Tubac Things to Do

  • MEXICAN JEWELRY, TUBAC
    MEXICAN JEWELRY, TUBAC
    by matcrazy1
  • ADOBE BUILDING OF LA PINATA SHOP, TUBAC
    ADOBE BUILDING OF LA PINATA SHOP, TUBAC
    by matcrazy1
  • ADOBE BUILDING OF LA PINATA SHOP, TUBAC
    ADOBE BUILDING OF LA PINATA SHOP, TUBAC
    by matcrazy1

Most Recent Things to Do in Tubac

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    Elaborate ironwork and design

    by matcrazy1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    IRONWORK, GATE TO LA PINATA BOUTIQUE, TUBAC
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    I found this gate to adobe building of La Pinata boutique an ironwork of exceptional beauty. I've got to know that it is mostly wrought ironwork that means handmade, forged by a blacksmith using an anvil. It had to cost a lot.

    The gate is forced with decorative, bright blue, horizontal bean with boutique's yellow advertisement put above. There are pottery lamps hang on its both sides. The beautiful design of adobe building includes two colorful pots with cacti put on the ground. There are more beautiful ironworks in front of La Pinata: a round table and four iron chairs (picture 5) as well as flat metal structures depicting marching pre-historic people (picture 3-4). I found it very enjoyable and the whole design of La Pinata outdoor space beautiful :-). See my pictures.

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    Lizards in art and alive

    by matcrazy1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    LIZARD FOR $10, TUBAC
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    Apart from the most common Kokopelli I could easily find a lizard used as a motif for artists in Tubac. The artistic lizards sold as gifts and decorative items in Tubac were to be supposed to follow rock carvings of Native Americans in the Southwest. Later on during my trip I saw original lizard petroglyphs as well as alive lizards in northern and northeastern Arizona, in Utah and New Mexico. However they were never as colorful as those sold in Tubac and their tail was always straight. I have also never seen petroglyphs depicting a lizard with a spiral tail.

    I didn't see any alive lizards in Tubac. But numerous metal, colorful lizards sold in local touristy shops encouraged me to ask at the tourist information whether there are any lizards dangerous for people in the area. The very friendly lady showed me pictures of the two species of venomous lizards and told that both are rare in Arizona. These species are called the Gila monster and Mexican beaded lizard. Gila monster's venom though not deadly, can inflict extremely painful and powerful bites. The beaded lizard, though even less common in Arizona, is more dangerous. As I noticed in the picture both venomous lizards are large and must be slow. The lizards I spotted in the Southwest were small, very fast thus difficult to take a picture.

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    You could be the next dino discoverer!

    by matcrazy1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    FIGHTING DINOSAURS, IRONWORK, TUBAC
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    There are a few ironworks put on Tubac Road 22 in front of the Chile Pepper. The most interesting are metal skeletons of two fighting dinosaurus. They really lived in that area about 100 million years ago. The Sonorasaurus was discovered in 1994, by an undergraduate student close to Tubac (in Sonoita). It was 51 foot long, 27 feet high. and 35-ton dinosaur. You could be the next dino discoverer! The Latin name of newly discovered dinosaur species often includes the name of its discoverer. What about "Tyrannosaurus matcrazi"? Happy digging and hunting!!! :-)

    That two metal skeletons in Tubac were much smaller. A few days later I was in Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. I saw pictures of Chindesaurus that was discovered there in 1984. The 6 - 12 feet long dinosaur had two long rear legs for jumping and two much shorter front limbs. I think the metal artwork in Tubac may depict just Chindesaurus.

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    Blue Warrior

    by matcrazy1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    BLUE WARRIOR, TUBAC
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    I called this strange and mysterious, blue, metal artwork, "Blue Warrior." It stands on the main Tubac Road, close to the Chile Pepper (shop, ice-cream, cafe). Pay attention to its massive postument. Well, desert areas are usually not only hot at daytime (and often cold at night) but very windy as well.

    At first I thought that the Blue Warrior design is copied from a pre-historic petroglyph (rock carving) made by American Natives. Well, some of them form his trunk. But Native Americans of what is the USA now didn't use kite shields. Well, round shields were used by natives of Central America (Mexico) as I know. Head of the Blue Warrior reminds me some devils' heads I saw in the Museum of Devils in Kaunas, Lithuania. My conclusion is that an artist mixed different cultures to make the Blue Warrior. Anyway, I found the Blue Warrior exotic and interesting.

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    Hopi art

    by matcrazy1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    HOPI POTTERY, OLD PRESIDIO TRADERS, TUBAC
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    I could easily find some sort of very interesting silver jewelry and very beautiful pottery in numerous Indian shops of Tubac including Old Presidio Traders shop of probably the best choice. They were usually signed as Hopi jewelry and Hopi pottery. I had to ask a shop keeper who Hopi were, a tribe of artists?

