Archive for the ‘Down By The River FAQ’ Category

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.

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.

New Year’s Eve Special

October 22nd, 2014 by Mike Hug

New Year’s Eve Special at Down By The River B and B

New Years Eve Baby Picture

New Year’s Eve Special at Down By The River B and B is a great way to ring in the New Year,

The New Year’s Eve special at Down By The River B and B has been placed on our website for the last three years. Prior to that, we celebrated and invited any guests who were staying at the B and B to attend. It was sort of a surprise we did for our guests. The evenings were always memorable. The New Year’s Eve party has its origin from gatherings that we had in the 1980s. We invited friends and neighbors over to ring in the New Year and enjoy the camaraderie. After we opened Down By The River B and B, we kept the tradition alive. We invited our friends and also the guests that we had at the B and B.

New Year's Eve Snacks Picture

New Years Eve we provide a variety of snacks for our guests to enjoy

This year the New Year’s Eve Special will be the 10th annual gathering at Down By The River B and B. The event gets underway at about 8:30pm. Our guests will have their choice of delicacies to enjoy that we prepare for the event. We have always provided different finger foods and hors d’oeuvres for our guests to snack on during the evening. Guests are asked to bring their own beverages for their enjoyment. We have music and there is always the pool table where you can demonstrate your expertise. We do have some fun with entertainment and this year we will have a door prize drawing after midnight. At midnight, we watch the ball drop at Times Square on TV, naturally tape delayed. Then a toast is made

Living room christmas decor

We always decorate for Christmas and keep things up until after New Year’s Eve.

to the New Year with some sparkling wine that we provide from our good friends at Coronado Winery.

Down By The River B and B invites you to consider our New Year’s Eve Special. There is no need to drive home after the party since you already have the room for the night and as always we do a fine breakfast for you to enjoy on January 1.

There are a few restrictions for this event. We have these restrictions in place because of the costs that we incur for this event (we charge our normal weekend rate for these dates) and we have a limited number of rooms. If we book all the rooms, we will keep a wait list in case of a cancellation.


The restrictions are as follows:

  • Phone reservations only will be accepted.
  • There is a 2 night minimum either Dec 30 and 31 or Dec 31 and Jan 1.
  • No discounts, coupons or gift certificates will be honored for the 2 day stay. Additional days, over the two days required, will receive our normal 10% discount.
  • The guests will have their credit card charged for the room at the time of registration.
  • The cancellation policy is altered from our normal policy for special events.
  • Cancellation of the reservation is allowed up to 5 days after making the reservation but no later than November 30. A $50.00 cancellation fee will be charged and the rest of the reservation will be refunded.
  • For cancellations after November 30, Down By The River will refund one half (1/2) the reservation charge if we can rebook that room for this event.
  • Cancellations within 7 days of the event will not be refunded nor will any credit for a future stay be issued even if we are able to rebook the room.

Peach Smoothie Recipe

August 29th, 2014 by Mike Hug

Peach Smoothie Recipe is a hit a Down By The River B and B

Peach smoothie recipe picture

Gather all the ingredients that you will use for the peach smoothie.

Our peach smoothie recipe is a blast of flavor that we serve our guests at Down By The River B and B. We have a secret ingredient and which is fresh peaches. We always pick the peaches that we use in our peach smoothies. We don’t purchase store bought peaches because they never have been picked ripe. Most store bought peaches are picked green and shipped in cold storage. Even when you let them ripen on the counter they never achieve the wonderful flavor which you find with fresh peaches. As Angie would say “There flavor is a party in your mouth”. Many of our guests have never picked a peach off a tree and they don’t know how intense the flavor can be.

pouring peach smoothie recipe picture

Pouring the peach smoothie into a glass for the guests

In a previous blog ‎ I told about how we plan our day when we go peach picking and then the process that we go through to prepare the peaches for future use in smoothies and in our peach pancakes. It is a long day but at the end we will have enough peaches processed to get us through the winter season. Ah but I am starting to go astray. So here is our recipe for peach smoothies. A word of warning, we us a heavy duty bar blender when making our smoothies because we work with frozen ingredients. If you have a light blender make sure your ingredients are defrosted.

Down By The River B and B

Peach Smoothie Recipe


  • 8 ounces          Frozen Peaches cut into chunks or slices
  • 1 – 6 ounce      Peach yogurt
  • 16 ounces        Peach juice



  • In a blender place yogurt, peaches, and peach juice
  • Blend the mixture until smooth
  • Pour into glasses
Peach smoothie recipe pictue

Peach smoothie recipe complete and ready to serve to the guests.

