“Are you a birder?” the gentleman on the opposite side of the sturdy wooden breakfast table at Casa de San Pedro asked me as we each dug into our fruit cups.
“Uh, no, I’m afraid I’m not.”
“That’s OK,” he replied. “If you stay here long enough, you will be.”
Perhaps the website of this 10-room inn in southern Arizona should have been a clue to its target market: www.bedandbirds.com.
But even if you’re not searching for the next feathered friend to add to your life list, Casa de San Pedro makes a relaxed base for exploring this natural area 90 miles south of Tucson.
Owners Patrick and Karl bought this 10-acre property bordering the San Pedro River more than a dozen years ago, so they’ve had time to develop the amenities that give this inn its personality.
They’ve created an informational book for guests about the inn and the area, filled the comfortable sitting room with books, and set out a help-yourself selection of pies on the sideboard every day. Coffee and tea are available round-the-clock, too.
The guest rooms, decorated with southwestern carved wood furniture, sit around the pretty courtyard. They’re not fancy (and the carpets could use an update), but they’re quiet, comfortable, and filled with nice touches like birding magazines and handy bedside reading lamps.
The bathrooms are pretty, too, with brightly colored tile work.
In the mornings, guests take their hearty breakfast around the two large tables in the dining room, swapping bird tips and other ideas for things to see and do.
During my stay, breakfast was a “Dutch baby,” a puffy souffle-like creation topped with fruit and berry syrup.
Just outside the property’s gate is the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, where (despite the forbidding-looking sign) guests can wander the nature trails.
During my late-in-the-day walk, I saw nothing more ominous than a local fellow on horseback and the afternoon sun illuminating the tall grasses.
Casa de San Pedro is located south of the city of Sierra Vista, which has plenty of dining options. Just a 10-minute drive from the inn, you’ll find the area’s best pizza at Pizzeria Mimosa, where the signature pie pairs prosciutto, mozzarella, and red onions with nutty pistachios – an unusual, and unusually tasty, addition.
Sierra Vista bills itself as the “Hummingbird Capital of the United States,” with many types flitting around the hiking trails in the Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon Preserve, a short drive from Casa de San Pedro.
Ramsey Canyon is also home to the Arizona Folklore Preserve, a unique concert venue dedicated to preserving and presenting traditional western music. Every Saturday and Sunday, you can enjoy a toe-tapping “cowboy concert” by performers from Arizona and other western states.
You don’t have to be a birder to find plenty to do in this region of southern Arizona. And if you stay at Casa de San Pedro, you might even find yourself learning something about birds, too.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books, Moon Handbooks: Ontario and Living Abroad in Canada. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. Casa de San Pedro, in conjunction with the Arizona Office of Tourism and Cochise County Tourism, hosted my stay for review purposes.