While Saturday started with sunshine and temperatures in the 70's, it cooled off by early afternoon...the calm before the storm that came on Sunday, I am sure. So, we took advantage of the morning warmth by shopping the Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market that is held every Saturday on the downtown mall. Boo to TripAdvisor for not even listing this "attraction" on their site - it's a good thing I pay attention to roadside signs (although sometimes I think I'm supposed to be relaying GPS turns. But a good co-pilot also finds the local hot spots on road signs, too, right?) The sign boasted over 200 local craftsmen and farmers! I would say it's closer to 75 stalls and tables. Still pretty impressive for the middle of the desert, though. And since I use every trip as a possible shopping opportunity (although trying to write it off will cause your audit color to change from green to red), I wanted to see what the locals were selling in the way of jewelry and gemstones.
What you will quickly realize upon your arrival in New Mexico, is their insane love of the red chili. It is everywhere. Hanging in doorways, hanging at a gate entrance, hanging over the garage. The red chili is the varsity cheerleader and the Prom Queen all rolled into one and the owners of this booth are making a mint off of the chili addiction.
While I negotiated for the most lovely piece of egg lace:
Oh well...they provided excellent background music for a morning of shopping and when they left, we took it as our cue to exit stage right also.
And then I dragged Neal to a bead store.
And he was a champ. He chatted with one of the employees while I debated between 4 strands of beads that, I'm sure, all looked exactly alike to him.
I am a loving and thoughtful wife, though, and only put him through that once. And also there was not another bead store within a 60-mile radius. Really, Las Cruces?? Scottsdale has a better selection. And it's Scottsdale. There are like 20 people who live there year-round.
So our next stop, which ranked #4 on TripAdvisor's Las Cruces Attractions list was Old Mesilla Village. It's fairly historical but not really all that famous, with the exception of Billy the Kid. For the most part, the residents who settled the area were unknown to me...but they did construct a beautiful, Spanish-style, Catholic Church and they should have owned stock in stucco.
We did run into Chief HasNoRhythm and DivaV at a jewelry store (shocking, I know) on the town square. Chief was urging DivaV to buy something and DivaV was resisting (such is the style of an accountant). We promised to meet up for lunch at La Posta, which was recommended to all of us by different people. DivaV said they had accidentally driven past Old Mesilla the first time and found themselves in a lovely grove of pecan trees, just a few miles down Hwy 28. We had a couple of hours before lunch so we hopped in the car and went in search of pecans.
We found pecans.
We also found a winery.
Our bartender at Rio Grand Winery was named Sarah and she was everything a mistress of the grapes should be...social, full of interesting stories, and a listening ear when the wine started to kick in. I kind of miss Sarah. But I don't miss the wine because I brought some home with me! I am giving up Muscat for Lent, so it looks like I will be drinking that bottle tomorrow.
After an hour and a half with Sarah and 10 minutes with the pecans, we ventured back down 28 to meet up with The Dynamic Duo for lunch.
What this picture is missing is the 2 Desert Rose Margaritas I inhaled during the course of lunch. La Posta's Desert Rose Margarita is mixed using cactus juice. And it's pink. My mouth waters just thinking about it. While we were munching on Mexican food that *does not at all taste like any other Mexican food I've ever had*, The Dynamic Duo mentioned that they had just bought new silverware at Nambe. And since we have been looking for sturdy, balanced silverware for almost a year now (and, honestly, I finally caved last July and bought a set from Target because how can you drive a Prius and continue to use plasticware?) and Nambe was right around the corner, we all 4 cruised over after lunch.
DivaV was right. The silverware they bought was amazeballs. And the table knife is wickedcool.
An hour and some large amount of money later (although not that large...Nambe offers a military discount and that will endear them to me always), we parted ways with DivaV and Chief and headed back to the Hampton. Saturday night concluded with a bottle of pink champagne, a bottle of Rio Grande Winery sweet red, take-out wings from BW3's, and 2 hours of Jeff Dunham (pretty much the only ventriloquist who can make me laugh until I pee a little...remember "Jalapeno, on a steeeeeeck"? That guy is a little bit special and a whole lot of genius). No late nights for us since check-out was 10 AM and we had a hot springs waiting for us in Truth or Consequences. Oh, if only we knew what else awaited us there....
Also, that is a digitized camo fleece blanket that Neal surprised me with when we got up on Friday morning. At first I thought it was a camo Snuggie. I may pin the sides so it becomes one. Hate 'em or love 'em, the Snuggie is the 8th Wonder of the World.