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Thread: New Mexico

  1. #1

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    New Mexico

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

    So, looking for hotel, good restaurtants, things to see.......

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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!

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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.

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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.

    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.

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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.

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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.

    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.......

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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 by rfisher; 10-28-2011 at 04:00 PM.
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    Blue Corn Cafe sells Indian tacos.

    Just thought I'd mention that

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    Even better is to buy fry bread from a roadside vendor.
    Adelina Sotnikova defeated the curse of Esta She is indeed the Greatest Of All Time!

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

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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.
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    [QUOTE=snoopy;3340636]I 2nd Chaco Canyon though have a sturdy car because IIRC, it is unpaved roads part of the way in. QUOTE]

    It is, but unless it's raining heavily or snowing, they are in good shape. You do have to watch out for wandering cows, but PatC is from the prairies and would be used to both.
    Adelina Sotnikova defeated the curse of Esta She is indeed the Greatest Of All Time!

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

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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.

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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).

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    Quote Originally Posted by UMBS Go Blue View Post
    ]Georgia O'Keeffe museum[/url]


    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lainerb View Post


    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.
    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.

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

  19. #19

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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. #20
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    Pat, do think hard about seeing Chaco. It's like nothing else you've seen.
    Adelina Sotnikova defeated the curse of Esta She is indeed the Greatest Of All Time!

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