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Cynthia Conroy

Cynthia Conroy

By Stacey Gregory

Thanks to some good friends and fate, avid traveler Cynthia Conroy found her way to Bisbee, Arizona, in 1985. She’s been to all 50 states and 12 European countries, yet she fell in love with this little “European-esque” mining town loaded with artists, painters, musicians, and, yes, STAIRS.

In 1990, she founded the nonprofit Bisbee Vogue, Inc., which is dedicated to organizing athletic and educational events as well as providing initiatives that support healthy, active living. Inspired by the Stairmaster fitness craze in the late 80s, Conroy created the Bisbee 1000, the Great Stairclimb.

“I created a nonprofit around a demanding event that brought diverse and interesting people here, so there was no way I could leave,” said Conroy. “Like watching a baby grow up, it went from a handful of locals to more than a thousand people coming from around the USA to Bisbee every year.”

For Conroy, Bisbee is unique in its complexity for its size. It’s a small town with what every small town has: groups of people who fall into tight-knit communities. Bisbee’s groups became distinct neighborhoods: Old Bisbee, Warren, Lowell, and San Jose.

“Bisbee is known for its’ special restaurants, and people from Tucson come to spend time, find charming shops, food and recreation in Bisbee,” said Conroy. “There’s more to do here. My acronym describing Bisbee is RAAAMM, which stands for recreation, art, architecture, antiques, mining, and museums.”

Bisbee, AZ
Discovering Bisbee’s Suburban Neighborhoods

Her favorite evolving neighborhood district is Warren, originally designed following the “City Beautiful” concept at the beginning of the 20th century and the first planned community in Arizona. She urges every Bisbee visitor to explore this neighborhood.

Visitors and shoppers entering Warren on Bisbee Road will first want to visit M2Retro, an antique consignment shop with everything from exotic cars to fine pieces of jewelry for sale. 
Drive onto Arizona Street and stop in the Warren Peace Cafe for fine coffee, conversation, and light fare. Ballpark Brewing Company is bringing a third brewery to Bisbee, opening soon in Warren.

Another notable neighborhood began as a mining town before it was mostly excavated for the Lavender Pit mine, which is today’s Lowell Neighborhood. Visitors won’t want to miss the strikingly intact, historical mid-century Erie Street. A stop at the original Bisbee Breakfast Club located in the historic Rexall pharmacy building is also in order for breakfast or lunch. What started in Lowell is now available at eight locations across Southern Arizona, including five cafés in Tucson. 

Bisbee, AZ
Don’t Miss Old Bisbee Attractions

Conroy suggests not missing High Desert Café and the Convention Center for great food, and lovely, diverse gifts, plus fine Arizona wines in Old Bisbee. Of course, the stairs are one of her favorite free attractions in town. These hidden gems are mostly in plain sight, offering three miles of stairs with 33,000 stairs in 350 sets. These stairs and the walkability of Bisbee remind her of Europe.

“Why fly to Europe when you can drive to Bisbee?” she laughed. “Bisbee 1000 the Great Stairclimb is one day a year, the third weekend in October, but visitors can use these stairs every day.”

In fact, locals and guests alike are welcome to explore the stairs. The steps snake through streets and homes, with some dead-ending at a house or hidden neighborhoods with yards filled with artwork and beautiful gardens.

What’s more, many local tours are available, such as the Muheim House tour, the underground mining tour, city tours in golf carts, electric bike rentals, and tours to wine country. 
“Everyone is a tourist; they just don’t realize it,” said Conroy. “Bisbee is centrally located to so many great places; it will keep you here for at least a few days.” 

Should you need lodging on your trip to Bisbee, consider the Bisbee Ironman Suite, located in a 1904 private residence converted to accommodations. Not only does your reservation fee support Bisbee Vogue, but you can also learn pickleball, too.

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