New Mexico

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by pat c, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

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    Ok, planning a trip this winter to New Mexico, predominantly the Sante Fe area.

    So, looking for hotel, good restaurtants, things to see.......:)
  2. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    Oooh... If you've got the bucks, the La Fonda oozes atmosphere; La Posada too. But even if you end up at the Motel 6, try really hard to make it into the Plaza area very early in the morning -- seven or so -- park, and get out and walk around the whole area and take in the atmosphere while it is empty and quiet and imagine that you're back a hundred years, and then treat yourself to some great coffee at one of the little coffee shops. There was one off the plaza about a block that had great little pastries, too, but I don't remember the name. Bonus points if you do this after a night with a couple inches of snow. (Santa Fe's the only place I've ever been with pink snow piled by the side of the road.)

    Take a walk down Canyon Road later in the day, and a lot of artists studios will be open. Lots of galleries downtown, too, but I like the old adobes on Canyon.

    Food: La Fonda had a surprisingly good breakfast in my one time eating there. I thought it would be more a tourist trap, but it was good. We also liked the Tecolote Cafe, and the Coyote (Cafe?). We've rarely had bad food in Santa Fe.

    Not too far a drive: Bandelier National Monument, which is like Mesa Verde without the crowds. It suffered a lot in a fire and flood, but there is still a lot to see, and in winter it is usually very uncrowded. Nearby is Los Alamos, and the Bradbury Science Museum. This museum has a fabulous historical exhibit on the creation and operation of the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, beautifully curated. I'm minimally interested in bombs, but the historical exhibit is much more about the people and place.

    I managed to read Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop before my first trip to Santa Fe, and I'm glad I did. Might be cool to read it there, too. Not sure what else is set there -- I've taken to reading books set in places I'm planning to visit, and I've come to really enjoy that added level.

    Have fun!
  3. acraven

    acraven Active Member

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    I loved browsing the craft galleries in Santa Fe on my one trip there.

    I don't know whether it would be practical for you from a weather standpoint, but I enjoyed the drive to Taos on Route 76 (not the main highway) via Chimayo and Truchas. However, I was there in September, and it was already cool, even in Santa Fe. I suspect 76 would be dicey in the winter.
  4. UMBS Go Blue

    UMBS Go Blue KWEEN 2016! YES WE KWAN!

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    Downtown Santa Fe is very small and very walkable once you park your car right in the middle. Beware of the altitude - although the downtown area is very small, just walking up a few steps (like, literally, a couple of front steps to a store, restaurant, or hotel) can get you winded fast. The altitude wreaks havoc on your body in tandem with the desert dryness. If you're flying straight into Albuquerque or Santa Fe, drink lots of water and get lots of sleep to adjust. If your hotel can provide a humidifier, ask for that too.

    If you've got lots of $$$, then try staying at and/or eating at the Inn of the Anasazi. One of the finest little hotels in the country as well as one of the best and most authentic Mexican restaurants Stateside. I stayed there once and mentioned having to work out after having a hearty meal at the restaurant and they promptly set up an exercise bike in my room. :inavoid:

    Second barb's recommendation of the Coyote Cafe. If it's too pricey, they have a more casual outdoor rooftop bar area (hopefully heated in the winter?) directly adjacent to the main cafe that serves much more affordable, right-sized-portion food.

    If price is an issue, then directly across the street from the Coyote Cafe is the Blue Corn Cafe, which is far more casual, very affordably priced, and has an extensive home-brewed beer menu. If you're with friends or family, try the sampler platter of 7-8 shot-sized glasses of their in-house beers, arranged from light to dark and accompanied with explanatory notes.

    You really can't go wrong on food though - if you have Yelp on hand, randomly pick the highest-rated site for your price level and it should exceed expectations. Just beware that service in New Mexico is very slow.

    Lots of beautiful galleries in downtown Santa Fe (very small and walkable), which I prefer window shopping at night; my favorite was the Chuck Jones Gallery of Bugs Bunny fame.

    Another must-see is the Georgia O'Keeffe museum - very small but very comprehensive.

    The state capitol is a short walk south of downtown, and it's fairly tiny, although unique in that it's a perfectly round structure. If I remember correctly, it's either the highest or 2nd highest (altitude) state capitol building in America.
  5. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

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    I loved the drive between Albequerque and Santa Fe. We took the tram on Sandia Crest and loved the view. Would love to go back some day. New Mexico is a beautiful state, IMHO.

    When did the Georgia O'Keefe Museum open? That would be neat to visit.
  6. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the ideas. I knew about the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, didn't know about Chuck Jones tho and me a Bugs Bunny Fan. :duh:

    I was in NM Sante Fe/Albequerque years ago, and I always said I'd go back and spend more time.

    Doing the galleries downtown is a must, Bandolier Park, etc, the Turquoise Trail.......
  7. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    If you like archaeology and have time, schedule a trip over to Chaco Canyon. Winter is a perfect time because it isn't roasting. Chaco is a World Heritage site and is absolutely amazing. It's best if you have a week or more, but you can get a scope of the site in a day trip. You'll need a car.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  8. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    Blue Corn Cafe sells Indian tacos.

    Just thought I'd mention that :shuffle:
  9. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    Even better is to buy fry bread from a roadside vendor. :swoon:
  10. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    The Taos Pueblo isn't far and well worth a visit, as is the town of Taos.
  11. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

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    I 2nd Chaco Canyon though have a sturdy car because IIRC, it is unpaved roads part of the way in. My other addition is one of the spas around Santa Fe. I did an afternoon at 10,000 Waves, which I recommend if you like the frou frou treatment once in awhile.
  12. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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  13. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

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    Chaco Canyon would be something we'd like to see. Yep, cows and unpaved roads we can handle. ;)
  14. luna_skater

    luna_skater Well-Known Member

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    I second the notion about altitude. I live in Calgary, which is at over 3000 ft, just about passed out walking in the hills of NM during a photo shoot near Santa Fe. I managed fine in Colorado Springs last April, but I think the heat made an impact when I was in Santa Fe as it was in July.

