Updated: Jan 11
Happy New Year!
All of us at The Grand Hacienda B&B, The Casita del Lago and Abiquiu Lake Mesa Vacation Homes, and the Studios of Abiquiu Lake wish you a healthy, joyful, and travel-filled 2021! For the past 14 years, we have started each year with a letter of thanks to our “family of friends and guests”. We are so thankful for all of you who weathered 2020 with us. It has been a bumpy ride, for sure! When life gave us 2020, we adapted. We spent the year mastering social isolation; wearing masks and wiping down everything we touched with bleach; wasting precious hours watching The Tiger King; zooming our way through meetings, wine tastings and social events – together, yet alone; perfecting our work from home environments; hiking the glorious trails in the area; and creating safe places of retreat for our guests, including those of you who packed up your apartments and houses and made Abiquiu Lake your new home-away-from home for a while. We worked with you to book reservations, and then again when you had to cancel or reschedule them, then we booked again, cancelled, rescheduled - following the COVID and NM Health Department orders that seemed to change weekly from March through the end of the year. More importantly, we shifted our focus to reimagine how our guests might escape to this beautiful area that provides natural, social isolation – away from crowds. We trained our staff on COVID cleaning processes and became NM COVID Safe Certified. While we have always been committed to rigorous cleaning and maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness, we also implemented more proactive and preventative sanitizing measures. We disinfect every touch point – light switches, door knobs, cabinet pulls – if you can touch it, we disinfect it! We moved to self-check-in and self-check-out processes in all properties. We opened a Mercado that sells food, gifts, art, books, etc. – and allow guests to order online and have items delivered to their doorstep, with no contact. Most importantly, we found ways to stay connected with each other. Now, 2021 has arrived and with it, uncertainty and resolve. COVID has increased after the holidays; a more contagious version of the virus may be coming. Political unrest from both sides is heightening to new levels. Rioters stormed the halls of Congress. Social media has banned a sitting president. In essence, 2021 seemingly has looked back at 2020 and said, "Hey, hold my beer - watch this"! However, one thing we do know, amidst this uncertainty, is this situation won't last for ever. At this same time, vaccines are rolling out across the country; by the end of the summer, almost everyone could be vaccinated and the pandemic could be behind us. Our economy will grow. Domestic travel is expected to increase as we all recognize our deeply human desire to connect, to socialize and to experience adventure. We anticipate making good on those dreams we've been holding onto. And, many of you are counting down the days until your 2021 vacation with us, seeking the peace, renewal and natural isolation that Abiquiu Lake offers.
The birth of our new bed and breakfast – The Grand Hacienda – was a 2020 highlight. We spent years planning and building this authentic hacienda, and working on the details, services, licenses and authentic touches to make this one of the best lodging experiences in the state (or country!). You can read more about The Grand Hacienda at www.TheGrandHacienda.com – but it’s a very special, magical place. The B&B is adults-only, and we know you will love the guest suites, the amenities, the three-course gourmet breakfasts, wonderful coffees, lattes and cappuccinos, and evening desserts or happy hours around star and planet viewings. This is *not* your traditional bed and breakfast, and we hope to welcome you all here at some point during your travels.
The design and building of this traditional hacienda took three years, and we finally opened in February, only to close in March due to Covid. Here’s a shout out to our very first guests, on 2/14/2020 – Lee and Daniel! The comments, feedback and reviews from all of you who stayed here truly touched our hearts. We had over 120 reservations at the B&B in 2020; we thank all of you who discovered us, stopped by for a socially distanced tour, stayed with us, and then sent your friends and family to us. We took COVID seriously...we social distanced while sharing this heavenly spot. We continue to add and enhance the vacation homes, too. From new linens that can be washed in the highest temperatures, to new blinds throughout The Casita del Lago, to new TVs, new washer and dryer at Abiquiu Lake Mesa – we always want our homes to be updated and immaculate when you arrive.
As we do in our annual letter every year, let’s recap all that we accomplished, together.
For the first time in our twelve-year history, 2020 brought the most guests to us from our home state of New Mexico as locals stayed closer to home in their travels. This was the silver lining in COVID as it was wonderful for so many New Mexicans to see and experience this magical spot in their own state. Guests from Albuquerque, Taos, Santa Fe and Los Alamos topped the list – so close and yet so far away. Despite the challenges we all faced navigating COVID, we were also happy to safely welcome guests this year from twenty-four states and Canada.
We hosted four small weddings/elopements after their larger weddings were cancelled; six anniversaries; fourteen birthdays; two life celebrations; one family reunion; and one engagement! We deeply thank all of you who supported small businesses and the hospitality industry during these trying times. We were heartened to welcome all of you who visited us for the first time, and were so blessed to welcome back fifty-two of you who returned for your second, third, fifth and sixth visits. We also added some new contact-less conveniences for our guests. With so many restaurants closed this year, we added catered meals of BBQ Ribs or Chicken Burritos, which can be ordered online and delivered to your door. And, we opened a Mercado (online and located in person at The Grand Hacienda) where you can order snacks, food, drinks, gifts, cards, books, local art, toiletries and more – and again, these items will be delivered to your doorstep. You can view the Mercado at https://www.DiscoverAbiquiu.com/Mercado. In other great news, we have connected with several outdoor outfits to provide ways to take advantage of the lake! We now can recommend not only rafting or funyak trips down the Rio Chama, but also rental outfits for hobie cats, kayaks and SUP (stand up paddle boards) on Abiquiu Lake.
Another important part of 2020 for Tom and I was joining the board of Luciente, a local non-profit. Together, we raised over $100,000 and purchased/delivered meals every week during COVID to our food insecure communities, from Abiquiu out to the Navajo Nation. We delivered over 65,000 meals to families in need, provided turkeys and hams for the holidays, and set up food pantries in two area schools that will be an ongoing source of food for over 200 families. 2020 taught us to look for the good out there, and we found the good.This is a wonderful time to reflect on the year ahead of us, especially as change around us continues to move swiftly. As we transition into 2021, we embrace the visual beauty and energy of this wonderful place we call home. The sunrises and sunsets, the red cliffs, the lake, the night skies. The land forces us to be present and live authentically. We are blessed to be here, and so happy to share it with all of you.
Our properties remain a haven where you can retreat, breathe, and reboot among beautiful surroundings. However, if you are not ready to travel yet, we invite you to like or follow Discover Abiquiu on Facebook and Instagram and travel virtually with us. We sponsor the site, and it is positing a picture-a-day from Abiquiu and the surrounding areas, and is a fun way to stay connected with the area. Discover Abiquiu has been positing the daily pictures since COVID hit in March, and will continue to do so until this passes. Many thanks to all of you who have submitted pictures to share. Keep them coming – email your pictures or guest blogs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We do want all of our guests to know in advance that rates will increase in 2021 to cover new expenses with roads, wells, the lakefront, stringent COVID protocols, and increased costs from our staffs and vendors - but we will also be increasing our “BestGuest” repeat guest discount as a thank you when you book directly with us at DiscoverAbiquiu.com or TheGrandHacienda.com. We value each of you and thank you for loving this wonderful place as much as we do.
We’re here, and ready to welcome you when you are ready to travel. We thank you for entrusting us with your safe vacations. We are grateful for each of you, and the ongoing opportunity for community and connection. So onward we go – a new day, a fresh start, a new year.
Carolyn and Tom