Monthly Archives: December 2009

Cochise County Tourism wishes you Happy Holidays!

Have a happy and safe New Year.

Fort Bowie Photo (c) Luanne Mattson

Cave Creek Chiricahua Mountains

Cave Creek Chiricahua Mountains Photo (c) Luanne Mattson

Rose Tree Museum

Rose Tree Museum Photo (c) Luanne Mattson

We hope to see you in Cochise County in 2010!

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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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Old West towns in Cochise County

Mining fueled Tombstone's boom town days. Photo courtesy of the Cochise County Tourism Council

Gunslingers.  Apaches. Cowboys.  The Calvary and the Indian Wars. All of these are memories of the Old West.

Tombstone is the one of the most memorable towns of the Old West. It’s a legendary Arizona town because of the Hollywood films like Tombstone, starring Kurt Russell (plus Val Kilmer and Sam Elliott), and Wyatt Earp, starring Kevin Costner (and a long list of others: Gene Hackman, Dennis Quaid, Catherine O’Hara and Isabella Rosselini to name a few).

The town of Tombstone is real; it’s not a fake town built just for the movie. And the incidents that happen in that town in 1881 inspired those movies (though Tombstone historians would tell you that Hollywood got lots of details wrong). Start a visit at the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park to find out what really happened at the O.K. Corral on that fateful day in October.

Make sure you plan more than just a day in Cochise County, because there’s plenty of Old West history to explore. Ghost towns line the San Pedro River, and with the nearby Chiricahua Mountains, the heartland of Cochise, Geronimo, and the Chiricahua Apache, you can really get a great overall view of what the Old West was really like.

Nearby, Sierra Vista has its share of Old West history as Fort Huachuca is the “Home of the Buffalo Soldiers.” The Sierra Vista Visitor Center created an audio driving tour CD to entertain and educate visitors on their drives in Cochise County. The late Rex Allen narrates the tour. He shares the area history, legends and myths. You can download a free copy of the CD, “How the West was Fun” by visiting the Sierra Vista website, or by calling 1-800-288-3861. Two drives are available: one from Tucson to Sierra Vista and one from Willcox to Sierra Vista.

Visit  the Old West and Ranching page of the county’s Cochise Origins website for an overview of the area’s history.

Have you explored any other Old West sites in Cochise County? Leave a comment below, and tell us about your experience!

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Bird watchers: 17th Wings Over Willcox festival, January 2010

Wings Over Willcox will be held once again in January (it’s on Martin Luther King weekend each year). This is a great opportunity to connect with other birding fans and to see some birds you can add to your life lists.

The Sandhill Cranes have been in Cochise County for more than a month, and they are wintering there on the Willcox Playa and in various places throughout the Sulphur Springs Valley, which stretches from Willcox south to Douglas. The cranes are a spectacular site. They cover a spot of land and are very noisy birds. Then when they take off, they are so cool watch! Here’s a picture taken by Diane Drobka, who works for the Bureau of Land Management.

Photo (c) Diane Drobka

You can still register for the birding and nature tours; they have a few spots left. You’ll need to hurry, though, if you want your first pick! The overnight to Mulehsoe Ranch Cooperative, owned by the Nature Conservancy, has been sold out since the first day! This has turned out to be a very popular part of Wings Over Willcox. Other tours like the excursion to area ghost towns sold out quickly too. I’m surprised the day-long photography workshops are not full yet. The workshops are a great opportunity to hone your wildlife photography skills!

New this year are the following workshops and tours:

  • Easy Birding Sampler–a slow and comfortably paced tour designed for birders with limitations of endurance or mobility. Per Homer Hansen, chair of Wings Over Willcox, this tour will feature a lift bus with guides that are experienced in leading tours. “We’re happy to be able to provide that,” he said.
  • Naturalist’s Saunter in Fort Bowie–a tour led by Vincent Pinto as he journeys into the incomparable beauty and diversity of Fort Bowie National Historic Site.
  • Texas Canyon and the Chiricahua Mountains: a geologic comparison–where you’ll observe similarities and differences between the rocks and discuss basic geologic concepts related to their origin and decay

The entire weekend has a terrific diversity of opportunities to commune with nature and experience birding and wildlife. And, you can learn about the local history. There’s also a beginning birding class offered in Spanish!

To find out more, visit the Wings Over Willcox website (complete with a soundtrack of sandhill cranes) and register. You can stay in Willcox or at the surrounding areas.

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Cochise County book store owner receives Humanities award

Winifred Bundy is a woman who thinks outside the box. She embodies the can-do spirit of ranchers who make their own success.

The Arizona Humanities Council recognized Bundy with the 2009 Juliana Yoder Friend of the Humanities Award.

She opened the Singing Wind Bookshop in her home 35 years ago. Most people didn’t think she could make a go of it in the small town of Benson. They assumed she’d open her bookstore in Tucson, about 50 miles away.

