Old Time Trading Post at Bandera Volcano & Ice Cave
New Mexico: Grants, Ice Cave and Bandera Caldera
May 4, 2007.
We moved the motorhome to Grants on I-40 where we stopped in the Blue Spruce RV Park $13.50 for 50-amps, water & Cable TV with central dump. Not a fancy place but adequate for what we need and the price was right.
Old Time Trading Post at the Ice Cave and Bandera Crater
This is the Old Time Trading Post at the Ice Cave and Bandera Crater. This trading post was built in the 1930's along with a saloon and dance hall. At that time, the Zuni Mountain Railroad was operating and the logging industry was in full swing. They kept beer cold using ice from the Ice Cave. In 1946 Dave and Reddy Candelaria arrived and began operations as a tourist attraction. The trading post deals in jewelry, pottery, rugs and other art of local Indian Tribes. While this attraction could easily be part of El Malpais National Monument it is not. It is operated by the 3rd generation of Candelaria's. The family has done a good job of constructing trails and viewing platforms. I think it costs $9 each to walk on the trails leading to Bandera Crater and the Ice Cave. It is worth every penny.
Ristra hanging outside the Old Time Trading Post at the Ice Cave and Bandera Crater
This ristra hanging outside the old trading post caught my eye. Ristras are strings of ripe, bright red, chili peppers.
New Mexicans have traditionally harvested and strung red chile peppers into colorful strings called ristras from mid-September until frost. The chile peppers are allowed to dry in New Mexico's warm sun. Then the ristras are stored--still on the ristra string--for use in various tantalizing food dishes during the winter.
Chile pepper ristras are made by selecting freshly picked, mature, red chile pods. You only want to use bright red peppers.
Red chile pods need to set for two or three days after picking. This allows the stems to lose some of their moisture. In the ristra tying process, stems often break if they are too fresh. Good ventilation is important in the drying process.
Ristras are used as colorful decorations throughout New Mexico.
Old Time Trading Post Ice Cave and Bandera Crater
The Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano is a private business. You can do both for $9 per-person. We did both and enjoyed both of them.
Humming bird feeder at Old Time Trading Post Ice Cave and Bandera Crater
One of many ruby throated hummingbirds visiting the feeder at Ice Cave & Bandera Volcano Trading Post.
Mike & Joyce Hendrix
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