As an alternate to this recipe to give it a twist, added 3 ounces of fresh raspberries to the mixture to add a little tartness and reddish color to the smoothie.

Serves 2 to 3

Picking Fruit In Willcox

August 23rd, 2014 by Mike Hug

Picking fruit in Willcox is an all day process at Down By The River B and B.

Sign at Entrance

Sign at the entrance to Apple Annie’s

Picking fruit in Willcox is one of the fun things we do, that could be considered work, for our guests to enjoy when come to Down By The River B and B. When we have the slower time of the year, picking fruit in Willcox just fits right into the routine. Picking apples for our apple pancakes is not a high priority with us because we can get good apples at the store. What is the priority is the peaches. We have dishes that we serve with peaches that require us to get peaches that are fresh and ripe. Peaches you find in the store usually don’t have the flavor of tree ripened peaches. Our guests love the real peach taste and many have not had a tree ripened peach.

Asian Pear picture

Picking fruit in Willcox offers a wide range of types to choose. Apples, pears and peaches are growing in the orchards.

When we are picking fruit in Willcox, we have never been disappointed with stopping at Apple Annie’s Orchard.  We usually leave by 7 so that we can get the fruit picked and be on our way back home before it gets too hot and steamy. Luckily for us there was fog in Willcox and so we were kept out of the sun most of the time. This year the fruit has ripened a couple of weeks earlier than normal. Mainly because of the warm winter and early spring, the trees blossomed earlier. We missed getting to harvest the Hale Peaches that we so enjoy. Instead we settled for the O’Henry Peaches which stays harder even though it is ripe.

46 pounds later we had our peaches picked. After the peaches we found the Asian Pears and picked 15 pounds of them. The fruit was perfect for us and was easily picked without the need of ladders or fruit picker devices. When picking fruit in Willcox, we have found it best to go during the week and not on the weekend. You don’t have to fight the crowds and you can pick a choose fruit better. Apple Annie’s also provides a picking calendar on their website to let you know the times to pick fruit. After paying for our fruit we decided to skip the fudge shop and also not to stop for apple pie that was coming fresh out of the oven. Yes there is more at Apple Annie’s than just going and picking fruit in Willcox.

Picking fruit in Willcox picture

Two buckets of peaches and a half bucket of Asian Pears picked in 30 minutes.

After we got back home the work begins. We wash the fruit and then start sorting by size. The larger peaches get cut into rings for our peach pancakes that we serve. A link to our recipe is here.  The smaller peaches and remnants of the rings are cut up into chunks for use in our Peach Smoothies. Of course once in a while some small piece needs to be sampled to make sure it is sweet enough to be used for our breakfasts at Down By The River B and B. It is all part of the “Quality Control”. Book a room with us and find out what breakfast is all about here in St. David.

Southeast Arizona Ghost Towns

July 19th, 2014 by Mike Hug

Southeast Arizona Ghost Towns A Few Are Located A Short Distance South Of Patagonia.

After Angie and I had visited the Paton Hummingbird Haven and had lunch we decided against returning to Down By The River B and B directly on Arizona Highway 82 but to rather take a back road that leads into the San Rafael Valley. This drive will take you close to some Southeast Arizona ghost towns. The San Rafael Valley is south of Patagonia and is accessible by Harshaw Road on the east end of town. The road is paved up to the turnoff to the old ghost town of Harshaw. We traveled about 2 miles on the gravel road to the right passing cattle and driving through a beautiful sycamore and oak forest. We finally came to a sign that pointed left to Harshaw.

Southeast Arizona Ghost Town Picture

The road to Harshaw, a Southeast Arizona ghost town, passes sycamores and oak trees.

The town was the original site of a cattle ranch owned by David Harshaw. Hawshaw returned to cattle ranching after leaving the army in the 1870s. He settled south of Patagonia after being run off by Tom Jeffords for illegally grazing his cattle on Apache lands. While raising cattle in this area he found silver ore. He made a mining claim and named the mine Hermosa. The town was founded prior to the ore deposits that were found

Southeast Arizona ghost town ruins can be found in Harshaw.

Southeast Arizona ghost town ruins can be found in Harshaw.

in Tombstone in the late 1870s. The silver deposits started to fade by 1881 and the town burned in 1882. Harshaw’s main street stretched for a mile and had a newspaper, Post Office, saloons, boarding house and many other businesses. There is a gravesite at the town also. Over the years the mine restarted and stopped numerous times until by the 1960s everything was abandoned and it reverted to just another one of the Southeast Arizona ghost towns. The town site is now part of the Coronado National Forest. There are ruins to see and explore but we only made a cursory look of the town site.

