Rodeo, New Mexico
April 25, 2004
The north wall of the complex stands where the north wall of el Presidio de San Agustín del Tucson stood. The adobe building itself was constructed in the 1850’s and used as a residence for an assortment of pioneers. In 1888, Julius Goldblum bought the building for use as a home for his family and his business, a liquor distillery. If you’re able to tear your eyes away from the inviting merchandise, you’ll see that the ceilings are the original ones, made of saguaro cactus ribs. Remnants of old time fancy wallpaper are visible above the moldings.
Every square inch of this maze-like building is filled with a wide variety of purchasable items by the seven stores in it, including a couple of boutiques, pot shop, jewelry store, art gallery, and two stores that if I had to categorize them, I might call them gift shops. But the truth is, most of the shops here defy description. Old Town Pot Shop also sells home furnishings, metal work, photographs and paintings besides regionally handcrafted pottery and glass items. At LaZia, the jewelry store, you can also buy Pueblo pottery, Navajo wool rugs, and Hopi Kachinas. The high quality and regional or local source of the handcrafted items are what these shops do have in common. The tile I bought this time was made by a Tucson artist.
It’s easy to keep wandering around in the shops, but if you do get tired or hungry, stroll out to the courtyard and patio to rest by the fountain, or grab a bite to eat at La Cocina. They are open every day for lunch (American and Mexican food), and the cantina serves happy hour on Fridays. Also on the patio is Wild Rose Coffee Company. There are a couple of other notable restaurants only a couple of blocks away. At 311 N. Court Street, there is patio dining at the brightly yellow painted Toma Tostino Café, and next door inside El Charro Mexican Café, you’ll find antiques and brightly colored murals. Although they look like two separate restaurants with a gift shop, La Tiendita Gifts, in between them, they are actually all under the same management. They claim to be the oldest family-operated Mexican restaurants in the U.S.
From journal Spring at the Foot of Dark Mountain -- Tucson