Hummingbird Capital of the US

Whether it’s your nature to explore centuries-old history, trek across breathtaking wilderness, or tour local wine festivals, Sierra Vista will provide vivid memories.

Old Mexico is just minutes away, legendary Tombstone is practically next door and Bisbee, with its gilded age of copper mining, is just down the road.

Hummingbird Capital of the US

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Barb B on August 19, 2004

Whether it’s your nature to explore centuries-old history, trek across breathtaking wilderness, or tour local wine festivals, Sierra Vista will provide vivid memories.

Arizona Folklore Preserve--Features live performances by Arizona's folk musicians. (Reservations are a must!)

Fort Huachuca Military Reservation--Founded in 1877, has played a key role in the settlement of Southeastern Arizona. The Fort is the home of the famed black regiment, the Buffalo Soldiers and the 4th US Cavalry Regiment. The Military Intelligence Museum and the Historic Museum are both worth seeing.

Ramsey Canyon Preserve--The hummingbird migration peaks in August with up to 14 species of the tiny bird present. Nectar-feeding bats visit the feeders at night.

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area--Forty miles of lush riparian vegetation featuring an abundance of plant and animal life.

Definitely plan for day trips to some of the nearby attractions--All are within an hours drive from Sierra Vista:
Tombstone, with its Boothill and daily gunfights;
Bisbee, with museums depicting the gilded age of copper mining;
Old Mexican towns of Naco, Nogales and Aqua Prieta for a bit of culture change; and
Sonoita and Elgin where no less than eight wineries offer local festivals and of course a taste of the grape. ${QuickSuggestions} First stop should be the Convention and Visitors Bureau, located at 1011 N Coronado Drive. Here maps and discount coupon booklets are available.

The annual birding and nature festival, Southwest Wings, happens each year in August.

Many campgrounds are available for both tent camping and RV travellers. ${BestWay} Sierra Vista Transit provides excellent, frequent service within the city and Fort Huachuca.

Miles of well-maintained bicycle paths are available and used by local cycling teams, as well as nature enthusiasts.

A car is a must if you plan to visit the nearby day-trip attractions.

Some of the nature preserves do not permit vehicles OR bikes--SO, walking becomes the travel-mode of choice!

Daisy Mae’s Stronghold

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Barb B on August 20, 2004

We were seated in one of the "brothel cribs," under the watchful eye of Taza--the oldest son of the Indian Chief Cochise. One might assume we were attending a performance at a local dinner theatre--but not the case, we were enjoying dinner at one of America’s Top 25 steakhouses,-- Daisy Mae’s Stronghold.

The building is one of the oldest in Southern Arizona and started its days as a trading post in the 1870’s. Late in the 1800's it became a brothel for the soldiers stationed nearby at Fort Huachuca. In its day, it served as a Post Office, General Store and Stagecoach Stop before taking on its current status as a restaurant in the early 1940’s.

Mesquite grilled entrees are the specialty of the house; Ribs, Chicken, Pork, Fish and a variety of Angus Beef Steaks are all on the menu. Prices range from $12.95 for the 1/2 rack of pork ribs -- to $28.95 for a gigantic 32 ounce Porterhouse Steak. All entrees are served with a generous salad; spicy baked beans, potato and bread--Truly a monster meal! Almost everyone needs "doggie bags" to tote the leftovers!

Our server, John, delivered the delicious and beautifully trimmed top sirloin which I ordered ($16.95) and my husband could not have been more pleased with the 1/2 chicken that he chose ($13.95). The chicken’s spices and seasoning, blended perfectly with the mesquite grill flavor, and furnished a unique and delightful experience. We shared a carafe of the house wine and our dinner (including tax and tip) was just under $50.

If you want to be "spooked" while dining at Daisy Mae’s, you can request to be seated in the infamous "Charlie’s Room." Charlie is said to have been a patron during the building’s brothel days and when a knife fight erupted, he lay dead on the floor. It’s said that his ghost has been present in the building ever since. Don’t know if it’s true, but I guess it makes a good story!
Daisy Mae’s Stronghold
332 N Garden Avenue
Sierra Vista, Arizona
(520) 452-8099

Bada Bings Ristorante Italiano

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Barb B on February 7, 2005

With Vinnie in the kitchen and Tony at the bar, you’d expect to see the rest of the Soprano family somewhere in the background at a place named Bada Bings!