If you continue down that Forest Road 49 you will encounter other Southeast Arizona ghost towns. These are old towns that grew up around mines and include Mowry, Washington Camp, Duquesne, and finally Lochiel which is located on the border of Mexico. Mowry is the oldest with the mine dating back into the 1850s. The other towns were mining in the late 1800s. We looked at the time and decided that we wouldn’t be able to make that trip since we started too late to be able to explore the area like we wanted. There are cautionary signs on the road in this area and you don’t want to be here after dark because of the illegal aliens and the drug smuggling that happens in the area at night. Instead of exploring more Southeast Arizona ghost towns we decided instead to head back and continue into the San Rafael Valley.

Harshaw townsite picture

Harshaw town site has ruins for exploring at this Southeast Arizona ghost town.

Cochise County Birding Hotspot

July 1st, 2014 by Mike Hug

Cochise County Birding Hotspot and Down By The River B and B a perfect match

San Pedro River

The San Pedro as it leaves the northern boundary of the San Pedro National Riparian Conservation Area

A Cochise County birding hotspot is the San Pedro River at the National Riparian area which is adjacent to Down By The River B and B. Birders come to this locale to see the birds only found in this part of the Southwest and not other parts of the country. When you visit a Cochise County birding hotspot, one thing everyone wants to see is a Greater Roadrunner.

The Greater Roadrunner is in the Cuckoo family. This bird is a fascinating to watch and is rather canny as it hunts.  Unlike the Loony Tunes character that is chased by the coyote but always outsmarts him, the resemblance stops there. The Roadrunner doesn’t eat bird seed but instead it hunts its prey including lizards, other birds and snakes. Roadrunners have been known to kill rattlesnakes. We have seen a roadrunner carrying snakes and lizards through the breezeway at the b and b.

Since Cochise County is a Birding Hotspot, there are many young birds around that the Roadrunner will

Roadrunner picture

The Greater Roadrunner is a frequent guest at Down By The River

go after. Gambrels Quail on high on the list. We have quail on the property and we leave the brush for cover so that the Quail have a place to hide and raise their young. When we first opened I had a symbiotic experience with a Roadrunner. When I walked on the property, a Roadrunner would follow me and wait for me to scare a lizard or snake out of the brush. He would stay about 4 feet away but just close enough to be able to make a quick dash for dinner.

Generally the Roadrunners are solitary but we did have a group of five together in the yard one day. We don’t know why they were together unless it was a mother and juveniles that were learning to hunt. We have also had one Roadrunner roost in strange locations around the b and b. The Roadrunner would roost on window sills against the window of a room. On other occasions a roadrunner would roost on the mantle of an outdoor fireplace and on a wood

Roadrunner roosting picture

The Roadrunner roosting at Down By The River a Cochise County Birding Hotspot.

decorative piece that was 9 feet off the floor. When we spotted the Roadrunner in those locations we wondered how he got there. Very seldom do you see a Roadrunner leave the ground in flight.

It took us a while but we finally saw the bird run leap and fly up to the roost at dusk and settle in for the night. So when you want to visit a Cochise County hotspot and see Roadrunners, plan your trip to Down By The River and see what we have to offer. Our bird list will give you a idea of what you can see during the year around our property. Additionally we are centrally located and therefore you only need to do short day trips to all the Cochise County hotspots.

Roadrunner picture

The Greater Roadrunner sometime follows me to see what I scare up for dinner while I am walking through the brush.

San Pedro River Wildlife

June 13th, 2014 by Mike Hug

San Pedro River Wildlife Viewing is great at Down By The River B and B

black chinned hummingbirds at San Pedro House birding area feeders picture

Two male Black-chinned Hummingbirds were at the feeder together.

San Pedro River wildlife near our b and b is more than just the birds. Being located on the San Pedro River in St. David, Down By The River B and B presents many opportunities for our guests to view wildlife from their rooms or while they are on the patio. We are frequently asked “Do you have any wildlife around on the property?” One guest asked this when we had a small deer herd not 50 yards away from where we were standing. The mule deer blend in so well that the guests never saw them until I pointed them out.

I have photographed mule deer and Javelina next to the house in the early morning. I don’t like to have the javelina around since they can be vicious when they have young around. Usually when they hear noise, you will see them quickly leave the area. We also have skunks and squirrels; you can read about an adventure we had with them one Thanksgiving. Rabbits and hares also are frequent visitors inside the patio area. Some cottontails are almost tame. I walk by them when I am doing something and can get within 5 feet while they keep eating the grass and flowers.

