If you've never been to Bisbee, it's time to plan a little road trip. Located 82 miles southeast of Tucson, this tiny old town of about 5,500 has quite a lot to offer. Its picturesque qualities alone are worth the four-hour drive from Phoenix.
It should be noted that Bisbee has quite the nightlife scene. On any given evening, you can expect to find yourself some interesting entertainment, whether that be in one of the art galleries or hundred-year-old (possibly haunted) saloons. Bisbee has its own brewery, the Old Bisbee Brewing Company, and also claims to have the world's smallest bar. That said, this post focuses more on what to do during the day, before the freaks come out.
As most people do, I found myself visiting on a weekend. The downside to this is that the streets and shops are crowded. The upside is that you can catch the Bisbee Farmers Market. Though it may be substantially smaller than the markets we're accustomed to in Phoenix, the Bisbee Farmers Market makes up for its lack of quantity with its slow, and much more inviting, pace. Located at Vista Park in Warren (about a five-minute drive from Old Bisbee), customers are free to take their time to browse and chat with vendors while enjoying the clean air.
You'll find an abundance of locally grown organic produce and plants, as well as locally raised grass-fed meats. And you'll feel like you're truly supporting a person. Whomever you buy from can tell you exactly what you want to know about what you're buying, and most of the time, it sounds as though the items were grown literally in their backyards.
Baked goods abound as well, including gluten-free goodies. In fact, the whole town (at least the places I visited) is gluten-free-friendly. I purchased a gluten-free slice of pear pie from the Pie Pedaler.
I enjoyed my slice of pie while listening to live tunes underneath a giant tree.
The pies and treats consumed from the farmers market should hold you over while you drive back to Old Bisbee and visit Bisbee Olive Oil, where you can taste more than 40 flavors of 100 percent extra virgin olive oils and vinegars.
But rest assured, these aren't the only things you can taste in this lovely shop, whose interior still bears the 111-year-old original tin ceiling.
The store also offers amazing raw, non-GMO granola, gluten-free artisan pastas, and, my favorite, frog balls. Seriously, these spicy dill-pickled Brussels sprouts are pretty good.
Let's get back on track, though. Just about any olive oil or balsamic vinegar flavor you can imagine, you'll find here. And taste it before buying.
My favorite was the espresso-flavored vinegar.
At this point, it's time for a substantial snack. Some real food to hold you over while antique- and book-shopping, stuff that doesn't leave you feeling like you need to leave your pants unbuttoned. We chose Poco, which offers mostly organic, no trans-fat or high-fructose corn syrup Mexican-inspired vegan cuisine -- nice! To drink, they offer homemade hibiscus tea, Mexican sodas and beers, a substantial wine selection, and coffee.
We decided to try the nachos and added some fries with ketchup and housemade aioli at the last minute. We judge restaurants by their nachos. We were very leery of the vegan cheese, but this stuff was genuinely good.
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Also, the outdoor seating is charming.
And they offer plenty of hot sauces!
Have a favorite spot in Bisbee we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments section.