A Day Trip to Tubac in a Pandemic
After 8 long months of the neverending pandemic, which reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Jim and I ventured out to preserve my sanity. We headed for Tubac to see what was left after 8 months of the shutdown and a long hot summer. Truth be told, Summer is usually a quiet time in Tubac anyway while artists prepare for a busy winter season. Many stores close in the summer months anyway. One store leaves a note out to slide your payment under the door if you buy something. We like Summertime as Tubac can get pretty crowded in the winter. Well, I use “crowded” loosely, as I am a bit agoraphobic even when there is not a deadly disease lurking in the air around you.
We do like to support local businesses, so we headed down to Tubac to see what was open and how they were doing. We planned to meet our friend Patty from Vail at the Oil and Vinegar shop at the entrance. It was a Saturday. We arrived more or less on time. it is a 45-minute drive from our part of Tucson. On the way, I noticed that new houses are going up in the shadow of the Duval mine tailings just off the freeway. Not sure why anyone would want to live there. But hey, must be cheap land. You build it, they will come.
While Jim waited in the car, I went into the vinegar store to get Miss Patty. There are a lot more Balsamic vinegar flavors now than the last time I was out and about. My favorite has always been raspberry. I wanted to taste some of the new ones but that required more work than usual. I am a lazy shopper and this was not on my list. Next time. The promised vaccine is coming like the second sun.
While Patty was shopping, we determined that we were hungry, and before we could do any more shopping, we needed to eat. However, it was only 11:15, so we went down to Tumacacori to the Chili and Spice Company to get some, uh, what else? Chili! Some of you will recall the review I wrote of the new book that Jean Neubauer, owner, recently published. It is the story of her family history with recipes intertwined. A lovely book with many family recipes. Having read it, I needed to go get more Chili powder and sauces to make the recipes.
Jean was not there. She was somewhere in Mexico. Lupita purchased 6 of our books, Southern Arizona’s Extraordinary History, so if you are down there, pick up some books, and Chili for the recipes. Tell them we sent you.
Having further whetted our appetite, we headed off to Wisdom’s, across the street, where we could sit out on the patio, socially distanced, and enjoy lunch and a margarita. Wisdom’s has the best Margaritas.
We are not daring enough to enjoy indoor dining as of yet. I’ll wait for a proven vaccine. My favorite at Wisdom’s are the Chile Relleno’s. However, this time I got the Camarones, (Shrimp). They were delicious and filling.
After lunch, we headed back to Tubac to do our shopping. Tubac cannot be shopped in one day. It is like the Desert Museum of shopping. Not to be done all in one day. Just pick your favorites, or try a new section of town to explore. There are three major streets of old Tubac, and then there is the “new” section of town. I have found the area around the plaza to be my favorite. High-end stuff and one-time furniture seem to be prevalent on the outskirts.
We needed to make our pass through the Tubac Center of the Arts where they were showing the Plein Art Exhibit. Visit the museum shop. It is a wonderful community resource.
This day, we were looking for specific items, so we knew where to go. The place where we used to get glasses was closing. The Country Store was open. I bought placemats and replacement glasses for our kitchen. Even Mexican glassware becomes dull and etched after 15 years of the dishwasher, not recommended but more convenient.
Next, Jim and I headed to the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, which is open and sold a few books. We missed going to one of our favorite pots and other paraphernalia stores, La Paloma De Tubac. Unfortunately, it sold recently and is now a residence. Another favorite of ours is the Country store, currently only open Saturdays.
We closed our quick shopping trip with a visit to Tumacookery, a kitchen gadget store, where they greeted us with hand sanitizer. Well, it is a high touch business, right?
All in all, it was a good day. We scored a few needed things and we felt like we left some goodwill behind. If you like shopping at your local stores, we need to support them. The Tubac experience cannot be duplicated online. Please support your local communities.