Cloudcroft. What of it?
|Tressel just outside of town|
I set When Love Called and the Glenfield Series in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico. The Sacramentos are the tail end of the Rocky Mountains as they wind their way south toward Mexico. The Village of Cloudcroft is a very popular vacation destination for just about everyone living in West Texas and Southern New Mexico. There are a few reasons why, and they include the Mescalero Indian Reservation and the casino action available, and the horse racing you can find in the neighboring town of Ruidoso. You can also find great outdoors activities such as skiing and camping throughout the area. Another reason Cloudcroft is a popular destination is because it is generally 20-30 degrees cooler than the surrounding desert, as the Village sits at the top of the mountain about 8,500 feet in elevation. The air is mighty thin at that height!
Many years ago I was re-surfacing from a failed business venture and was searching for what I was supposed to do with my life. Sarah and I had been married for several years, but were still without kids. One weekend, we went to Cloudcroft for a camping trip. While there, I ran into a real estate broker who offered me a job as a real estate agent. Sure, why not? How hard can it be?
We moved to Cloudcroft and give it our best effort. In one year I sold one house, and that was kind of a pity sell from another agent I worked with. Times were hard for us on the mountain. But, we were young enough to still think it was a grand adventure. Later, I joined the Army (for the money!) and thought we left Cloudcroft behind. When my military time was complete, we returned to Cloudcroft where I took another stab at real estate. I’m not a good salesman. I know that now.
When I wrote When Love Called, which is a book about fresh starts and new beginnings, I set it in Cloudcroft because that is what the Village represented in our lives. Some of our worst days and some of our happiest were on that mountain, and we have life-long friendships from our time there. I wanted a place for Caton to build his magnificent estate, and where is there a better place than the Rocky Mountains? Glenfield rose from an isolated, empty meadow with a tiny stream running through it. And from there, a new start for Lily, and new starts for so many others, Jayne included.
|Mercantile; the tea shop is next door.|
Based upon requests from many readers, I have decided to show you some of the places I’ve mentioned in the books. Many of them are actual locations, while the characters themselves are entirely fictional. The main street running through the shopping blocks in Cloudcroft is Burro Street, where the Pine Stump Café is located. This is where Caton is eating lunch with his work crew and discovers that Lily is just across the street eating pizza with Dr. McCranie. What doesn’t actually exist on Burro Street is the Log Cabin Pizza Palace, nor the hospital. There is no hospital in Cloudcroft, and there never will be. But, I needed to have one handy, so wrote it in.
The next item of discussion is April Poe’s teashop, where Jayne stages the scene where Lily and Caton have a sit down conversation to discuss their relationship. Jayne accidentally triggers a dating contest between Lily and her two incredible love interests: Jack and Caton. The teashop is fictional, but it is set on a location that actually exists. I placed it next to the Mercantile, which was the only grocery store in the Village, and was a landmark for so many years. It was the place to buy fresh pies and donuts.
Another place mentioned is the Crofting, where Susan stayed while Lily was in the hospital, and where Lily and Jayne joined her until the end of the book. I have stayed at the Crofting before, and I have fond memories of spending the Christmas holidays with my family there.
Finally, the location that is most renowned is The Lodge, and Rebecca’s Lounge. Many meals are eaten at The Lodge, and I eat there every chance I get. They have a great menu and offer excellent service. The Lodge is an historical location, and boasts to hosting many celebrities throughout the years. If you’re a fan of Clark Gable, you can see where his initials are carved on a post in the lookout tower. The Lodge also claims to be the residence of a ghost, Rebecca, for whom the restaurant is named. The Lodge is a key location for the story. Lily has her first date at lounge, and Susan meets Caton in the restaurant, and discovers that Caton was significantly injured while rescuing Lily from an impossible car wreck that should have left her dead.
|The Lodge. Photo by Robert Flaherty|
Of course, I’d love to post photos of Glenfield, itself. Sadly, there are none. If you find a worthy candidate, let me know!
There’s too much of the story to tell here, so feel free to check it out! When Love Called is a fantastic story, and is very popular. You can get more information at my website, www.traviswinman.com
We’ll see you there!