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by Barbara-Jeanne Blank

Like a mustang, Tombstone—Arizona’s “Town too Tough to Die”—was born on its feet.  Silver built the town in the 1870’s in Apache country and silver still drives it … Apache silver and tourist silver.

Here are your best bets for spending a little of your tourist silver while you’re in Tombstone:

#1 Madame Mustache – located on the south side of Allen Street between 4th and 5th and right next to Big Nose Kate’s saloon. You can gussy yourself up in town clothes and “have your pitcher took,” buy some western-type gifts for the folks at home, and fudge—yes, fudge. Be sure to buy an extra chaw. You just might need it on your next activity, the …

#2 Stagecoach Ride – not too many city streets where you can climb up on a matched-Percheron, steel-based, Old-West lookin’ stagecoach. Use that extra bit of fudge you bought at Madame Mustache’s emporium to sweeten up the driver and any hold-up artists you might run into. And now that it won’t blow off, mosey on over to…

#3 Russell’s Roadrunner – and pick yourself out a Western hat. The store opened in 1865 and has been selling to dudes and townspeople ever since. Choose firm and fancy felt or flirty, fly-whopping straw. Prices are anywhere from $17.95 on up to… well, it depends on how dudified you want to get!

After you have done all the touristy things like Bird Cage Theatre and OK Corral, it’s time to eat. My present favorite is…

#4 Nellie Cashman’s Restaurant – in an historic (aren’t they all) building at the corner of 5th and Toughnut Street. This family-run, non-smoking eatery has great food, good prices and an ambiance like dining in Granny’s parlor. It’s a “pass those potatoes over here, and take some for yourself … mind your manners, little girl, and use your napkin” sort of place. Also head down to …

#5 Six-Gun City – (make sure you get one of those coupons they hand out on the street corners) home of the $2 margarita, where you can pan for gold while eating your ice cream. They’re on Toughnut, too.

#6 Bird Cage Theatre – where you can scare yourself silly in the creepiest, most interesting theatre, saloon, bordello and gambling establishment on this planet.

Directions: From Tucson, head south/east on Interstate 10, turn south on Highway 80 at off-ramp 304, mind the speed limit through St David and pedal straight on to Tombstone. You’ll pass Boot Hill – just sayin’ – and then be on Fremont Street. At this point, best parking is usually a right turn on 6th and a block down near the high school on Allen. East/west streets are normally blocked to traffic. You may want to locate the restrooms—one set just across the street is not always open. The other is diagonally across at the other end of Allen, in a nice little city park.

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