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New Best Western hotel open in Douglas, Ariz.

Best Western Douglas opened Nov. 2009 Photo (c) Best Western

A new Best Western opened in Douglas, Arizona in November.  The new hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, business center and 69 rooms, 20 of which are suites.

If you’re in the area visiting the John Slaughter Ranch museum or other Douglas attractions, you might want to check it out.

Here are more pictures I grabbed from the Best Western website.

Guest room. Photo (c) Best Western

Breakfast area. Photo (c) Best Western

Their rates are $89 and $99 a night (subject to change). They offer AAA, corporate and AARP discounts. Call the hotel at 520-364-5000 to reserve or for more information.

Happy traveling!

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Holidays 2009: Fun in Cochise County

So, the holidays are coming up. I’m already planning my Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll make apple pies for my fiance and his family this year. This will be their first taste of those pies. I hope they like them!

It reminds me of the first Thanksgiving weekend he and I took in Cochise County. We had dinner at Winchester’s in the Copper Queen Hotel. On Friday, we hiked off all those calories in Chiricahua National Monument on the Echo Canyon Loop trail. And then on Saturday we toured some wonderful homes on the Bisbee Historic Home Tour.

These annual events are lots of fun. If you’re heading to southern Arizona this holiday season, check out some of the events in Cochise County:

Nov. 25, Annual Douglas Christmas Light Parade

Annual Christmas Light Parade though historic downtown Douglas.  The light parade kicks off the holiday season with lighted floats, marching bands and a visit from Santa Claus.

When: 7 p.m.

Where: downtown Douglas

Admission: Free

Info:  Douglas Visitor Center, 520-417-7340

Nov. 27, Festival of Lights, Bisbee

The holiday season officially begins with a merry lighting ceremony and celebration in front of the Copper Queen Library. Santa will arrive in downtown Old Bisbee on a flashy fire truck with goodies for all children.

When: 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 28

Info: 520-432-6016

Nov. 27 & 28, Historic Home Tour, Bisbee

Turn-of-the-century splendor comes to life when Bisbee residents open their doors. Visitors will get a glimpse into the town’s architectural history. Docents answer questions about the distinctive structures.

Info: Bisbee Visitor Center, 520-432-3554 or 1-866-2BISBEE

Nov. 28, Art Chairs of Bisbee Silent Auction

Bid on local artist’s decorated chairs done in a variety of mediums at the 6th Annual Art Chairs of Bisbee Silent Auction. Sponsored by the Bisbee Woman’s Club, proceeds go to a local charity.

Info: Bisbee Visitor Center, 520-432-3554 or 1-866-2BISBEE

Dec. 4 & 5, Christmas Apple Festival & Christmas Lighted Parade, Willcox

Events include a bazaar with handcrafted arts and crafts vendor, raffles and fun with drawings for door prizes, apple cooking contest and entertainment. The parade will be held at dusk (about 6 p.m.) on Dec. 5. Bring a friend and enjoy two fun-filled days of surprises and holiday shopping.

When: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 4; 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5

Where: Willcox Community Center

Admission: Free

Info: Willcox Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, 520-384-2272

Dec. 5, 51st Annual Holiday Parade, Sierra Vista

This is Arizona’s longest running holiday parade and is a family event with Santa Claus, floats, marchers and bands.

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m., Dec. 5

Info:  520-458-6940; www.sierravistachamber.org

Dec. 6, Holiday Tour of Historic Homes, Sierra Vista

Visit the turn-of-the-century homes, still occupied by officers, on the National Historic Landmark District of Fort Huachuca. These homes are beautifully decorated for the holiday season.

When:  1-4 p.m.

Where: Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Arizona

Admission:  Tickets $10 in advance, $12 day of the tour

Info:  520-417-6960

Note: Fort Huachuca is an active military installation. Stringent entrance requirements are enforced. U.S. citizens may enter with a visitor pass. Required documentation includes: vehicle registration and insurance, current, valid photo identification for driver and all passengers over age 13. Regulations may change without notice.

Dec. 12, Christmas on Main Street, Benson

Street vendors, local entertainment and the Saint David High School Choir make downtown Benson a holiday delight. This down home holiday celebration culminates with a visit from Santa and a tree lighting ceremony. Presented by the Benson Chamber of Commerce.

When:  10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Admission: Free

Info:  520-586-2842 or www.bensonchamberaz.com

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National Park Service’s free admission July 18 & 19

Fort Bowie National Historic Site. (c) Luanne Mattson

Fort Bowie National Historic Site. (c) Luanne Mattson

Don’t forget about the free weekend deals offered at our National Parks this weekend, July 18 & 19, 2009. This will be the second of the three free weekends. The third will happen Aug. 15 & 16. You’ll be able to see why documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, called it one of “America’s Best Ideas.” His homage to the National Parks will begin this fall on PBS.

Cochise County is fortunate to have three National Parks within its boundaries: Coronado National Memorial, which commemorates Coronado’s quest for gold, Chiricahua National Monument, which the Apache called the “land of the standing up rocks” and Fort Bowie National Historic Site, which is the site where the Indian Wars of the 1800s began.

They have some truly spectacular scenery… and remember they are FREE this weekend. Enjoy!

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Soldiers from Civil War and Indian Wars to be reburied with full military honors

On May 16, 58 soldiers will be reburied at the Southern Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery. They served in the U.S. Army in Arizona from 1862 to 1881.

The soldiers  will be buried in a 19th Century-style military cemetery. The plot was built especially for the remains of these soldiers that were found in Tucson. It is surrounded by a stone and iron wall similar to Fort Huachuca’s cemetery.