    I got to know that Hopi tribe lived in northeastern Arizona and I thought to see them later during my trip. It seems that in times of cars and electricity (that costs) Hopi tribe, unlike many other American Natives, has switched to cash economy earning money from traditional crafts, particularly the carving and sale of Kachina dolls, highly crafted low fire pottery, and other traditional crafts such as silversmithing. Well, Hopi artists are very expensive :-(. Details in my shopping tips.

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    This car changed rural America

    by matcrazy1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    CHEVROLET 3100 PICKUP TRUCK, TUBAC
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    I've found this red, old automobile among Mexican pottery put on the ground. It was part of the outdoor display of the Country Shop. This light pickup truck - Chevrolet 3100 - was number one in sales among all pickups in the USA during every year from 1950 till 1955. I liked a lot its old, aerodynamic and smooth body as well as its windshield cut into two pieces. In the front, the grille features a horizontal design and the car has funny recessed headlamps. I asked at the shop about this automobile but its owner was off. I surely wanted to ask how much the Chevy was :-).

    3100-series Chevy pickups were equipped with 6-cylinder 90 horse power engine and 3 gear, surely automatic (it's the USA), transmission. Standard equipment included a heater and a defroster, a luxury in those days. The cab was enough large to seat three adult people.

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    Give local jelly (jam) a try

    by matcrazy1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    PEAR CACTUS JELLY BY GERRY SCHULTZ
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    In a few Tubac's gourmet food stores and eateries I found jars with exotic for me names:
    1. Mesquite Bean Jelly
    2. Jalapeno Mint Jelly
    3. Pear Cactus Jelly

    The jars didn't look fancy but I gave a try to Pear Cactus Jelly which cost some $5. Well, it was jam, not jelly. I've got to know in Tubac that they call jam jelly in the USA. The word "jam" is supposed to be reserved for connection with traffic, although for sure not in this empty part of southern Arizona. Anyway, Pear Cactus Jelly produced by Gerry Schultz tasted great, I loved it. Later on I was looking for that jelly in chain food stories including Wal-Mart and others and I didn't find any.

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    Visit Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

    by Basaic Written Dec 17, 2007

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    Tubac Presidio State Historic Park
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    Tubac Presidio State Historic Park was Arizona's first state park. It is dedicated to preserving and studying the life revolving around the Spanish Presidio established in what was then called Primeria Alta. In 1691, Father Eusebio Francisco Kino started the Tumacacori Mission and Tubac, which was three miles north, became a mission, farm or visita. The Presidio was established in 1752 to keep the peace between the Spanish settlers and the Pima Indians. Juan Batista de Anza II, the second commander of the presidio, ed an expedition that resulted in the founding of San Francisco in 1776. In 1859, the first newspaper in Arizona was started in Tubac. Stop at the Visitor's Center to pay the entrance fee and pick up a guide to the park. Admission is $3 for adults and free for kids 16 and under. The park is open 8 AM to 5 PM daily except Christmas Day. For full details, see my Tubac Presidio State Historic Park Page.

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    Shop and Eat at Plaza de Anza

    by Basaic Written Dec 17, 2007

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    Plaza de Anza
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    On the southern outskirts of Tubac is the Plaza de Anza a small collection of shops and restaurants (see separate tips). They also have a farmer's market there periodically that offers fresh foods (many of which are organically grown), coffees, art, local plants, and other crafts. I enjoyed talking to the people there especially one nice young lady who asked me not to put her picture here.

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    I liked Kokopelli a lot :-)

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 19, 2007

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    KOKOPELLI, TUBAC
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    Strolling around Tubac I could easily find a lot of pottery and metal figures depicting a humpbacked flute player (see my pictures). I had never seen anything like that before but at first sight I liked a lot that enjoyable and mysterious flute player and I even bought one to decorate my home :-). Later on I saw this motif on prehistoric petroglyphs (rock carvings) and in many gift shops throughout New Mexico and Arizona.

    I didn't know who that mysterious flute player was and had to ask at a boutique. I've got to know that this humpbacked flute player is called Kokopelli. What a name! Kokopelli is a prehistoric fertility deity. It's depicted hundreds of times in rock art, some of it over a thousand years old, located in numerous sites in southwestern United States deserts and mountains where different Native American people lived, including Hohokam and Pima people who lived in Tubac area. Like most fertility deities, Kokopelli presides over both childbirth and agriculture. He is also a trickster god and represents the spirit of music.

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    Simple and inexpensive pottery

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 18, 2007

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    SIMPLE POTTERY, TUBAC
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    I didn't go to Tubac to do any shopping. My budget at the beginning of very long drive around almost half of the country was too low to do any unnecessary shoppings. I didn't want to buy any pottery as it's uncomfortable for transportation in both a car and plane. Apart from that a very beautiful Hopi pottery I saw in Tubac cost a fortune.

    But in quite many pottery shops I easily found some inexpensive and simple pottery I liked a lot. Just look at the pots in my pictures. They cost from some $10 to $25, depends on size. I like especially not glazed pots of globe-like shape. That potery was mostly advertised as Mexican pottery.

