Close to home, yet world away: trip to Portales

Clyde Davis: Local Columnist

We are going to take a virtual tour of Portales, by way of enhancing our romancing through some wonderful events and new opportunities in this town.

If you wish to grab a mid-autumn getaway with the love of your life, the approaching weekend could be a busy one for you. Changes on the square and about town, along with a few special opportunities, may give you the chance to transition into winter with renewed visions of a cozy fireplace and hot cocoa shared with the one you adore.

Basically, we are doing dinner and a show, then retire to a romantic getaway. Would you prefer dinner first, or the show? Okay, first we’ll check in at the bed n’ breakfast, then decide.

The Desert Bloom, under new owner-manager Sonja Gentry, is on Second Street and Avenue F. Can you suspend your disbelief, forget that you are only a few minutes from home? In Sonja’s words: “Everyone’s perception of reality is their reality.”

We enter the Desert Bloom then, to shift back in time and space. This lovely old building, always a place of suspended disbelief, can let you have the Fifties suite where you will find yourself surrounded by the presence of Marilyn Monroe or James Dean.

No? Well, how about a trip to the seashore? In some areas of the house, you can forget that the nearest coastline is 11 hours away. Everyone’s perception of reality….

Well, drop your bags. We’re going to move into a different frame of time, one that ties the old West and the new West together with a constant element: The cowboy.

Curtis Fort, cowboy sculptor, is the featured artist at Investments Out West on Friday and Saturday, the 28th and 29th, which are open-house days. Since that event lasts until 8 p.m., let’s do that before dinner. No cars needed; just walk to the square or hop on a horse.

Rusty Torgeson, manager of Investments, greets us at the door and takes us back into the viewing area. “This is the gallery — another jewel in the treasure chest that Portales is growing to be. (Curtis’ work) opens a window on the culture and history of the West.”

It certainly does; Fort is a working cowboy who knows his subject from the ground up. You can meet Curtis in person at the Open House.

Well, all this talk about art is making me hungry; I’m not sure why it is, but let’s head up to the Territorial House for dinner.
Another recent renovation, this was formerly known as the Roosevelt but is now under new management. The Old West decor is kept essentially the same but upgraded, renovated.

However, it is entirely possible that you will still find the hole which Billy the Kid shot in the ceiling of the room, to your left as you enter.

Good food and reasonable prices are always a draw, and we would like to say that, despite the great atmosphere, nothing is sacrificed here in the way of reasonableness. This keeps us in a romantic atmosphere and mood as we top off our evening with a wonderful dinner and head back to our lodgings.

Here we are back at the Desert Bloom, and the night is still young. Close to home, yet a world away, a suspended reality trip in Portales.

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. He can be contacted at: