I had just completed our feature on Apache Country in Cochise County for this Guide when I realized that I had better find a place to dine and lodge nearby that you can enjoy while taking in the beauty and history of Southeastern Arizona.
A few weeks ago (early November, 2011), Ms. Karen, friend Sue, and I were out investigating Chiricahua National Monument and we happened across two places worthy of your consideration.
First, Sandy’s is a twofer. Her place is actually Sandy’s Restaurant & RV Park. I can’t speak for the RV Park adjacent to her diner (yet), but I have to tell you Sandy’s Restaurant serves really good American comfort food, including fresh-baked pies & cakes, right out there in the middle of Nowhere, Arizona.
Sandy’s is definitely NOT a greasy spoon, although given its remote location, she could easily get away with offering much less. And the prices … unbelievably inexpensive. I am sure Sandy will come to her senses and raise her prices eventually, but on our visit, I was stunned at the bill … 3 lunches; very generous portions = $21. I can hardly dine at home for what Sandy charges. If I was staying at her RV Park, I wouldn’t even bother stocking up at the grocery store.
The service at Sandy’s Restaurant is efficient and down-home friendly. If you’re out in Apache Country, do stop in for a really good meal and say “Hi” to Sandy from us.
A few miles to the east is the remote, and very special Sunglow Guest Ranch Resort (the last 2 or so miles on an unpaved road).
Sunglow Guest Ranch Resort
Sunglow is as different from Sandy’s as the moon and the sun. First, Sunglow occupies 475 beautiful acres adjacent to the Chiricahua Mountains, one of the 10,000 foot-plus sky islands in the Coronado National Forest.
Sunglow is definitely upscale vacation lodging and dining near some of the most historic and scenic sites in all of Arizona. Nearly as important, Sunglow is close to some of Southern Arizona’s best vineyards and their wine tasting rooms.
Second, with ten comfortably furnished, tastefully decorated casitas, Sunglow is hardly an RV Park. Each casita has its own patio and views of the glowing mountains at sunrise and sunset (thus the name, Sunglow).
Third, whereas Sandy’s is at the confluence of two state highways, Sunglow is remote, with serious tranquility punctuated by dozens of gentile adventures and activities:
- Horseback riding
- Bird watching
- Spa messages
- Wine Tasting
And even Bocce Ball! You can be bored here if you want, but you’ll have to work at it.
Whereas Sandy is chief cook and bottle washer, Sunglow has a professional breakfast chef AND a second professional evening chef for gourmet, healthy-lifestyle meals. I have visited the dining room, but not yet eaten here. However, the reviews on tripadvisor.com are overflowing with praise and, based on what I have seen so far, I have no reason to question them.
The dining room, while definitely Western, is hardly your typical, utilitarian ranch cookhouse. This is a fine facility. You don’t have to be a lodging guest at Sunglow to dine here … IF they have available seating AND you have reservations. Appropriately, lodging guests take priority.
The staff gathers fresh eggs daily from the henhouse and picks fresh herbs and seasonal veggies from the garden. Meals are cooked to order. They offer a full assortment of liquors and an interesting selection of good wines, including many that are made nearby, such as several reds and whites from Keeling Schaefer Vineyards.
The first thing you will notice when you visit Sunglow are the grounds … beautiful, spacious, and
immaculate. Clearly, the staff here is top notch. And, even if you rent the entire Ranch for a retreat, it will never feel crowded. The maximum number of lodging guests is only 36.
Leisurely Drive Time to Sunglow Guest Ranch
- 2 hours east of Tucson
- 1.25 hours to Bisbee; about the same to Tombstone
- 40 minutes to Chiricahua National Monument Visitors Center
- 1.5 hours to Fort Bowie Historical Site (unpaved road)
- 1 hour to Cochise Stronghold (unpaved road)
- 45 minutes to Amerind Foundation Museum [/weaver_showhide]
I had a pleasant conversation with the proprietor of the Cochise Stronghold Bed & Breakfast, Ms. Nancy Yates. She showed me around the property and her one unoccupied casita – very pleasant. If I am limited to just two words to describe her B&B, they would be serene and isolated.
Unless Nancy gives you VERY specific directions, you will never find it, which is actually her marketing strategy. She has a very specific clientele in mind and does not want people just driving around to bop in uninvited. Much of Nancy’s business is hosting retreats and special events, such as weddings.
Nancy prepares special, very healthy breakfasts and has them delivered to your casita. Now, that’s service.
Cochise Stronghold is in the The Dragoon Mountains, which are quite picturesque and only about 2 hours southeast of Tucson. The B&B is situated at the base of the Stronghold, where the great Chiricahua Apache Chief Cochise found protection for his people from the U.S. Army.
To get to the Stronghold, you have to travel about 20 minutes on a good dirt road which traverses the year-round stream several times. I asked Nancy if, after a heavy rain, the stream was ever impassable. She said that in her 15 years, she has only had to tell her visitors once that they could not leave because the water was moving too fast.
This is about as good as it gets for bird watchers, hikers, and rock climbers.
Cochise Stronghold Bed & Breakfast
P.O. Box 232 Pearce, Arizona (AZ) 85625
Telephone/Fax: (520) 826-4141
Toll Free: 1 (877) 426-4141
Rates: $129 – $209
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