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?)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.)
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.
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.
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.
And this vignette called Storytelling.
And this hand-carved piece, Santa De Mi Madre.
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.
Don Gaspar Inn
623 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Facebook: Don Gaspar Innkeeper