On Aug. 7, twenty travelers of the Nature Club headed to Tombstone, Bisbee, and Douglas for a summer excursion. Lunch at Big Nose Kate’s in the historic district of Tombstone was our first stop. After a sumptuous lunch, some shopped, had photos taken in old-time outfits, visited museums, toured the Good Enough silver mine, or headed to Bisbee early for our scheduled 3:30 p.m. Queen Mine tour. There we learned how copper mining was done in the late 1800s and early 1900s before there was equipment that enabled pit mining. We sat astraddle a little train that took us deep into the mountain, and our tour guide gave us first-hand experience stories of his years working in the mine.
A storm was brewing, but we all made it to Santiago’s Mexican restaurant just as it began to sprinkle. As we enjoyed beer and margaritas, thunder, lightning, and heavy rain caused the lights to go out in Bisbee. Luckily, the chef was cooking on a gas range, and so by candlelight we enjoyed our delicious meals. The electricity came on just in time to pay our bills, and we enjoyed the cool evening air as we returned to our respective hotels, the Eldorado Suites above Brewery Gulch and the Letson Lofts hotel on Main Street.
We had a leisurely Thursday morning with a deadline to be in Douglas at 3:00 p.m. for a tour of the historic Gadsden Hotel. Nearly three years ago, a young Douglas couple purchased the Gadsden to preserve its history and make it a destination. They have spent much time, money, and effort to restore the hotel’s basic functions but also to preserve its grand marble staircase and its Tiffany stained glass windows. The hotel, rebuilt in 1929 after a fire, has 130 rooms but there are currently only 22 that have been renovated for occupancy. Now the Gadsden has become the location for weddings, memorial services, business meetings and company retreats. The new owners cleaned out the 8,000 square feet of basement space and created a speakeasy bar with the look of prohibition times. Anel Lopez, our gracious host, spent an hour showing us the basement and third floor, revealing to us what it looked like when they bought it and the crazy things they encountered as they began restoration, including a haunted room. The tour was the highlight of our trip.
Since the dining room and kitchen are undergoing renovation, Anel arranged for us to have a limited-menu dinner in a lovely room decorated for wedding receptions. They temporarily are using a tiny kitchen in the basement to support the bar, speakeasy and breakfast café. Several of us enjoyed happy hour at the Saddle & Spur Saloon before dinner.
On Friday morning, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast and excellent coffee drinks in the little café. It was the perfect finish to our adventure. To learn more about the Gadsden Hotel, visit its website at thegadsdenhotel.com.