The Suitcase Lady


September 12, 2010, 10:05 pm

Dedicated travelers come in two varieties: the first want to touch down everywhere on the globe, the second keep revisiting a select group of locales and seek to know them intimately. I fall into the second group. I love getting to the rental car counter and politely declining the proffered map. But no matter how many times I visit my favorite places, surprises, changes and discoveries await.

Albuquerque is a city for which I have much affection and familiarity. My visits number in the hundreds. Nevertheless, I recently had a unique experience.

Being an architect groupie, I was not unfamiliar with the name Bart Prince. This highly creative architect was born in Albuquerque in 1947.  I had seen many photos of his work but had never tracked down the homes. Unexpectedly finding myself with a few unscheduled hours in Albuquerque, I asked my waitress at the French Bakery if she knew where any of Bart Prince’s  houses were located. She did not know his name but did know the location of  “some crazy, really cool houses” in Nob Hill. Knowing that Prince had designed  homes in this area, I asked for specifics. Although lacking any knowledge of the compass points, the young lady did give good directions. “Take Carlisle two lights down to the university past Lomas and veer right. Hope you find them ,” she cheerfully added.

Minutes later we were standing in sheer delight in front of two adjacent Bart Prince homes. The style can only be described as the Jetsons meet Frank Lloyd Wright. These dwellings are like the ultimate tree houses. One was diagonally perched on the roof of an ordinary, old, adobe casita, an exuberantly successful adaptation.

Fortunately, there were no “For Sale” signs in sight. I would have been tempted.

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