Why not just stay in a hotel?
I get that sometimes. I’ve talked about “why” before. And we do stay in hotels – on this trip to New Mexico, the last two nights were in a Residence Inn in Albuquerque, and there’s no question it was the right decision – close to the airport for our Friday morning flight, a pool and a basketball court, “free” breakfast that I don’t have to fix…yes, just what I like – someone else taking care of me, wear-out-boys-activities – for that day before re-entry.
But for this trip, and where I hoped to go, a hotel just wasn’t going to work for the major section of it – the section in which I wanted to explore west and north of Santa Fe. Plus, that space. I’m a gonna be 52 next week, and I like space, and to be able to shut doors between spaces. Plus a washing machine.
Well, I suppose it could have worked. We could have just stayed in a hotel in Santa Fe, but the more I studied it, the less attractive that was. It just seemed to me that the hotel situation in Santa Fe settles in two extremes, with not much in the middle: you’ve got either very high end with smaller rooms,as well as internet, parking and breakfast you have to pay for near the Plaza or in resorts outside of the city, or you’ve got – not exactly low-rent (although there’s that!), but a long strip of serviceable chains on Cerrillos Road leading into Santa Fe from the southwest.
When I was planning, my finger did hover over a couple of those chains, but then I found this particular rental I’m going to talk about at a comparable price. Then, when I actually arrived in Santa Fe and drove up and down Cerrillos Road a couple of times, I was very glad I hadn’t stayed in one of them – oh, it was fine, but it was simply a busy, unattractive business thoroughfare, and the experience would have been akin to any number of nights I’ve spent in chain hotels at exits off interstates across the country – that’s not why I fly across the country, for a week of that.
La Lomita is the name the owners have given to their wonderful, immaculate house that sits in the shadow of the Black Mesa, just a little north of Espanola, which itself is a bit north of Santa Fe.
(Small world moment. Love those. The owner is a permanent deacon from Minneapolis. In the B & B we stayed at the first two nights of our trip, the only other guests were a couple who are active Catholics in that archdiocese, and while they didn’t know this particular deacon personally, they knew of him. And here we all are in New Mexico…)
Once again, I was thankful for whatever circuitous, intuitive route of internet searching that led me here, and for the fact that there was actually a vacancy during the time frame I wanted it.
The house itself was great: full kitchen, 1 1/2 baths, every single thing you’d need. I had the main bedroom, Michael slept on a futon in a study/office, and Joseph slept on a huge futon in the living room.
There was no air conditioning, so we learned how to control temperatures in a New Mexico house: keep the windows and blinds shut during the day, then start opening everything up in the very late afternoon – it worked.
Best of all – the yard.
The Black Mesa.
A neighbor dog named Dot.
We never climbed the Black Mesa. Noises were made indicating a desire to do so, but one of the mornings we were there, we climbed up a formation that was the next-highest to the actual Mesa, and that was hard enough. In addition, from that standpoint, we could get a good, realistic look at how steep the Black Mesa was – so that was a “no” I didn’t actually have to say.
It was ideal. In the mornings, Michael would pop outside and explore by himself, reveling in a sense of freedom and independence there on the rocks, even though I could see and hear him almost every moment — so we were both happy.
In the evenings, after a day of seeing things around – having taken less time to drive than we would have than if we had stayed in Santa Fe, anyway - we could sit on the porch, watch the sun set and wait for hummingbirds.
And yes, it provided more of those, hmmm…I think I could live here…meditations. Part of me could – I can see the seduction of the New Mexico landscape, and we weren’t even in O’Keefe country – not quite – it was a little bit north and west of us. But in the end, I think the dryness would get to me. Not physically – although my eyes would start bothering me every day around 4, like clockwork – but just the lack of water. Because it is, you know, a desert. Like that deer, I’d be yearning for that running water, I’m sure.