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A Find I Never Expected – Bisbee, AZ

One view of the Lavender Open Pit Mine

One view of the Lavender Open Pit Mine

Another view of the Lavender Open Pit Mine

Another view of the Lavender Open Pit Mine

Bisbee, AZ is at a much higher elevation than Phoenix, and located very near the Mexican border. When we arrived, one step outside the car rewarded us with far colder breezes than anticipated. After all, we figured that the farther south we went, the warmer it would be. However, I recall that it was 25 degrees F that day. Thank goodness I had my parka with the fur-lined hood!

We explored the Queen Mine that began mining copper in the 1800s. Inside the mine, the temperature and was an almost-balmy 46 degrees. Although this mine stopped being worked in the mid 1940s, the nearby Lavender open pit mine remained active until the mid 1970s; its depths were spectacular in the bright sun.

I also discovered a terrific vegan restaurant in Bisbee and a store that sells hundreds of different flavors of olive oil, in addition to jars with the label, “Frog Balls.” In actuality, those jars contained delicious pickled brussels sprouts. Yes, I sampled them, and would have taken some jars home had I not been flying.

This little town, previously housing more than 10,000 souls when the mines were working, is much smaller now, and caters primarily to tourists who wander south from the big city, as well as those less inclined to stop in touristy Tombstone with the cowboys who re-enact the “fight at the OK corral.” That violence actually took place in a bar, according to one of the actors we spoke with.

Never been to southern Arizona? Go and explore. There are many things to see there, including the caverns we didn’t get a chance to explore, and the stargazing opportunities at the Kitts Peak Observatory. Those are just two of the places I plan to visit on my next trip to warmer climes—which means planning my visit when the temps are above freezing, preferably in the 70s!

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