Bisbee is full of surprises.
It’s hard to believe it today, but at the turn of the 20 th century Bisbee was a gold- and copper-mining mecca that was home to about 20,000.
It was the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco.
Now, the town has plenty of value of a different kind. Lining picturesque Main Street are mom-and-pop stores that range from eccentric to cosmopolitan.
There’s a store that sells just honey — in several different flavors — and gourmet restaurants like Cafe Roka, which allows you to create your own wine flights. There are great vintage stores. And don’t miss the counterculture-oriented Atalanta Music and Books, located in an old JC Penney storefront.
Located about 90 miles southeast of Tucson, this artists’ outpost is also a tourist destination thanks in large part to the now-defunct Queen Mine, which gives public tours seven days a week.
Take Interstate 10 east through Tucson to Benson, then exit on state Route 80 south. The drive takes about 3 1 /2 hours.
The buzz on Bisbee
Stay: At Shady Dell RV Park, 1 Douglas Road, (520) 432-3567 or www.theshadydell.com. Rent a renovated Airstream trailer decked out in 1950s period decor for $35 to $75 per night, or go all-out in the 38-foot Christ Craft yacht for $150 a night.
Eat: At Rosa’s Little Italy, 7 Bisbee Road, (520) 432-1331. Traditional Italian favorites done to perfection, and you can bring your own wine.
Shop: At Va Voom!, 1 OK St., for retro anything — from vintage martini shakers to vintage cowboy boots — and kooky pop culture kitsch, like studded leather lunch boxes. (520) 432-9976 or www.vavoomdesigns.com.