Mile-High Bisbee Arizona Has Something for Everyone
By Bob Klein, Doublejack Guest House, Bisbee, Arizona

Looking for an inexpensive yet fabulous weekend getaway?  Tucson Magazine named Bisbee, Arizona “Best Place to Get out of Town” for 2009.

Bisbee is a friendly and accepting community which offers everything from fine dining to old-west saloons, mining history, Victorian architecture, great hiking and world-class birding opportunities. 

Snuggled mile-high in the rugged canyons of the Mule Mountains in Southeastern Arizona just 5 miles as the crow flies north of the Mexican border, 125+ year-old Bisbee proudly displays her history like a countess showing off her heirloom jewels.

Visual drama is common in Bisbee – one sees Victorian-style homes perched on yards blasted out of sheer bedrock, and the older she gets the better she looks.

As much as 20 degrees cooler than her Arizona neighbors Tucson and Phoenix to the north, Bisbee’s temperatures rarely exceed 90 degrees in the summer and the occasional snowfall in the winter is gone by noon.

Bisbee is steeped with history of the old west.  Copper was discovered in the area in the 1880s and Bisbee grew to be the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco by the turn of the 20th century  The population at the time grew to over 20,000, and Bisbee sported 47 bars and saloons as well as many houses of ill repute – some still standing today!  It was a wild place where Americans, Serbs, Fins, Swedes, Mexicans, Chinese, etc. came with hopes of making money and left a permanent mark of cultural diversity and acceptance.

This legacy of diversity and acceptance continued with the arrival of the hippies when the mines closed in the mid-1970s.  Over the past thirty years Bisbee has come to be known as the most liberal town in Arizona with a population of about 6,000 people.  Here, people really do know their neighbors!

Bisbee is a gay-friendly and supportive community.  In 2008 Out Traveler magazine voted Bisbee as among the top 5 rural prides in the country.  2009 will see the fifth annual Bisbee Pride Festival, an event which now attracts more than 1,000 people to town in June over Father’s Day weekend.

Among the gay-owned and operated local businesses is the Doublejack Guesthouse, opened in November 2008 by Bob Klein and Jeff Trujillo, transplants from New Mexico who came to Bisbee to reinvent themselves.  Part of this process was a 5-year odyssey to bring one of Bisbee’s original miner’s shacks back to life.  With an interest in sharing this bit of Bisbee history with others, the Doublejack Guesthouse was born.  Check out Originally built in 1895, the Doublejack takes its name from a mining term describing a two-man rock drilling team.  It has just been selected to be on the 2009 annual Chamber of Commerce. Lodging Tour to be held on June 6th and the Annual Historic Home Tour, November 27-28. 

Whether you come for a weekend getaway or spend the whole week, you won’t run out of things to do or places to eat at.  From a stone-baked natural pizzeria to a gourmet take-out café offering a new smoothie, juice and espresso bar, one won’t go hungry in this town!  Bisbee offers something for everyone – fun things to do, unique lodging, art galleries, and loads of shopping.  In 2008 Arizona Highways named Café Roka and in 2009 Bisbee Breakfast Club among the top 25 restaurants in all of Arizona.  History buffs will discover an award-winning Smithsonian affiliate, the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum.  For the adventurous, there is the underground Queen Mine Tour.  One of the best ways to experience Bisbee is to just get out of your car and walk around the charming alleys, stairways and sidewalks of Old Bisbee.  Come with your sense of adventure and leave with a renewed spirit!

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