Weekend getaway! This time at Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm--really just a hop, skip, and a jump away from where my husband and I live, but different enough from our living room to provide a much-needed respite.
Situated on a leafy, semi-rural road, the farm dates back to 1934 and is famous for its lavender fields as well as its many lavender-based products. I love lavender anyway, but the Los Poblanos variety has a unique (to me, at any rate) scent that borders on another of my favorites, anise, and after years of driving past the entrance it was a thrill to get to stay right there on the premises.
Not that it was easy to get there, mind you. Thanks to the endless road works currently plaguing Albuquerque, the alternate route we chose to travel down was blocked by a massive SWAT situation, then yet another road was blocked because a driver had passed out in the middle of the street, and then after several more twists and turns we got lost. Lost in our very own neighborhood! Finally and after what felt like the very worst of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, it was a huge relief to get out of the car and be greeted by this gorgeous guardian to our casita:
Our vintage-style room was cozy and cute with high wooden ceilings, a spacious bath and even a kitchen area. The marshmallow-soft mattress was a bit too soft--several times I woke up during the night thinking I was being smothered by clouds, but the sheets were heavenly, so silky soft that I soon fell back to sleep, no problem. My only true complaint about the room was that the TV didn't work. And, believe me, I know how shallow that sounds. But my husband and I had our hearts set on watching the Melbourne Grand Prix, the first Formula One race of the season, and we couldn't get the darn thing to work . The hotel staff tried to help, but technology eluded us all and we had to give up, remotes in hand and that weird "I don't know what to do now" look on our faces. Oh, well. Fortunately we had the recorder set back at home, but it was disappointing to miss out on that initial viewing of what was a very good race. (We did see it later at home.)
Not to be deterred, we got the excellent fireplace going and I settled onto the couch to read my latest find, yet another of my beloved Phyllis Whitney novels, The Stone Bull, this one from 1977. To my mind, Whitney is THE master of Gothic romantic suspense, and nothing could have been better for a stormy night snuggled up in one of the hotel's dressing gowns while listening to the peacocks' shrill cries battling over the wind.
The next morning after bathing and shampooing in as many lavender gels as possible, we had a small but nice breakfast before we went exploring and came across one of the greenhouses:
And more scenic views:
Including this little courtyard:
Followed by a trip to the Farm shop:
Naturally I had to get some lavender lotion, as well as some pinon incense (which smells exactly like the firewood provided for our room), and surprise, surprise: a Palomino Blackwing pencil, something I've heard about for years but never purchased. Apparently these pencils were the top choice of back-in-the-day Hollywood script writers, animators, and musical directors and were considered superior to any other writing instrument of the time. The logo printed on the pencil claims it will work with "Half the pressure, twice the speed." Sounds good to me. Right now I can't decide whether I want to use it for writing, drawing, or just looking pretty on my desk. Whatever, all I know is I'll have to order at least a dozen so I can start making some decent sketches of Mr. Peacock in all his glory:
Tip of the Day: You don't have to travel far to go on a vacation; sometimes just up the road is good enough. Best of all, new settings, sounds, meals, and experiences can go into your next manuscript or sketchbook without enduring hours of travel or jet lag. Whoever said "there's no place like home," got it right--being a tourist in your own town has all the benefits of "Half the pressure, twice the speed!"