Actually, it’s not Vinnie in the kitchen (it’s usually Chris,) and the bartender’s name is Nick. This unpretentious family-owned restaurant was recognized as Sierra Vista’s Best Italian Restaurant for 2004. Located in the town of Hereford, Bada Bing’s is just 8 miles south of the city of Sierra Vista.

Background music ranges from Andrea Bocelli to Frank Sinatra, with a bit of Tony Bennett thrown in for good measure. Painted wall murals provide reminders of the hill towns we frequently visit in Italy’s Veneto region. Candles and red roses at each table add to the romantic ambiance.

Since this is one of our favorite local restaurants, we dine here frequently and have tried almost all items on the menu. My favorite is the Peppers with Sausage. At just $13, this is a real bargain. It is spicy Italian sausages with yellow, green, and red peppers simmered in a seasoned marinara and covered with a thick layer of melted mozzarella. Husband Dutch says his favorite is the chicken parmesan -- a boneless chicken breast roasted to perfection, with just a light coating of tangy red sauce topped with parmesan melted to brown and bubbly! It’s yummy at just $15.

Garlic bread and angel hair pasta are served on the side, and an antipasto salad of lettuce with olives, provolone cheese, and salami complete the dinners. If you are really indulging, tiramisu and cannoli are two of fantastic desserts they prepare. However, we both prefer the spumoni ice cream with not just one but three (!) delicious homemade fruit sauces swirled on the plate.

We usually share a carafe of the house Chianti and the meal, including tax and tip, costs about $50 (dessert not included).

Bon Appettito, mah non manga troppo!
(Enjoy your meal, but don’t eat too much!)
Bada Bings Ristorante Italiano
7156 S. Hwy. 92
Sierra Vista, Arizona
(520) 803-0241

Fort Huachuca Museums

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Barb B on November 11, 2004

How do you say Huachuca?

Fort Huachuca is situated at the foot of the Huachuca Mountains. The name comes from an obscure Indian dialect which, loosely translated, describes a place of thunder. Today the home of the US Army and Military Intelligence Command, the fort was established in 1877 to subdue the raiding Apaches and their leader Geronimo.

Before entering the fort, you must stop at the visitors’ center, located at the main gate. Here, you will need to identify yourself and receive a visitor’s pass for your vehicle. Maps and historical information are provided here as well. A life-sized sculpture of a Buffalo Soldier greets you as you enter Fort Huachuca.

Actually, there are two museums located on the Fort: The Fort Huachuca Museum highlights stories of the Apache Wars and the famous Buffalo Soldiers, while just across the street, the newer Military Intelligence Museum details the Fort’s more recent Army communications and intelligence endeavors.

The older museum features a series of life-sized displays which uniquely depict the role of the Army and its soldiers during the Apache Wars. It also pays tribute to the dedicated efforts of the US Indian Scouts. In 1913, the fort became the home base of the legendary Buffalo Soldiers. Therefore, historical information and memorabilia of the 9th and 10th Cavalry units are housed here. The two regiments of all-black soldiers, it’s said, were so named because their hair resembled that of the buffalo.

A large sculpture of an Indian Scout pointed our way as we crossed the parade ground to arrive at the newer museum. Here, we found a walk-through exhibit of Communications and Intelligence as it has evolved and as it now exists in today’s military. A 3,000-pound section of the Berlin Wall is on display, as well as the Mercedes Ggelandwagen, which was used by the West German liaison in Berlin during the Cold War. The exhibits were exceptional, but the sound system played a song -- Down in Old Arizona Again, over and over! We spent the rest of the day trying to get the tune out of our heads!

The museum complex is open from 9am to 4 pm on weekdays, and 1pm to 4 pm on weekends. There is no admission charge, but donations are appreciated.

Oh, and by the way -- it’s pronounced Wah-choo-ka!
Fort Huachuca Museums
Fort Huachuca
Sierra Vista, Arizona

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