Event: Reburial of Historic Soldiers

When: 10 a.m., Saturday, May 16, 2009

Where: Southern Arizona Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery, 1300 Buffalo Soldier Trail, Sierra Vista

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is providing period headstones for the troopers, and cemetery officials plan to erect a monument describing the soldiers’ lives during the Indian Wars. The troopers will be laid to rest with full military honors a stone’s throw away from the oldest operating Army post in Arizona.

The soldiers’ remains were found a couple of years ago in Tucson during an excavation. Originally, the soldiers were buried in a military cemetery that served Fort Lowell in Tucson during the Civil and Indian Wars.

Research showed that many of the soldiers were part of the California Column. This was a 2,300-man brigade that marched into the territory from California in the spring of 1862. Their mission was to confront and drive out Confederate troops who controlled the southern part of what is now Arizona and New Mexico. Troops from the California Column occupied Tucson on 20 May 1862. Various California units were stationed there until April 1866. Other remains represent the 1st, 3rd and 6th U.S. Cavalry regiments, as well as the 8th, 21st and 32nd U.S. Infantry who served at Fort Lowell during the late 1860s to the 1880s.Two of the soldiers were U.S. Army Indian Scouts, and one was a “Buffalo Soldier.”

Among the remains are:

  • Sergeant John C. McQuade, Company B, 2nd California Cavalry, who enlisted in the volunteers in San Francisco on September 14, 1861. He died in Tucson on July 12, 1862.
  • Private Peter Bus, Company K, 21st U.S. Infantry, who was a 20-25 year old sailor from Delfshaven, Holland. He enlisted in the Army in San Francisco on March 7, 1871 and died in Tucson of an accidental gunshot wound to the right arm on February 19, 1872.
  • Corporal John English, Company A, 32nd U.S. Infantry, who was a shoemaker from Ireland, aged 20-25. He enlisted in Boston on July 16, 1865 and died on February 6, 1867.

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Bisbee Copper Kings to host vintage baseball May 9

Ever wonder if time travel is possible? It seems it is if you ask a few passionate baseball players in Arizona. They make a regular journey back in time when they play Vintage Base Ball.

They are members of the Bisbee Bees and the Phoenix Senators. They’ll play at Bisbee’s historic Warren Ballpark on Saturday May 9, 2009.

Players who play vintage base ball use old-time gloves and play with rules from the 1860s to the 1890s. Here’s an excerpt about the game from a March 2008 article in the Arizona Republic by Dave Vest.

“The bats they used were heavier than those used today, and the fielders’ gloves were tiny, more like gardening gloves than baseball gloves. The pitcher stood on the same level as the batter about 50 feet away and tossed the ball underhanded. The uniforms they wore screamed 19th century, and each time a player scored a run that player rang a bell behind home plate to make it official. And – hold on to your pillbox cap for this one – manners not only were celebrated but required.

‘We really value good sportsmanship,’ said Tenney, a 32-year-old machinist from north Phoenix. ‘In our league, you cheer for your opponent and congratulate each other on a nice catch or a good hit. It’s something you don’t really see nowadays. These guys (in the major leagues) are paid dump trucks full of money to play a game, and yet they act like spoiled children. . . . I’m a big baseball fan, and it kind of bothers me that competition is so intense now.’

That last sentence sums up precisely why Tenney founded the Valley’s version of Vintage Base Ball.

Tired of playing in adult baseball/softball leagues with win-at-all-costs mind-sets, Tenney began searching the Internet for alternatives two years ago and stumbled onto a Vintage Base Ball site from back east.

If you’re a person who thinks baseball needs to be played this way, you might want to head to Bisbee for the weekend.

The Copper Kings will host the double header beginning at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 9 at the historic Warren Ballpark. Built in 1909, Warren Ballpark is the oldest park of its kind in the United States.

Details: Saturday, May 9 at 2 p.m. at the Warren Ball Park. Admission to the game is only $5. Find out more about the ballpark at the Warren Ballpark website.

Bisbee, Arizona is 90 miles southeast of Tucson. You can also find accommodations, other attractions and dining at Bisbee’s official tourism website, which is located in Cochise County.

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Arizona Trail–start it in Cochise County!

Have you hiked any of the Arizona Trail’s 817 miles? If you have, you know that it’s got some gorgeous scenery along the way. Part of that trail starts right here in Cochise County.

Last week, an Arizona Daily Star article announced that the Arizona Trail has been designated a National Scenic Trail. President Barack Obama signed it into law on Monday, March 30.

The trail spans the length of Arizona starting at the Coronado National Memorial, where Francisco Vásquez de Coronado led an expedition to find the “Seven Cities of Cibola.” Read its legend and lore.

Cochise County’s portion of the Arizona Trail lies in the Huachuca Mountains.

The Huachuca Mountains near Sierra Vista

The Huachuca Mountains, Sierra Vista, AZ

It is the first 21 miles of the Arizona Trail on the southern border. Most of the trail lies in the Miller Peak Wilderness, a moderate-to-difficult section of the trail, with segments along the Crest Trail and on to Miller Peak (the tallest mountain in Cochise County at 9,466 feet).

For more information on the trail, contact the Sierra Vista Ranger district of the Coronado National Forest.

Happy Hiking!

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Fairbank tells part of Arizona history

Photo courtesy of the Cochise County Tourism Council

Photo courtesy of the Cochise County Tourism Council

If you like ghost towns, check out the historic site of Fairbank. It was once a thriving depot along the rail line that took passengers from Arizona into Mexico.

Travel writer, Nancy Yackel, wrote a great post about the history of Fairbank. Visit her site to learn more.

Want to know more? Visit Cochise County and the old Fairbank town site yourself! Check out the Cochise County web site for more details.

Other ghost towns in Cochise County include Charleston, Millville, Gleeson and others. You might also want to check out another Web site devoted entirely to ghost towns. Here’s the link for those in Cochise County.

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