NEW MEXICO is lovingly called the Land of Enchantment—and we can see why. The fabled landscape has been touted by everyone from Neil Young to Georgia O’Keeffe and we headed West to find similar inspiration. Greeted by the sun-drenched landscape and ethereal aura, we posted up at two unique—and very different!—Mr. & Mrs. Smith approved properties while exploring the Southwestern dream land.
Everything seemed to work synergistically, and not by any coincidence. From mountain tops precisely punched out of the blue sky to the unassuming suburban sprawl, the landscape just hands you inspiration. We looked for an even deeper understanding of the land through the nuances and details of the artists who inhabit it.
From clay to cuisine, we rendezvous-ed with several creators in the New Mexico region crafting handmade goods. We sounded off on the drive of creation, and how the connection with the landscape unfolds and promotes inspiration. In New Mexico, we continually saw this relationship between the land and the creators. More importantly the hands physically interacting and using the landscape to craft goods, putting a whole new meaning and perspective to labeling something “handmade”. The ever-present Native American influence and thematics served as a constant reminder to learn, love and grow with the nature around us. >>
Giant cottonwood trees waver along the entrance of LOS POBLANOS, welcoming you onto the sprawling property. Boasting generous hospitality and field-to-fork dining experiences, Los Poblanos is much more than a typical working farm and inn set-up. The 25-acre historical property is a cultural compound of art, architecture and agriculture—a world that abides by simple philosophies of sustainability, community and beyond. Adorned with Spanish-style architecture and antique Southwestern furnishings, we had no trouble cozying into Los Poblanos as our temporary abode.
Executive Chef JONATHAN PERNO and Head Organic Farm Manager Fergus Whitney guide us through their love of the land at Los Poblanos, and show us how to bring some flavors and attitude of the farm to our own kitchen. Jonathan whips up a simple and delicious vegetable glazing technique that’s all about maximizing what the garden gives you to produce a simple, stunning side dish and/or meal. Here’s how to do it:
A single layer of the carrots and cauliflower in a sauté pan, water half way up the side and about 1/3 pound of whole butter. Season with salt to taste and bring to a boil then let simmer till almost all the liquid is gone and the remaining liquid begins to take on a glazed texture to the vegetables and finish with half the juice of one lemon. – Executive Chef Jonathan Perno
Both Jonathan and Fergus work fervently to showcase the best of what New Mexico has to offer. Managing the on-site organic farm, Fergus explains the challenge of growing produce within the region’s constricting climate, precisely balancing water and sun exposure. He also sounds off on the underrated stigma of root vegetables.
“My favorite crops has been growing root crops like potatoes, parsnips, carrots,” says Fergus, “There’s something special about the exploration of digging and finding the crop and see what you reaped quantity wise.”
It’s the non-pretentious approach to creating everything from the perfect meal to the comfiest bed that makes Los Poblanos a time warp in the best way possible.
Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm
4803 Rio Grande Blvd NW, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico + 505.344.9297.
Rates from $270 and available through SmithHotels.com
Did we mention Los Poblanos is surrounded by acres and acres of LAVENDER fields? 13,000 plants to be exact. Aimee Conlee and Jason Bean run this smell good operation on the property—harvesting, propagating, pruning and loving each plant by hand. And then, of course, finding it’s way into the Los Poblanos Apothecary products at the Farm Shop which sits in a perky little schoolhouse-esque building on property. Oh, and you can order anything you need on-line, too.
They have everything lavender at Los Poblanos. The purple-hued herb flaunts calming and antimicrobial properties making it a great travel companion, explains Aimee.
“Lavender mist can instantly calm me without overwhelming others in my space, especially important when flying,” says Aimee. “Our lip salve tin is the perfect travel treatment for cuticles and lips.”
Hear Aimee talk more about this intuitive herb and why it’s the perfect pairing to New Mexico’s climate in the video above.
For many generations, Allison Snowhawk Lee’s family have been silversmiths making squash blossom necklaces and turquoise embellished pieces that pay homage to their rich Native American ancestry. It was only natural for Allison to create and bestow the Navajo traditions onto his three sons, as well. Meet ALLISON LEE AND SONS. Allison credits the endless beauty around him and Navajo roots as his main inspiration. And his heart flutters with great pride to see his sons’ thriving in the family business.
“The dry desert animals and landscape play into my designs,” explains Allison. “During the day, the luminous sunlight inspires with its brilliance.”
It’s one poetic phrase after another as Allison and his sons work out of their Albuquerque home. Each son has honed his own style ranging from something playful and modern in Kyle’s work to Trent’s mastery of the squash blossom—and all created under the patient tutelage of their esteemed father. Each piece is meticulously designed by hand with a vision of gem stones and silver manipulated to tell a story of elders before.
“A piece of myself is taken when a piece is bought,” says Allison. “As if a piece of my soul was put into a work. It makes me remember the past and how much work I put into it.”
