On the Road: Bisbee, Arizona

The West's Best Small Town to Live

Copper ore mounted in front of the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum.

The charming town of Bisbee, Arizona is proclaimed as “The West’s Best Small Town to Live.” This isn’t idle speculation.

In recent years, Bisbee has been voted the Best Historic Small Town in America by both USA Today readers and Sunset Magazine. It’s also been named as an “alive” place to retire and one of America’s quirkiest towns by the AARP publication Modern Maturity.

My daughter Jill and I spent a few hours there while I was visiting with her family a couple of weeks ago.

Jill in the doorway of the historic Copper Queen Hotel Saloon.

The day was lovely, not too warm and not too chilly. The sun shone upon us so eating lunch on the patio of the Copper Queen Hotel was perfect.

But first we visited the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum. The town, founded in 1880, was home to copper, gold, and silver miners. Since 1929, Bisbee has been the county seat for Cochise County.

I could have spent most of the day in the museum. The exhibits were fascinating. Here are two of my favorites: first a photo collage of one of my favorites–a lunchbox showing what a miner might have taken home with him at the end of the day; second a “movie in the window” showing what it was like for children to grow up in a 19th century mining town.

As we window-shopped the main street of the historic downtown area, I found this storefront. Jill had never heard of Woolworth’s but I remember when it was one of the stores frequented by my parents (though that was in Columbus, Ohio–many miles from Bisbee).

Though we browsed through a couple of thrift and antique stores, and found some really cool vintage items, I think our favorite place was the used bookstore.

Jill found a huge yet very inexpensive tome about Oscar Wilde and I picked up a copy of Blue Highways: A Journey Into America by William Least Half-Moon. We picked up three or four other books, too.

As I needed to add anything else to my “to be read” stack.

But back to Bisbee and a few trivia notes.

A view of Bisbee from the Copper Queen Hotel patio.

John Wayne was a frequent visitor to the Copper Queen Hotel.

Remember Wilson Wilson, the neighbor behind the fence on Tim Allen’s Home Improvement? That was actually Earl Hindman who was born in Bisbee.

The town has been used for several movies and television shows, including both the original and 2007 remake of 3:10 to Yuma and Young Guns II.

The town’s official motto is: An American Original.

Your Turn

Jill and I enjoyed our visit to Bisbee, and we joked about moving there while enjoying hot chocolate at a local café. What place would get your vote as the “Best Small Town in America” and why? If it’s not your hometown, would you move there given the chance?

Christmas Extravaganza: Giveaways by Inspirational Authors

#SpreadTheChristmasJoy16

spread-the-christmas-joy-k-cambronAuthor Kristy Cambron kicked off the month-long Spread the Christmas Joy giveaway last Thursday.

But it’s not too late to join in the fun as Emilie Hendryx hosts a different author every day throughout December on her Thinking Thoughts blog. All giveaways run through Monday, January 2.

spread-the-christmas-joy-d-millsHere’s your guide to catching up:

Kristy sways to the nostalgic music of Billie Holiday as she reminisces in “Christmas Yesteryears.” Enter to win a Joy to the World bookmark from her Etsy shop.

spread-the-christmas-joy-r-burkeDiAnn Mills wrote “Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child,” a story of wonder–and maybe magic! She’s giving away a copy of her suspense thriller Deadly Encounter.

spread-the-christmas-joy-l-johnsonRalene Burke shares the story of her family’s mobile Christmas tree in “Joy in All Situations.” She’s giving away a copy of her novel Bellanok: The Reluctant Savior.

What did Liz Johnson learn from watching her four-year-old niece play Mary in her own version of the Christmas story? After you read “Choosing Mary,” enter the giveaway for Liz’s novel, Hazardous Holiday.

Riley Ackerman is today’s guest so visit Emilie’s blog to read her loving tribute in “A Grandmother’s Christmas.”

Then be sure to stop in on Thursday when it’s my turn. My post is “The Moments We Treasure” and I’m giving away a copy of Where Treasure Hides.

Merry Christmas!

Cover Reveal and Book Bargains!

