As I make my way into the Ancient Way Café for lunch, I wonder if I can skip lunch and go straight to dessert as I see a listing of their homemade all organic pies. But I’m good, I eat my lunch first and enjoy dessert with the general manager and head chef, Maqui. I learn that Maqui was a potter for years but fell into an opportunity at the Café as he says, “I have become an artist of food and now I get to create edible glazes!” As a long-time resident of the area and a past board member of the El Morro Area Arts Council, he understands the challenges that both the artists and community face.
As I continue to venture around New Mexico taking in the sights, food and culture, I head southwest of Grants down the Ancient Way Arts Trail towards the El Morro Valley. Along the way I pass the El Malpais National Monument and the Ice Caves, go up and over the continental divide, and arrive in El Morro. Once here, I find the brightly painted Old School Gallery and a feed store on one side of the road and the Inscription Rock Trading and Coffee Co., the Ancient Way Café and a campground on the other side. And practically in their backyard is the El Morro National Monument.