BISBEE — She knocked the ball out of the park with the renovations that turned a historic home into uniquely Bisbee lodging accommodations, but the latest one she smacked may never be found as her latest endeavor, the strikingly beautiful Hacienda Del Avion at the Bisbee Airport, flung open its doors in September.
Gretchen Bonaduce, successful author, actress, producer, singer and now proprietor, moved to Bisbee last year in July after she bought the historic Greenway House in the Warren District. With a lot of help from her friends, she turned the former home with apartments into a quality Bed and Breakfast destination that was gaining in popularity until COPVID-19 hit in March and she had to shut it down. Each apartment is decorated with the accoutrements of famous rock-n-roll stars, like Elvis and the Beatles.
Then she saw a huge Santa Fe home with a hangar for a plane and airstrip access for sale and the wheels started turning. Another opportunity to provide an extraordinary experience for visitors has been delivered by the California transplant.
“So many people want to get out and here eight to 10 people can gather, watch TV, cook their own meals and enjoy drinks without having to worry about driving,” she said. “This is perfect for that. And, with the airport, people can fly in, park their planes and have a place to stay while enjoying Bisbee. Our town is so special, I just want to help it. I love it here.”
Bonaduce put the listing up on Airbnb on a Thursday and the next day it was rented for the Labor Day weekend. And, it is easy to see why. When you split the cost between a group of people, it becomes very affordable.
The sprawling home with an aerial theme throughout has three bedrooms, a striking, large living room with a wall dedicated to antique clocks showing the time of day around the world, a fireplace, large screen TV, ample seating room with leather couches and chairs, an ornate, carved coffee table and a surprising amount of ambient light thanks to the architectural design.
Somehow, she managed to gather old flatware and glassware used for first class passengers of the major airlines and has them on display.
The large kitchen provides ample space for cooking, a large refrigerator and an island with plenty of room to concoct whatever type of meal lodgers want to enjoy. Above the wall cabinets are three, collectors model airplanes. The dining area overlooks the enormous backyard which has outdoor seating, a grill and fire pit.
There is also an apartment setup with its own kitchen and bath which Bonaduce’s partner for the past 12 years and general manager Kevin Starr, drummer with the Lords of Altamont and sidecar racer, furnished and sometimes occupies.
“It can be rented out, too,” he said.
There is also the Gunn Clan Pub, named in recognition of her Scottish heritage, a homestyle fun room for sports on a huge screen tv, a bar, foosball, a pool table and an arcade pinball machine.
She sees the hangar as the perfect place for special events, like weddings, and is planning on holding an Oktoberfest next year.
Bonaduce was able to save money by shopping for the furniture and décor at local consignment shops and secondhand stores, but one would never guess that’s where it all came from. The home was left in great shape, so there was little to do to ready it for opening.
Though she felt the crunch with the shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, things are looking up as people start to venture out again. And, it helped that a construction crew needed accommodations four nights a week for a contract job during these hard times.
“It was touch and go for a lot of businesses,” she said. “But, I didn’t apply for the relief loans from the government. I had enough people staying at Greenway to get me through. I feel sorry for the business owners who won’t be able to open back up. I heard there are several people who won’t be opening back up. We were lucky.”