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    Leather in Native American art

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 18, 2007

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    DEER SKIN, TUBAC
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    I could easily find a lot of various Native American items made of skin in a few American Indian boutiques in Tubac. I mean traditional American Indian leather bags and pouches, knife sheaves, mittens and gloves, puzzle pouches (once used to play a game), leather moccasins (footwear), deer, elk, moose and other skins used for clothing, leather wall hangings (used for decorative and/or spiritual purposes as fetishes) etc. etc.

    I liked some wall hangings but most of all thin deer skin decorated with simple Native American patterns painted on it (see my picture 1-2). I also liked some quality leather bags (see pictures 3-5).

    Native Americans used to be profesionals in what is called tanning now that is the process of converting putrescible skin into non-putrescible leather.

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    Dogs of Tubac

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 18, 2007

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    STEEL DOG BY DAVID VOISARD ($450 + TAX)
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    Strolling around Tubac artists' colony I couldn't stop laughing looking at steel dog sculptures walking on a brick fence and running through a yard. You may adopt them, they really need a home. They don't need to be fed, taken for a walk, no pooping in the yard, don't bark and always have a smile for you :-). Well, that one, with a smiling tail risen up in my first picture cost $450 plus tax.

    The steel dogs are made by locally known artist, David Voisard. Micki and David Voisard run Dog Chefs of America - Kitchen, Gallery and Dog Park - in Amado north of Tubac. They educate folks on improving the nutrition in their dog's diet. In Tubac they display and sell their artworks, especially during annual Tubac Art Festival (in February).

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    Javelina, hawks and armadillo

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 18, 2007

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    JAVELINA IN TUBAC
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    Frankly speaking the only alive animals I met in Tubac in April 2003 were human beings, not many, and mainly young male and female species getting off a school bus. But strolling around I have seen a few rare species made of iron and put on the ground. There are:

    1. Javelina (Collared Peccary), the only wild, native, pig-like animal found in the United States. They live from Argentina through Central America to just southwestern USA including Arizona. I met javelina's family in front of Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Saguaro National Park a day before. I have been told that in some areas of the southwestern United States they have become habituated to human beings and live in relative harmony with them despite they are sometimes called the "musk hog" because of their strong odor. Well, I have seen Americans travelling with dogs (hundreds times), cats (a few times), a squirrel (once), a rat (once) but I haven't seen anyone travelling with a javelina. Have you? :-)

    2. Birds of prey (picture 2-3) including red-tailed hawk which lives around Tubac. It may be seen along with other birds and animals in Bog Hole Wildlife Area, east of Tubac and Patagonia. It's the area for watching mule deer, white-tailed deer, black-tailed jack rabbit, bobcat, and javelina. It's a pity I didn't get there.

    3. Nine-banded Armadillo (picture 4-5) which doesn't live in Arizona but eastwards, mainly in Texas but armadillo has been rapidly expanding its range both north and east within the United States. They go towards Chicago and New York City. Good luck :-). Armadillos are small placental mammals, known for having a bony armor shell. I unsuccesfully tried to spot them in Texas in 2004. Well, they are nocturnal animals (like me :-).

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    Spices and herbs - natives to the Americas

    by matcrazy1 Updated Feb 17, 2007

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    CHIPOTLE CHILI PEPPER
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    I haven't found any groceries in Tubac but southwestern gourmet food is available in some eateries like the Chile Pepper at 22 Tubac Road. I remember most bright red chili peppers drying on the sun and numerous (over 100, I think) herbs and species from all over the world.

    I didn't understand English names of most of them and had to ask a shop keeper about some spices and herbs originated from the Americas. I was even going to buy some powdered species for sandwiches which my wife made during the trip but my English vocabulary for species and tastes was too poor me to understand exactly what rhe shop keeper told to me. So, I didn't buy anything. A plastic bag of these species or herbs cost from $2.50 to $4.75 without tax. Let me only say about two species which were unknown to me that time and which I bought and tried later during my trip:

    1. Chipotle chili pepper - used originally in southern and central Mexico
    Chipotles are smoke-dried jalapeno chilis used primarily in Mexican and Mexican-inspired cuisine. Typically, it takes ten pounds of jalapenos to make one pound of chipotle. I surely know small jalapeno chilis from the hot, burning sensation that it produces in the mouth when eaten. Chipotles are milder and add smoke taste to dishes :-). They can be purchased in many different forms. I have seen chipotle powder, chipotle pods, chipotle adobo (it's a meat or chicken marinade) in a can, concentrated chipotle base and wet chipotle meat marinade.

    2. Habanero chili pepper - used originally in Southern and Central America (Amazon basin mostly)
    The Habanero is famous for being the hottest chile peppers in the world. It has been estimated that the Habanero is 30 to 50 times hotter than the jalapeno! I made a mistake and bought it later during my trip to add some spice to my wife's sandwiches. Don't ask me what happened to my mouth after first use :-) The Amazonian Indians had to have iron mouths.

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Tubac Things to Do

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