Rio Abajo Rio is among the rarest of offerings in the arid American Southwest, comprised of two miles of Chama riverfront and additional acequia water rights. Thriving under the careful stewardship of Mason, the land has been maintained at the highest levels of ecological sensitivities to serve as a primary residence and a working herbal farm. Mason’s company, Resting In The River Natural Products, markets herbal, medicinal, and body and bath products, all of which are made from the certified organic herbs and flowers grown on her Abiquiu estate.
Mason is returning to Broadway where she will star with Tony Award–winners Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen in “Impressionism,”
Mason’s Andalusia-inspired compound is comprised of a main house circling an interior courtyard and fountain. The home is graced with generous hallways designed to display art, a great room with facing fireplaces, and a richly-paneled library with the entrance to the private study hidden behind a moveable book case. The master suite, appointed with a fireplace, is served by two separate baths, one of which has a fireplace as well. The two guest bedrooms and gourmet kitchen also feature fireplaces. Generous areas of the home are devoted to elegant indoor-outdoor living.
The home abounds with thoughtful details such as artisan designed doors, antique mantels, bath tile work from Seville, Spain, and artfully-executed ceilings and windows. Ceramic religious plaques reclaimed from old chapels are set into the plastered walls; the one in the master bath is a historic piece from Italy.
Complementing the main residence is a separate and expansive two-story art studio welcoming the vivid southwestern light and a stunning two-bedroom guest house that exudes simple elegance. The Rio Chama runs through the property and supports a rich array of wildlife and ancient stands of cottonwood trees.
O’Keefe affectionately referred to the land of northern New Mexico as “the faraway nearby,” a place of infinite space, stark beauty, and raw but brilliant nature. Much like O’Keefe, Mason found in the Southwest artistic inspiration and a simple yet profoundly meaningful existence. She left Hollywood at the height of a film career that resulted in four nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress: Cinderella Liberty (1973), The Good-bye Girl (1977), Chapter Two (1979) and Only When I Laugh (1981). She won an Emmy and two Golden Globes for her work on Frasier.
“I just decided I really wanted to get out of LA,” Mason told a journalist last summer. “I wasn’t sure where I would go. I decided to symbolically throw the pieces of my life up in the air and see what pattern came down. My first husband was an artist from New Mexico and then my second husband (writer Neil Simon) and I had a second home in New Mexico for a short period of time before we divorced. I wasn’t sure that I could live here because I didn’t think I could be land locked. But then I found this property that Shirley MacLaine put me onto. It was along the river, so it has a very pastoral feel.”
Mason purchased the 247 acres of idle land and transformed it into Resting In The River Organic Farm, a riotous canvas of colorful wildflowers and healing herbs. The farm stands as a shining example of how rehabilitating and nourishing the earth through organic and biodynamic agriculture results in unsurpassed agricultural abundance. The proof is in the extraordinarily healthy plants and potent holistic products Mason develops. As result of her skill, dedication and expertise, Mason was appointed by Governor Bill Richardson as Chairperson of the New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission.
“I’m selling the farm because I am now in another life transition,”
For more information on Rio Abajo Rio, visit http://www.christiesgreatestates.com/
A podcast featuring Marsha Mason is available at http://www.christiesgreatestates.com/
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Christie’s Great Estates is the largest international network of real estate companies dedicated to the sale and marketing of luxury homes and a subsidiary of Christie’s, the world’s leading art business.