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December

Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm:
Art & Architecture Tour
     Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm is a pretty amazing place: discreetly positioned along Rio Grande Blvd in the MetroABQ's North Valley, it occupies 25 verdant acres of fields & bosque. It's easy to drive right past the historic property, often too absorbed in the scenes of rich farmland & custom-built old & new homes along each side of the road. Los Poblanos doesn't call out to you with flashy signs or large structures close to the road vying for attention: to get to the Inn & Farm Store, you first drive along a tree-lined lane, west toward the Rio Grande. Every detail was considered: even the parking area has no heat-island effect from asphalt ribbons that make up modern lots--the Los Poblanos parking area has environmentally sensitive crusher-fines-padded spaces amid 80+ year old shade trees.

Originally settled in the 1850's on about 800 acres along the river, Los Poblanos has been a continuously productive farm since. Recently the property has ventured beyond the iconic John Gaw Meem-designed territorial hacienda building (top image), by adding more overnight Inn spaces, relocating & expanding the farm store, updating & moving Campo--the James Beard award-winning restaurant--& growing more signature lavender, more fruits, vegetables & herbs. The images herein were taken during a tour of the property, which focused on the architecture & diverse artworks on the property. The docent on the tour called Los Poblanos' style 'Country Chic,' which fits...an eclectic mix of chic art & a country feel, as evidenced by the grain silo below...

My first experience at Los Poblanos was 20+ years ago picking up vegetables grown on the farm through an organization called Erda Gardens: an organic farmer had borrowed one of the Los Poblanos field acres & grew organic vegetables. We paid into Erda & went there to pick up our share of that week's bounty. When the farmer was sick, we were asked to pick our own vegetables from the field. There were worms & bugs on the produce we had to flick off, because no pesticides were used then, as now.  
The original grain silos, above, sit outside what is now the Farm Store & next to the new restaurant, Campo.

The artwork scattered around the property is nicely varied & eclectic. A colorful fresco by Peter Hurd canvases a wall outside the Banquet Hall, just below; & there are wonderful carved wood pieces by renowned artist Gustave Baumann placed on the property--the corbel & viga beam carvings & one of his numerous carved doors are below.
Paul Shaffer designed the Shaffer Hotel, aka the Rock Motel, in Mountainair, NM; he created a lot of the rock art found in the northwest gardens at Los Poblanos, the burro above is just one example. Below are other garden images found north of the hacienda. The property is a big draw for wedding parties & other celebrations. 
A stunning Moorish-influenced courtyard fountain, just below, is the visual centerpiece of renowned architect John Gaw Meem's enclosed but exterior Hacienda courtyard. Further below is the Banquet Hall, a dramatic Territorial style masterpiece re-designed by Meem, replete with the brick copings on top. Meem, who designed Zimmerman Library & numerous other buildings on the UNM Campus & around the Metro, enjoyed changing ceiling heights from room to room, depending on the mood of the room...He considered that in a gathering area the ceilings should be tall with often dramatic touches like carvings & vigas, to create a sense of large space; bedrooms, however, had lower, more intimate ceilings. His beams purposely go in different directions from room-to-room & he used traditional southwestern designs throughout--carved viga ceiling beams & corbels, lintels, latillas, talavera tile, four-sided hacienda courtyards, portales & courtyard fountains.
Above is the pool outside the Banquet Hall. I first stood by that pool half a decade ago, along with probably 100+ other folks, all gathered to fondly remember a beautiful friend who had recently passed away. The gathering location was a perfect place to reminisce about someone we all loved...although intrinsically sad, the stunning greenscape & poolside setting, & the robust company of a hundred of Carl's best friends, made the occasion unforgettable. 
Other special features from Los Poblanos are below: random carvings found in unexpected places, like the carved man guarding the Lotus garden; the occasional people-friendly-ish peacocks strutting by; the peaceful east-facing open courtyard connecting some of the rooms at the Inn. And let's not forget the fields of lavender planted around the acreage--Los Poblanos is well known for the lavender-infused products sold at the store & around the world. 
I learned two new concepts along the way at Los Poblanos: what a Coping is & all about Zaguan Doors...A coping is a cap or covering of a wall, like the brick that caps the top of Meem Territorial building, seen above. They may consist of stone (capstone), brick, tile, slate, metal or wood. A Zaguan Door is a door-within-a-door--a large, often decorated grande entry door to a hacienda courtyard, with a more functional human-sized door carved out of it. The larger door can be opened for horses or carts to be brought inside. A good example from Los Poblanos can be seen in the two images below, one from the outside & another image from inside the hacienda-style courtyard.
Back inside, the reverse painting on glass of the hand-punched tin light fixtures were pretty amazing, seen above & below...The detail & vibrancy made me consider that they were new additions to the property, when in fact some of them may have been created over a century ago.

Los Poblanos provides their Art & Architecture Tours once or twice each month--it's a great drive there & a pretty interesting & peaceful morning...
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