We were driving the regular route to Sante Fe from Shiprock--four lane highway; more less in good shape, but if you know New Mexico roadways, you know that they aren't always in the greatest shape at anytime. We spied a sign to Ponderosa Winery, which up route 4--about 8 miles off the beaten path. Okay--here we go! We travel through the Jemez reservation, down another small road to the winery. Here is Mary, the owner. She is holding down the fort as her hubby is off fishing in Alaska.
Mary is a delightful lady--her smiles bring out the dimples in her cheeks. She has great stories to tell. And she can pour a mean glass of wine too!
The grapes are small, round and ripening for more fermentation in the barrel come this fall.
We had to laugh at the flower planter--an old fertilizer wagon--what a good use for a long forgotten and neglected implement. Mary learns that we are heading into Santa Fe and suggests we go the back way--up route 4 and through Jemez mountains--we are game. Besides, she recommends three cafes in Jemez Springs--one she prefers over the others because they use cloth napkins. Why not? The countryside is awesome!
We pull into Laughing Lizard Cafe, find a table on the screened in porch in order to catch a slight breeze during this hot summer day. This area contains apricot orchards but due to a bad spring, the crops didn't fare too well, but in the window sill are three small apricots just waiting to turn that lovely ripe color. Around one of the many curves we come upon a congested area sign and pull off to observe soda dam
A natural wonder and sight! Another wonder is the Bandelier National Monument --just short drive off the route. Good thing for that senior pass! A two mile hike around the loop takes you to see a huge pueblo and kiva that dates back to 12th century. Back on the road after that brief stop we are headed into LA.
Mary has told us about a distillery located in Los Alamos and we set our GPS for the location, which is in a neighborhood--interesting--maybe, we have the wrong address--nope, GPS got us to the driveway of Don Quixote Distillery & Winery Home of the World Famous Blue Corn Vodka. You can taste but you can't buy! They also make flavored vanillas--delicious! In order to purchase the vodka you must buy from liquor store. Okay, that's on the to do list for Santa Fe.