Not long after Margie and Gene Trosterud married 40 years ago, they spent a night at a bed and breakfast in Mountain View, Arkansas. And have been talking about opening their own ever since. Their extensive travels, especially in England and Germany during Gene’s time in the military there, reinforced their desire to offer the same old-world hospitality to others when the time was right. That time was August 2023, after they spent 20 years renovating their 1922 historic home in Albuquerque’s University Heights District.
“This is a completely traditional bed and breakfast, down to the guests sharing the enormous bathroom and the feeling that you are in your grandmother’s or aunt’s home,” says Margie, of their efforts in retirement to create the experience they so loved when traveling – the opportunity to share local cuisine, talk about the local culture and share their own stories with guests.
“We think our inn brings you back to that time when you shared your home with friends who then become family,” says Gene, who retired from the Air Force in 2012. “We chose Albuquerque because when I was stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base later in my career, this felt like home,” says Gene.
The couple grew up across the street from each other near Buffalo, New York. Both their families entertained frequently, and there were people, food, and fun all the time, adds Gene. During their military life, they hosted holidays for single people and friends. When stationed in Europe, their experience staying in inns often featured talking for hours with their hosts, learning about the history and culture of the area they were visiting.
Margie had a lengthy career in IT, and points to the walk- and bike-ability of the area as one of her favorite aspects of the Duke City. In fact, both are avid bicyclists. In the early 1980s, Gene took a long, pedal-powered trip from Buffalo to Florida, into southern Mexico and up to Clovis, New Mexico. Margie continued biking with him from there, the couple arriving together in Albuquerque for the first time in 1983.
Active in their neighborhood association, the Trosteruds became involved in improving the Silver Avenue bike route just a block from the inn – advocating for traffic circles and stop sign removal to make the street more bike and pedestrian friendly. They frequently walk or bike to the shops and restaurants of Nob Hill and Downtown, and plan to offer bicycles for guests in the future.
An all-around craftsman who enjoys using his handyman skills, Gene upgraded all the utilities of the home, redoing carpentry, and original plaster, reusing original kitchen cabinetry and enclosing and transforming the porch into a sunroom. Margie oversaw furnishings and décor for the three-bedroom home they now call The Sleepy Lobo Inn.
The hardest thing about the extensive renovations and preparations to open? Picking the name, says Margie. “We wanted something that links us to the University of New Mexico, because we’re just a few steps from the campus, and the home has a history with the first UNM coach and as a sorority house. We wanted a logo to complement the name that envisions comfort and coziness. We used the word ‘inn’ to reflect an old-world British bed and breakfast, conjuring up a simpler time. Spanish was important because that’s a key cultural signifier. One day we were out walking at Johnson Field and saw the statues of lobos (Spanish for wolf) everywhere. The lobo, a Mexican gray wolf, is the UNM mascot and became an important connection with the Sleepy Lobo Inn name.”
Once they landed on the name, Margie spent months drawing various logos until the image of a snoozing wolf curled up on a cloud was perfect. “In addition to a comfortable stay, we want to share Albuquerque’s culture and rich history with all our guests, and hear stories of their travels and experiences, too. We are so happy to be able to open up our little cozy inn. This experience is definitely a dream realized.”