Just when I got the kids out of the house and thought it was safe to enjoy road trips again, my husband reminded me that we have two dogs. And oh, by the way, they like to travel.
Um, okay. I knew the dogs (a Pug and a Sheltie) could handle a road trip, but what destination could handle our dogs? After a little research, we settled on Bisbee. A well-preserved turn-of-the-century hillside mining town located 90 miles southeast of Tucson. During its mining heyday in the late 19thcentury, Bisbee was the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco.
We found a cute (and dog friendly) little B&B downtown, in the once notorious Brewery Gulch area. In the height of its popularity, Brewery Gulch boasted shady ladies and 47 saloons that catered to the rough and rowdy miners who worked the Copper Queen Mine. Word to the wise: it’s still pretty lively. On Friday and Saturday nights, people party there (loudly) until the wee hours of the morning.
Woof Down: Bisbee Dining Is Grrrrreat
I love the charm of small towns, but I’m usually disappointed by their not-so-charming food. Surprisingly, this was not the case in Bisbee. Santiago’s served up authentic Mexican cuisine and mega-margaritas in a great location for people watching. And the tableside-made guacamole was delish.
The next night, the three-diamond award-winning Café Roka served hubby and me a stellar four-course dinner that would satisfy the highly sophisticated palate of any foodie. I had the Sweet Potato and Black Bean Strudel with ricotta, pine nuts and polenta, and it almost made me yodel with pleasure. My hubby likes to eat healthy (e.g. lots of veggies), and he loved the Artichoke and Portobello Mushroom Lasagna.
Downtown also boasts the Bisbee Coffee Company, which we frequented a lot. It’s everything Starbucks tries to be—a hip, happy and hoppin’ place—but without the chain feel. Right in the center of the town’s hustle and bustle, it’s definitely a meeting spot for locals. The sunny outdoor patio was also canine-cool.
Last but not least on our sampler platter was the Bisbee Breakfast Club—the kind of place you’d expect to see featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It’s quaint, it’s funky and it’s the place to get a lot of yummy food! The short-order cooks here are definitely long on grill skills.
Bone Up on History: Lots of Things to See and Do.
You can’t go to Bisbee without donning a mining lantern, hat and slicker and riding the mine train deep into the Queen Mine’s subterranean tunnels. It’s pretty cool—literally—the temperature averages 47 degrees Fahrenheit. Word to the wise: Don’t have a big latte at the Bisbee Coffee Company right before the tour. Once you’re in the mine, there are no restrooms, I was dismayed to learn.
For a truly funkadelic experience, hit the Bisbee Mini Museum of the Bizarre. In the late 1800s many wealthy people in Europe started collecting odd and eccentric items from around the world. These oddities were placed in “cabinets of curiosity” and were showcased in traveling road shows. Today, several have found a home here. Think mummified fairy, two-headed squirrel and glass eye— oh my!
Bisbee’s not too far from the Chiricahua National Monument so we packed up the pooches and made a side trip to see it. It’s a 37-mile drive off I-10, but well worth the effort. This mountain wonderland features the most amazing balanced rock and pinnacle formations I’ve ever seen. I can understand why the Apache Cochise fought so hard to keep his home here. Within the park, there are lots of hiking trails, ranging from easy to strenuous, including some that are dog friendly. Don’t forget to bring water!
They say every dog has his day, and we were fortunate to have ours in Bisbee. It’s a great place to visit over a long weekend, offering the best of small-town Arizona with the added bonus of great food, fun sightseeing and a dog-friendly vibe.
Michigan-native D.D. Kullman was roped and dragged to Arizona in 1978 when her mother got a hankering to be a cowgirl. While a cattle feed lot was the closest her mom came to that dream, D.D. found the state wide open for exploration and opportunity and has been enjoying its people and points of interest ever since.