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The Innkeeper

The Christmas of ’82 - that is, 1882 - in a New Mexico gold mining town, was described this way. “The girls were looking their best, the music was enough to make a dead man dance, and the old sourdoughs and desert rats were making up for a year of hard and lonely work. It seemed at times as if the floor must surely fall in under the lively dancing. Everyone had been told to leave firearms at home, an order which was carried out for once. It is safe to say that no one present was inclined to put any slight on the hospitality. The company was in high feather.” In the last month of the last year of the 20th Century, from this description of life in New Mexico a hundred years prior, High Feather Ranch was born. Dreams and plans were launched. Yet the dream began long before then.

During college Marianna lived in Switzerland while studying French at the University of Geneva. Legendary Swiss hospitality gave her a taste of that good life and planted the first seeds of her dream.

In the mid 70′s, that is the 1970′s, Marianna was just out of college and had accepted a position in Denver with the Bell System. It paid well and seemed to promise lots of career opportunities. One of these came early while attending a Career Development workshop aimed at helping new, high potential employees determine their best “fit” in the Company. Throughout the workshop she repeatedly saw her career aspirations not in one of the country’s oldest and largest companies but out of the Company as Innkeeper in a small Swiss Inn. She dreamed of an intimate, upscale Inn in the Alps perhaps with an Italian chef as her partner and prepared to career path herself out of the Company. She finally knew what she wanted to be when she grew up.

Ranch Lady

But, the job, salary and benefits were good and Marianna put down roots in Colorado. During the next 28 years she had a series of increasingly responsible positions in the Bell System, AT&T, Lucent Technologies and Avaya. She bought a log home on 46 acres on Fall River in the Rocky Mountains west of Denver. Her career prospered and so did she. The dream lived on but still it was just a dream. She had an ideal location for guests with fishing, hiking, skiing, horseback riding and the majestic scenery of the Rockies all outside her door. She factored in the earliest date at which she could retire from the Corporate “rat race” and began planning for her Inn in the Colorado Rockies. It really seemed possible and much more enjoyable than churning through yet another Corporate reorganization, downsizing, rightsizing, merger or spin off.

Colorado winters at 8,000′ were (seemingly) getting longer and colder and taking stock of that Marianna contemplated a different locale. She ruled out any place too hot, too cold, too crowded or too humid. Flying home to Colorado from a business trip to Atlanta late one Friday night Marianna read a classified ad for horse property in New Mexico Magazine. A week later she headed to New Mexico. The search had begun in earnest. The dream now had a name, High Feather Ranch Bed & Breakfast, and it would be in New Mexico.

Within the next six months the place she was destined to find found her…one hundred thirty pristine on a High Desert mesa at the foothills of the Ortiz mountains overlooking the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez ranges slightly south of Santa Fe. Everything else fell quickly into place. Marianna announced her retirement and the log home and property in Colorado sold quickly.

The next year was spent building fence, corrals and a barn and the search for an architect and a builder all came together. Marianna and the horses were successfully relocated with the help of old friends from Colorado and new ones in New Mexico. The Saab convertible was traded in and reincarnated as a four wheel drive Ford pickup affectionately named Loretta.

Dog and ChairBreaking ground on High Feather Ranch Bed & Breakfast in January, 2001 was preceded by a Native American blessing for the land and for those who would come to enjoy the natural beauty, peace and serenity of the High Desert in luxurious accommodations yet be near the world renowned galleries, rich history and cultural diversity of the Santa Fe area.

Not unlike her past life, Marianna gets up early with the sun. Her “commute” is just down the hall to get the coffee on, check early morning email messages from guests inquiring about reservations, gather up the wranglers for the Old West rides happening that day or plan some back country hikes and exploring. She would often accompany guests on rides through 15,000 acres of open range on her favorite horse, Ebony. Ebony and Cheval had a great lives here and at ages 28 and 32 they’ve now both crossed the Great Divide.

And, there is time to enjoy cup after cup of freshly ground organic Guatemalean coffee. She creates bountiful gourmet breakfast, upscale comfort food really, to the delight of her hungry guests. They enjoy gorgeous scenery, the tranquility of the High Desert and all the peace and quiet they can handle. There is no Italian Chef!

Feeling as if she escaped the increasing pressures and politicking of Corporate life just in time, Marianna now provides an escape for guests from around the globe. And if you are among those lucky ones to spend time at High Feather Ranch you’ll live part of the dream too.