Long week-end in Bisbee

20 Mar

We arrived in Bisbee just before lunch Friday and were lucky to get P1100804a site in the only campground, perched high next to the Copper Queen Mine, overlooking the town which spreads itself up the hills and along the valley. Bisbee grew up around the copper mining industry which is still very profitable today. The buildings are mainly American Victorian, some quite grand in their construction others still show the signs of their original miner shack beginnings.

The town is designated a Heritage Site so thankfully its character will remain preserved for the future. Many of the towns main street stores are now antique or curiosity shops interspersed with art and craft stores, a book store and several restaurants. In all a great place to
spend a week end just browsing around.
Friday afternoon we walked the old town streets to get our bearings and I was delighted to find two places to explore the local fibre art scene. Part of the old YWCA building has been utilised to provide a community space for those wishing to weave and spin and take part in other fibre orientated crafts, a small area given over to sales of hand made goods and hand spun and dyed yarn provides an outlet for the local craft workers. I enjoyed chatting to the lady in attendance while a second lady busied herself weaving at one of the looms. Just the next street along we found another weaver in her own store surrounded by cones of yarn and lovely pieces of hand woven cloth, again we chatted for some time, I came away quite enthused by my conversations.
Our third ‘find’ was within a building which houses a coffee shop a gift store the tourist information point and the retail store of Kate Drew Wilkinson who makes exquisite lamp glass beads. While browsing her lovely creations the lady herself began a conversation with us, asking the usual first question ‘where are you from?’. We replied Northumberland and watched her face light up. Kate was born in Oxfordshire but her grandparents had a house and farm in Morpeth, Northumberland where she spent happy holidays as a child.
In Brewery Gulch (where else) Robert had spotted a micro brewery. Unfortunately it said closed on the door, however he saw someone was inside so, opened the door to ask when they were open. It transpired the first ever day of serving the new brew would be Sunday!
As we had not booked and the 25 site RV park was very busy the manager had said she would let us know on Saturday morning if we could stay another night, with the opening of the micro brewery Robert was pleasedP1100830 when she said she could take us for not only Saturday but Sunday evening too. Saturday afternoon we walked past the main part of the old town and discovered  more lovely old buildings which were just as diverse as we had seen the previous day. The one on the right is a Hotel, the one below was for sale, we decided not to buy!
P1100826We were lucky, the sun shone on us but the breeze was cool which made it pleasant. We browsed the curiosity stores, poking in corners and finding all manner of things from old Cowboy paraphernalia to household objects, antique glass and jewellery, videos, records, musical instruments, you name it I think we saw it….     but, left it where it was, just enjoying the experience of browsing.

Bisbee seems to be a town where there is always something happening, live music in the bars, craft or art shows, outside the mining museum an impromptu band of drummers were enjoying the sun and beating out a tune. The community seems to be made up of a diverse group of people all with a desire to keep the town alive. It would seem from looking at images on old photos in the Heritage Centre, this has always been a town with spirit, maybe it comes from the mining background although some of its present folk appear to have arrived in the late 60’s and not realised its now 2010.

After spending Sunday morning with chores we were ready for our outing to The Old Bisbee Brewing Company, micro brewery, the only problem was I don’tP1100838 usually like beer, I am a wine drinker, red, best if its Merlot…. not beer, I actually have (had) never drunk a glass of beer, so when we arrived at the bar Robert presented this issue to the young lady serving. I was offered a taster of the Scottish Red Ale she had brewed. Being the polite person I am I accepted and Robert decided on a glass of the Stout. We chatted to Mindy and discovered that some of her P1100837training to become a brewer was done in Sunderland, just a few miles from home…what is it about the people of this town and there English connections!  I surprised myself by finding I liked the beer so much I had a proper glass after my taster while we talked with fellow drinkers in the small bar area, ate popcorn and whiled away the afternoon. It so often seems that the best times we have are the ones we don’t expect, we had no idea what Bisbee would be like but from the campground, to the surroundings, and definitely the people, I would recommend it as a great place to spend a long week end!


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