If you follow social media - pick one: Facebook, Instagram, X, Linked In, Threads or TikTok - then you've likely heard our big news: we finally published our book, Discover Abiquiú from A to Z! We are so excited! (For those of you now asking where the cookbook is...it's coming next!)
Now, we want to share some of the back story that led to the creation of this book.
Being involved in the hospitality industry in Abiquiú for over twenty years, first with vacation rental homes and more recently with The Grand Hacienda Inn, we’ve had a lot of time to reflect on travel experiences in the area. We are proud to have helped shape lodging choices in the area in the most beautiful, sacred places. Our goal has always been to give our guests exposure to memorable, travel-like-a local experiences and provide a sense of place where they are staying.
Part of what drove my husband and I to leave the security of careers in the financial industry and move to Abiquiú is our absolute love for this place…and our desire to share it with others because it is really that special.
Maybe because of our location, our guests all tend to be like-minded and share our love for Abiquiú; this is part of what drives us on a daily basis with The Grand Hacienda and Discover Abiquiu. Our guests feel the energy this ancestral, indigenous land provides. Georgia O’Keeffe was right when she said, “It's something that's in the air, it's different. The sky is different, the wind is different," as she described Abiquiú. Because it IS different here, and we want our guests to experience this version of Abiquiú…not a rushed, see-as-much-as-you-can-in-a-day, focus on Georgia O'Keeffe, type of visit.
You know what we mean – the version of traveling through a place so quickly that you leave being able to check-the-box and say you came and saw -- you have a few pictures to prove it -- but you really don’t leave with a sense of the place. You may have seen the popular, tourist highlights, but you missed the essence of the region. We call that a tourism fail. So many -- too many -- people experience Abiquiú in a rushed day. They stay in Santa Fe because that is familiar, and they pop into Abiquiú for a day, quickly doing an O’Keeffe Home and Studio Tour (if they are lucky and got tickets in advance) and throw in a Ghost Ranch tour, before dashing back to Santa Fe before it gets too dark. This type of Abiquiú visit hurts…because you miss so much of what Abiquiú is really about, you leave with a very weak understanding and a superficial connection. For many, their memory is limited to Georgia O’Keeffe's Abiquiú, and yet she would be the first one to explain that there is a long history and amazing geologic wonders that took place here long before O'Keeffe ever set foot in the village.
Don’t get me wrong. O’Keeffe was a powerful force in Abiquiú. She is one of the people I would most love to have at my table if I could choose any five people from any time to meet. I idolize her – not just for her raw talent and creative lens, but for her bravery, her determination, and for living life her way according to her rules. I love the tours of her homes and places she painted, I loving seeing the actual vistas she painted and then analyzing her paintings to contemplate her interpretation, I absolutely love the wonderful O'Keeffe Welcome Center in town, its gift shop and its staff. But, she is just a small part of the history and legacy of the village of Abiquiú.
We want our guests to learn about Abiquiú - thus the name "Discover Abiquiú. The history, architecture and blended cultures. The land and geologic formations; impacts of volcanoes, rifts and plateaus. The dinosaurs and woolly mammoths and the history of the Indigenous, Native and Spanish peoples. The Spanish Trail, nearby pueblos, cliff dwellings and petroglyphs. And, more current impacts: the formation of the lake and the dam; of course, O’Keeffe and Ghost Ranch; and so much more. The harmonious interaction with the location and environment. We want our guests to feel the connection -- call it spiritual, call it energy -- whatever it is to you, it is -- in fact -- different here. Connection to place. We know that most of our guests, once they feel this connection, they want to take that positive, good feeling home with them.
And that is what first got me thinking about this book, long before the book had form or even a title. It was a goal to create a tangible, lasting connection to Abiquiú. This Abiquiú experience -- the connection -- I wanted them to be able to take that feeling home with them, to cherish, to ignite memories of their trip, until they could return again.
With that as the backdrop, Discover Abiquiú from A to Z was born! A 60 page, beautifully illustrated book that highlights the sights, sounds and discoveries of Abiquiú and northern New Mexico. From Abiquiú to Zozobra, this book will take you on an alphabetical journey through Abiquiú's heart and soul. With original, breathtaking illustrations and informative text, "Discover Abiquiú" is sure to resonate with all you love about Abiquiú, and also teach you a few things along the way.
We LOVE how it turned out!
Who is we, you ask?
Three years ago the idea for this book formed and I had it in my head, but what I didn’t have was a way to illustrate the words or give a sense of feeling to the pages. Over breakfast one morning, our wonderful guest Wendy Cuyler and her husband Chris suggested we put together a cookbook. I explained that the cookbook was on my list, but only after this book in my head materialized…I told her I was stuck as I needed not just AN illustrator, but THE illustrator who could help with the mission to bring Abiquiú to life through its pages. Wendy, an amazing artist, just so calmly and matter of factly said, “OK, I will illustrate it.” Just like that.
But what Wendy then did blew me away. I sent her the A to Z topics and the draft language and she created full size, authentic paintings for each page. 28 paintings in all. Amazingly beautiful representations of Abiquiú. A perfect partnership, a perfect fit, a perfect vision.
I then set out to find the perfect person to do the layout and editing. We found another person who shares the love of Abiquiú – Anne Marie Arndt from 24 25 Creative. She was able to take my writing and Wendy’s art and blend them into love and beauty across each page.
So, yes, A is for Abiquiu, G is for Ghost Ranch and O is for O’Keeffe, but there is so much more to learn about the Abiquiú area on each page. Everything about the dam and the electricity it produces is under D is for Dam. The Native American Tewa were some of the first inhabitants of this land have secured the letter T. The letter Z expands a bit out of Abiquiú into Santa Fe for Zozobra, because even in Abiquiú it is important to release negativity in our lives. From A to Z, we hope you will follow us on a journey through Abiquiú.
The rest is book history, so to speak. Three years later, our book is published, printed, delivered (after losing them all in San Francisco for a few weeks) and on shelves. We are so excited to share it with you all.
Just in time for the holidays, you can order the book online through The Grand Hacienda Mercado website or through Amazon….or buy it directly in the Abiquiú area at The Grand Hacienda B&B Inn, The Shop at The Abiquiú Inn, or at Café Sierra Negra. We hope to expand distribution over the next few months.
We thank all of you – our guests, friends, family and followers – for encouraging us to continue pursuing our dream to create a book that allows everyone to share the love of Abiquiú between the pages of the book and serve as a constant reminder of the beautiful energy, land and cultures in this tiny village we call home.
Online at The Grand Hacienda
Online through Amazon
Locally at The Grand Hacienda, The Shop at Abiquiu Inn or Cafe Sierra Negra.
ASIN : B0CK7BGCRP
Publisher : Self Published (October 11, 2023)
Language : English
Hardcover : 60 pages
ISBN-13 : 979-8218025694
Author: Carolyn Calfee Illustrator: Wendy Cuyler Designer: Anne Marie Arndt
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