Archive for November, 2014

Arizona B and B Theme Rooms

November 28th, 2014 by Mike Hug

Mission Room – The Old Spanish Padres our first Arizona b and b theme room.

Dia de los Muertos is a Hispanic tradition that is found in  the Southwestern US and Mexico. Arizona B and B Theme Rooms picture

Metal art of flowers and wheat are located over the headboard of the bed. The headboard is made of a wood screen.

Arizona b and b theme rooms picture

To go with our mission theme, this painting was done by my grandfather and is of the Tumacocori Mission south of Tucson.

Our Arizona B and B theme rooms were inspired by the history that took place in our part of Southeastern Arizona. We had been at different b and bs with theme rooms when we were thinking about starting a b and b. Many b and b with themes were simple such as the blue room, the red room, the green room. All the decorations and furnishings were in those colors. Some inns were more elaborate such as naming their rooms for the people that had lived in the old house when it was a residence. The rooms were then decorated with that person’s taste in mind. Since we were starting fresh, we took the time to think of the room names we could use in the theme. We wanted to have our Arizona b and b theme rooms to actually be the basis to determine the décor.

Arizona B and B Theme Rooms picture

The handmade Mexican tile was used with the talavera sink to add to the mission theme.

With this in mind we named our 4 rooms after a defining time frame that occurred here in Southeastern Arizona. The first room we named was the Mission Room. This room reflects the life of the old Spanish Padres who built missions here in this part of Arizona. Father Kino was instrumental in establishing the Spanish presence here in the Greater Tucson region. The padres lead a more Spartan life and didn’t have a lot of creature comforts. We didn’t go that far with the mission room amenities. We do have indoor plumbing and a nice bed, however it is our smallest room.

Arizona B and B Theme Rooms picture

The old priest’s biretta was found in an antique fair in Tucson. It was still in a hat box dated 1898.

The mission room decorations were gathered mostly from different parts or Arizona. Some pieces did come from other parts of the world. We shopped mainly in antique stores for items that we could use. We found altar pieces in Mesa, deacons chairs in Glendale and an old priest’s biretta still in a hat box with a date of 1898. Some vestments that we found were in a Tucson antique fair and were imported from France. We even found a Santo from South America in a yard sale. Pictures and paintings had been collected over time and include mission pictures, portraits of pastors and a photo of Jerusalem.

Smaller decorations include milagros, crosses, rosaries, miniature mission buildings and day of the dead items. Each item in the mission room was selected to fit the focus we had of our Arizona b and b theme rooms. This is one of our rooms and we will present our thought process when we describe the other three rooms. Click on our room page to find out more about the mission room or use this link for a video.

Arizona B and B Theme Rooms picture

Dia de los Muertos is a Hispanic tradition that is found in the Southwestern US and Mexico. This is held on All Souls Day.

Southeast Arizona Ghost Town

November 23rd, 2014 by Mike Hug

Looking for a Southeast Arizona Ghost Town, Visit Gleeson

Southeast Arizona ghost town ruins picture

The Gleeson hospital ruins can be viewed from Gleeson Road. The old mine can be seen in the background.

Gleeson is an newer Southeast Arizona ghost town that we had heard about when we moved down to St. David and started Down By The River B and B. We never went there because it was at the end of an 18 mile dirt road that started south of Tombstone. Recently the road was paved and now you can have a pleasant drive through the rolling hills of the back country. Gleeson is located at the southern end of the Dragoon Mountains close to El Frida. The town was originally named Turquoise in 1890 but that only lasted 4 years. Then John Gleeson registered a claim for the area and started mining copper. The town is a little south of Turquoise. A post office was established in 1900. The town had a fire in 1912 burning some of the town but it was rebuilt.

southeast arizona ghost town ruins picture

The Musso building can be seen from the road but you will need to have a long lens to see it.

What is nice about this ghost town is that there are a lot of buildings standing. Many older ghost towns only have foundations left. As we got close to Gleeson, we saw the old graveyard on the left side of the highway. A little further on we saw some buildings in different states of repair. Then we came to an intersection that was the center of town.  At this intersection where we made a left turn and traveled down a dirt road stopping for photographs. We were met by people coming back getting their mail. They gave us some directions on where things were.

southeast arizona ghost town picture

Joe Bono’s Saloon is one of the better preserved building in town.

