From the Las Cruces Sun-News – June 23, 2003
Lodge offers more than standard bed and breakfast
By John Keith
KINGSTON—To call it a bed and breakfast exclusively might be unfair. The Black Range Lodge is more than that.
Like most bed and breakfasts, the old, two-story stone building is home to overnighters. But its huge interior, which includes an upstairs meeting room and a lobby and game room downstairs, gives it an advantage over the status quo.
The lodge hosts business retreats, family reunions and weddings. Church groups, astron-omists from the University of New Mexico and the executive committee of the New Mexico chapter of the Sierra Club are just a few of the many organizations choosing to hold their seminars inside its walls.
It sits practically unannounced, just off Highway 152, which dou-bles as Main street in the vil-lage of Kingston, population 20, give or take a few.
Pete Fust and his wife Catherine Wanek own the place. Wanek has owned it since 1984.
They say that business is good. They do, however, supplement their income by making and selling books and videos on natural building and straw bale construction. The couple first met at what Fust calls a straw bale building demonstration in Anaheim. California, in 1993. "Just across the street from Disneyland," he said. "Where the sign says that dreams are made."
Apparently so. Fust and Wanek were married shortly afterward.
The Black Range Lodge has also been used by the film indus-try. When the movie "Paper Hearts," starring James Brolin and Kris Kristofferson, was being shot in nearby Hillsboro in 1991, the cast and crew roomed at the lodge.
Its rustic outdoor appearance belies a modern interior. There are bathrooms with showers in each of the seven groups of bed-rooms that features king or queen-sized beds and private outdoor balconies. There is a family suite that sleeps eight.
It's quiet here. Just what you'd expect from an old stone building with log-beamed ceilings rest-ing peacefully at the eastern edge of the Gila National Forest.
Each group of rooms opens into a large common room with shelves of books, videos and a VCR for watching movies. The game room on the main floor features a pool table, foosball and a free video arcade for chil-dren.
Fust and Wanek leave no stone unturned. You can bring the family dog for $5 a night extra. Breakfast is on the house for guests from 8 to 10 a.m. daily.
Fust does most of the cooking. Natural foods only are included on the menu of cereals, wholegrain breads, waffles, yogurt, fresh fruit, juice and dairy-free milks. Lunch and dinner are served at local restaurants or you can store your groceries and use the lodge's kitchen to cook your own. Catering is also provided.
Wanek and her first husband purchased the lodge in 1984. "We were living in Los Angeles, working in the movie business," she said. "We were on our honeymoon and looking for a small, writer's cabin to write screenplays.”
"This (the lodge) was such a unique-looking property we decided to buy it. We had in mind to turn it into a production studio and, in fact, have produced a number of videos on natural building here.
"Running a bed and breakfast gives our lives balance. It keeps us busy on weekends and gives us the social life we need. Weekdays are quieter usually, and we can relax and enjoy living in a remote, pristine natural habitat next to the national forest.
"What could we do to beat that?"
Reservations to the Black Range Lodge can be made by calling (505) 895-5652 or visit www.BlackRangeLodge.com.