JAMES WEST sees beyond a ball of clay. Before he throws a shapeless mass onto a wheel, he envisions a functional piece of art: something that the user can enjoy, marvel at and actually use everyday. Cue Hanselmann Pottery. As master potter—a title which James bashfully denies—he transforms New Mexico clay into functional, durable stoneware for the home and table. And did we mention that the finished product is not only functional? It’s downright chic offering up earth tones in all their speckled glory. This comes as no surprise as the neutral and raw color palette of the pieces mimic the region from where they came.
“We leave some of the raw clay exposed,” explains James. “Glazing in a way that lets the piece underneath speak for itself while small natural iron deposits in the clay come through which speckles, giving each piece a unique look.”
From perfectly petite spice jars to the more-than-basic coffee mugs, we can’t get enough of this utilitarian brand putting their hands and heart into each piece they sell.
4908 Corrales Road, Corrales, New Mexico + 505.897.0271
Visit and shop at HanselmannPottery.com
From Albuquerque, you’ve got a choice—either the long, gradually elevating route to Santa Fe via I-25 or the TURQUOISE TRAIL. As the name suggests, the winding, dramatic 50 miles of road from Albuquerque to Santa Fe is one filled with a vista at every turn. With detours to the top of Sandia Peak to mining towns of Cerrillos, Madrid and Golden, the Turquoise Trail is a must-travel.
Halfway through is Madrid, a one-road kind of town with a quirky sense of style. We love the well-stocked shelves of Mostly Madrid (1) and the antique selection of the Painted Horse Gallery (3). Stop in for a brew at the rustic saloon-like Mine Shaft Tavern (2) or if it’s nice outside, The Hollar (4) has patio seating on a prime turn in the road. Finish your afternoon with a stop at the Jezebel Soda Fountain (5) before taking campy, kitschy shots in the painted stand-in’s of Connie’s Photo Park (6). Want more time here? Ghost Town Trading Post & Lodging (7) might just be your ticket before zooming out of town.
Famished after our Southwestern adventures, we made our way to Santa Fe’s newest hot spot Radish & Rye. This farm-to-table establishment prides itself on its love for the community by offering fresh food through local farmers and ranchers—and, lest we forget, Radish & Rye touts a killer spirits menu. Owner CAMILLE BREMER took to the New Mexico landscape as major inspiration for Radish & Rye’s aesthetic.
“The plating of our dishes are simple and clean with pops of color much like New Mexico landscape,” explains Camille. “The decor throughout the restaurant mimics casual elegance. New Mexico has a very casual feel to it, but throughout the state, you will see breathtaking landscapes and beautiful sunsets.”
We knew we couldn’t leave Radish & Rye without a little something to take home with us. We stirred up a 505 Manhattan: a sturdy cocktail with one of their 75 bourbon and whiskey choices on hand. The classic cocktail is said to pair perfectly with R&R’s Grilled Pork Chops with Smoked Pork Belly, Polenta and Porcini. Is your mouth watering, yet? Watch below to mix up a little bit of New Mexico spirit in your own home.
And keep your eyes peeled for an exciting new project in Albuquerque from the Radish & Rye team. Christened a lifestyle center, this project plans to bring together restaurants, bars, a coffee shop, juice bar and gym. We can’t wait to see what this community-centric team brings together in ABQ in the next year. If it’s anything like the vibin’ Radish & Rye, the new operation will be quite the success.
Radish & Rye
548 Agua Fria Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico + 505.930.5325
Born into the Badger Clan and Child of the Corn Clan, GOMEO BOBELU crafts his art through the lens of his Zuni Native American heritage. Gomeo’s life as a silversmith has been experimental and transcendent. Using materials like shells, fossilized ivory, ironwood and other natural stones, his jewelry embodies themes of spirituality, survival and healing. We stumbled upon Gomeo’s work at KESHI THE ZUNI CONNECTION, a Santa Fe boutique that houses arts and crafts from people of the Zuni Pueblo. The tiny Pueblo-style shop is a welcome haven for the amateur art collector to the serious wheelers and dealers. Amid hundreds of Zuni fetishes and kachinas, Gomeo’s work calls your name. Keshi owner Bronwyn Fox-Bern describes his work as the physical manifestation of Spirit.
“His pieces are powerfully archetypal,” says Bronwyn. “I regard them as power pieces in which they have a healing function that reflects an outward image of the highest and holy in us all.”
Aesthetically, Gomeo pays homage to tradition while giving pieces a modern edge with bold graphics and balance of metal and stone. It’s a modern interpretation of classic Native American design that allows Gomeo to carve out a unique, celebrated and authentic voice in the artist community of Santa Fe.
Find Gomeo Bobelu at Keshi The Zuni Connection
227 Don Gaspar Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico + 505.989.8728
We went behind the scenes with award-winning impressionist painter RAYMOND NORDWALL to see him in action. Raymond put his brush to canvas creating a traditional Native American dancer and capturing the seemingly intangible: pride and grace. Raymond brings to life Native American imagery through vivid color palettes and his experiences growing up in Pawnee and Ojibwe traditions. He often travels to homelands of various tribes for inspiration, and even paints on location to capture color studies.
