Friday, March 24, 2017

Lunch and a visit to the White Dove of the Desert

Mt. Lemmon shrouded in clouds

The weather closed in on us as we packed up and left Catalina State Park yesterday.   It only rained ll or 12 drops but the wind picked up and it looked threatening and ugly as we pulled out.

our huge KOA site 1670
By the time we arrived the sun was shining brightly.   The site we had been promised was taken but we found an even better one.  It's huge and quite private so I'm a happy camper.

One of Pam's "friends" is just on the other side of the wall behind Beluga.  It watches us quietly when we're outside for second cup and happy hour.

Today we went down to the little artist town of Tubac.  I was on the look out for a few little things and we wanted to have lunch at Elvira's restaurant.   I've heard lots of good things about it and we weren't disappointed.

The decor is hard to describe but fascinating and the food and service were excellent.   Sort of New York City meets Mexico in a funky, table cloth, sort of way....

After a lovely lunch of shrimp (2 ways) and a knock out margarita we strolled the streets and wandered in and out of the shops.   I wandered in and out, Dave stayed outside in the sun and enjoyed people watching.

On our way home we stopped to visit Mission San Xavier del Bac, a National Historic Landmark and a fantastic example of  Mexican Baroque architecture built in 1783.   It is aptly nicknamed "the white dove of the desert".

The blindingly white building rises starkly in the middle of a flat dirt plaza on the Tohono O'odham San Xavier Indian Reservation (formerly known as Papago).   The church still actively fulfills it's original purpose of ministering to the religious needs of it's Native community.

I wasn't expecting to spend more than a few minutes looking around and taking a few pictures but I was blown away by the intricate details inside....paintings, wooden statues, arches, frescoes, tiles, wear worn benches and hundreds of candles.   An extensive restoration effort is allowing us to see these magnificent carvings as they originally were.   The outside is still in the process of being repaired and restored.

the only unpainted statue is of a Native American woman
St. Kateri Tekakwitha
We watched the fascinating PBS movie about the restoration efforts and techniques and then walked the grounds awhile before heading home.   I'm so glad we stopped.

"Man in the Maze" is an emblem of the Tohono O'odham people


  1. What a colorful day! I, too, was blown away by the detail inside the pretty! Happy to see the cacti blooms.

  2. We've yet to eat at Elviras...looks like a fun place!

    I am not a religious person, but that particular church is fabulous!

  3. Im so glad too that you finally made it to the church, was it not fascinating as you look up and down and around!
    And yes the food and setting at Elviras is special.

  4. I love days like this! Leisurely exploring beautiful and interesting places and a great lunch....yep. We've been to Tubac and enjoyed wandering around—Elvira's is wonderfully festive. I can't believe that we've not yet made it to the mission, but we are definitely going to remedy that next time we're in Tucson. Your photos are wonderful.

  5. I definitely want to see Tubac when we're there again, and Elvira's looks wonderful!! You got great pics of the church - the detail is like nothing I've seen anywhere else. Beautiful blooms.

  6. I can't get over how much new growth the crest on that cactus has. It certainly is doing well. I'll have to go visit next year. I walked around to see it a couple years ago but haven't been back. The Mission is beautiful! Love all the details. Guess we need to visit here, as well! Thanks for sharing!