Once upon a time I was one of those frequent flyers who would rack up 150,000 miles a year, which translated into numerous first class tickets to the Caribbean. Gosh I miss those beaches, turquoise water, and the clattle of palm trees. But, I exchanged them for long car trips, sandy deserts, turquoise you wear, and the prick of cacti. Now, when I travel, I no longer hit the club lounge at the airport, but just push it from one pit stop to another.
There are several stops that just don’t fit into an article right now, but are worthy of mention by the quality of the product or the services they provide. There is no rhyme nor reason for the way I am listing them. I’m just throwing onto canvas as I think of them.
The Eagle Ranch (Heart of the Desert Pistachio Groves) in Alamogordo, New Mexico is known for consistency. When I first stopped in their little gift shop nearly ten years ago, I was impressed with their pottery and the quality of gifts they carried, along with their pistachios. I purchased a small piece of hummingbird pottery to take back home to South Carolina as a gift for my best friend. Little did I know I would soon be living about forty-five miles from the gift shop, and the creator of the lovely hummingbird pottery, Vicki Conley, would be a friend!
The little gift shop has grown into a very large one with a national catalogue. They feature Southwestern gourmet foods, Vicki’s pottery, and the usual Southwestern flavor. Their quality has never faltered, which is something rather rare.
Back in Tucson, Bonnie Vinning operates a coffee house, called Javalina’s. Maintaining a large-scale operation in the face of large coffee franchises isn’t easy. Bonnie pulls it off by offering quality product, local entertainment, and a fascinating, gossipy weekly email newsletter. Quality and service are her mantra.