The second day of our New Mexico journey took us from the Casa Blanca Inn in Farmington to the town of Shiprock on the Navajo reservation where I conducted a workshop for teachers. (Click here for post on Casa Blanca Inn.)
Wanting to combine work with pleasure, my husband and I booked the second of the Three Sister Inns owned by David and Shirley Alford and found our favorite by far — Blue Lake Ranch in Hesperus, Colorado — only 30 minutes away from Mesa Verde National Park.
Marked only by a small lighted mailbox on Highway 140, Blue Lake Ranch is unknown even to most locals. But the ranch is a wonder with 230 acres of natural vegetation, trout-filled lakes, and spectacular gardens bursting with color from heirloom flowers and over 10,000 irises.
You may find yourself wondering if you’re in the right place as the winding road (newly paved, by the way) meanders to the front door of the main house.
We stood in awe of the elegantly furnished Southwestern living room. (Just typical good taste, Alford style, like the Casa Blanca Inn, I suppose.)
Alexis, the inn’s new manager, opened a scrapbook to reveal a picture of the abandoned shell of a homestead that Don found and developed into a property now celebrated as one of the best “hidden getaways” in the U.S.
Impressive to say the least. Not just for the property turnaround but also for the grounds, casitas, cabins, and main house appointed with collections gathered over time.
You may think that Tuesday night in November is not the ideal time to sink into a luxury B&B, but there are some advantages: We had the place to ourselves and our choice of rooms. Lucky us. Just upstairs with a balcony facing the sunset over Blue Lake, we settled in to the La Plata Vista Room with comforts we were becoming accustomed to on this Three Sisters Tour!
Providing ambience and warmth were Navajo rugs, hand-painted pottery, rough-hewn furniture, and, for the second night in a row, our very own Kiva fireplace.
Southwestern touches extended to the sink area with copper basin and personalized punched-tin light fixture.
Satiny sheets and lofty down comforter enticed us to linger in bed, but not for long. We wanted to see the inn in the early light of day and sample what we knew would be a breakfast to remember.
Downstairs, hand-woven baskets lined up over doorways . . .
and Indian figures stood guard on the mantel.
A watercolor of the main house faces the coffee bar . . .
leading us to the buffet set just for us. We placed an order for eggs over-easy, then grazed accordingly on granola and yogurt, sausage patties, and homemade bread with house jam — Blue Lake Ranch Peach & Raspberry — sold in the gift shop. (Note to readers: Unless you want an airline dude to get the breakfast you dreamed of having back home, do NOT pack jam in your carry-on bag!)
At Blue Lake, people make the difference. We listened with interest as Alexis told us of her personal cross-country journey in her own RV (alone!), and then heard how Maggie became involved with the properties, too. In fact, Maggie said she had booked a night at the Don Gaspar Inn, the third of the Three Sister Inns, in Santa Fe, the following Friday – the same night we’d be there!
For dinner, Alexis recommended Kennebec Cafe & Bakery. We expected a Mom-and-Pop meat-and-three, but what we found was a gourmet experience due in part to the creative chef and gregarious waiter who treated us like locals. If you go, try flatbread with mushrooms, asiago cheese, asparagus, arugula, and crispy prosciutto — if the chef’s of a mind to offer that as one of his nightly specials!
Saying good-bye was difficult, so we took out time driving the property, scoping out the other cabins available for nightly or weekly stays.
Porches like this are meant to face the great outdoors and Blue Lake, and we dream of returning some day, rocking in the chairs and waiting for the sunset while nature unfolds in this heavenly retreat.
It’s not too late to take advantage of the Three Sisters Road Trip. Stay in all three inns and receive a discount — all three times! (http://www.bluelakeranch.com/summerspecials.htm
Note: You’ll find the address on the Website for Blue Lake Ranch as Durango, Colorado, as well as Hesperus, Colorado. So just call Alexis for directions. You can’t get too lost, unless you want to . . . right there on the property!
16919 Hwy 140
Hesperus, CO 81326
970.385.4537 (8-6pm MST)