First Trip as Family of 3

One Cute Cowboy and I both grew up taking trips to Red River, New Mexico with our families. In fact, we probably passed each other on the sidewalks of the small mountain town, when we were just 10 or 11 years old, and never knew we were within arms reach of our future spouse and soul mate. We both love Red River and have gone just about every summer since we started dating.

This year we made kind of an impromptu trip up there when I decided to take vacation at the last minute. This was our first vacation as s family of 3!

“Red River you say? Very interesting!”

We loaded up Lil’ Cute Cowboy and all 90 of the different supplies we thought we needed! Haha! I really should have gotten a picture of the way the pickup was packed. We might have overpacked a bit, not knowing what we would, and wouldn’t need for this little turkey.

I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous not knowing what he would do going to a place with higher elevation. We live at 4,167 ft. above sea level. Red River is another 4,500 ft. at 8,671 ft. above sea level. But he was a complete champ and did amazing on the drive up!

We stopped at our favorite little roadside stopping place in Gladstone, NM for a bottle break. There was a nice, cool breeze so we decided to have our bottle outside. It’s the cutest little rest stop this side of the Mississippi, and has out of this world baked goods, every day!! We never ever drive by without stopping. We always end up leaving with at least one bag of oatmeal raisin cookies (One Cute Cowboy ‘s) and one bag of chocolate chip cookies (mine!). Not to mention she has homemade loaves of bread. *Swoon* One Cute Cowboy grew up stopping and eating here often. As a young boy he’d day work for people around the area and got to know the owners well, so he especially likes to stop so he can be sure to say “hi!”

Since One Cute Cowboy and I have been together, we’ve never stayed in the same place twice at Red River. Always trying out new (to us) places to stay and trying to figure out where our “spot” will be in years to come. Well, this year, I think we’ve found it! Hotel Ryland! This is a place neither one of us had ever stayed. The newly renovated room was perfect for our small family of 3. It was definitely a smaller room, but worked out great for us. It was clean, updated, and cute. Upon arrival an older gentlemen led me up to our room and told me he was glad for us to be there. He was so nice and sweet and Riley enjoyed talking with him the next day before we left too. He was very welcoming and sincere, and that just made us feel good, and definitely made us want to come back and stay.

Once we unloaded our things we decided to go across the street to my favorite place in Red River–The Bobcat. This place has been my turquoise sanctuary since I was 9 years old! The A-frame building welcomes you in, with its wind chime lazily dancing in the breeze. You walk in and can feel the warmth of the owner, Sherri. We’ve gone for so many years she knows our faces when we walk through the door, and she immediately greets us with a warm smile and a “You’ve added to the family!” She came over to see Little Bear and quickly says, “I have a gift for you!” She went to the back, with her sweet dogs following her, and she came back with a beautiful sterling silver baby rattle that she said to use when he starts to teethe. She said to just stick it in the refrigerator and get it out once it’s cool to soothe his little gums. It was such a sweet, and beautiful gift.

Then she told her helper, a woman I’ve never seen before, to get out the pawn/antique stuff because she knows that’s what I’m there to see. She has the most beautiful and unique vintage turquoise, not to mention a slew of other different stones. We start out looking at the rings, then the squash blossoms, then the cuffs. Most handmade by Native Americans. I ended up with a “Fred Harvey” cuff and ring set. It’s hard for me to ever leave without getting something.

Lil’ Cute Cowboy was fascinated with everything in the shop and I was so proud of how well he did! After that we decided to stroll down Mainstreet.

It was a little warmer than usual, but there was still a nice mountain breeze that made it perfect. It was pretty quiet in town, being the middle of the week, there didn’t seem to be as many people as there usually are, which was really kind of nice. It felt like we had the place to ourselves.

Little Bear absolutely loved it! We’d stroll around and he’d just look at all there was to see, taking it all in. Then we’d stop and hang out for a little bit in the shade and he’d just hang out and listen to the birds or the wind chimes clinging around town. He’s a mountain kid for sure!

We worked up quite an appetite and decided to try the brand new brewery that opened in town just about a month before. We’d walked by earlier and it looked fun and the food they were serving looked delicious! When we got there we could tell the music was really loud but hoped maybe there was an area where it wouldn’t be so loud, but we walked in the doors and Little Bear had a look of terror on his face, seconds from a complete meltdown. We quickly walked back outside and decided we’d better try some place else. So we decided to go to the nice little Mexican food restaurant in town, The Sundance. It was Lil’ Cute Cowboys first time in a restaurant.

He did pretty good as long as he could see all that was going on. He was completely worn out by the time we got back to our room. He’d had a huge day!

The next day we ate at our favorite breakfast place, T-Bucks, and did some more walking around and visited our favorite little coffee place The Way Coffee. I ordered my go-to, a London Fog, and Riley ordered himself a latte. They were so delicious! We just sat and watched passerby’s for awhile and enjoyed our beverages and breathing in the mountain air. It was so relaxing and peaceful.

