Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm: Albuquerque New Mexico find

Scenic drive into Los Poblanos

Scenic drive into Los Poblanos: Photo Credit: Steve Collins

As you drive up the treed allée, you know you’re going back in time. The Pueblo Revival home that greets you feels like an expansive Mexican hacienda.  You’ve arrived at Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm, a luxurious small inn offering a quiet elegant retreat to its guests. You’ll feel like you’re staying at a country estate in a by-gone era and you are. Yes, you are not far from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The property’s original ranch house was redesigned and expanded in 1932.  Albuquerque attorney, banker and former Congressman Albert Simms had acquired the property in the 1920s. He and his new wife, Ruth Hanna McCormick Simms, a former Illinois Congresswoman, newspaper publisher and dairy farmer moved to New Mexico from Washington, DC in 1932. They commissioned architect John Gaw Meem, to redesign and expand the original hacienda.  Meem was one of the key figures in the revival of Pueblo and Territorial architecture that collectively came to be known as “Santa Fe Style.” The resulting grand home, built around a shady courtyard, features many of the details that Meem is famous for including brick at the roof-line and distinctive lintels.

Staying at Los Poblanos
The inn, a six room B & B until it was expanded to 20 rooms and suites in 2010, offers individually furnished rooms and suites that are minimalist yet welcoming. There are three levels of accommodations; Classic Rooms, Deluxe Rooms and Deluxe Suites. All accommodations come with private baths and wood burning fireplaces, perfect for chilly nights. Classic Rooms offers queen or king-sized beds. The Deluxe Rooms have king-sized beds, seating areas and private patios. The suites offer a living room and a bedroom; one comes equipped with a complete kitchen.

Entrance and Courtyard

Entrance and Courtyard Los Poblanos – Photo Credit: Steve Collins

If you want to stay in one of the original guestrooms and are a fan of folk art, ask for the Girard Suite. This room, named for folk art collector (and designer) Alexander Girard, is filled with Mexican folk art. Girard’s collection of this genre fills an entire wing named for him at the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe. Our Deluxe Room, part of the 2010 addition, had a retro 1930s bathroom complete with soaking tub and walk-in shower, felt like it was a part of the original home. We were surprised to hear that it was almost new.  In-room amenities include mini-bottles of Los Poblanos’ line of organic lavender products made with lavender grown on their farm.

Dining at Los Poblanos

Los Poblanos Courtyard

Los Poblanos Courtyard – Photo Credit: Steve Collins

Los Poblanos is known for is its food. Organic is king here and much of the food, especially in warm weather, is grown on site. There’s even a greenhouse that supplies some produce in winter. They take organic farming seriously here, employing a full time farmer who works closely with the Executive Chef to plan what will be grown each season.

Inn guests get breakfast daily. Try the lavender honey from their own hives. The Inn’s restaurant , La Merienda, is open for dinner Wednesday to Saturday. Both guests and non-guests can enjoy the organic bounty, much of it grown on the farm or from local growers and producers. The menu, serving what they call Rio Grande Valley Cuisine, changes seasonally.  Find tempting items such as Pollo Confit, Beet Napoleon or Pie de Pastor on the vegetarian-friendly menu.

Another way to experience their sustainably grown food philosophy is to attend one of the monthly Field to Fork dinners.  The seasonally driven menus feature the freshest local ingredients carefully selected by the chef from what’s available both at Los Poblanos Organic Farm or from carefully selected local sources. These four-course dinners are popular, so reserve early. The Field to Fork Program also offers cooking classes.

The Farm
As the Inn’s name implies, farming is important here. They have about 8 of the inn’s 25 acres under cultivation. The principal crop is organic lavender. The farm is known locally for it. This is used in their organic lavender body products.  In season, the farm, as mentioned, also produces much of the food served at the inn.

The Farm Shop, set in an old barn built in 1934, sells the farm’s lavender products and a carefully selected inventory of kitchen, household and decorative items, tools, books and artisanal foods. Shop manager, Stephen Humphrey, spends a lot of time researching, designing and developing products for the shop. It’s clear that the former architect enjoys what he does. He’s excited that the store will be expanding in 2013. The plan is to bring more artisanal food and table top items in.

Outside the shop in a fenced in area there’s a menagerie. Christine Chavez of Valley Flower Farms raises barnyard animals here including hens, pigs, ducks, goats and more on the farm. Inn guests can join Chavez, by appointment, for Barnyard Animals 101 to learn about the animals, hunt for eggs, milk a baby goat and more. On the first Saturday ofeach month, this fun hands-on farm workshop is open to the public. Space is limited and the spots fill up so reserve early. There’s also a Meet the Farmergreenhouse tour and class offered from January to June. The dates are on their website. In summer, you can visit the lavender fields during farm shop hours (9am to 5pm daily).

Los Poblanos Silos

Los Poblanos Silos – Photo Credit: Steve Collins

The Cultural Center
Ruth and Albert Simms believed in giving back to their community. They had Meem design a public space on the property, La Recreado La Quinta San Isidro (San Isidro Recreation Center), now known as the Cultural Center. The building combines New Mexican Territorial Style with more formal architectural traditions such as a paneled library, which was open to the public. The center was site of Albuquerque’s first public swimming pool and also a place for concerts and other cultural events. There’s a wonderful collection of Spanish Colonial and Native American and other art in the building plus wonderful period features. Inn guests can arrange tours of the Cultural Center and in the low season (January through April), there’s a monthly tour that’s open to the public. The space (and the entire inn) is available for weddings and other special events.

Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm is a step back into another era. There’s no place else like it, I guarantee it.

More: Los Poblanos – Field to Fork

Billie FrankGuest Writer Billie Frank is a freelance writer, travel blogger and travel-consultant. She is passionate about her adopted hometown, Santa Fe, NM. Her articles have appeared in print and online. She recently consulted with a major publisher on an update of a Santa Fe Guide. You can read her blog at http://www.santafetravelers.com/