Situated on Canyon Road, a long stretch featuring an art lover’s dream line-up. Gallery after gallery of all different mediums pack the narrow one-way road. From outdoor tin pieces to breathtaking landscapes, Raymond’s work is nestled nicely in the varied selection. His quaint studio space is abuzz with color and a working easel sits in the back room.
“I’m used to people watching me paint. I try and block them out and focus on my work,” says Raymond. “Some people enjoy it and some people don’t. In the end, it’s really just about me and the canvas.”
Nordwall Gallery & Studio
618 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico + 505.988.5057
Santa Fe is the perfect size—the Santa Fe Square (marked by the the star) is the epicenter of action on any given day. We stayed at tranquil (and layered!) Inn of the Five Graces (1) who also own the sprawling design emporium Seret & Sons (2).
Shopping: While there is plenty of shopping in Santa Fe, our favorites include traditional shops hawking Native American arts and crafts like Keshi The Zuni Connection (3) and The Rainbow Man (4) to the hybrid Railyard (12) artisan and farmer’s market every Sunday. Around the corner, Modern General (13) outpost is part coffee and juice bar and inspired, well, modern general shop.
Dining + Nightlife: For breakfast, we love the hustle and bustle of locals at Tia Sophia’s (11) and you can’t beat the vibe and bites at Cafe Pasqual’s (7). Shake Foundation (14)‘s Green Chile Burger is one to be rivaled. On a sunny day, pop a squat on the patio of The Shed (18), a shady—and popular!—spot for lunch. The margaritas at the Anasazi Bar and Lounge (6) are mixed to perfection while we love the ambiance at La Boca (8), Radish & Rye (9), and Eloisa (19) for dinner. Albeit old fashioned, Vanessies Piano Bar (17) is a perfect end to a Santa Fe evening out.
Activities: The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (5) and Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (20) don’t disappoint, but if you want a little more inspiration, head out to Ten Thousand Waves (16) and continue your drive up the mountain for beautiful vistas. Canyon Road (15) is a fun hike to view over a art galleries. The stunning exterior—and interior—of former Vaudeville house The Lensic (10) offers plenty of theatrical and musical acts of which to partake.
We camped out in true Santa Fe fashion, nestled within the adobe walls of INN OF THE FIVE GRACES. Five Graces refers to an Eastern concept—the five graces of sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste must be honored in the full experience of life. Owners Ira and Sylvia Seret embody this notion, showcasing their exotic treasures throughout every nook and cranny of this magical retreat.
Importers of exotic antiques, rugs, textiles and architectural elements, the Serets opened the hotel as a sort of cultural exhibit for their combined creative talents. Sylvia’s heady and not-to-be-scoffed-at mosaics adorn the kitchens and bathrooms, while Ira’s designs transform a space into a mesmerizing escape.
Down the street from the Inn of the Five Graces, Ira and Sylvia Seret have filled a large warehouse with beautiful hand-crafted, imported goods. The wonderland SERET & SONS houses one of the largest and most unique collections of central and south Asian imports and antique Tibetan furnishings in the world. Floor to ceiling textiles with lucid patterns paired with eastern wood finishings transport you to another world. Think Eastern bazaar or century-old palace. The Serets have mastered the art of Asian style, and not only have delivered it to the masses, but created an awareness and understanding of the makers behind the pieces.
The Inn of the Five Graces
150 E De Vargas Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico + 505.992.0957
Rates from $380 and available through SmithHotels.com
Seret & Sons
224 Galisteo Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico + 505.988.9151
Growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, John Rivera Sedlar had his first taste of Latin cooking in the kitchens of his mother, aunts and beloved Grandma Eloisa. After many years gaining national attention in Los Angeles as a prominent chef, John opened ELOISA in Santa Fe: a tribute to his grandmother’s down-to-earth cooking and celebration of all Southwestern women. When citing inspiration, John mentions Georgia O’Keeffe’s piece Pelvis with the Distance.
“I am most inspired by her ability to pare down an idea, an image, and expose its essence,” explains John.
Eloisa’s dishes are reminiscent of O’Keeffe’s work, organic arrangements paired with colorful cues of the New Mexico landscape. In fact, for the super Georgia O’Keeffe fans—and Santa Fe is brimming with them—Eloisa offers “O’Keeffe’s Table,” in honor of the celebrated American artist. And—you guessed it!—some of the dishes are served on platters designed with cow skulls.
John whipped us up a batch of Grandma Eloisa’s Blue Corn Cupcakes. These delicious bites pay homage to the hearts and hands associated with New Mexico’s culinary heritage. Watch above to see John prep us a batch of these sweet treats and share memories of Grandma Eloisa (and snag the recipe here!)
228 E Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico + 505.982.0883
Want to up your Southwestern Style? We’ve got our favorite Spring Accessories to do just that.
Want a 101 on buying Native American arts and crafts? We’ve got that too!
For more inspired places to call home during your travels, visit SmithHotels.com.