers or other business owners. When we got in on Friday afternoon we headed out for dinner and then for a walk. I realized I had forgotten some medication that I needed so we headed to a small nearby market (there are no chains there, no Walgreens!). As I walked up I noticed the beauty of this small garden outside the market and a woman who was tending to it. I told the woman her garden was absolutely beautiful. After her store closed, the market is hers, she was tending the garden. She asked what I needed from inside the store and promptly went in grabbed what it was I needed. We didn't have changed so she asked that we come by the next day to pay for it, how incredibly kind. I definitely don't encounter that very often. Her store was great too! Lot's of local produce. Yum!

Dinner that evening was at a restaurant named Poco. I found it by searching vegan and Bisbee on the Internet. You walk through an outdoor market to get to the restaurant. The restaurant itself is rather small but the outdoor seating is large. With such great weather all year long outdoor eating is readily available. When you walk inside the restaurant you find a chalkboard menu. I didn't get very far on the menu when I saw chimichanga. I haven't had a chimichanga since way before I became vegan and I thought I would never find one again. My chimichanga had roasted vegetables and soy chorizo. The hubby got a quinoa bowl knowing he could share it with the little one. I believe I stated in my last blog that the quinoa bowl was mine, it was so good I forgot it wasn't. This little restaurant is owned by Kelly Galligan and to be honest I didn't ask enough questions so I don't know when it opened. The two women that cooked our food are known as the Emily's. They were very kind and had a great passion for food you can tell by the smile on their faces. One of the Emily's told me that she too went vegan after watching Forks Over Knives,  a truly inspirational movie. Both dishes were excellent. The atmosphere was fantastic and artsy. The food fabulous. I wish we had more restaurants like that in Tucson.

Highly recommend this restaurant!
Quinoa Bowl
 On Saturday we woke up very early and took a long walk. Most stores there don't open until after 10 or 11, it's a slow starting town. So, we just walked and explored. We saw more artwork, beautiful homes, vibrant landscape, and many stray, yet happy, animals.

So many different flowers all over town.
 I know in Arizona we have several different art towns but this one is just beautiful.

His name is Bumper, his tag also said he is very old. He followed me for quite awhile.
 I don't believe I've ever had a cat follow me around town before. His tag said that it was magnetic, he could be let in and out anytime he wanted. I guess this means taking him home would have been a bad idea. But, he was super cute.

Beautiful graffiti can be found all over town.
Steep hills!
If you're a runner you may have heard of the 1000 Stair Climb in Bisbee. In 1990 a non-profit organization named Save our Stairs was formed and subsequently sponsors the Bisbee 1000. In Bisbee you can find a system of old and deteriorating stairways that coursed through all of the hills and valleys, allowing you to view the towns quaint houses and colorful gardens. Profits from this race go to help many unfunded health programs in the schools and for other nonprofit programs that encourage healthy living choices. 200 people joined in with the 1st annual event in October of 1991. Each year this event grows and grows. Not only does it bring the health-conscious it also attracts many who shop and eat in local stores and restaurants. I don't know that I'm brave enough to do a 5k run with so many stairs! Are you?

Part of the Save our Stairs race! Can you do it??
 Since the hubby is such a huge beer aficionado we definitely had to try the Old Bisbee Brewery Company.  The brewery was located on a hill right below our hotel. Along with our package we got 2 free beers and 2 free brats. Of course, we didn't take the brats. The beer, however, was fruity, delightful, delicious. Well, that was the beer I had anyway. The Peach-Apricot Pils. They also gave you fresh popped popcorn minus the butter, Yum! What a great way to wind down after a most enjoyable day!

Our hotel, right up the hill
 On Saturday night, the skies bellowed of thunder and let down a much needed and delightful rainstorm. What did the hubby want to do during the rainstorm? Yep, he wanted to go take pictures. Luckily, we had a friend who came down to visit and watch the little one. So, we set out, got wet, and took pictures. Bisbee at night is quiet/serene mostly because all the stores are closed. But, in parts also very loud because the bars are still open. There are many bikers in Bisbee to fill those bars.

Bisbee in the rain
 Sunday, came all too quickly. But, with another walk and more exploring it made for a wonderful day. The beauty is all around.

We found some rather fun things around Bisbee! One of my favorite shops was Va Voom! They had the coolest zombie stuff, skeleton things, and random old collector type items. I could have bought everything!

Not only did Va Voom have posters they had t-shirts as well!
The art gallery, Sam Poe Gallery, we walked through had a large shuttlecock in the window! It was a vehicle the artist drove in town! So interesting!!

See the hubby taking the picture? :) So cute!
Walking around town you are sure to find old cars too!  We also found an old VW shop that since closed. I saw more bikes than VW's in town. They must have been there at some point though. Bicycles are plentiful as well. One of the stores had the coolest name! Bisbee Bicycle Brothel!!

I cannot name this car! Can you?
I have a VW Beetle so this just makes me smile!
Did I mention there are a lot of stairs? Oh yes, I'm sure that I did. My little one was learning, all weekend, to navigate these stairs. She was up and down those that were in our hotel. She loved that we were on the second floor! She also found a few stairs outside the tap room to the brewery. While the adults decided on where to have lunch little J wanted to climb these stairs over and over again!

She had so much fun!
On our way out we finally had a chance to stop and check out the mine itself. We did not get to the tour though just saw from an observation deck. I'd love to do the tour but we'd have to do it without the little one. I fear it will only scare here. Being under ground and in the dark can be frightening. The mine which is no longer in use is gloriously vibrant!

Lavender Pit.
This mini vacation was such a well needed wonderful trip! We met some friends up there which made it all the better. Another friend came up on Saturday to hang out and help with the little one, what better friends can one have? The food was great all weekend. The shops were fun to visit. The scenery was beautiful to look at. The company was superb!

On our way back the skies filled with clouds once again lending itself to an amazing sunset!

What I love about Arizona!
What is one of your favorite mini vacations?

Cheers and happy eating!

Photos courtesy of The Hubby

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