    The Georgia O'Keeffe museum is fantastic. I also had a great time checking out the art galleries on Canyon Road. There are a number of amazing churches in Santa Fe too, including the oldest church in the US IIRC. Even if you're not religious, they are worth checking out for the architecture and the history.

    I stayed at a Park Inn that was a little ways out, but transit was a breeze. There were busses that went directly to the core at scheduled times each day. Once downtown, I walked everywhere.

    I wish I'd had more time to head out to Taos, and just see more of the countryside in general. I had a rental car for one day to drive to El Rancho de las Golondrinas, which was also excellent. I was there for an early morning (5 am!) photo shoot, when the venue was closed. But they do tours during the day that looked quite interesting.
  15. ryanbfan

    ryanbfan New Member

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    I second the Taos Pueblo. Please check the rules/regulations though before visiting. You must pay to take your camera in and be allowed to take pictures.

    The best vintage store is Double Take in downtown Santa Fe. DEFINITELY worth a visit. One side has some very nice vintage clothes, purses, designer vintage, etc and the other has a HUGE HUGE HUGE selection of vintage boots and western wear. It is definitely worth a walk through even if you don't buy. (320 Aztec St)

    My family and I stayed at the Buffalo Thunder resort. The rooms were very nice and the casino was fun. (http://www.buffalothunderresort.com/)

    All the mexican food is A+. I love the mexican food in Santa Fe and Colorado :). It's so delicious, I think it may be better than the Tex Mex from home. One restaurant we ate at was Tomasita's and it was really good. They have the best green chile (apparently they are well known for it). I recommend it (500 S Guadalupe St).
  16. Lainerb

    Lainerb New Member

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    :lol:

    My great grandfather used to work for Georgia when she was in Taos. He would carry her easel and paint for her and assisted her around the home. Bytch was cheap and would sometimes "pay" him in the form of sketches and paintings. Appropriately he'd use such gifts as fire starter and installation for his home. :rofl:
  17. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    Ouch. Stamp collectors still talk about the woman who unknowingly decoupaged some really, really valuable stamps on her bathroom wall. They all look pained when they talk about it.
  18. Lainerb

    Lainerb New Member

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    I never particularly cared for her art work myself. I find the story worth more to be frank.
  19. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions people. :)

    We're in Los Alamos right now, deciding if we can make the run to Chaco Canyon. We've been told that there was a flash flood back in Nov. and the road is even worse than usual. Not that we couldn't handle it, it's the amount of time I guess it's taking to get there right now. So, we'll think about it, but it's probably not going to happen and that's too bad. We ate at a place called the Hills Diner, which is a take on an old fashioned diner. The burgers were great, way too much food. And it makes it's own desserts which looked very good as I watched a few of them being served. (Texas funeral cake and banana cream pie). Good food.

    But we have made it to Taos, Bandelier Canyon, all of the places in Santa Fe. Loved La Fonda and the Loretto hotel and church, plus seeing Saint Francis is pretty amazing.

    Did go to the Chuck Jones gallery, Georgia O'Keefe, etc.

    We've been a lot of places in NA, still many more to go, but have loved the landscape of NM, the people and the hospitality. I'd visit NM again. My only beef is one that I also have with any mountainous area, dayum it is dry. I'm always waking up about 3 in the morning thirsting to death. Oh well......:)
  20. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    Pat, do think hard about seeing Chaco. It's like nothing else you've seen.
  21. Sparks

    Sparks Well-Known Member

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    I'm so glad you are enjoying NM. I agree with the person who said eating at Tomasita's is a must. I love the Chapel of Loretto. If you are a history buff, spend some time at The Palace of the Governors. Fascinating!
    I hope you have time to see some things in Albuqueruqe as well.
    Yes, it is dry in NM right now. We are in a pretty bad drought.
  22. Lainerb

    Lainerb New Member

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    Make it if you can, sacrifice other stops if you have to.
  23. AnnieBgood

    AnnieBgood Active Member

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    I was born in Roswell and lived in Albuquerque for the first few years of my life. Would love to go back. One the prettiest places on earth.
  24. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

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    Well, the weather forecast turned us away. No, not the snow, we could deal with that. There were wind warnings and I would like to be able to see Chaco in good circumstances. Oh well, a good excuse to come back. :)

    We're touring around Albuequerque area, we did the old town yesterday afternoon. The scenery is stunning. I always take some pictures when we travel, but I've surpassed the amount I usually take by quite a few. And I"ll probably take more today.
  25. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    Did you ride the tram?
  26. Lainerb

    Lainerb New Member

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    Schedule another trip and visit Chaco and Carlsbad Caverns. If you didn't get a chance to this last time then visit a farmer's market or stand. Very few things match pinons, chicos and green chilies.
  27. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

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    Nope, didn't ride the tram as it was pretty windy. The wind speed was about 50 mph so we gave it a pass. But we did drive to Santa Rosa just to get an idea of what the southeast towards Amarillo was like. Plus my so is into old cars and there is a car museum in Santa Rosa. ;) Great old cars, if you're interested there is a gorgeous 1964 tan colored convertible mustang for about $80K you can buy.

    The tram would have given us a great view of the area, and we had meant to do it, but like Chaco it didn't seem to in the cards this time. It's been a blast, we've enjoyed NM. :)
  28. Sparks

    Sparks Well-Known Member

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    Today was not the day to ride the Tram. lol.