A Day in Bisbee, AZ

Carl Forkner

February 2013. One of the things we enjoy is going on day trips–or trips that include just one night’s stay–to explore some of the history and beauty of the area around where we live. One such place is the little town of Bisbee, AZ, known for a few important things: The Lavender Pit, the retro 60’s/70’s environment, and the best biscuits and gravy you will ever eat…

The cover photo is how Main Street looks as you come into this quaint little town that is seemingly stuck in time. In fact, except for the visitors and the names associated with the day’s topics, everyone and everything seems like you just stepped back 40-50 years in time…in a very good way. The next time we go back, we are going to spend the night in one of Bisbee’s hotels to get an even better feel for the town.

Oh, a word of caution: Don’t plan your trip on a Wednesday because many of the shops are closed on Wednesdays!

The Lavender Pit

From its name, one might surmise that the Lavender Pit is a main area for cultivating Lavender; however, this is not the case. In fact, the rock in the pit is not even predominantly lavender in color! The Lavender Pit is named for Harrison M. Lavender, who led the way to turn the area into a profitable commercial enterprise for the town, bringing Bisbee into the Copper market–a mainstay in Arizona.

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The Queen Mine in Bisbee

Bisbee has a museum dedicated to its mining industry as well as a portion of the mine that you can ride into and then walk around with a tour guide. It is actually a very well-done tour and you can learn a lot about the mining industry and how it affected Bisbee during its hey-day. The tour is about an hour long and gets very chilly as the tram goes deeper into the earth. You will be wearing a hard hat with a light, a raincoat, and belt, all provided at the tour. Details of the tour price and restrictions appear at the end of the article.

After taking the tour, the mine store has a collection of nice rock samples–rough and polished alike–available for purchase, as well as books on the mine and other remembrances. For children, there is a “fill a bag for $#.##” trough so that they can create their own keepsake.

The Mining Museum is a historical walk through the mining industry in the area.

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Old Main Street

As you approach the part of town where the Bisbee Breakfast Club sits, you will be treated to a well-kept block that takes you back a half-century to simpler times. Lining the well-preserved street of businesses are vehicles from the 1950’s and 1960’s as though people had just parked them that day. A bus–like the old Greyhound buses that used to run back then–sits at the bus stop waiting to load passengers.

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Bisbee Breakfast Club

One of the reasons that we wanted to stop into Bisbee was because of all the fuss about a little restaurant called the Bisbee Breakfast Club. We were told that they had the greatest biscuits and country gravy breakfast around and that it was worth the drive. Well, folks, we were *not* disappointed! The biscuits were about 5-6″ in diameter and the delicious country gravy definitely did not have a shortage of tasty sausage. But you had better bring your appetite because everything on the menu looks great and they do not skimp on portions. It is like the old days when a farmer would eat a hearty breakfast before a long morning in the fields (hint: you may not be hungry for lunch on the day that you eat there).


We went on to spend the night, but we had the unfortunate experience of showing up on a Wednesday (many things are closed). Bisbee is definitely a place to which we will make a return trip!

Here is some information for you if you plan on making a trip to beautiful Bisbee, AZ:

Queen Mine

478 Dart Rd, Bisbee, AZ 85603

31°26’24.8″N 109°54’45.7″W

Phone: 866.432.2071 or 520.432.2071

Directions from Tucson – approximately 90 miles

  1. Interstate 10 East to Exit 303, Highway 80 – Benson, Tombstone, Bisbee
  2. Highway 80 east approximately 49 miles to Bisbee
  3. After the tunnel, take the 2nd exit – Historic Old Bisbee exit. Exit right.
  4. The Queen Mine Tour driveway entrance is 50 feet straight ahead. Parking is available at the tour.

Note the prices and footwear restrictions on their website at http://www.queenminetour.com/Mine-Tours

Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum

5 Copper Queen Plz, Bisbee, AZ 85603


Open 10am to 4pm DAILY (except holidays).

Bisbee Breakfast Club

The BBC is located ay 75A Erie Street, Bisbee, AZ 85603

Phone: 520.432.5885

Open 7am to 3:05pm DAILY

Website (including menus):  http://bisbeebreakfastclub.com/locations/bisbee

The Lavender Pit

31°25′55″N 109°53′57″W

The pit covers an area of 300 acres (1.2 km²), and is 900 feet (274 m) deep.

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