March 30, 2012

Retirement Sometimes Needs A Lot of Nothing

Betty and I needed a bit of a break from puppy duty and a change in our normal satisfying retirement routine. So we booked a quick 2 night/3 day trip to one of our favorite little corners of Arizona: the small town of Patagonia. Located in a region of wineries and vineyards in the southeastern part of the state, Patagonia is the place we go to step off the world for awhile.  

"Downtown" in all its glory
With only 800 residents this town is so small it is special. There are three restaurants in town, but two of them are only open certain days of the week. There is one coffee shop, a two-pump gas station, and two bars. A handful of B&B's and one motel, a half dozen art galleries, a small performing arts center and a medical clinic pretty much make up the town. So, one doesn't come here to be entertained or choose from a large array of dining options.

We come because it is quiet. The air is clear, the days sunny, and the nights crisp. The B&B we prefer has an absolutely amazing backyard. It takes a real dose of will power to get out of one of the chairs in one of the dozen sitting areas or the two-person hammock. The planting rivals any place we have ever stayed. The owner cooks a breakfast that would equal anything you would find in any major city.

This is the center of bird-watching for Arizona. While that isn't our thing, thousands of folks do head for one of the preserves nearby to catch glimpses of their favorites. If I ever decided to become a "birder" it would be because of the fabulously inventive names of some of the local species: white-breasted nuthatch, ash throated flycatcher, yellow-rumped thrasher, and a bridled titmouse. I can only imagine the thrill in finding a pied-billed grebe perched on a branch in front of me.

Hiking, and ghost town exploring are more our style. Betty and I have visited a few of the old mining towns that are scattered throughout the area. A former railroad track bed has been turned into part of a simple but pleasant three mile hike that starts just 2 blocks from our room.

Patagonia Lake is 10 minutes south of town. Dozens of Ramadas and picnic tables invited us for a few hours of sunning, watching ducks, reading, and simply soaking in the silence. On a Monday afternoon there were no more than half a dozen people in the entire park.

For a town of so few people I was extremely impressed with the town library. Located just across the street from our lodging, it is modern and very well equipped. Nearly a dozen computer stations, several rooms packed with books, and even a children's play and reading room gave the library the look of something belonging in a much bigger town. I talked for awhile with one of the librarians who told me the town residents are reading fanatics. Since there was a used book sale underway Betty and I bought an armful of interesting looking titles to help support this vital community resource.

Sometimes a break is the best way to recharge your internal batteries. And, sometime the best way to do that is to do nothing. Since that is what we needed, Patagonia fit the bill perfectly.



We will go back.

19 comments:

  1. Looks like a lovely get-a-way. Thanks for sharing a part of Arizona I didn't know existed.

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    1. I will have to go see it when we are in Arizona for longer than one week. Thanks for letting me know about it. Looks like a very interesting place to visit.

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  2. Juhli and Roberta,

    Everyone needs a Patagonia..a place that is safe, dependable, and with a dependable experience. It might be fun to spend a few weekends finding your version wherever you live, and visiting Patagonia when you are in Arizona.

    BTW, a lot of folks, inlcuding many Arizona residents, have no idea of the state's wine country. It is booming and produces some high quality products.

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  3. Thank you for sharing a lovely piece of your state. I agree that sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. I enjoy going to the Texas state parks for this very reason - I call them my 'running away from home' trips.

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    1. An upcoming post is going to address the benefits of "enforced inactivity." Doing nothing is highly underrated! Thanks, Cari.

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  4. A town of 800? It sounds like you are in my world now. The area looks quite beautiful and inviting.

    My wife and I are also taking off next week for a short vacation. While we don't have a new puppy we do have a "hunter" cat (salamanders seem to be his speciality lately) and a 65 lb Basset hound (both rescues). We will be heading to Omaha NE and staying at a renovated 100 year old hotel there and touring that beautiful city. Maybe some of Warren Buffet's investing savvy will rub off on me while I'm there :) I get bored I guess going to the same place more than a couple of times so we just pick a new city to explore each April.

    BTW....I was getting error message "bX-sbrr54"trying to post this comment this morning so will try it again now.

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    1. One of the times I tried to leave a comment on your blog but Wordpress wasn't happy, was about your trip to Omaha. I had a client there for a few years and remember it as a clean and pretty town. You wrote about the warehouse district that wasn't developed when I was there in the 90's. I think it is great when cities will take old, run-down areas, spruce them up, and re-purpose them.

      Have a great time and take pictures!

      From what I can gather, the error code you got is a random code number generated when there is a problem with the template. A few hours ago I was doing some experimenting with the template of the blog. Maybe you tried to post during that period. Thanks for the info.

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  5. Thanks for sharing Patagonia ... loved the photos ... can definitely see why itvwould be hard to get out of one of those chairs ... such a lovely place to just be ...

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  6. First of all, good luck on the jackpot tonight. Your blog post says you have fallen for the fever!

    My wife took well over 400 pictures during our 3 days. I picked some of the most representative of this lovely B & B. Glad you enjoyed them.

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  7. We need to take a day trip to Patagonia soon. We are kind of wine snobs so we like to do the wineries. I always find so many beautiful picture taking opportunities. I think your have whetted my appetite.

    I loved the pictures of the outdoor furniture and patio settings. The colors popped off the page.

    b

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    1. Elgin and Sonoita are the towns that have the wineries, but Patagonia is only 12 miles away with much more atmosphere and the best place to stay.

      If you haven't been to Tubac that is an absolute must. It is a tremendous artist community, with probably 50 galleries, a dozen restaurants, and a nicely maintained historic Presidio. There are two stores we visit a few times a year just to buy colorful pots for the backyard. It is only 30 minutes south of Tucson on I-19.

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  8. Joe and I have been to Patagonia on one of our birding trips to southeastern Arizona. It is just as lovely as your pictures indicate. Thanks for reminding me of some very happy memories.

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  9. Oh my, someone who has actually been to Patagonia! If you are birders then I bet you've been to the Nature Conservancy's Preserve, which is a world-class site for birding. I'm glad I could bring back your positive experiences.

    By the way, I just found out the official population is now just over 900. Things are booming in town!

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  10. Sounds like a great place! And looks like one, too, judging from your photos. We were recently in Bisbee (which is nice) and Sierra Vista (which is not much to write home about); sorry we missed Patagonia. Well, now it's on our list for the next trip ... thanks for the tip!

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    1. Bisbee is one of favorites, too. It is quirky and filled with fascinating buildings and people. With about 6,000 people it is booming metropolis compared to Patagonia.

      Sierra Vista is not much more than a giant army base and all the support services to keep it running. We've never found much to see there, though sometimes it is cheaper and easier to stay in SV and then drive the 20 minutes to Bisbee.

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  11. It looks lovely. One of my favorite places is (and will always be) Naples, FL. Yes, its hot and the bugs are, er...agressive lol, but one of my children was born there and it always takes me back to a more innocent time.

    I'm glad you enjoyed!

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  12. I had a business client in Naples for a few years and a time share condo on Siesta Key for 20 years (about an hour north of Naples). I much prefer southwest Florida over any other part of the Sunshine State. Humid, yes, but the gulf is beautiful.

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  13. It looks like a great place to unwind. So far, my wife and I aren't great unwinders. I think it may be time for us to learn.

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    1. You just went to Venice. You must have spent some time just staring at the water and beautiful buildings!

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