2015 AH Classic Wall CalendarShop the AH Store >>

Our 2015 calendars are now available!

Classic Wall Calendar

CL15 $10.99

Our classic 13-month spiral-bound calendar features 30 full-color photographs and a handy map of Arizona on the back.

Order Now >>
Purchase Camping GuideShop the AH Store >>

Featured Book

Arizona Highways
Camping Guide

AGCS3 $22.95

Our newest book, which includes Arizona Highways iconic photography and maps, is sorted by region and is written for car-campers and families. Detailed information about accessibilty, amenities and fees is included for each campground.

Order Now >>
2011 AH Wildlife CalendarSee Selection of Images >>

Featured Prints

Poster Prints
Special Edition Prints

Many of the extraordinary images found in our award-winning magazine, scenic coffee-table books and exquisite calendars can be purchased as fine posters and prints.

Order Now >>
Shop the AH Store >>

Featured Gift Item

Centennial Issue Reprint

SPCENN2 $4.99

If you missed our February 100-page Centennial Issue on newsstands earlier this year, here's your second chance to get a copy of this special collector's edition of Arizona Highways magazine..

Order Now >>

  • print page
  • Tell a Friend
  • Post to Facebook
  • YouTube
  • past to del.icio.us
BULLETLodging Archive
Featured Lodging LocationQuailway Cottage is located at 152 W. Portal Road in Portal. For more information, call 520-558-0019 or visit www.quailwaycottage.com.

© Tim Fuller

Click image to view larger in separate window.
This Place Is Humming
There's nothing fancy about Quailway Cottage. No expensive linens, no exquisite breakfasts, no pampering of any kind. What it does have, however, are hummingbirds. Lots of hummingbirds.

By Kathy Montgomery

PORTAL Halfway through my first evening at Quailway Cottage, I begin to suspect the place has been misnamed. Located 5 miles from Southeastern Arizona's Cave Creek area, near Portal, the 600-square-foot cottage was named for the Gambel's quail that are year-round residents here.

But on this September day, most of the action is at the hummingbird feeders. The air is thick with whirs and squeaks. Making use of the cottage's birding guides, I pick out scores of broad-tailed and rufous hummingbirds. Even the tiny calliope — the smallest feathered creature in the United States — makes an appearance.

Flipping through the visitors journal, I realize I'm not alone in my fascination with these gem-like creatures. I feel a kinship with the caretaker when I read her opening entry. "Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration," she has written. "The hummingbird's delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning, and that laughter is one of life's sweetest creations."

Hummingbirds inspired even the poet Keats, and it's easy to see why. Extraordinary fliers, some ruby-throated hummingbirds cross the Gulf of Mexico without rest. Hummingbirds fly at full speed almost from takeoff, and stop as abruptly. They can fly in any direction with ease, hover motionless and fly upside down. Curious, bold and exceptionally brave, hummingbirds seem to live with the intensity of a pure, blue flame. And Southern Arizona is one of the best places to see them.

The caretaker tells me Quailway Cottage is popular with herpetologists and hikers, but birding is the main attraction. The most popular season here is spring, with birders descending for spring migration. I discover on my trip, however, that the reverse migration in fall has its own pleasures. These include apples picked fresh from the trees. There are six types of apple trees here — all organic — including a graft from a tree Johnny Appleseed is said to have planted.

Sitting on the back porch, watching the dozen or so bird feeders, I find more than just hummingbirds, of course. I do spot a covey of the namesake quail, as well as curved-billed thrashers; pyrrhuloxia; acorn, Gila and ladder-backed woodpeckers; Bullock's orioles; cactus wrens; and mourning, inca and white-winged doves.

I sit, captivated, until distant lightning illuminates a darkening sky and the sound of crickets replaces the chatter of birds. I sit so long, I nearly go hungry.

Quailway Cottage has a full kitchen, but I have not come prepared. So I head into nearby Rodeo, New Mexico. But just past 7 on a Tuesday night, the restaurant, bar and market are dark. The market and restaurant in Portal is also closed by the time I get there, though a kindly store clerk lets me in and allows me to buy a few supplies. I settle for a can of soup and microwave popcorn, and head back to the cottage.

Nothing about the cottage is fancy. But it contains that kitchen, laundry facilities and an amazing backyard, with a watering hole and bird feeders of every type. It's also private. And quiet — at least until morning, when the air fills again with the chatter of the birds.

>> Visit Lodging Guide
>> Back to Lodging Archive

DiningWhether you find yourself famished in Flagstaff or starved in Sonoita, there are many great spots to find a bite in Arizona... [more]

Weekend GetawaysCheck out Weekend Getaways around the state... [more]


Events CalendarEscape, experience and explore Arizona, one event at a time... [more]

External LinksFor more information about great places to visit in Arizona, view our list of links to external resources, from Native American arts to parks and national forests... [more]

site map  |  terms of use  |  privacy policy  |  corporate sales  |  about us  |  contact us

Arizona Highways Television AZ Dept. of Transportation AZ Dept. of Public Safety Arizona Highways Photo Workshops

© Copyright 2014 Arizona Department of Transportation, State of Arizona. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The images on this Web site are copyrighted, digitally watermarked and registered with the Digimarc tracking system. All rights reserved. Copying and downloading images from this site are strictly prohibited.