My friend Amy and I wandered into Superior while participating in a trek along the Arizona Trail. But I understand a lot of other people enjoy a visit to the Boyce Thomas Arboretum during their visit to the region.
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Lunch at Porter’s Cafe in Superior, Arizona
The first afternoon Amy and I drove into town not sure what we would find, but hoping for a fun spot and a quick lunch before we picked up Melanie on the trail. At first, the options along the spaciously wide Main Street looked a little dismal. But then we heard music coming from the end of Main Street.
It was such a beautiful day, we simply zipped through the front door of the old building then outside on the patio. We grabbed an empty table under an umbrella capable of seating six. But it was the only empty table. So in a minute, the server asked if we would mind sharing a table.
Four guys from Alberta Canada joined us. We enjoyed great conversation and a great lunch while a 70s rock band played our greatest hits. But had to leave too soon and did so without so much as taking a single picture.
Who does that in the 21st century with cellphones in every hand? (The pictures you see here, I lifted, with permission, from Porter’s Facebook page)
The Story of Porter’s Cafe in Superior, Arizona
It turns out the place has a great story. It’s Porter’s Cafe, so named because the original owners of the 100 year old building was named Porter. But in 2010, a guy named Billy Holmquist bought the building. Billy, it turns out, has been the construction coordinator for movie sets for the better part of 30 years. He’s worked on some big name movies: Tombstone, Rush Hour 2 and 3, the Bad News Bears, Night at the Museum, Water for Elephants and more.
As a result, Billy has some cool props and sets from movies. I never saw a 2004 movie called “Little Black Book” with Holly Hunter, Kathy Bates and Ron Livingston. But if you did, you’ll recognize the bar that’s now inside Porter’s. Yep, Billy built that.
In one of the empty store fronts across the street, Billy stores a whole bunch of cool stuff from movies. If he’s around Porter’s when you visit, he’ll likely take you on a tour. So that’s a reason we’ll go back to Superior, Arizona.
Sleep and Eat at Magma Hotel in Superior
As Amy and I drove along Main Street, we could tell something was happening in this collection of buildings on the corner of Main and Magma Avenue. So, the next morning, after we dropped off Melanie at a fresh trail head, we decided to go back to Superior for a good breakfast.
Wow, we hit the jackpot! It turns out that the Magma Hotel, built in 1912 and closed for a dozen years or more, had just opened after an extensive five year renovation.
We were among the first to enjoy breakfast in the bright and cheery dining room called The Ladle. And, we were served by the new owner, Miguel Sfier. Sorry the photo is a little blurry. He was extremely busy and wouldn’t stand still.
Despite how busy they were, Miguel asked housekeeping to show two nosy travel journalists around the hotel.
The Magma Hotel has 47 of the cutest guest rooms, all decorated simply but elegantly. Each one is just a little different from the next. The bathrooms are modern and spacious without being overdone.
After the nights we had spent roughing it on the Arizona Trail, these looked heavenly.
However, while on the trail, all we we worried about were rattlesnakes, wild javelina, the occasional bear and prickly cactus.
Apparently, a night at the Magma Hotel has other challenges that might keep you awake throughout the night. But a visit from a ghost might be worth it for a night in one of those soft and cozy guest rooms in Superior, AZ.
Get Out & Explore Rural Arizona
While you are exploring rural Arizona, you might find your way to the Biosphere. Remember what that was all about in the 1990s?