June 17, 2011

Bisbee, AZ. January, 1990

On one of my first trips to visit Simon and David in Tucson, we drove 82 miles southeast, through Tombstone (and its OK Corral) to Bisbee. Founded as a copper, gold and silver mining town in 1880, it has revived itself as an artists colony and tourist destination. Walkable, charming, populated by artists (painting, sculpture) and artisans (cheese, honey, coffee) and dotted with bakeries and cafes, Bisbee retains its quirky turn-of-the-century heritage without any stultifying Disney gloss. There’s a Copper Queen Hotel in addition to the royal alternative shown here, evidence of its mining past. I remember buying a string of red chili pepper lights on this visit. And running into an old acquaintance from Boston from many years earlier when Simon was still on the East Coast. (After we left him, Simon turned to me and said, “He hurt me.” I didn’t ask.) Several years later, I returned to Bisbee with Jay, who got mildly freaked out by a sidewalk vendor selling “killer bee” honey, but calmed down after a visit (and a complimentary espresso) at Old Bisbee Roasters, whose admirable motto is “A gentleman is always ready to serve coffee at a moment’s notice.” Words to live by.

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