New Mexico.


When: May 2015
With: Mike, my best guy friend
For: 5 days
Budget: $$

Night 1: Albuquerque. “Welcome to the land of enchantment,” said the guy at the Avis counter, handing over the keys to a white Mustang. “We locals call it the land of entrapment — once people come they never leave.” It’s midnight and my best friend Mike and I just landed at Albuquerque International Sunport, which we very much cannot wait to leave.

We drove our newly rented ‘stang directly to Frontier Restaurant, a no-frills diner, which came highly recommended via a Twitter crowdsource. The vibe was not fabulous but the food was (think: enchiladas, burritos, green-chile stew, etc.).

Albuquerque at night is creepy and no place more so than the motel I had booked, Sandia Peak Inn. I was going for cute and kitschy (it had really good Trip Advisor reviews!) but it was slightly terrifying (albeit clean).

Day 1: Albuquerque to Galisteo. Early morning we made our way to the “Turquoise Trail” aka scenic Highway 14 (take this instead of dreary I-25); met Lorraine, a friend of a friend’s shaman. Did I mention that we were in New Mexico on a pilgrimage to take ayahuasca?

*more to come on this experience soon*

Day 2: Galisteo to Taos. Post ayahuasca, we blast New Mexico’s best radio station, 104.1 (highly recommend) and continue towards Taos with a stop at Ten Thousand Waves. The spa has multiple pools, baths, spa treatments and even a meditation room. Everything was lovely (except for the Yuzu bath salts I bought at the gift shop, which gave me a rash).

From there, drove on to Taos. Observed beautiful scenery like the Rio Grande, fields of wildflowers and many a Sonic Drive-In (tator tots, por favor).

Have dinner at El Meze where all the chairs on the patio face the mountains movie theatre-style for serious sunset watching (order Tamales de Cardenas, you’re welcome).

A word on our hotel: We planned to continue our spiritual journey at a rental home in the Earthship Biotecture buuuuut we do not actually sleep there because it is hand to g-d, the scariest place I’ve ever been. It’s in the middle of nowhere (the houses are miles apart from one another) and entirely self-sustainable which is code for noisy and creepy af. Once it got dark, we hightailed it out of there so fast that Mike left without his wallet and I refused to go back with him to get it.

We drove straight to Hacienda del Sol Inn, a super cute B&B and while it’s hard to be objective when comparing to the dread of the Earthship, this place was adorable.

Note: In the light of day a visit to the Earthship Biotecture (and its visitor’s center) is worth it for some cool photo opportunities…and to learn about sustainable living.

Day 3: Taos. Spent the day at Taos Pueblo. You can tour parts of the Native American reservation/UNESCO World Heritage Site, eat lunch at the family-run restaurants (find the blue corn tortilla soup with ground turkey at the eatery across from the San Geronimo Chapel), and buy handicrafts from the local artisans. I came home with a lifetime supply of sage. Find Robert Mirabal’s shop, I love him.

We drove that late afternoon to Santa Fe and checked in to El Farolito, another cute B&B. Bonus points for the authentic adobe architecture and 1850s vintage-style New Mexican beds.

Day 4: Santa Fe. Quickly checked out the Loretto Chapel, which is famous for its “miraculous staircase” then explored (and shopped) the main plaza for turquoise jewelry and desert landscape art. Loved The Chile Shop for awesome New Mexico cookbooks and specialty condiments. Tried Frito pie (per Anthony Bourdain’s kinda sorta recommendation) at the back of the Five and Dime General Store and obsessed over Georgia O’Keeffe at her namesake museum. [Didn’t make it to Meow Wolf but wish I had].

Cafe Pasqual’s is the dinner reservation to get in town followed by Vanessie’s Lounge, a piano bar.

Day 5: Santa Fe to Albuquerque to Home. Spent the morning at Santa Fe’s “Museum Hill,” which consists of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens, and my personal obsession, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. I took so long in there that Mike left for coffee and a snack (he highly recommends the Museum Hill Cafe) and came back to find me still wandering the contemporary exhibits, transfixed by everything from modern Native American art (David Bradley is brilliant) to reproductions of trading posts and teepees. Make sure to exit through the gift shop; it’s filled with Native American jewelry, clothing, and an extensive bookstore where I bought The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living and Short.

Our final stop was Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. We buy “Indian tacos” from the vendors at the base and hike to the top where we take a million photos of the fascinating rock formations. Quick Rorschach test: what do they look like to you?

Fly home in love with New Mexico – new favorite place in the US!

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