Safford Surprises

G & I have established a Thanksgiving tradition of finding nontraditional places to hike. This year’s adventure took us to Safford, AZ located  just 2 hours from Tucson. If you have read my travel posts before, you know G is always on the hunt for coffee. Always. That’s how we found the wonderful establishment Candy’s Ice Cream Company.


This lovely throwback establishment  is a coffee/ice cream/ deli/Friday night band havin’ shop that simply charmed us.


We ordered coffee laced with an espresso double shot fresh and delicious.  Visiting with the Barista/soda jerk/sandwich artist, she proudly states that the Owner is the former Mayor! In fact he normally plays in the band on Friday nights.


However, there wouldn’t be a live band tonight as SANTA was coming to Safford, AZ.  She invited us to a town wide party & we promised to return for the festival.


Fully satisfied we had explored the Main Street downtown, On to the hiking at  Black Hills Byway.



Black Hills Byway is on BLM land. This info sign states “no shooting ”


There is also a sign designating the center of a fire agate cache. Collecting is even encouraged.


Fire agate lying on top of the ground.


We came prepared with shovels and buckets but I kept getting distracted by the sheer beauty of this place.


High desert splendor came complete with a pair of camera shy hawks and a random grave. The marker says “Convict Shot 1916”.


We traveled through several ranches.  Some of the ranches have been in families since the 1800’s like the Twin C Ranch.


I found it cleaver that the local ranchers had an abundance of  white cows. They really show up against the black rocks. We saw several high on the cliffs and wondered if they were big horn sheep, no just cows. This one has found a  way to hide in plain sight.


Since I  was unable to secure a room at the local bed and breakfast we  stayed at a Best Western. I thought I would be disappointed  but earlier that morning, back at Candy’s, we had shared  our hotel choice with our Barista .   She said had a cousin, Leslie,  would be working the front desk by the time we would check in.  She & G came up with a scheme that he would pretend to know cousin Leslie.   She  shared several details about her cousin and sure enough Leslie was manning the front desk.  The shenanigans  almost worked until G said he had gone to school with her.  Leslie doesn’t miss a beat though and says “I KNOW!  You were the troublemaker” and THAT  is how Leslie and I instantly became friends. She even upgraded us to the Honeymoon Suite.  SCORE!


Clean up and off to dinner at Manor House for a $9.00 prime rib.


You might think that a $9.00 prime rib couldn’t be good but it was delicious.


These dead heads always freak me out a little. Especially while eating meat.


He looks quite judgmental and seems like he is yelling.

The food was great  and we had a fun waitress who was also looking forward to the end of her shift so she could head out to the festival.

Main street seemed ready to welcome Santa and we were not disappointed.



The street filled with food booths,  human snow globes, bounce houses,stations for children to make  gingerbread houses and ornaments, a movie in the park, lots of Christmas shops and even  an “ice skating rink”.


The town burst at the seams with all the families. It seemed no one stayed home. I am not sure what that woman is doing to the little girl in the picture below, but I assure you she is not blindfolding her for a kidnapping. Probably.


I was mostly impressed by the friendly atmosphere of Safford.  Also I found that during the festival there was a  lack of trash on the street and general goodwill these neighbors had for each other.  I have lived in a few small towns but never experienced this sense of community I felt here. Safford-ians are a  unique bunch of kind folks.  We snuggled down in our warm comfy Best Western Honeymoon Suite looking forward to the next day’s adventure. Who knew Safford Arizona would be such a treat.







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