Friday, January 9, 2009

A Magical Day in Bisbee

Two days ago...woke in the campground above the Queen Mine in Bisbee, AZ.
I was having a slow morning and thought we'd walk down for the 10:30 am tour but realized that Alan preferred the earlier one, so we got ready and went there. And...

At the ticket booth, a male tourist and I started to chat with the usual openers including...Where are you from? When I responded he said -- Oh, my wife used to live in Binghamton.
Turns out that couple and us were the only ones on the first tour of the day AND the woman Debbie B., worked at probation when Alan worked at the Alcoholism Center (we're talking over twenty years ago) and they had professional contact! We had a good time catching up.

Yes, I wrote previously about enjoying Tombstone. Cute and hokey Tombstone. This was different. Bisbee was a copper mining town and the tour we were taking was in one of the mines that closed in the mid-1970s:

"In almost 100 years of continuous production before the Bisbee mines closed in 1975, the local mines produced metals valued at $6.1 billion (at 1975 price) one of the largest production valuations of all the mining districts in the world. This staggering amount of wealth came from the estimated production of 8,032,352,000 lbs of copper, 2,871,786 ounces of gold, 77,162,986 ounces of silver, 304,627,600 lbs of lead and 371,945,900 lbs of zinc!"

The guide was a former miner, as are all the he knew what he was talking about and inserted some personal anecdotes, like the time -- the scattering of the white cockroaches presaged a cave-in.

Check out the Queen Mine tour at this site -- you can even watch the video

A lovely artsy town -- some Woodstock of old mixed with a slice of Jerome, AZ -- but locals will say Bisbee is all of itself. Forbes lauded it as one of the 20 "Prettiest Towns in the Country."

See the weird photos last entry -- I loved the house with the orange stuff. Did you notice that there were a bunch of Etch-A-Sketch's hanging?

Drawn to the open artist studio through the glass, I walked into Uptown Tribal, the glass bead and jewelry store of Kate Drew-Wilkinson. A fun interaction with her...a character, an inspirational woman, artist, former thespian, and world traveler. Her and her store manager had me engaged in conversation, the three of us laughing and chatting excitedly.

And I bought a necklace of magic beads. The necklace was fashioned by Kate but the beads were made by another woman artist, out of acrylic. Very hard to describe and the description will only undermine the specialness...but, what the heck; the closest thing to it is the mood rings of the 1960's. The beads turn colors, based on temperature and supposedly, "body chemistry." But the changes are subtle and slow and the variations beautiful. Didn't I write -- it is Magical?!

A friend of Kate's walked in and when the conversation was over, it was decided that I would walk with this new woman over to her gallery, PanTerra, a few blocks away.
Of course we got to talking and I learned that she and her partner moved to Bisbee four years ago and that she used to be a clothes designer. It wasn't until we were looking at some clothes she carried in her gallery that I realized that I owned a jacket she designed -- she is Maralyce Ferree and I own a purple (no surprise) fleece Ferree jacket purchased in the Sweetheart Gallery of Woodstock.


Judith said...

This was very interesting. You both seem to be learning new things on this trip.

Keep well.
Judith & Vincent.

Barbara said...

Thanks. We continue to enjoy. How are you faring with this winter weather?