You can see some dilapidated buildings with walls still standing from the road. Joe Bono’s, a saloon, and the old post office are fenced off but can be viewed from the road. Further down the road you have a view of the mine tailings. We went on for a little to photograph some ruins and then turned around. We headed back to the intersection and journeyed across Gleeson road to the jail. The jail was originally a cable wrapped around an oak tree. A small wood jail was built after that and finally the new concrete jail was built in 1910.

southeast arizona ghost town picture

This plaque is located at the jail and gives a history of the jail. Click on the picture to get a large view.

We spent some time talking with some local people. They were working on getting the area ready for a handicap ramp at the jail. They told us a little bit about the town. The town at its peak had a two story school house, post office, jail, saloon, an assayer’s office, a movie theater and a hospital. The Southern Pacific Railroad had a track that ran to the mine until the late 1920s. The Post Office was closed in 1939 after the mines started failing. These same mines totally shut down in 1958. When that happened the town of Gleeson became Southeast Arizona ghost town.

southeast arizona ghost town

The Gleeson Jail was built in 1910. It is constructed from concrete and is now a museum.

Some people still live in the area. The jail has become a museum but the times of operation depend upon when the docents are available. There is a small mining operation still being worked at the site today. You need to have a long range lens to be able to photograph the mine and some of the ruins. The only business in the town is at a trailer that sells rattlesnake artifacts and crafts.  The area is interesting and the people are friendly. So if you want to go to a Southeast Arizona ghost town that has more than a few foundations, try Gleeson.

Southern Arizona ghost town picture.

The Gleeson mine was was finally exhausted in 1958 and the town turned into a ghost town. There is still a small mining operation that is being worked higher on the hill.

Southeast Arizona Winery Events

November 17th, 2014 by Mike Hug

Southeast Arizona Winery Events Open To Everyone

picture Wine Setup for Southeast Arizona Winery Events

Southeast Arizona winery events are held at a variety of locations but always showcase the vintners product.

Southeast Arizona winery events are numerous. There are in excess of 20 wineries located in this part of Arizona. Many of the wineries have wine clubs with varying membership levels. These clubs give the members free wine tastings, discounts and sometimes offer special member only events. The stipulation for being a member is that you purchase a certain amount of wine during the year. Other wineries only ask for email addresses. This allows the wineries to send out newsletters or invitations to special events. There are many opportunities for the wine aficionado to take advantage of and attend a winery event.

The hosts of Cafe Roka is in the heart of downtown Bisbee and is a location for Southern Arizona winery events picture.

Attendees to the Carlson Creek Southern Arizona Winery Event were greeted by L to R Robert Carlson, Rod Kass, chef and owner of Cafe Roka, and a member of the Mexican Consulate.

One example is when Angie and I were invited to a Southeast Arizona winery event that was hosted by Carlson Creek Vintners.  We didn’t want to miss this event. It was being held at one of our favorite restaurants in Cochise County, Café Roka. Chef Rod has a wonderful restaurant in Bisbee and we send our guests there on a regular basis. Robert from Carlson Creek was providing the wine for the dinner and worked with Chef Rod to pair one of his wines with each course. I have been to other events similar to this and thought that the venue and the winery would be a good fit.

Since we had no guests at the b and b that night, we made plans to attend. Bisbee is a fun place to visit. You can do a little antique shopping but the dining is also wonderful. Bisbee is home to some really great restaurants. We went early to wander through some of our favorite shops. When we finally arrived at Café Roka, we were given a special menu. To view the menu click on this link. We were shown to the bar and received a glass of wine to accompany the first course. We then looked around and chose a table.

You can sit by yourselves, however I have always had more fun at a table with other people that you don’t know. You all have the same interests, wine and food, so why not enjoy talking about it with strangers. Who knows, they may become future guests. The table we chose was actually very interesting. We were sitting with people from Tucson who enjoy Café Roka and the wines here in Southeast Arizona. There was also a couple from Bisbee, the Warren area, but the surprise was that Robert’s parents were also seated at the table. During the dinner, they shared some anecdotes on things Robert was talking about.

picture of Gordita With Roasted Pork

The one course of Gordita with Roasted Pork over chili colorado with queso fresco went well with the Merlot.

Grilled Duck Breast picture

The grilled duck breast with pomegranate and calabacitas con queso cotija was excellent.

The menu had 8 courses and each dish had a different wine that really complemented the dish. After nearly two hours we finished up a wonderful evening and a great event. We felt that the price we paid was an excellent value. The wines were excellent, the food was fabulous. In addition, the conversation was captivating. So when you visit the tasting rooms here in our little corner of Arizona, sign up for the newsletters and get on the mailing lists. You just might have the chance to participate in one of the Southeast Arizona winery events.

