One-Tank Weekender: Hondo Iris Farm

May 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Weekend & Day Trips

Get away to the Hondo Iris Farm for some tranquility.

With apologies to Southwest Airlines… Wanna get away? In New Mexico, it’s easy to get away for the weekend and find tons of free and cheap stuff to do.

Welcome to our newest feature: One-Tank Weekenders. Our goal with this monthly feature is to help you plan trips you can accomplish on one or two tanks of gas, so you can relax and unwind on the cheap right here in the Land of Enchantment.

This month, we’re highlighting the Hondo Iris Farm. Located east of Ruidoso, the Hondo Iris Farm doesn’t offer accommodations, but it’s a perfect weekend getaway for other reasons.

First of all, if you love iris — or flowers, in general — this is the getaway for you. You can wander row upon row of exotic iris plants. There is no admission fee, and no obligation to purchase anything. However…

If you love original arts and crafts, you’ll love this getaway. The Hondo Iris Farm sells iris plants that you can take home immediately as a living souvenir. Plus, the farm boasts a 100 year old adobe gallery that showcases the work of Alice Seely (owner of the iris farm). You can purchase Seely’s fabulous art, which includes jewelry, embroidered pillows, rugs, and wallhangings.

Alice Seely creates gorgeous pillows and tapestries.

For those of you unfamiliar with Alice Seely’s art, her works in a variety of media have garnered world renown. In fact, 35 of her tapestries were purchased for the New Encore addition to the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. Seely is the stepdaugher of Navajo artist Narciso Abeyta, the “Gaugin of American Indian art.” Her paintings evoke a Mexican muralist feel, while her jewelry and tapestries could be described as a fusion of contemporary and tribal motifs.

Our suggestions to make this a fantastic weekend trip:

  • Leave early on Saturday morning. You can reach the Hondo Iris Farm (located on Hwy 70, mile marker 284; look for the blue sign) in about 3 hours.
  • To get to Hondo, take I-25 south to Hwy 380 (go east at San Antonio). Note that there are few — ahem — facilities between San Antonio and Hondo, so don’t drink too much coffee during the trip.
  • Later, head west on Hwy 70 toward Ruidoso.
  • If you love antiquing, keep your eyes peeled for Lotza Stuff, a flea market co-op housed in a pair of large, blue metal buildings on the south side of Hwy 70 before you reach Ruidoso Downs (a separate town from Ruidoso). Definitely worth a stop!
  • Continue on Hwy 70 through Ruidoso Downs, then go north on Hwy 37 into Ruidoso proper. See the map.
  • Once in Ruidoso, browse the shops on Sudderth Drive and stay for cheap at the West Winds Lodge in the heart of town (about $70 per night, with free casino shuttle service) or obtain other lodging to suit your budget, whether low-end chain motels or upscale B&Bs.
  • On Sunday, sleep in, then grab breakfast at the Cornerstone Bakery CafĂ©, where you can get superb eggs Benedict. Delish!
  • Take your time heading back home. Head north out of Ruidoso on Hwys 48 & 37 (the two routes run together for a few miles), and don’t miss the sharp left turn where Hwy 37 splits off to the west. Enjoy the scenery as you meander through Nogal. Eventually, you’ll hook back up with Hwy 380, where you’ll head west toward Carrizozo and onward until you eventually intersect with I-25. We think you can find the rest of the way from there.

The Hondo Iris Farm is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Do you have a favorite weekend getaway? Tell us by e-mail or in the comments, and we might feature it in an upcoming issue!

–Elizabeth Hanes


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