To explore Ghost Ranch and Abiquiú and experience the landscapes made famous by Georgia O’Keeffe is a wonderful day trip from Santa Fe or Taos.
Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center: Set in stunning surroundings north of Abiquiú, this former dude ranch is where Georgia O’Keeffe lived and painted. She bought a small piece of land and the house that she had rented from the owner, Arthur Pack, and used it as her Summer residence after moving to New Mexico full-time in 1949, after her husband Alfred Stieglitz died. Today, it is a retreat center run by the Presbyterian Church. They offer classes in painting, drawing, calligraphy, jewelry making, pottery, weaving and photography. There are also classes in spirituality and self reflection, astronomy, geography, paleontology, archaeology and writing.
You can stay on-site and have all your meals in the cafe. You can stay for a week or for a night or two and enjoy the property and the museums. There is hiking, river rafting and horseback riding.
I highly recommend the O’Keeffe Landscape Tour where you will tour the landscape, made famous by her paintings over a 50 year period, by small motor bus. You can see the same trees, cliffs and mountains that she did. There is a walking tour on Fridays. Though her house is private, you can see it from the road and see the views that she made famous over many years. Pedernal, the flat-topped mountain to the south, was probably her favorite subject. It was here that she painted her famous Above the Clouds IV, found at the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago.
The small town of Abiquiú is centered around the historic church of Santo Tomas. The town was established by the Spanish in 1754. The church was a mission of the Franciscans. Make sure to visit this adobe church with its beautiful altar.
Bodes General Store: Originally located in the small village across from Georgia O’Keefe’s House and Studio and behind the church. It started as Grants Mercantile in 1890 as a general store, post office, stage coach stop and jail. Martin Bode ended up the owner in 1919. The store was moved down the hill when the highway bypass was created. The current owners took over in 1994.
The store carries a full selection of liquor, beer, wine, gifts, snacks, outdoor gear, and other food items. They have a restaurant which carries a large selection of sandwiches, salads, pastries, pies, muffins and cookies. They are known for their breakfast burritos and chili. I highly recommend eating there before you explore the area, for a real local’s experience.
If you want to stay in the area, there is the Abiquiú Inn with 25 casitas, suites and rooms under large cottonwood trees. There is an attractive restaurant and gift shop. It is also the headquarters for the Georgia O’Keeffe Home & Studio Tour Office. 21120 Highway 84.
Georgia O’Keeffe Home & Studio: I really loved this tour of O’Keeffe’s home and studio which is currently owned by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. She bought the house as a ruin in 1945. It took her four years to restore it. In 1949 she moved to New Mexico from New York and made it her permanent home. She lived between Abiquiú and Ghost Ranch, until 1984, when she moved to Santa Fe. On the tour you can visit the gardens, see the views and see the kitchen, living room, dining room, studio and bedroom. I would book your spot online before going to make sure you get the time slot you want.
On my last trip to Santa Fe, I read about the Purple Adobe Lavender Farm in Abiquiú. It is open for tours, demonstrations, classes, strolls through the lavender fields, shopping in their Lavender Shoppe and lunch in the Lavender Tea House.