Spirit Tree Inn partners, Mary Jane Pottebaum and Thomas Bartholomeaux, offer you a unique blend of skill and personality that’s wonderfully suited to fostering a time of relaxation and discovery in Patagonia, AZ. Mary Jane, a Southern Arizona native, sets the tone to find just the right mix of privacy and assistance for each guest. Tom, also a Southern Arizona native, brings the results of his gifts and long experience in the hospitality industry in some of Arizona’s finest kitchens to your dining room each morning with a delicious gourmet breakfast.

They work hard to create a unique atmosphere for the guests of the Spirit Tree Inn, located on 52 private acres nestled in the Coronado National Forest. Our Southern Arizona bed and breakfast provides the perfect vacation or weekend getaway destination for birding, hiking, and a myriad of other activities, as well as just relaxing and enjoying the beauty that surrounds us. The Spirit Tree Inn and its hosts are pleased to offer an ideal setting, comfortable accommodations, gracious hospitality and truly fine food to ease you into wonderful days, rested and nourished.

Also included are our animal friends. Our official greeters are our two cats, Sue and Callie. The cats, who were raised by our old dogs, think they are dogs and even come when called. Then there are our horses. They include Mischief, (who thinks he is a person) Deseo, Gracie, and Etos, a 30-year-old Arab gelding.  Add to all of these horses a donkey named Angel, who can hear miles away with her big ears. We have a wide variety of animals to cater to all ages.


The Spirit Tree Inn, which offers lodging near the small town of Patagonia, Arizona started as the Rocking Chair Ranch. The property was bought in 1923-24 by Alvin E. “Buchie” Buchenberg, the son of German immigrants, who co-founded the Auto Lite Company, an auto parts company. It was later given to his daughter, Margaret, as a high school graduation present. Margaret ran it as a cattle ranch. She loved ranch life so much that she eventually married Lloyd Gatlin, whose family ranched in the area. For a time, she was disowned by her father for marrying, what he called, an uneducated cowboy. She was welcomed back into the family after Buchie met Lloyd and found he wasn’t so bad after all. Lloyd and Margaret sold the ranch in 1945 or ’46, moved to a ranch in New Mexico and finally moved to Oklahoma in 1949. The ranch changed hands about every ten years until it was broken up into parcels in the ’60s after the owner passed away. The Rocking Chair Ranch name is still alive in Santa Cruz County just .2 miles up Harshaw Creek Road where a descendant still owns the name. She had to finally quit running cattle in the canyon in 2007. The lease was picked up in 2008, and there are cattle running in the canyon again. The Spirit Tree Inn’s main ranch house is made of adobe, wood and plaster. A wood structure was built first, so they could live on the property. Over a two-year period, adobe brick was added around the wood and then plastered on the inside. The temperature in the house varies by only 4-6 degrees up or down depending on the season. Much later the outside was also plastered and painted.

The Spirit Tree Inn, with its tranquil location, stunning scenery and comfortable, private accommodations is a perfect place for a private spiritual retreat. Rest in the shade of the massive Cottonwood tree and draw from its deeply rooted strength. With 2 private casitas, as well as a limited number of guestrooms in the ranch house, you can count on lodging for your spiritual retreat that is not overly crowded, a secluded getaway that will allow plenty of breathing room.

The Hopi people, a native nation whose pueblos are in northeastern Arizona, use the roots of the Cottonwood tree as the authentic material from which to carve Kachinas. These figures represent spirit beings, the katsinam, who dwell in the mountains of their homelands. There are numerous spirits represented, mostly benevolent, but some intended to scare children into proper behavior. Artifacts of this religious practice have been dated back to the 1300’s in Arizona.

There really is a Spirit Tree here at our secluded Patagonia, Arizona guest ranch. A massive Fremont Cottonwood tree dominates the view from the front of the Ranch House. It symbolizes what this special property is all about. Solid, deeply rooted in the earth, reaching up and out, it takes only what it needs from the environment and returns comfort and shelter to those who encounter it.

In the days before water came in plastic bottles, the sight of a cottonwood tree signaled the presence of precious water to those who lived in the southwest. It was known by many as “the water tree,” pointing to an oasis where life could be sustained and spirits refreshed.

Today water is easier to find, but places hospitable to refreshing one’s spirit are increasingly rare. When you experience an Arizona vacation at the Spirit Tree Inn, you’ll know you’ve found one of the great ones.


Technically, it’s a desert, but bring a sweater when you visit the Spirit Tree Inn!

If you’re new to exploring Arizona, you might think every part of the state is sweltering in the summer. Not true. We are above 4,000 feet in elevation and a haven for those in the know to find moderate temperatures year-round. Ranchers, before the age of air conditioning, knew where to put their homes to avoid the need for lots of supplemental cooling. We’ve just followed their example and have created a comfortable and secluded space for an Arizona summer getaway.

Escape the harsh winter weather of home and experience a beautifully mild Arizona winter vacation. The Patagonia, AZ area is full of interesting activities and attractions with which to fill your days, while the hospitable atmosphere of the Spirit Tree Inn is sure to be a refreshing escape.