Sunday, June 26, 2016

Adobe Belle Resort at Conchas Lake is Back in Business

By Wren Propp

The historic Adobe Belle cottages at Conchas Lake in New Mexico are available for rent again under new management with upgrades and improvements.

The Conchas Lake-area resort, made up of eight southwestern style cottages designed and constructed as a Civilian Conservation Corps project during the Great Depression, is open again after a four-year hiatus. The new concessionaire lease-holder is Buster Adair Enterprises LLC dba Adobe Belle Resort.

The cottages – or cabins -- have been carefully updated to retain their historic features, but also provide modern conveniences from the new operators of the resort, said Machelle Adair. The cottages, which include exposed vigas, hardwood floors and kiva-style fireplaces also feature kitchens and the resort staff provides cleaning service, Mrs. Adair said. The dam and the site is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“I call it an `historic oasis,’ and all you need to bring is you,” and food, she said.

The Adairs
The Adair family members have been long-time visitors to the popular lake, dam and cottage compound. The former operators of the Adobe Belle Resort, the Cables, retired about four years ago. The owner of the property, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, had been working on repairs and developing a business plan for the next agreement. Since the fall of 2015, the Adair family and the Corps have been working together to get the seven-acre property into running order – removing dead trees from an orchard and replacing roofing – while the Adair family began refurbishing the interiors of the cottages with southwestern style furnishings.

The result is a solid thumbs-up from visitors since the Adobe Belle opened for reservations the last week of May, according to Mrs. Adair.

“I hear visitors say `wow!’ when they walk into the cabins,” she said.

Machelle and husband, Greg, are the on-site managers for the Adair-family operation. The Adair family, including Buster, his wife, Betty, and Buster’s brother David, who is Greg’s father, has memories of visiting the lake and the cottages. Those memories are in part what drives their desire to offer hospitable, eye-pleasing surroundings to visitors.

The family members appreciate the historical aspect of the locale, she said.

Since the re-opening of the resort, they’ve met former residents who recalled growing up in the small town that developed while hundreds of workers and their families from around New Mexico came to the site to work during the Great Depression.

Each cabin has two bedrooms and houses a maximum of eight people. The current rate is $170 a night with a $40 cleaning fee. Reservations are available via the Adobe Belle’s Facebook page, or at No smoking and no pets are allowed. You may also reach them by calling 575-868-0300.

Relief from the long-term drought means that lake levels are up and the surroundings are green, making Conchas Lake a haven for hiking, camping and fishing enthusiasts, said Steve Peterson, Lake Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

The lake levels supported a bass fishing tournament prior to Memorial Day. While camping at the developed campground is the purview of the State Parks Division of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, the USACE offers tours of the historic dam Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Corps also offers a large group shelter that is available for reservation. Use of the America the Beautiful Golden Age Pass to all federal properties is encouraged, offering access to a group shelter in the Day Use Area with picnic tables, grills, two horseshoe pits, a six-hole disc-golf course and a volleyball court. Reservations for larger events to use the group shelter are required.

State Parks offers two separate campgrounds with new amenities for tent camping and some recreational vehicles, according to its website.

All agencies, both public and private, are supporting the New Mexico Game and Fish Department’s efforts to prevent invasive species. Boaters are urged to comply with requests of boat inspectors from the Game and Fish Department.

Other events coming up this summer include a Fourth of July Boat Parade sponsored by the local Legion Unit, which also has a fireworks display, barbecue and live music, says, Toni Brown, Project Assistant with the Corps of Engineers.

For more information about the cabins including plenty of photos and videos check out the Adobe Belle's Facebook page at

You may reach the USACE at, or by calling 575-868-2221.

You may reach Conchas Lake State Park at or by calling 575-868-2270.

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