Friday, October 18, 2013

An Observation about Antiques and Onward to New Mexico

I wanted to add an additional aside to my last blog post about passing through the Midwest.  I mentioned that I had met an antique dealer in Kansas who liked to visit the flea markets in Long Beach and Pasadena to buy antiques.  I found this very surprising.  I would have thought that it would be profitable to purchase antiques in the Midwest and sell them in California, but I now think the opposite is true.  Antiques command a higher price in the Midwest!  That being said, we met a couple in the tiny town of Rock Port, Missouri who ran one of the most beautiful antique shops we have seen, specializing in antique glass and pottery.  I wanted to give them a little plug on my blog.  Their names are Don and Margaret Ireland, and their shop is 3-Korners Antiques.  Stop and see them if you are ever in the area, or contact them if you are a collector and looking for rare pieces.
Now I can move along with my story!  I last left you as we were crossing into New Mexico, where we spent the night right over the border in Chama.  Our room at the Y Motel had a tiny kitchen, and check out the vintage stove.  So cute! 
Although just barely in New Mexico, I could feel the difference immediately.  The culture changed.  The art changed.  And the landscape changed.  The fall colors now included shades of orange, and made for a symphony of color as we headed towards Taos.  Even though there was frost on the car when we woke up, the day turned warm and sunny with a bright, clear blue sky.
We passed a fascinating project along the way called the "Earthship Biotecture", which was a dramatic community of homes built using recyled materials such as bottles,
and tires, and harnessing solar energy.  I believe some of the homes in the project are available for rent, so look it up if this is of interest to you.
Next we crossed over the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, which is the seventh highest bridge in the United States, at a towering 565 feet, offering a beautiful view of the gorge.
We arrived in Taos around 3:00 PM, and unfortunately we only had that afternoon to visit the town, so it was a bit of a whirlwind.  Taos is a small town loaded with galleries featuring very high quality art, and the town has a powerful spiritual energy.  We were able to visit several galleries, a fine art show featuring local artists, and a Festival of Textiles in the park (with a rainbow of gorgeous yarns).
We left shortly before dark, and stopped in Espanola, just north of Santa Fe to spend the night.  The next day we headed into Santa Fe, and I was smitten from the start.  The sky is a clear brilliant blue like no other, and the architecture is pueblo style,
with so many interesting details unique to the Southwest, like this custom painted door,
and this tree hung with crosses.
Red chiles hang from the porches.
And there are about 200 galleries in Santa Fe.  Along with wonderful paintings and photography, you can find designer cowboy boots,
fabulous jewelry,
provocative sculpture,
artistic glass,
and so much more.  We spent some time visiting the Native American Craft Market, and made new friends while trading our Mexican Fire Agates for turquoise. 
At one of the local churches, even the statues wore turquoise,
and a local artist came out to sketch some architectural details.
We spent two days in Santa Fe, and one of the highlights for me was visiting the Georgia O'Keeffe museum.  She was a real inspiration to me almost 30 years ago when I first learned how to paint, and being in the museum with her original work, and watching her narrate a film about her life brought tears to my eyes.  It was a great thrill for me to be there.
The last thing I wanted to mention about Santa Fe is the food.  It is to die for!  Here is the hand made whole wheat sopapilla stuffed with ground beef and topped with green chile that we enjoyed at the Roadrunner Restaurant,
along with the home made pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.  Heavenly!
Our last stops in New Mexico as we made our way home were in Gallup and Window Rock, where we learned about turquoise, silver, Navajo and Zuni jewelry, and Native American Pawn.  We brought home some beautiful pieces to sell at future shows, with the crowning piece being this old Navajo pawn ketoh (bow guard), used by hunters to protect their wrist from the snap of the bow string.  A real collector's piece.  You know where to find me if you are interested!
I'll save our last stops of Kingman and Oatman Arizona, both noteworthy, for my next post!  Thanks as always for following, and sweet dreams to all.

xo Linda


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hitting the Highlights from Wisconsin to Colorado

We've covered a lot of ground in the last three weeks.  After crossing South Dakota and southern Minnesota, we reached Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Thursday night, September 19th, and spent the next ten days enjoying time with my family.  We were happy to have a chance to visit the Milwaukee Art Museum, situated on Lake Michigan.  Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the museum is a dramatic piece both outside,
and inside.
I especially enjoyed the paintings in their collection by the German masters, and also discovered that they have an extensive art library on the premises.