But she stuck with it. Today, people who love books flock to the Singing Wind Bookshop. She and her employees hold events that celebrate authors, poets and musicians. One of the most popular is the Thanksgiving Fiesta, held each year the Sunday before Thanksgiving. National and local authors share their stories, and they have music too.

You can read more about Bundy and the honor she received in the San Pedro Valley News-Sun.

The Singing Wind has no website, but you can visit the store. You can also see the shop’s location at the Benson Visitor Center website.

Visit the Cochise County website for other ideas for vacations, weekend travel or day trips to Southeastern Arizona.

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Art, music events at Cochise College, southeastern Arizona

If you are in Cochise County this month, Cochise College is holding a few events that might interest you. Check out these events featuring art demonstrations, film and musical performances. Many are free, too! Check with the college for more details.

Wednesday, December 2
Mata Ortiz Pottery Demo and Sale
Sierra Vista Campus, Ceramic Studio, Room 813 and 2-D Studio, Room 811

9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The Cochise College Art Department presents a demonstration by Lorenzo and Lucy Bugarini of the complete process of making and firing a Mata Ortiz pot. Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, December 2

In Dulci Jibilo: Holiday Choral and Strings Concert
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 11th Street and D Avenue, Douglas
7 p.m.
Internationally known soprano Melanie Germond directs the Cochise College Chamber Choir, and Dr. Lori Keyne, director of Cochise College music programs, leads the acclaimed Bi-National Chorus, in ancient to modern holiday sacred music featuring Vivaldi, Distler, Gorecki, Pärt, Victoria, Gounod, Biebl, Corelli and Buxtehude, as well as Latin American colonial Christmas works. Free. For information, call (520) 515-8759.

Thursday, December 3

Art Department Bonfires
Douglas Campus
1 – 7:30 p.m.
An event of Promethean proportions. Bring chairs and blankets and enjoy the warmth of the largest bonfires in Cochise County while watching folklorico dancers and listening to fantastic original music. Co-sponsored by the Douglas Campus Student Government Association and the Cochise College Art Department. Free and open to the public.

Friday, December 4

Double Feature Film Screening: Performance and Gimme Shelter
Sierra Vista Campus, Andrea Cracchiolo Library
11:30 a.m.
Performance – A rogue hit man seeking refuge from his boss rents a room in the home of an agoraphobic musician, formerly a rock superstar. Rated R. 105 minutes. Gimme Shelter – Arguably the greatest rock documentary of all time covers the free 1969 Rolling Stones-Jefferson Airplane concert at Oakland’s Altamont Speedway, when the Hell’s Angels assaulted a swarming crowd of 300,000. Rated R. 91 minutes. Hosted by student club Cinéaste Circle. For more information, contact club advisor Mary B. Coyle at or (520) 515-5499.

Friday, December 4
Sock Hop: Knock Your Socks Off, Cochise College
Sierra Vista Campus, Andrea Cracchiolo Library
7 – 10 p.m.
Phi Theta Kappa, the Dance Club, and the Sierra Vista Campus Student Government Association host this public event to accept sock donations for local organizations. Admission to the Sock Hop is a package and/or pair of new and unopened socks. Food, music, photo opportunities, a dance contest, craziest sock contest, and other authentic outfit contest.  Prizes vary. The event is open to the public. For more information, call (520) 515-5315 or (520) 515-5484.

Friday, December 4
Faculty Recital
Kino Hall at St. Andrew the Apostle Church, Sierra Vista
7 p.m.
Dr. Jay Kuh, Cochise College associate faculty in voice and theater, in conjunction with voice student Young Ernst, presents. Free and open to the public.

Saturday, December 5
Holiday Concert: Cochise College Band & Jazz Ensemble
Holy Trinity Monastery, St. David
2 p.m.
The Concert Band highlights Lithuanian Rhapsody (Scarmolin), Bless this House (Brahe), and Italian Festival (arranged by Glenn Osser), while the Jazz Ensemble performs swing standards like Sentimental Journey and modern jazz classics such as Herbie Hancock’s Watermelon Man. Free admission. For more information, call (520) 515-8759.

Sunday, December 6
In Dulci Jibilo: Holiday Choral and Strings Concert
St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, 900 Taylor Drive, Sierra Vista
7 p.m.
Internationally known soprano Melanie Germond directs the Cochise College Chamber Choir, and Dr. Lori Keyne, director of Cochise College music programs, leads the acclaimed Bi-National Chorus, in ancient to modern holiday sacred music featuring Vivaldi, Distler, Gorecki, Pärt, Victoria, Gounod, Biebl, Corelli and Buxtehude, as well as Latin American colonial Christmas works. Free. For information, call (520) 515-8759.

If you’re interested in visiting Cochise County’s communities, check the Benson, Bisbee, Douglas, Sierra Vista, Tombstone and Willcox websites for more information.

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