Abiquiu Journals

Abiquiu, Land of Shining Stone

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A July 2003 trip to Abiquiu by Idler

Piedra Lumbre Photo, Abiquiu, New Mexico More Photos
Quote: Fewer places are more conducive to intense reflection than the powerful yet tender landscape near Abiquiu, New Mexico. Lovingly depicted in the work of Georgia O’Keeffe, this country has to be approached on its own terms in order to apppreciate its enduring appeal.

Abiquiu, Land of Shining Stone

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Overview

View along the hiking trail at Ghost Ranch Photo, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Quote:
Most visitors to Abiquiu (AH-be-cue) come to see "Georgia O’Keeffe Country," and indeed touring the area provides a unique perspective on the artist and her work. The perplexing thing, though, is that the more one sees of the landscape, the less it becomes O’Keeffe’s country and the more it becomes its own. While the intended highlight of my visit was a tour of O’Keeffe’s home and studio, I felt equally moved simply watching the sun go down over the jagged, fantastically colored cliffs of the Piedra Lumbre. There is, in short, much more to this country than Georgia O’Keeffe. Abiquiu casts a spell over those susceptible to its austere charm. It is a place of solitude, providing ...Read More

Riana Campground at Abiquiu Lake

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Hotel

Riana Campground at Abiquiu Lake Photo, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Quote:
"We’ve been waiting for you!" Bob Cavanaugh, the host at Riana Campground, is standing at the door of his trailer, blocking his inquisitive Airedale Terrier. Arriving at 6:30, I’ve interrupted his dinner, yet Bob brushes my apologies aside and insists on escorting me to the campsite I’ve reserved. After long hours travelling, I’m bone weary and glad of his assistance. All I’d wanted was to pitch my tent, crawl in, and sleep, but the fragrance of cedar wood campfires and the dramatic orange sunset act as a tonic. I look around with renewed interest. Laid out on a hillside overl...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 15, 2003

Riana Campground at Abiquiu Lake
P.O. Box 290
Abiquiu, New Mexico
(505) 685-4371

Abiquiu Inn

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Restaurant | "Cafe Abiquiu"

Abiquiu Inn Photo, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Quote:
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- these are surely the most appealing words in the English language. Add quiet, friendly, attractive, consistent, efficient, and reasonably priced to the lexicon and the hungry traveler’s heart goes pitty-pat. It’s love at first syllable at Café Abiquiu. Somehow I contrived to eat three meals here even though I’d brought ample food on what was ostensibly a camping trip. The café at Abiquiu Inn is the sole eatery in town, but it doesn’t take a mean advantage of this fact. Catering to both locals and passers-through, it serves good Southwestern, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean fare in a charming setting. The inn, which is ru...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 15, 2003

Abiquiu Inn
Highway 84
Abiquiu, New Mexico 87510
(505) 685-4378

Ghost Ranch

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Attraction

Ghost Ranch Photo, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Quote:
Ghost Ranch is an elemental place, sculpted by the incremental effects of wind and water. An improbable mix of spiritual retreat, center for geology and paleontology, and artist colony, the ranch has a history as varied as the multicolored sedimentary bluffs that surround it, yet its vast spaces and extravagantly colored cliffs evoke a pervasive sense of timelessness. The sinister legends surrounding Ghost Ranch bear witness to the mystical aspects of this high, lonesome place in el Valle de la Piedra Lumbre, or Valley of Shining Stone. Initially set up as a dude r...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 15, 2003

Ghost Ranch
Off highway 84
Abiquiu, New Mexico

Georgia O'Keeffe Home and Studio

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Attraction | "A tour of Georgia O'Keeffe's Abiquiu home & studio"

Georgia O'Keeffe Home and Studio Photo, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Quote:
When Georgia O’Keeffe first set eyes on a dilapidated Spanish colonial ruin used as a pigsty in the village of Abiquiu, she saw what few others did: its potential. O’Keeffe, who was nothing if not persistent, badgered the owner, the local Catholic church, into selling the property. However, she refused to pay their asking price, insisting they accept the price she offered: $10. It was not that O’Keeffe was cheap; in fact, she subsequently made a handsome donation to the diocese. It was simply a matter of principle: after all, the church had bought the place for a dollar. It took several years for O’Keeffe’s plans for the house to reach fruition. The death of her husband, photographer ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 15, 2003

Georgia O'Keeffe Home and Studio

Abiquiu, New Mexico

Sandstone spine in the Piedra Lumbre Photo, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Quote:
Before I arrived in Abiquiu I made a list of places, most corresponding to Georgia O’Keeffe’s landscapes, which I wanted to see. While background reading had provided details of O'Keeffe's intense relationship with this land, I ultimately made a poor pilgrim: as my historical appreciation for the area increased, my preoccupation with O'Keeffe's particular vision of it diminished. My quest seemed a sterile and academic exercise, especially when the land presented itself so vividly before me. I remembered, too, what O''Keeffe had once told an artist who had sought her advice: "Find out for yourself," she replied with an enigmatic smile. There proved to be more history -- and more poet...Read More

La Tierra de los Brujos

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Story/Tip

A phytosaur - basis of the legend of Vivaron? Photo, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Quote:
The name of Ghost Ranch comes from a loose translation of Rancho de los Brujos, or Ranch of the Witches. The story behind this supernatural sobriquet says something not only about Ghost Ranch but of the character of the region and the people who lived -- and still live -– there. From the days of the first Spanish mission at Santa Tomás Apostole de Abiquiu in 1754, Abiquiu had a reputation as a being a region beset by sorcerers (maleficios) and witches (brujos and brujas). Male witches, in particular, were considered especially malevolent. Ominously, the struggling young community was best by a gruesome and mysterious illness, which claimed the lives of Christ...Read More

Kiss the Sky for Me

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Story/Tip

The much-missed landscape. Photo, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Quote:
I remember when I first saw Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings. They struck me as the product of a vivid imagination: the skulls set against the bleached landscapes, the gigantic, intensely furled blossoms, and above all the surreal shapes and hues of her New Mexican landscapes could surely only be the result of artistic license. Only later did I realize that, with allowances for distortion of perspective, she had cut to the very heart of her subjects: the desert framed through the aperture of a cow''s pelvic bone really did take on that alien aspect; a flower could be a small universe unto itself; and, however improbable it seemed, the New Mexican hills and valleys do exhibit the forms and colors s...Read More

About the Writer

Idler

Idler
Poolesville, Maryland

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