Today’s Highlights: Sharing the cover for the third story in the Misty Willow Series and two ebook sales!

Cover Reveal

what-hope-remembers

With all the mistakes Amy Somers has made and the uncaring things she’s done–even to her own family–she can hardly believe that happiness will find her, especially when Gabe Kendall, her first crush, rides back into her life atop a buckskin mare. However, Gabe sees beyond Amy’s hard exterior to the girl he once knew and loved, and he longs to see her open her heart. Yet with his vision clouded by shame for his past and fears about the future, he finds it difficult to see the path ahead.

But the memory of that long-ago kiss just may have the power to reignite a romance that brings out the best in both of them.

Preorder for $8.92 (releases May 2, 2017).

eBook Bargains

shadows-of-the-past-where-she-belongs-collage-croppedShadows of the Past, the first book in the Logan Point Series, by Patricia Bradley

Get the Kindle edition free (for a limited time).$4.99

Where She Belongs, the first book in the Misty Willow Series

Get the Kindle edition for $4.99 (thru November 30th).

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Rocky Ridge Farm

The House Almanzo Built

laura-and-almanzo-1940-laura-ingalls-wilder-1607684-300-441Laura Ingalls Wilder and her husband Almanzo lived the majority of their lives on Rocky Ridge Farm near Mansfield, Missouri.

This photo, according to one of our tour guides, was one of the couple’s favorites. A large print is on the fireplace mantel in their home’s living room.

At first, the house Almanzo built only had two rooms. Over the years, he added additional rooms, including an upstairs sleeping porch with several windows.

The house and grounds, including Rock House–the home built for them by their daughter Rose–are now part of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum.

Visitors aren’t permitted to take photographs inside the homes or the museum itself.

But here are a few outside shots.

Let’s start with a mural I discovered on a Mansfield store on my way out of town after a fun day visiting the museum.

From left to right: Rock House, the house Almanzo built,  and the museum itself.

mansfield-mural-resized

This is the front and back of a large sign welcoming visitors to Rocky Ridge Farm.

lwi-signs-collage

Here are two photos of the back of the house. See all the windows in the photo on the right? Imagine little Rose looking out of the windows on hot summer nights. Perhaps she’s imagining her mother’s life on the prairie or on the banks of Plum Creek.

liw-home-collage

bbq-01After touring the houses, enjoying the video, and browsing through the museum and the gift shop, my friend Lora (who drove all the way from the Kansas City area) and I went to Hucklebuck Smoke & Grill for yummy beef brisket sandwiches.

If you’re in the area, I highly recommend you stop in. Just be sure you have cash because  they don’t accept credit cards.

roadside

 

This last photo was taken on the drive from Mansfield to Memphis. These tall plants with their striking red flowers grew wild along the highways in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.

Finally I found a place to safely stop so I could take a photo. Anyone know what they are?

Laura Ingalls Wilder ‘s Rock House

Visiting the Wilder Museum

rock-house-signMy literary travels didn’t end when I left Green Gables, Anne Shirley’s home on Prince Edward Island’s North Shore.

About three weeks ago, I packed up my Vibe and headed west to visit the museum of another children’s lit favorite–Laura Ingalls Wilder.

After a childhood of moving with Pa and Ma from little houses in the Big Woods, on the prairie, at Plum Creek, and Silver Lake, Laura married Almanzo Wilder.

The couple also moved from place to place but eventually settled near Mansfield, Missouri with their young daughter Rose. They bought forty acres which Laura named Rocky Ridge Farm.

laura_and_almanzo_wilder_1885_retouched_sepiaAs the years went by, they added acreage and added on to their home.

Rose became a successful journalist, earning enough money to build her parents another home on their property.

It was here, at Rock House, that Laura first wrote her popular children’s books.

Much of the furniture and dishes inside the house belonged to the Wilders, but we weren’t allowed to take interior photographs.

The plans came from a Sears catalog, but Rose hired an architect and added her own touches influenced by her time in England and California.

Take a “photo” walk with me around the outside of Rock House. Be sure to come back next week for the exterior of the house Almanzo built.

rock-house-collage