Southwest Wings festival-goers: make reservations early!

If you’re planning to attend the Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival, make sure you’re an early bird!

A major conference will be held in Sierra Vista at the same time as the festival, so rooms will be in short supply. Visit SW Wings’ lodging page for info on sponsoring hotels, bed and breakfast inns or motels.

Be sure to make any lodging reservations well in advance!

If you can’t find lodging in Sierra Vista, You might also visit lodging facilities in the neighboring communities in Cochise County. Click on each city to find lodging within these communities (numbers in parentheses indicate mileage to Sierra Vista). Benson (35), Bisbee (24), Douglas (50), Tombstone (32) and Willcox (70).

Happy bird watching!

Roadrunner near the San Pedro River ©Cochise County Tourism Council

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Southern Arizona summers: find the cool spots, Part 2

Below are more ideas on how to stay cool in Cochise County and southeastern Arizona. See my earlier post for “part 1″ of how to find cool spots during Arizona’s summers.

Dig for cold in Cochise County’s mines. A spot in Bisbee’s Queen Mine Tour is a brisk 47 degrees year-round. So when it’s 110 degrees in the desert… well, you do the math! You can get an education on mining life while you’re chilling out inside the mines. Try one of Cochise County’s two mine tours—the Queen Mine Tour or Tombstone’s Good Enough Underground Mine Tour. Visit the Queen Mine Tour or the Good Enough Mine Tour.

Which way to the beach? Cool off at The Cove, Sierra Vista’s Aquatic Center. You can dip your toes into the pool’s beach-like entry or go head first into the diving well. There’s also water tube slides and major wave action. Call the facility at 520-417-4800 or visit The Cove’s website.

Hang out with some cool customers. Tombstone has its share of cool characters hanging around. Visit Tombstone Chamber of Commerce to plan your own cool experience in the “town too tough to die.”

Gaze into cool night skies. With cooler evening temperatures, stargazers of all levels can revel in the county’s dark skies. Contact the Huachuca Astronomy Club to attend monthly star parties or join an event at one of 15 private observatories.

Do you have more ideas on staying cool? Share it by leaving a comment!

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Southern Arizona summers: find the cool spots

If you think it’s hot in Arizona in the summer, you haven’t traveled the state much. Here are three ideas for things to do and places to go in southern Arizona to get cool.

Go underground. The average temperature inside Kartchner Caverns is about 70 degrees. Insulated by layers of earth, caves are naturally cooler. While you’re cooling off, you’ll get to explore one of the world’s top 10 living caves. Throne Room tours show amazing stalactites and stalagmites that took thousands of years to form. See these wondrous formations on touts that last about an hour. Info: Kartchner Caverns State Park website

How cool is this?! Kartchner Caverns State Park® Photo by Noelle Wilson ©Arizona State Parks

Get high. No, we’re not pushing drugs. Get high in elevation. Cochise County elevations start at around 3,000 feet, and many of the peaks top out above 7,000 feet. That translates to crisp summer air. Mountain ranges include the Dragoons between Benson and Willcox, Mules where Bisbee sits, Whetstones where Kartchner Caverns is located, Chiricahuas, between Douglas and Willcox, the Huachucas in Sierra Vista, Dos Cabezas near Willcox and more. You’ll find lots of recreational opportunities like hiking and camping in Cochise County’s mountains!

Low-temperature golf at value prices. Sitting at elevations of 3,500-4,600 feet, these courses offer a respite from urban courses. Visitors can tackle the “Rattler,” a 757-yard, par-6 hole—just one of the interesting golf experiences at Cochise County’s seven public courses located in Benson, Bisbee, Douglas, Sierra Vista, Sunsites and Willcox. For more info, check the Cochise County Tourism Council’s golf listing.

You can find out more by contacting any of the Cochise County Visitors Centers: Benson Bisbee, Douglas, Sierra Vista, Tombstone and Willcox.

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Wine, gem, fiber art, classic car and Old West events in Cochise County

May 15 & 16, Wine & Music Festival, Willcox

Carlson Creek will be one of the wineries featured

Join Willcox Wine Country members as they host a weekend of wine, live music and food to cap off the Sulphur Springs Valley Historical Society’s Historic Preservation week. Local favorite Nowhere Man and Whiskey Girl will provide music, as will The Trail Mix Trio.

Details: Wine garden open Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Six tastes and a commemorative glass for $10. For more info, visit http://www.AzWineFestival.com.

May 15, Fiber Arts Festival, Bisbee

Celebrating its 18th year, the Fiber Arts Festival will be held in Vista Park in conjunction with the Bisbee Farmer’s Market. The Fiber Arts Show will present sheep-shearing, fiber demonstrations and vendors that sell finished products along with natural fibers and equipment.

Details:   8 a.m. – 1 p.m.at Vista Park in the Warren section of Bisbee. Admission is free. For more info, call 520-642-3603 or go to www.bisbeefiberarts.com.

