When a business opportunity training teachers in Shiprock, New Mexico, opened up in November, I jumped at the chance to work and then sight-see in this state that has always been on my Bucket List. I searched the Internet only to find that Shiprock lacks accommodations, but, lucky for me and my husband, we found the Casa Blanca Inn in nearby Farmington.
And what a find it was!
Greeted by a friendly night watchman who immediately grabbed our suitcases, we passed by what he called a frozen wedding cake — a three-tiered fountain in the middle of the courtyard caught by a sudden drop in temperature!
In searching for places to stay, you may have experienced the same hesitation that my husband Bert and I do: Do the lovely website pictures translate into picture-perfect rooms and experiences? Really?
But when we checked in, all doubts were removed. We were greeted by a group of people playing bridge in the sunny breakfast room (the innkeeper among them) and a well-appointed upgrade room filled with Southwestern decor and collectibles we had never seen before.
When we entered our room — the Chaco Suite — we were immediately struck by the smooth adobe walls, colorful Navajo rugs, wall hangings, and collections of pottery and baskets throughout. We could have stayed a week with the more-than-ample kitchen (stove, refrigerator, dishes, and great selection of coffee and tea) and an eating area that could double as an office! (Which it did!)
With a mixture of textures and international styles, the suite held items acquired by the owners, David and Shirley Alford, who have been adding their decorative and personal touches since 2003 when they acquired the Casa Blanca Inn. For example, the hand-painted headboard of this sumptuous king bed (love the down comforter and luxe linens!) reminded us of travels in the Far East, while other decor elements like Navajo rugs, baskets and plates blended to make it all work together.
The bathroom, too, held decorator touches — framed artwork, painted sink, and folk art bowls in addition to the amenities we enjoyed — walk-in shower and Jacuzzi tub. Best of all, we loved the heated tile floors!
On the wall in the bedroom, this composition of plant materials caught my eye. As I looked more closely, I could see that each piece on the board was a source for natural dyes. The woven piece in the middle held strands from each dye lot, linking to the source.
Of course, I had to have one to take back home. And I found one — made by a Navajo woman from Shiprock at a downtown trading post. (Later, I realized that trading posts are sources of great deals throughout New Mexico, so I was ever watchful for the next great post in sight).
Another find is a Kiva fireplace, something we definitely don’t see in Tennessee! Regulated by a thermostat, the gas fireplace provided the only source of heat we needed on a fairly cold night, so we snuggled up with Southwestern magazines and travel literature before hitting that king-size bed!
The main house held other objects of affection, collected over time
— like this grouping of painted gourds on the dining room buffet.
And this line-up of quality hand-made pottery showing geometric designs wrought by steady hands.
Although I had to leave early for my Shiprock training session and miss the breakfast, Bert reported that it was outstanding: granola and yogurt along with huevos rancheros. And rich, black coffee!
As advertised on the Internet, you can stay at the Three Sister Inns (Casa Blanca in Farmington; Blue Lake Ranch in Hesperus, CO; and Don Gaspar in Santa Fe) and save 10% at each. So, on to Blue Lake and our next adventure. Be sure to check our next post to read about this tucked-away gem of an inn with a marvelous sunset view!
If you’re in Farmington, consider the Casa Blanca Inn for a night or two. It’s luxury . . . Southwestern style!
Casa Blanca Inn
505 East La Plata Street
Farmington, NM 87401
Have you traveled New Mexico? Tell us what you recommend. We may make a return trip armed with your ideas!