Philip Keesee and Ramon Robles never planned on getting into the bed-and-breakfast business in their retirement years. But with the real estate market peaking, properties in Tucson no longer made sense for the longtime Denver residents. So, they expanded their search to spots outside Tucson. “Mind you, this is way outside Tucson,” Robles jokes.
Where the couple landed was DreamCatcher Inn at Chiricahua, which original owners John and Julia Kirk had operated for nearly a quarter-century. The Kirks were ready to retire, and the numbers made sense. And so, for the past year, Keesee and Robles have been making the B&B their own while keeping regular guests happy. “Those are some hard shoes to fill,” Robles says. “John and Julia were really great cooks.” Here, Keesee interjects: “But we’re really great cooks as well.” “I was getting to that,” says the man now known as “Chef Ray” in online reviews of the B&B.
The expansiveness of the nearby Chiricahua Mountains and the surrounding Southeastern Arizona terrain is a contrast with the inn’s intimate feel. Three rooms — now renamed the Roadrunner, Hummingbird and Gambel Quail — are typically available, and each features a comfortable king bed, a walk-in shower, a flat-screen TV and reliable Wi-Fi. The larger Javelina Room, which serves as Keesee and Robles’ personal guest room, is made available when the other rooms are at capacity.
But guests typically don’t spend much time in their rooms. Each stay includes one of Keesee’s breakfasts, which during a recent visit featured a hearty breakfast casserole, fresh fruit and yogurt. Robles handles the optional three-course dinner, which includes dessert and a glass of local wine or other beverage. Meals are served in the dining room (pictured), where picture windows look out on a backyard that welcomes white-tailed deer, javelinas and numerous bird species.
Off the property, Chiricahua National Monument, just to the northeast, is the main destination for some guests, but others visit Whitewater Draw, Tombstone, Bisbee or wineries in the Willcox area. And many visitors enjoy sunsets in the inn’s courtyard while swapping stories around the fire pit. Keesee and Robles cleared some of the trees on the grounds to open up views of the Chiricahuas, and they’re planning to add a hiking trail.
Although it wasn’t their initial plan, the couple have embraced their new direction and are enthusiastic about sharing their out-of-the-way gem with guests.
“We want people to come and experience the beautiful mountain views we have, the sunsets and how relaxing it is just to get away from the cities,” Keesee says. “We lived in the city for a long time, and I like retiring to an area where it’s not so crazy.”
DreamCatcher Inn at Chiricahua
13097 State Route 181