May 15, Guided Tour of Buffalo Soldier Historic Sites

Learn about the accomplishments and history of Fort Huachuca’s Buffalo Soldiers during a tour around Fort Huachuca. The tour is given by a member of the Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers. Call 520-417-6960 or 1-800-288-3861 for more details.

Note:  Fort Huachuca is an active military installation.  U.S. citizens may take the tour and must provide valid photo identification for all over the age of 13.

May 29 & 30, Bisbee Gem and Mineral Show, Bisbee

Gems and minerals from many regions will be on display in historic Bisbee at the Queen Mine Tour. Call 520-432-2071.

Details: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Queen Mine Tour building in Old Bisbee. Admission is free. Call 520-432-2071 or visit www.DiscoverBisbee.com for more information.

May 29-31, Wyatt Earp Days, Tombstone

Gunfight reenactments fill the streets, along with a chili cook-off, hangings, street entertainment, look-alike contests and an 1880′s fashion show.

Details: The fun begins at 10 a.m. each day during Memorial Day weekend in historic downtown Tombstone. Admission is free. Call 520-457-3511 for more info.

May 29 & 30, Willcox Rod & Classic Car Show, Willcox

The 3rd annual car show will be held in the Willcox Historic District on Railroad Ave. For information contact the Willcox Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture at 520-384-2272 or the Rex Allen Museum at 520-384-4583 or info@rexallenmuseum.org

June 19 & 20, Tombstone Gem Show, Tombstone

An exhibition featuring gems, jewelry, mineral specimens and fossils. Great for jewelers, hobbyists and collectors.

Details: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express. Admission is free. For more information call 1-888-457-3929 or visit www.tombstonechamber.com

June 26 & 27, Sabaar Shriner’s Tombstone Sweet Onion Festival, Tombstone

Enjoy a weekend with parades, costume contest, music, Taste of Tombstone and the crowning of the Onion Queen!

Details: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Allen Street in Tombstone. Admission is free. Call 520-457-9327 for more info.

May 15, Guided Tour of Buffalo Soldier Historic Sites

Learn about the accomplishments and history of Fort Huachuca’s Buffalo Soldiers during a tour around Fort

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Cochise County events: street dance, motorcycle rally, birding celebration

This weekend, you’ll find lots to do in Cochise County for Mother’s Day. In the serene setting of the  Holy Trinity Monastery, you’ll find the annual spring festival. If you’re looking for something with a little more action, try the Border to Border Run, a motorcycle rally during the day and street dances at night in Douglas. Want to commune with nature? Check out the International Migratory Bird Day at the San Pedro House, located on the river just off Highway 90 between Bisbee and Sierra Vista.

May 8 & 9, Holy Trinity Monastery Fiesta de la Primavera, St. David

The Holy Trinity Monastery will hold its annual spring festival on Mother’s Day weekend—a lovely place to take Mom! Visit more than 150 arts and crafts booths plus enjoy entertainment and food.

Details: Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Monastery, St. David, AZ. Admission is free. Call 520 720-4642, ext 22 for more info or visit http://www.holytrinitymonastery.org.

May 8 & 9, Border to Border Cinco de Mayo Run, Douglas

If you like motorcycles, this is the place for you! Bike show, car show, raffles and drawings, plus a poker crawl make for a rousing weekend at the border. Street dancing on Friday evening will feature Déjà vu, and Elvis will appear on Saturday.
The Border to Border Run starts at 9 a.m. Street Dancing will be Friday from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Gadsden Hotel, Douglas, AZ.  Admission is free. There is a small fee for specific events. Call 520-364-4481 or 520-234-3901 for more info.

May 9, International Migratory Bird Day, Sierra Vista

With talks, walks, exhibitions and children’s events, visitors can learn about birds, beavers, wildlife and native plantings. The Gray Hawk Nature Center will showcase a variety of snakes and lizards. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the San Pedro River, the Sonoran Joint Venture, Coronado National Forest, Cochise County Master Gardeners and the Bureau of Land Management.

Details: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the San Pedro House, 9800 Hwy 90, at the San Pedro River. Admission is free. For more info call 520-459-2555.

Places for more info:

Sierra Vista tourism info

Benson Visitor Center

Douglas Arizona

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Tombstone’s rose tree in full bloom

Tombstone's famous rose tree

Tombstone's famous rose tree

The trunk of the rose tree

The trunk of the rose tree

This rose tree covers over 8,000 square feet!

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Wine: A visit to the Carlson Creek Tasting Room

I tasted some great wines in Willcox today and talked with John Carlson, one member of the  family who runs the Carlson Creek, a vineyard in Cochise County.

I uploaded a short video to youtube.com. John was a bit nervous, but he did great! Check it out at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnZZ8kXvl-E

Tasting room hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday thru Sunday. $6 will get you a taste of their Chardonnay, Sangiovese, Syrah and Cabernet. Plus you get a souvenir glass!

For more info, check out http://www.carlsoncreek.com/carlsoncreek/index.jsp.

If you’d like ideas on other things to do when visiting Willcox, call the Willcox Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-200-2272.

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