Tombstone, Sarsaparilla and Sweet Caramels in Arizona
It always feels a bit dicey each time I visit a place I have always wanted to see. I build up all kinds of expectations (even thought I try hard not to). Now, Tombstone Arizona hasn’t exactly been on the top of my list, but growing up watching old western’s does spark a good bit of curiosity.
Tombstone was one of the last boomtowns of the west in the 1800’s. Silver, silver, and more silver produced $40 to $85 million in cold hard cash! Can you imagine that amount in the 1800’s? It’s like hittin’ the big one on every state lottery combined!
With all this money came huge population growth from 100 residents to a whoppin’ 14,000…. a bowling alley, four churches, an ice house (a big deal back in the day), a school, two banks (worth robbing), three newspapers, 110 saloons, 14 gambling halls, and a fair amount of brothels (still alive and well in Amsterdam).
And of course I can’t forget to mention it was home to the famous Hollywood stars and law enforcing Earp brothers: Virgil, Wyatt, Morgan and Warren Earp. I’m not sure how accurate the 1994 Wyatt Earp film was, but if you haven’t watched it you should. Kevin Costner and Wyatt Earp both won awards in my heart.
Yes ladies and gents, those were the days! I can’t say that the present day Tombstone is anything like it used to be, however it’s still fun to wander the street (yes, it’s really just one main street) smell the cigarette smoke and pretend those gun slingers are real (and not just manly 5 year olds playing with cap guns and driving stage coaches).
I do however need to point out 2 stops that made the trip tasty and worthwhile. The first is the fantastic bar banter with Johnny One Dog over an ice cold Sarsaparilla.
The second was the chance meeting of the some of the best caramels we’ve ever had. The couple who makes them is really nice too, but with joyous cadence of honey, vanilla and sea salt swirling in my mouth, anyone would have been mother Teresa!
Overall Tombstone is no longer the wild city it once was (but would you really want to visit if it was?) and other than some remaining buildings and costumed actors you won’t be seeing any shoot outs (unless you pay a fee). However if you are a true lover of the Wild West you will enjoy the history, the tours and the efforts of the locals in 1800’s old west costumes.