“It’s the most wonderful place you can imagine. It’s so beautiful there. It’s ridiculous.”- O'Keeffe
Updated: Jul 7, 2019
When you set out to #DiscoverAbiquiu, you most certainly will discover that you are in “O’Keeffe Territory”, and for good reason. Georgia O’Keeffe first visited Abiquiu in 1929, and eventually made it her permanent home in 1949. Her famous paintings depict her representation of everything “New Mexico,” including Abiquiu’s Cerro Pedernal, Plaza Blanca, Ghost Ranch and numerous landscapes and still life paintings. The natural world that surrounded her – the landscape, river, mountains, lake, arroyos – became the subject for her abstract paintings…leading her to become the most celebrated female painter of all time.
O’Keeffe had two homes and studios in the area and both still stand today; her main home in the village of Abiquiú and her second home fifteen miles north on Ghost Ranch property. It took her over ten years to purchase the run-down adobe home in the small village, and then another three years to carefully restore and renovate the home.
She cultivated a garden, which still is carefully attended to today, which she harvested for sustainable living. You can watch a live video-cam of her garden that shows its changes over seasons as part of the project to restore the gardens. On Wednesdays and Fridays in the summer months, area student interns work to plant, maintain and harvest vegetables that O'Keeffe originally grew in her garden.
A wonderful O’Keeffe Welcome Center stands in Abiquiú and should be your first stop for all things #OKeeffe. The new building which opened in 2018 houses a fabulous gift shop, a theater which shows videos explaining her life in Abiquiú and helpful O’Keeffe staffers who are ready to answer questions. The Welcome Center is also the meeting spot for the tour of her home and studio; tours run from March to November. You can sign up for a standard tour or a ‘behind the scenes’ tour – both require advance reservations and book up months in advance. At nearby Ghost Ranch, you can also tour the various spots where she painted her most famous landscapes.
When you tour her home, you will see it just as she left it. You might be surprised at the simplicity. A favorite discovery of mine on the tour was as clay pot in her bedroom – and I then learned that she made clay pots, too. Who knew?
Did we tell you to book your reservations for O'Keeffe tours and Abiquiú Lake Vacations lodging in advance?? OK, good. Because both sell out months in advance in the summer months.
If you take a day trip to Santa Fe, you will want to carve out some time to wander through the Georgia O’Keeffe museum – where you can compare her artwork throughout her career. You can then also swing by #MeowWolf, which is just a cool experience for anyone...but especially the creative, art-loving folks.
Because there is so much to do and see in the area, including many tours of Georgia O'Keeffe's properties and paintings - and her favorite hike to the top of #Pedernal - you will want to plan to stay several days.
It's not easy to hike to the top of O'Keeffe's beloved Pedernal, and master hikers will even manage to do it with a bottle of wine...unbroken. #DontTryThisAtHome. (The hike to the top of Pedernal is worth a blog of it's own.) After all, this is the spot O'Keeffe painted over and over - saying God told her she could have Pedernal if she painted it enough - and it is the spot where she had her ashes tossed after her death. Deserving of wine, I'd say.
You have to admit, this would be a pretty cool #JLohr advertisement....just sayin'.
If you are interested in even more O'Keeffe trivia, you can review a timeline of her life here. Once you absorb all this information, you will be qualified to lead the tours!
Get ready for your 'everything O'Keeffe' trip - be sure to visit her welcome center, homes, studio, painting locations and favorite places (Plaza Blanca, Black Place, Pedernal, Ghost Ranch). Plan ahead so you can reserve your choice of dates for her tours and for awesome lodging at #AbiquiuLakeVacations on #AbiquiuLake. Seriously, we don't want you staying anywhere else.
Any questions? Head over to DiscoverAbiquiu to connect.
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