I love the West. I don’t mean the West we experience every day living in Phoenix and Scottsdale. I mean what is left of the real West we still see in Westerns. It’s still out there but you do have to get way out to still see a part of it. Luckily, living here in Arizona it is not that far away and if you really venture on a road trip to New Mexico or Wyoming or Montana you can really find some places that time has just passed by.
I know some of you shudder at the thought of a road trip and many of you never will even dare to do this. But I personally love road trips and getting off the beaten path. Today's blog comes from the passenger seat while Isabel drives down New Mexico highway 90 southwest of Silver City, NM. Its exactly what we do on the Candelaria Design Tour Italy – get off the beaten path. I have been trying to figure out why and I think I know – it’s real. It is what it is, there is no pretense. People do what they do, they farm, they ranch, they mine, they timber, they railroad. That’s about all there is to do. They work hard and are one with the land. There is a connection. They gather at the local diner for super – not dinner. They talk about their day, their families, their horses, and their crops……not quite what we talk about when we meet for cocktails at Houston’s.
This weekend, Isabel and I are on the road to Kingston. Not Kingston, Jamaica! Kingston, New Mexico. It’s by Silver City…..ok that didn’t help you any did it. Ok about 2 hours northeast of Lordsburg…..still didn’t help you. Ok try about an hour Southwest of Truth of Consequences, New Mexico! Ok you get the point. Google Map it and it may show up. It’s a long drive out here, about 6 hours from Phoenix. Kingston, New Mexico is an old silver and gold mining town established in the late 1800’s and grew to over 7000 inhabitants before the silver crash of the late 1880’s. It’s at the foot of the Mimbres Mountains and is beautiful and reminds me of the country and terrain around Prescott. Now there are probably more wild turkeys and buzzards than there are people here. – but this is a place that time has forgotten.
Isabel’s family bought a summer home that was built in 1885 built by Mr. Dawson who was the town pharmacist. Isabel’s family used the home as an escape and summer retreat from the heat of central New Mexico. Well the home was passed down to Isabel’s mom, Alette, who has been tending to it and using it as her Arizona escape since 1996 but this week she received a cash offer for the property and with her getting older she felt it was time to sell. So we are here sorting through the old items, furniture, nick knacks, and sharing the memories.
I remember coming here for the first time in July 2012 with my girls and loved this aspect of Isabel, her mom, and her family. Simple, honest, hard working people who have no pretense. Here family were loggers and lumber mill people and my family were railroaders. Few people know that my great grandfather, grandfather, father and even I all worked on the Durango~Silverton Narrow Gauge train in Durango. The old West is in my psyche. It is a big part of what makes me tick. I think it is why I love being a part of the Scottsdale Charros – getting on a horse and riding and camping in remote parts of the Old West. At the same time I design amazing homes from Rural Mediterranean estates, to contemporary hillside homes, to mountain ranches but no matter the style, I always try to infuse that spirit of the West.
In the next 60 days I will be everywhere from LaJolla, CA next week to start on a new home on the beach, to Sedona and Flagstaff to check out some lots for a new project, then a 22 hour road trip with Isabel to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to film three of our homes for the fall premier of SKETCH. From there Isabel and I will head to Manhattan NYC in August for the fall Market – probably run out to the Hamptons to check on our project there – so coast to coast. Then of course we will fly off to Italy for our 2015 Candelaria Tour Italy. Quite a journey from the homestead here in Kingston…….