New Mexico: San Fidel, Grants and Crownpoint 

Right after picking up the rental car at the ABQ Sunport I drove west toward Grants, intending to visit Guadalupe Vineyards in San Fidel which is located about midway.  Guadalupe is the only vineyard along the route or in that portion of New Mexico.  The vineyard is about a 1.5 mile drive down a gravel road from I-40 and when I arrived they were closed.  After turning around and starting to drive back down the gravel road to I-40 a deer (or antelope) doe jumped across the road about 20 feet in front of me.  Not a close call, but startling in it's beauty. 

I returned the next day and spent an hour or so with Antonio Trujillo, the co-proprietor (with his wife, Lucinda) of Guadalupe Vineyards.  Oh yes, they have a German Shepherd who produced the contractually-required show of territoriality and then settled down into friendly and snoozy mode.  They produce several hundred cases each of dry Rielsing, Gewürztraminer, Muscat and a white table wine.  It's really fine stuff but unfortunately it's not available in New York nor do they ship here.  If you're traveling by they are a short drive from Exit 100 off I-40.  Their phone number is (505) 552.0082.  While they had a website at before my trip, the site is not active as I write this.

It's a beautiful place near the foot of Mount Taylor and receives its water from an acequia fed from s spring originating from the mountain.  

On the drive back after the visit a horse came trotting up the road toward me and then turned and circled a few yards in front of me before continuing on its way.  

Guadalupe Vineyards 2
Guadalupe Vineyards 3

I don't urge people to visit Grants.  It's not a horrible place, the people are fine and the scenery surrounding the town is wonderful, but there isn't much there.  It had lumber booms and mining booms. The dry climate and supply of available space means that the failed businesses of the 1990's, 1980's etc. are still sitting there, boarded up and sitting as mute testimony to the whatever percent of businesses that fail.  

If you're visiting the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction you have limited options for overnight accommodations.  Grants and Gallup are the closet population centers to the east and west.  There's a Mining Museum in Grants, which is in pretty urgent need of an update but still worth a visit and the town is worth a short car tour.  There are several good places to eat: El Cafecito, WOW Diner, and the La Ventana Steakhouse.

Grants - Hotel Looking East

One of the draws of New Mexico is the mix of cultures and with that, crafts handmade by regional Indian nations.  One of the best places to buy crafts is the monthly Navajo Rug Action held at the elementary school in Crownpoint, a community of about 2,700 on the Navajo Reservation.  In addition to the auction of rugs and weavings, there are 10-20 crafts people who set up tables in the school's corridor selling jewelry, pottery and other forms of crafts. The 40-minute drive from I-40 to Crownpoint is stunning and worth the trip by itself, but the monthly event is a great opportunity to buy crafts from the people who actually created them, providing them with the full benefit of the sale and a reasonable price for you.

Road to Crownpoint 3
Waiting to Enter Rug Weaver Auction

© Warren Liebold 2011