Three Sisters Tour: You never know who you’ll meet at the Don Gaspar, Santa Fe

Night-time shot of Don Gaspar Inn taken from their website: dongaspar.com

Night-time shot of Don Gaspar Inn taken from their website: dongaspar.com

Serendipity, by definition (I suppose), comes in many forms.  It was serendipitous that we would happen upon three inns owned by David and Shirley Alford all within the pathway we took from Farmington, New Mexico, up to Durango, Colorado, and then down to Santa Fe.

But it was also serendipitous that the one morning we were dining at the Don Gaspar, the third of the Three Sister Inns owned by the Alfords, we would happen to meet someone that we have now come to know and respect.  (You’ve got to read on now, right?)

Situated in a residential area, the Don Gaspar Inn blends into this lovely setting.

Situated in a residential area, the Don Gaspar Inn blends into this lovely setting.

Just as I wrote about the other two inns on the tour — Casa Blanca Inn (Click here for post) in Farmington, New Mexico, and Blue Lake Ranch (Click here) in Durango, Colorado — we found the Don Gaspar Inn in Santa Fe had that same classy Southwestern decor of gathered-over-time Asian, American, Indian, and Spanish pieces.  It works for me! I love seeing what owners select from among their travels and purchases to use in their B&Bs, and the Alfords have put their finds together well.

Based upon where we were traveling that afternoon, we knew we would arrive past check-in time.  We were told our key would be in an envelope near the doorway.  But when we arrived, Paige, the innkeeper who was out walking her dog, saw us, stopped to get the key for us, and then led us to our room.  We recognized the drill. It was that same personal whatever-it-takes service we had received at the other two inns!

Bert's ready to see our room at the Don Gaspar.

Bert’s ready to see our room at the Don Gaspar.

The Olive Tree Room, like the other rooms we enjoyed in the Sister Inns, held a comfortable (to say the least) bed with a carved Asian-inspired headboard and silky sheets.

Love the pillows you can prop up on and the carved headboard!

A dreamkeeper awaited us on our comfortable bed.

On the wall was a Navajo rug (at least I think it’s Navajo!) that blends well and greets guests as they open the room.

A focal point of the room -- this folksy rug hung as art.

A focal point of the room — this folksy rug hung as art.

Comfortable chairs with good lighting between them allowed us to “set a spell” (OK.  I’m Southern.) and check email, peruse brochures on Santa Fe, and flip through the coffee table books as if we were right at home.

Not many rooms come with two great reading chairs!

Not many rooms come with two great reading chairs!

The bathroom, too, had the same amenities that we found at the other inns — an interesting basin, carved mirror, and nice-smelling shampoos and lotions.

Nicely appointed are always appreciated!

Nicely appointed bathrooms are always appreciated!

Perhaps what stood out for us at Don Gaspar, though, was the morning breakfast time.  You might think when you see this limited space that a squished-in feel would be a negative.

Intimate breakfast room invites conversation.

Southwestern sunshine floods the intimate breakfast room.

But it was exactly that closeness that allowed us to get to know the guests so well.  All of us heard everything anyone was saying — from where we lived to what restaurant was a favorite from the night before.  Then we got up and helped our plates from the bountiful buffet again and talked some more!!!

Beautiful buffet setting with rostra (wreath of red chile peppers) above.

Beautiful buffet setting with rostra (wreath of red chile peppers) above.

Stirring the conversation was the ever-pleasant Ana who worked her magic in a tiny back room to provide the Southwestern casserole and sweet breads that we loved.  In fact, she could work for the tourist bureau with her knowledge of where to eat, how much it costs, and how you get there whether you want a place where the locals hang out or a gourmet dinner cooked by any number of Santa Fe’s creative chefs! (We chose Maria’s on Ana’s recommendation.  Good local hangout with big plates of Southwestern food.)

Ana keeps the conversation (and the hot coffee) going!

Ana keeps the conversation (and the hot coffee) going!

And so that’s how it happened.  We were just meeting and greeting each guest. Talking about what to see and do.  And asking where folks were from.  When this gentleman who was having coffee answered my What do you do? question with this answer: I’m an artist.

Look at me.  I'm in a photo with Nicholas Herrera!!!

Look at me. I’m in a photo with Nicholas Herrera!!!

And a pretty famous one at that.  We met Nicholas Herrera, folk artist from New Mexico, whose books about him reveal what he produces: colorful, folksy paintings, carvings, wall art, and put-together pieces that most would say are whimsical and, judging from conversations with gallery owners we met later, just downright desirable.  He’s stayed at the Don Gaspar often, but this particular time he was doing a show at the convention center and delivering a painting to someone meeting him there.

Mixed media on board -- commissioned folk art by Nicholas Herrera.

Mixed media on board — commissioned folk art by Nicholas Herrera.

After check-out from the Don Gaspar, we explored Legends Gallery in Santa Fe since a current exhibit included many of Herrera’s pieces. We were fascinated with what we saw.  Like this one entitled Matachina Dancer.

Matachina Dancer (Hand Painted Watercolor, Hand Carved Wood)

Matachina Dancer (Hand Painted Watercolor, Hand Carved Wood)

And this vignette called Storytelling.

Santa Lucia (Hand Pigmented Watercolor, Hand Carved Wood)

Storytelling (Collaboration with Susan Guevara) Oil, Hand-pigmented Watercolor, Hand-carved Wood

And this hand-carved piece, Santa De Mi Madre.

Close-up of Rosas De Mi Madre (Hand-pigmented watercolor, wood, bullets)

Close-up of Rosas De Mi Madre (Hand-pigmented watercolor, wood, bullets)

We said our good-byes and looked around again.  Since this was the middle of winter, the lovely flowers in the website pictures of the Don Gaspar‘s grounds were just not present.  But we knew if we could return in spring or summer, we would see a flowing fountain flanked by people enjoying their coffee among nature’s (and the caretaker’s) creations!

If you’re in Santa Fe, look up the Don Gaspar Inn.  It’s within walking distance of The Plaza and all the fabulous shopping there.

But, more importantly, it’s a place where people enjoy chatting and swapping tales of good sites to see and good times to be had.  We can highly recommend the Don Gaspar Inn — and its two sisters, the Casa Blanca Inn and Blue Lake Ranch.

You may even want to do what we did:  buy one of those rugs (maybe from Shiprock or Packards on the Plaza) to hang on the wall so you, too, have that Three Sister Inns touch in your home!!!

Don Gaspar Inn

623 Don Gaspar

Santa Fe, NM 87505

888.986.8664

Email: info@dongaspar.com

Website: www.dongaspar.com

Facebook: Don Gaspar Innkeeper

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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6 Responses to Three Sisters Tour: You never know who you’ll meet at the Don Gaspar, Santa Fe

  1. cmmoxley says:

    Another fun read, Rusha! You are giving me the travel bug again — and we don’t have a trip planned until March. Boo.

  2. David says:

    I haven’t been to Santa Fe for quite awhile, but is a very nice place to visit.

    The one thing I liked about your B&B room, was the color on the wall. I’m thinking about painting new colors in the bedrooms ahead of a major re-flooring project.

  3. Interesting posting about your travels. Nice photograph with the folk artist and his painting.

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