It had been a long time since I'd gone down to Carlsbad, to see my mom. It was past time for a nice, mother/daughter get-away.
At 12:30, on Wednesday, I left work, hopped in the car, which I had packed early that morning, and drove to Carlsbad to Mom's house. She knew I was coming, and she knew I was going to whisk her away for a couple days, but she didn't know our destination. I spent Wednesday night at her house, and on Thursday morning we started our mini-adventure. Our first stop was the Hondo Iris Gardens. Sadly the irises had already finished blooming, but the garden was still lovely -- very green and peaceful -- and a nice place to stretch our legs and breathe in the fresh mountain air of the little village of Hondo.
Also at the Iris Garden is an art gallery, with jewelry and other artsy items on display and for sale. It was there that we met Alice Warder Seely, who makes her home in Hondo and is a writer, painter, sculptor, and jewelry designer. She shows her art in galleries in Santa Fe, Scottsdale, New York, Michigan, and Florida. We admired some of her pewter jewelry and, in fact, Mom purchased one piece to give as a gift. I was tempted to get a bracelet, myself, but resisted.
Above the gallery is an old (over one hundred years) shepherd's cabin, preserved pretty much as it was originally.
The Iris Garden was worth the stop, but we both thought we'd like to come again, earlier in the season, while the irises are still in bloom.
From Hondo we drove to Ruidoso. It was there, during our pizza lunch, that Mom, still not knowing our destination, said to me, "Since we're so near, you really should drive up to the Inn of the Mountain Gods, just to see it. It's really beautiful." (The Inn of the Mountain Gods is a resort, operated by the Mescalero Indians of New Mexico. Mom had seen it, from the outside, once before.) I agreed, and after lunch I drove up the winding, forested mountain road that leads to the inn. Mom was right. Both the building and the setting were beautiful. The building sits on the edge of a blue lake, with forested mountains rising up on the opposite shore, and a golf course bordering the lake.
I pulled up to the front entrance, and Mom said, "We probably shouldn't stop right here. I think this is for the guests to unload their luggage." That's when I broke the news to her . . . this was where we were staying for our two-night get-away! She was really surprised. For the remainder of the day we stayed at the Inn. We were able to get into our room at about 2:00 p.m.
Besides the fancy restaurant, they also have a very nice buffet style dining room, which is where we ate our dinner. I went outside at sunset to try to get some evening pictures. I was a little disappointed because there wasn't a lot of color in the sky, but it was still dramatic, with the mountains silhouetted against the darkening sky.
So ended Day One of our little get-away. Watch tomorrow for pictures and a description of Day Two.