TRAVELOGUE: Farmington, NM – An Overnight Destination, Part One

Farmington, New Mexico is 99 miles and a pleasant two-hour drive from Pagosa Springs. The Farmington I have experienced over the last eleven years can be summed up as the closest Big Box shopping to Pagosa, replete with congested highways. I’ve taken many day-trips to Farmington to fulfill whatever Big Box needs I had at the time.

But Farmington… as an overnight destination?

After spending two full days and nights exploring and enjoying Farmington and its surrounding area, I can answer that question with a resounding, “Yes!”

There’s a wide selection of lodging. I happened to stay at the Courtyard Marriott, which is located on the Animas River and River Trail, and served as a base to adventure from.

But if you’re looking for a unique lodging experience… and if you’re the adventurous type… you may want to book Kokepelli’s Cave B&B.

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Owned and built by geologist Bruce Black, the Cave is set in the vertical cliffs of Tertiary Ojo Alamo sandstone.

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The view before the hike down to the Cave.

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Cave owner Bruce Black talks about the area’s geology.

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Petrified log trapped in rock… on the way to the Cave.

The cave entrance is located in the cliff face and is reached by a steep hike along a sandstone pathway. At 70 feet below the surface, the temperature in the Cave is a balmy 68° – 73° year around.

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Replica of the partially underground Native American kiva used for religious rituals.

An actual cave man would be envious of the amenities found in Kokopelli’s 1,700 sq. ft. cave, such as a Native American kiva, full kitchen, rock Jacuzzi tub, waterfall shower, porches with sliding glass doors, and an expansive view topped off with spectacular New Mexico sunsets.

But you might be hungry before check-in at Kokopelli’s… or other lodging of your choice. There’s many dining establishments to choose from. I chose Three Rivers Eatery and Brewhouse, recommended by a beer aficionado friend.

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I was not disappointed with food, beer or atmosphere. The restaurant is located in a renovated historic 1912 building, and its unique decor includes items found during the renovation.

Unique beer labels that never saw a bottle, found during renovation.

Unique beer labels that never saw a bottle, found during renovation.

The owners have expanded their operations to the entire block – now called the Three Rivers Brewery Block – and includes the Tap Room, Banquet Room, 3RB Pizzeria, and a distillery is in the works.

Co-owner Bob Beckley talks about the Pizzeria and the soon-to-be Distillery.

Co-owner Bob Beckley talks about the Pizzeria and the soon-to-be Distillery.

I hear the pizza is not to be missed, so I’ll have to try it on my next trip.

As long as you’re downtown with a full tummy, why not browse through some art galleries? Art is not as pricey as that found in Santa Fe, so you just might find the perfect piece at the perfect price.

I browsed through two intriguing art galleries: Studio 116, and Artifacts.

The unpretentious Karen Ellsbury, co-owner of Studio 116, made me feel right at home, and promised that she could make me an artist.

Karen Ellsbury, co-owner of Studio 116.

Karen Ellsbury, co-owner of Studio 116.

I took her class, and painted my first acrylic mini. I found out I have some Van Gogh in me! Studio 116 not only exhibits an eclectic collection of art and photographs, but also offers various art parties and art classes.

Studio 116, Farmington NM.

Studio 116, Farmington NM.

Artifacts is located in the historic Farmington Lumber and Hardware Company building. I found the repurposed 1908 building (which has been in the same family since 1916) to be a piece of art in itself.

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Artifacts Gallery.

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It is now home to 3 galleries, 16 Artist Studios, The Chile Store, and 302 Main Espresso.

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Artifacts Gallery represents over 40 of the area’s finest artists.

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Next up: Navajo Fry Bread, anyone?

Read Part Two…

Cynda Green

Cynda Green is an investigative reporter, writer, and photographer based out of Salida, Colorado. She may be contacted at cyndagreen@gmail.com.

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