Mike and Angie are owners of Down By The River B and B located in St. David, Arizona.

Picture of Bisbee Street Scene location of Cafe Roka is in the heart of downtown Bisbee and is a location for Southern Arizona winery events.

Cafe Roka is in the heart of downtown Bisbee and is a location for Southern Arizona winery events.

Romantic B and B

November 10th, 2014 by Mike Hug

A Romantic B and B Is Usually Secluded

lunch at a romantic b and b picture

A romantic b and b offers quiet and solitude so that you can sit back and enjoy the day if you wish.

A romantic b and b is not normally found in the middle of a large downtown metropolis. It is more likely to be in an area that is secluded and away from the maddening crowd. Something off the beaten track comes to mind with an ambiance that provides a peaceful and quiet interlude for a couple to relax.  The location should not be so remote that it takes you hours to travel to attractions during your stay.

Down By The River B and B is such a place. Some of our guests state “You are really out here aren’t you?” In reality we are just a short distance to one of the main highways in Cochise County and it is a quick trip to Benson for dinner. We are close to historic towns and sites that people wish to visit. We are located between the two Arizona wine country venues and both are a short drive either to the east or to the west. It just seems that we are “Off the Beaten Path.”

Romantic b and b at the end of the day picture

Time to enjoy some wine, the sunset and a full moon rising at the end of the day.

Over the years we have had many people that have stayed with us at our romantic b and b. They have been able to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays and in some cases there were proposals. We have had numerous newlyweds spend their honeymoon here at our romantic b and b. Being a quiet location off the main road, It is advantageous to many couples to stay here and they have a lasting memory of their time together. They have enjoyed a fire in the chiminea, dinner, and a glass of wine as the sun set and the full moon rose.

When we know in advance that a special event is in the offing, we will take the time to hand make a card for the occasion. Angie’s artistic ability for developing a card for a special event has been put to the test many times. She makes each card as a unique gift for the recipient. Angie doesn’t copy past cards but makes each one from scratch. So if you have a special time coming up and you want to have that special experience at a romantic b and b, give Down By The River a try.

hand made card from our romantic b and b

A typical hand made card from out romantic b and b to for a guest couple.

Apache Powder Company

November 4th, 2014 by Mike Hug

Apache Powder Company is the plant on the way to the b and b.

Apache powder plant picture

Apache Nitrogen viewed from the south side.

Apache Powder Road is the only sure way to reach Down By The River B and B. As guests travel this road, they will drive past a large manufacturing facility. The plant that they pass was founded in 1922 and was known as the Apache Powder Company. The company changed its name to Apache Nitrogen Products in 1990. Many of our guests have asked us what is manufactured at the Apache Nitrogen Products plant. We inform them that ammonium nitrate is produced there. This product is an excellent fertilizer but it is also an explosive used in mining operations in the region.

Apache Powder plant pictures

The Apache Nitrogen Plant looking from the east to the west. Many old buildings are still on the site.

I learned the history of the plant during a tour while I served on the Benson / San Pedro Valley Chamber of Commerce Board. Originally the plant produced dynamite. When a large deposit of nitrates was discovered in the area, the idea of a manufacturing facility for dynamite was inevitable. At that time the only source of explosives for the mines were manufactured in San Francisco or St. Louis. Transportation was done by the Southern Pacific Railroad into Benson. Today many of the older plant buildings are still standing and there has been talk of putting together an exhibit showing the history of the plant using items from the plant. Some of these items can be seen at the Benson Visitors Center.

Old building picture

Many of the older buildings are still in use today at the plant facility.

The Apache Powder manufacturing facility became the main supplier of nitroglycerine explosives in the Southwestern US. After the first year of production, a million pounds of explosive was being produced every month. By 1956, the plant was manufacturing 41 million pounds of explosives a year. The operation was the main supplier for the mines located in the region. In 1983, the operation ended the production of nitroglycerine and exclusively processed ammonium nitrate, a much more stable product. The plant also produces nitric acid for mining and the ammonium nitrate is use in the agricultural industry.

The plant is the biggest private employer in St. David. Approximately 100 people work at the plant. The company is very civic minded and works with the community. At one time the plant provided housing for employees as part of their compensation package. The houses near the plant were torn down only foundations can still be seen. In 1949, the executive’s houses in Benson located around Apache park were sold. Now you have a little history of the Apache Powder Company’s 90 years of existence here in St. David.

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