San Pedro river Wildlife Picture

Mule deer are frequent visitors to Down By The River.

We do have predators around also. While our b and b was being built, a neighbor spotted a mountain lion in the river that his dogs treed. We also had a young bear treed a couple of years ago by dogs at another neighbors. I haven’t ever seen track of the mountain lion but did see the bear’s tracks in the river a couple of years ago. We have also spotted a large bobcat on the property and he ignores us and keeps on walking. One time Angie and I were taking down wash from the clothes line when a grey fox came around the corner. He quickly did a 180 when he saw us. Even if I had my camera I don’t think I would have been able to get a photo of him.

San Pedro river Wildlife Picture

Javelina visit Down By the River B and B looking for mesquite pods.

At night coyotes will be howling and yipping. Sort of a reminds me of the old west movies when you didn’t know if it was a coyote or an Indian. Every once in a while you can see the coyotes on the property but they are pretty skittish around humans. We have also spotted raccoons at night on the road that leads to the river. But probably the most interesting San Pedro River wildlife we have seen is the coatimundi. Once you have seen this animal you won’t ever forget it. Click here to see a picture of a coatimundi.

San Pedro River wildlife

Cottontail rabbits are inside the patio walls feeding on flowers and grasses that grow there.

This is just a short list of the mammals that make up the San Pedro River wildlife. There are also snakes, lizards, tortoises, toads, frogs, fish, a myriad of spiders, insects, moths and butterflies.  Over the year there are 400 species of birds that can be found in the area. Down By The River is the perfect spot to view many different fauna. All you need to do is keep an eye out and have a little patience. You will get your chance to hear, see and appreciate nature. Go online and book a room so that you can partake in the viewing of the San Pedro River wildlife.

Southeastern Arizona Gray Hawk

June 7th, 2014 by Mike Hug

The Southeastern Arizona Gray Hawk is found along the San Pedro River

San Pedro River

The San Pedro River is home to the Southeastern Arizona Gray Hawk.

The Southeastern Arizona Gray Hawk can be found along the San Pedro River during the spring and summer months. In the US, the Gray Hawk is a migratory raptor found in Southeastern Arizona, the Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico (scarce in that location) and is a year around resident in extreme southern part of coastal Texas. The Gray Hawk can be found in Coastal Mexico down into Yucatan and into Central and South America as far south as Northern Argentina. Click here to see the map.

However, if you don’t want to travel out of the country, you can come to Southeastern Arizona to view Gray Hawks and stay at a world class b and b within walking distance to the San Pedro River. After we started the b and b, we discovered the Gray Hawks could be seen along this part of the San Pedro River. My first encounter occurred when we drove to the San Pedro and rounded the corner. We saw a hawk which quickly took off to parts unknown. We weren’t really sure what we saw and had no time to take a picture. We knew that it was a smaller hawk and thought we could identify it.

Southeastern Arizona Gray Hawk Picture

The Gray Hawk didn’t notice us at first.

After reviewing our Sibley’s, we narrowed it down to the Gray Hawk. After we read up on the habits of the bird in this area we found out that it was a migratory bird that nests and raises young along the San Pedro. Over the years we wandered along the San Pedro and saw Gray Hawks many times. I either didn’t have the camera or I could never get my camera up and focused before the bird was gone. I wanted to have something that I could show our guests when they asked if the Gray Hawk was in the area. It was frustrating for me not to have a photo of this hawk while I had many other photos of other hawks. Lady Luck was not with me many times.

Cochise County Bird Photography example

Lady Luck allowed me to spot this Gray Hawk and take a photograph of him before he took flight.

Recently, we were headed into town and I decided to grab my camera as we left. I really didn’t expect to see anything but you never know. When we came around the corner onto Escalante I saw a bigger bird on a pole. I knew it was a hawk. We stopped and I shot a quick picture through the windshield. The windshield was rather dirty but at least I would have the picture so I could figure out which bird we were seeing.  We moved up a little closer.  I opened the car door and slowly got out. The hawk stayed on the pole and I got my zoom lens focused on the bird. I had 4 shots before the hawk took off.

After we got home, I downloaded the pictures onto the computer. When I enlarged the photos I was glad to see a Southern Arizona Gray Hawk.  Lady Luck finally allowed me to get my photo after almost 10 years of trying. And to think I almost didn’t bring the camera on that short trip. Now my quest is for a picture of the Mississippi Kite that is in the area.

Southeastern Arizona Gray Hawk Picture

After my fourth shot the Gray Hawk took wing and left us behind.

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