Have you ever visited a place that took you a long time to get to?
I’m not talking about how long it takes to travel there but the length of time that you had wanted to visit a place before you finally got there.
I have lived in Arizona for 28 years and during that time have visited the southwestern, western, northwestern, northern, northeastern, eastern and southern areas of our beautiful state.
However, I am embarrassed to say that I have never visited the southeastern part of Arizona. I had wanted to visit Bisbee, AZ for years. So, my husband and I decided to take a trip to Bisbee for our 28th wedding anniversary.
So, we packed our bags and headed out. Our route took us through Tucson and then toward Tombstone, AZ where we had some fun adventures including viewing the “World’s Largest Rosebush”.
You can read about our Tombstone adventures, here.
After leaving Tombstone, we soon arrived in Bisbee.
Bisbee is an old copper mining town.
It has been often described as an old mining town with a European flair.
Bisbee is situated within the Mule Mountains and built into the hillsides.
100 year old buildings have been converted into art galleries, hotels, restaurants and shops.
Bisbee’s existence is due to the now-closed, open-pit copper mine.
As you drive into the historic section of Bisbee, you can view the enormous open pit where they mined for years.
*To get an idea of the scale, look at the buildings to the left of the mine.
It is obvious, after spending a few minutes in Bisbee, that it is a community with many artists.
Concrete walls throughout the town displayed a variety of murals.
This mural was just outside our 100-year old hotel, Canyon Rose Suites, which I highly recommend.
I liked this garden mural of potted succulents along the Cochise County Cooperative Extension Office, which had gardening tips up in the window.
As you walked past some of the art galleries, you could see examples of unique art, like the colorful doorway, across the street.
I walked across the street to see what was used to create this unique doorway…
It was a collection of colorful, plastic shopping bags and recycled bottles.
*Plastic bags are banned in Bisbee and stores charge you 5 cents for paper bags. So, it’s easier to bring your own recyclable shopping bag with you.
We didn’t buy anything for our kids, although I was tempted to buy this ‘zombie miner’ shirt for my son.
I enjoyed seeing the old buildings – some were a bit quirky like this storefront covered in bottle caps.
We passed by this interesting figure made from recycled materials. His body is made from an old propane tank, his legs are made from rebar inserted into coils, the arms are made of rebar with plastic forks stuck to the ends and his head is an old bucket with washers for his eyes.
An empty lot along the main street had some unique pieces of artwork as well with an outdoor living room depicted.
As you can see, it is wise to expect the unexpected when walking through the historical sections of Bisbee.
One evening, we were walking along the main road after dinner, when I noticed something strange on the mountainside…
Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting a skull and crossbones. The hotel across the street, had a special light that shone onto the mountainside across the street.
*The next night the skull and crossbones had been replaced by the ‘bat signal’ from Batman fame.
The residents of Bisbee are very friendly and the city proudly marches to beat of its own drummer.
I saw this bumper sticker that I think described Bisbee pretty well.
Because Bisbee is built up on a mountainside, there are a lot of stairways, which have led to an annual event known as “The Bisbee Great Stair Climb” where participants climb 1,000 stairs, distributed throughout different stairways.
Each stairway is clearly designated throughout the city and the number of stairs in each stairway is indicated for tourists who want to try climbing the stairs for themselves.
Here is another one.
This one leads up to the city park and is 127 steps.
This one was the most colorfully painted.
*My husband dared me to climb one of the longest stairways. Click here to see which stairway he dared me to try and if I tried to scale the seemingly endless steps.
Of course, a vital part of a vacation is enjoying good food. We had lunch at the ‘Screaming Banshee’, which served delicious basil pesto breadsticks and great pizza.
We also enjoyed eating at Bisbee’s Table and Santiago’s Mexican restaurants.
Walking through Bisbee is enjoyable, but bring comfortable shoes because you are either walking up or downhill.
Because Bisbee is 5,500 feet up in altitude, we got a good workout walking, which is a good thing because we ate a lot of great food!
As you can see, we had a great time AND I haven’t even shown you the gardens yet!
Come back next time when I show some cute bungalow gardens, roses, cacti, hidden gardens and more 🙂Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."