Art in the Park, Sierra Vista by Cathy Murphy

Cochise County Shows Off Its Artistic Side

By: Arizona Office of Tourism

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March 19, 2018

Take part in creative ventures throughout this southeastern Arizona county.

About the author

Arizona Office of Tourism

These articles are brought to you by the staff of the Arizona Office of Tourism, and occasionally local tourism organizations around the state.

Lavender mountains, Mexican chocolate ale and mastodons? Oh my! When it comes to Cochise County, you may think the yellow brick road ends at the dusty boots of a cowboy and his tired horse, but that is truly where it all begins.

Steeped in history, Cochise County is a go-to for cowboy stuff and all things Western, but it’s worth exploring its artistic bent. Tucked in the southeast corner of Arizona, this big county has loads of creativity to share – from little galleries and hole-in-the-wall restaurants to large festivals and incredible landscapes. Discover the courage, heart, mind and magic of the creative touches in the “Land of Legends.”

Creative brews and big-time flavors

Tombstone Brewing Company’s creativity puts their barrels to the test. The just-bottled Brett Saison, fermented in an oak barrel and imparting hints of pinot grigio and white chocolate, is a knock-your-socks off, lightly soured brew treat. While you’re there, taste the Mexican Chocolate Old Ale, made in a classic English style…except for the Hatch chile, chocolate and vanilla flourishes. Talk about inspired!

Sierra Vista is rich with culinary selections and unexpected international mom-and-pop eateries. Save room for authentic German food between stops at Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Italian and Thai restaurants. Add flourishes of regional Mexican dishes and high-brow gastronomy, and you have a flavor-packed buffet of culinary delights. You might even say it’s legendary.

Local artists, musicians and vintners

A banjo musician plays for the crowd during a recent Bisbee After 5 art walk.

Since the 1960s artists have been heading to Bisbee, and with more than 10 galleries in this picturesque hamlet, there is bound to be something to catch your eye. Once a booming copper-mining town, today’s Bisbee is firmly established as community of, and for, artists. Meander the streets and you’ll see the creative touches on its historic homes. Swing in for the second Saturday Bisbee After 5 artwalk (pictured above) and rub shoulders with artists and musicians at the galleries. Or head to Bisbee in September for the Bisbee Blues Festival.

In Sierra Vista, the first weekend in October has meant Art in the Park for nearly 50 years. One of Arizona’s largest outdoor art events, Art in the Park brings vendors from across the Southwest, offering wares from pottery to jewelry, photography to fine art. Circle the date on your calendar today.

Looking for an upcoming festival? Willcox is home to both the annual spring and fall Willcox Wine Country Festival. The approaching Spring Festival (May 19–20, 2018) will feature 15 Arizona farm wineries with ties to the region, more than 45 local artists, crafters and top musical acts. Rated by Fodor’s Travel as one of the top 10 wine festivals in North America, Willcox Wine Country Festival is a weekend-long celebration you – and your glass – won’t want to miss.

Visitors get creative, too

After an afternoon of wine tasting in Willcox, visit Rix’s Tavern where you handle the grill, displaying your fancy steak-and-potato culinary skills. Perfectly pair your meal with your new favorite Willcox wine.

Explore your pottery skills at The Pottery Studio @ Sierra Vista Open Lab. Try your hand at painting pre-made pottery, or practice hand building, sculpting and throwing clay.

Point and click your camera to easily capture some of America’s most amazing landscapes, from the Wonderland of Rocks at Chiricahua National Monument to the canyons of the Huachuca Mountains to the top-of-the-mountain view from Coronado National Memorial. Even if you don’t believe you have an atom of imagination in your body, Cochise County will tug on your creative senses.

Admire Mother Nature

A view of the Amerind Foundation and Museum from the front.

Beautiful Texas Canyon is home to the Amerind Museum, a private, nonprofit archaeological research institution with exhibitions spanning from the last Ice Age to today. Its galleries feature works on Western themes and contemporary American Indian art. Amerind visitors can even observe American Indian artists demonstrating their skills in the museum’s main gallery.

Just around the corner, at the Benson Historical Museum, visitors can view artifacts, photos and pottery from the nearby Clea Brown Mastodon dig, which turned up remains of three mastodons. The rotating exhibits from local artists highlight creative inspiration taken from the surrounding areas.

Near the Arizona-Mexico border, Douglas will be hosting the fifth annual bi-national Concert Without Borders on May 26, 2018. Not only will great music entertain listeners on both sides of the line, an international Art Walk will stretch along both faces of the wall. Rich heritage, great food and music lift the spirit of friendship along the border of Douglas and Agua Prieta, Sonora.

Mother Nature is a creative diva. And she was feeling generous when she made Cochise County. Her ingenious creation resulted in an area rich in color and cozy climate. Sunsets flame with color, majestic lavender mountains embrace the region, national forests undulate hues of green and gold under vast blue skies. The climate formed by the high mountains provides temperatures that inspire year-round travel. And Mother Nature isn’t the only one moved. Click your heels together three times for an adventure to the Land of Legends. Plan your Cochise County visit now at ExploreCochise.com.

Brought to you by the Cochise County Tourism Council, (520) 432-9215, ExploreCochise.com.

 

Photo of Amerind courtesy of Amerind Foundation and Museum

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