We were also lucky enough to catch a Rock, Gem and Mineral Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  There we got to make new friends, learn more about specimens from the Midwest, share our Mexican stones, and bring home some Michigan copper.  A fun and rewarding day!

After leaving Wisconsin, we traveled through Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska before reaching Colorado.  Expecting some boring scenery, I was in for a big surprise.  We had beautiful weather, with bright blue skies and temperatures in the 80's, and each landscape offered its own unique charm.  We tried to stay off the main interstate, and instead took smaller roads, which offered wide open spaces, gentle rolling hills and nary a car in sight. 
A noteworthy dinner that first evening of catfish nuggets and coleslaw with home made apple crisp for dessert was had at "Big T's" in the tiny town of Brayton, Iowa.  Charming, friendly, inviting and downright delicious,  we love supporting local businesses.

Traveling to Abilene, Kansas the next day, we had another delicious dinner at "Ike's Place", and then spent the next afternoon exploring the large number of antique shops in town.  Notice this trash can that I spotted outside one of the shops.  Auntie Em, Auntie Em!  Can Toto come, too?
Ironically, we met several dealers in Abilene that love to visit both the Pasadena City College and Long Beach Flea markets in the Los Angeles area, to bring back treasures for their shop in Kansas!

Crossing the border into Nebraska, we happened upon a farm that was raising buffalo, and we stopped so I could snap their picture.  As I approached them, I noticed one of them was peeing.  Moving closer yet, suddenly they all started peeing at once!  Even though they seem so big and burly, I must have scared them.  As soon as I stepped back a bit, they stopped.  The things you learn.
We enjoyed a beautiful Nebraska sunset on the drive that evening,
and landed in Limon, Colorado, where we spent the night at the very economical (we're talking $37.75 per night including tax) First Inn Gold, managed by Lee and Tamara Martin, US Air Force retirees.  Although the hotel needs some work, it was overshadowed by the Martins warm, welcoming nature, and their interesting history.

As we got deeper into Colorado, we spent our next night in Monte Vista, elevation 7,664 feet.  It was our amazing good fortune to happen upon the Rio Grande Motel, where owner and bow hunter Tom was kind enough to pose in the lobby with several of his trophies (and Eduardo).
He shared a lot with us about his deep love for the outdoors, and about both the joy and the hard work he experiences with bow hunting in the nearby mountains, at elevations reaching 11,000 feet.  We admired his amazing spirit and passion. 

After a great dinner at "The Mountain View Restaurant" we settled into our cozy room which was charming and photo worthy.  The space heater (which we needed that night because the temperature plunged into the low 30's) was cute as can be,
as were the "fish" sheets.
You know we are all about economy when we travel, and at around $50.00 a night, I would highly recommend the Rio Grande if you are passing through Monte Vista.  And say "Hi" to Tom for us.  He'll remember us as the ones who asked all the questions!  He was a very patient man, indeed.

Our final stop in Colorado was the town of Creede, a small mining town close to the New Mexico border, which sits at an elevation of 8,852 feet.  Time to take out the winter jacket and gloves!  The drive to Creede was as pretty as picture postcard, especially with the Aspen trees changing color.
The town is equally picturesque, with shops, restaurants and galleries, most of which close in October after the tourist season closes.  The exception was the beautiful "Rare Things" gallery, which stays open all year round, featuring jewelry by many different artisans, large preserved and mounted insects, and rocks and gems from around the world.  The owner also has a particular love of bats, and had many unique and beautifully preserved bats in the store.  I hadn't seen that before!
At the far end of town there is a narrow one lane dirt road called the "bachelor's loop", where you can drive past the mining museum,
as well as several mines.  The town once produced silver and gold, but is now known mainly for its production of "sow belly agate",  so named because of its resemblance to bacon.
The road out of Creede was, of course, gorgeous.
We traveled through South Fork and Pagosa Springs and the drive was breathtaking.  Deer and elk abound in this area,
and we got to enjoy the aspen trees one more time.
We bid farewell to Colorado and all its natural beauty, and crossed the border into New Mexico, where we spent the night in nearby Chama.  It is there that I will leave the story for today!  Thanks so much for following, and I wish you all sweet dreams and buenas noches.

xoxo Linda