“Best Seat in the House” by Kenneth Wyatt

One of my favorite places to stop in Red River is Kenneth Wyatt’s art gallery. Photos on the internet cannot do his incredible paintings justice! This is one of my favorites of his. He is truly gifted and I always enjoy walking through his gallery to see what’s new and to see the ones I’ve seen 100 times over again. He’s currently 88 years old, has painted over 9,000 paintings, and paints every single day. Did I mention he didn’t even start painting until his 40’s?! If you ever go to Red River, do yourself a favor, and walk through his gallery.

We tried out the Smokehouse before we left, and parked beside this pretty little stream to eat our chopped beef sandwich. Little Bear loved to watch and hear the small stream. It was finally time to head home. We said goodbye to the mountains, and pointed our pickup east, back to the flatlands. It was such a nice trip and went great for our first mini-vacation!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Check back in for the newest “Ranching on the Ponderosa” that will be up in the next few days!

*ASpottedHeart

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Sunset, Santa Fe

Growing up, my parents style seemed to always be inspired by the southwest. Paintings of R.C. Gorman’s, turquoise jewelry (before it was trendy) Native American pottery, and the sounds of the Eagles in the background of my childhood. Not to say there wasn’t a strong “western” feel as well, and most certainly plenty of Patsy Cline & Johnny Cash. But my parents have a love for Santa Fe, therefore that love was passed down to us girls. 

This painting of R.C. Gorman’s hung in our house all of my childhood.

The summer OneCuteCowboy
and I met, we took a trip to Santa Fe with my parents. I often say it was that trip when I knew I loved him. We had so much fun walking the square, going in and out of the shops, learning of Santa Fe’s rich history, and visiting several historical churches and sites. It was such a fun trip, and I’ve been itching to go back ever since.

My mother-in-law has been wanting us to go to Indian Market, always the 3rd weekend of August, which usually falls around my birthday. This year we decided to go. She has a deep love for Native American culture and has been to the Indian Market several times. It was enormous! I don’t think Riley and I were quite prepared for how big of an event this was. I read that 120,000 extra people come into Santa Fe for this festival/market. It was people and booths everywhere! It was a bit overwhelming!

This wasn’t even 1/4 of the people and booths.

We walked by the different booths and poked our heads into different shops. One of our favorite places to stop by on the square is Native Jackets.   I ordered a custom jacket here for OneCuteCowboy our first Christmas together. The man that owns the shop is a connoisseur of Navajo rugs/blankets. He is chalk full of interesting information and has quite the collection of vintage and valuable rugs. He had an actual weaver at the shop demonstrating her craft.


The woman working at the loom is Master Weaver, Marie H. Yazzie, and her daughter Marilyn, is spinning wool. We sat and watched and talked to the owner for a good hour. He showed us a couple of rugs from the 1890’s and one rug that was $95,000! Gulp! It was interesting and fun to learn a few things about weaving and the history of it. There’s a book I’d love to get my hands on to learn more.


We also met an incredible Shoshone and Paiute artist by the name of Micqaela Jones. She used magnificent color and painted some of my favorite things, wild animals. I’m not usually one for all those funky colors, but Micqaela is a true artist and has such a knack for capturing character in her paintings. Each one has a story to tell. We thoroughly enjoyed talking to her and hope to buy one of her paintings in the near future. I encourage you to check out her website by clicking her name above Or either picture below. 

Micqaela and my mother-in-law, Talonna

A few of her original pieces.

One thing OneCuteCowboy and I were in search of was the perfect squash blossom. That’s what he wanted to get me for my birthday. We’d kept an eye out the entire day and just never saw one we loved. There was a gorgeous one made with White Buffalo Turquoise, but was a whopping $2,500 buckaroos, but I’m sure worth every dime! Something else I’ve​ 

admired for years is a strand of beautiful “Navajo Beads” or some call them, “Navajo Pearls.”  We were meandering around one of the shops, admiring all the beautiful turquoise when I saw them, the most beautiful Navajo beads I’d ever seen up close. OneCuteCowboy asked one of the ladies to open the cabinet so we could try them on. Once I had them around my neck, I knew I never wanted to take them off! They were just what I’d wanted, what I had been admiring for years and years. 


Aren’t they beautiful? I just love them! To some, these just look like a strand of silver beads, but if one knew the craftsmanship it took to just make one single bead. In case you didn’t catch that, each bead is handmade. This necklace was made by the well-known Haley family. I was fortunate enough to get to visit with one of the Haley daughters and she said a necklace like this one probably took a total of 3 days to make. That just puts me in awe, that a factory could produce hundreds of these a day if they wanted to, and yet there are people who value this craft, this way of living, to spend 3 days making sure it is the best piece it can become. I just love that! I’m always impressed with people who can create art with their own two hands. Turquoise Skies wrote a great little article on how these are made and of the Haley family here.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my stories from Santa Fe! 


P.S. If you’re a lover of the southwest and Native American art and culture, my friend, and kindred spirit, The Chanhandle also has a great love and appreciation for it. Go check her out! She goes on some fun adventures!