Off to Albuquerque
September 22, 2000


Come join us for our trip to New Mexico - you'll find all the things that we did, places that we went, and inns that we found to spend the evenings. There are also all kinds of New Mexico travel tips... enjoy!

Frontier Restaurant

When we landed, we were starving. At the Avis counter we asked the attendant for a recommendation of the perfect local brunch. She asked, "How local do you want to get?" We just smiled and said, "As local as it gets!" We were referred to the Frontier, right across from the Univ of New Mexico. They serve a killer Nuevos Rancheros, and although it wasn't a fancy place, it was the perfect start to the trip. Don't miss this restaurant at the corner of Cornell and Central.

Old Town

Albuquerque's Old Town Plaza is the serene village which has been the focal point of community life since 1706. It is made up of quiet bidden patios, winding brick paths, gardens and shops to be discovered. We're on the plaza green, surrounded on all sides by shops and restaurants (over 100 are in the area). Old Town is located just south of I-40 and west of I-25, and the historic Route 66 goes through it.

La Hacienda

After exploring the shops of Old Town, we were a little dry and hungry so we stopped in at La Hacienda. Even though we only ordered appetizers, the food was overflowing and tasty. Photos around the restaurant attested to the fact that it was one of President Clinton's favorite stops, and in fact, he was scheduled to be there three days later.

Maria Teresa's

After doing a little more shopping, we sought out this restaurant. Maria Teresa's is located just north of Old Town (not even a block), and was written up in the literature as being haunted. We got there during the afternoon lull, and were given a personal tour by the bartender. Click here to see it!

Petroglyph National Monument

Petroglyphs are drawings that are carved/chisled into rocks by ancient people thousands of years ago. There are three hiking trails in the Petroglyph National Monument: a 30 minute hike, a fifteen minute hike, and a five minute hike - there's one for everyone, or you can do all three in about an hour. To see some of the Petroglyphs that we found, click here.

Sandia Peak Tramway

We took this three mile tramway up to an elevation of 10,378 feet where there was an observation deck with a view of the city of Albuquerque and the surrounding valley. The ride up the mountain and back down gives you some great views of the area, and the topside deck is the perfect place to hang out and soak it all in.

High Finance restaurant

While you are on top of the mountain, check out the High Finance restaurant. The serve a great selection of locally-brewed beers, but you HAVE to order the chipotle chicken wings. We'd never had anything like them before - they were great! We are now trying to duplicate the recipe for the upcoming sequel to Mitchel's latest book.

The Writing Day
September 23, 2000


Southwest Writer's Conference

The majority of the day was spent at the Southwest Writer's conference, which was one of the reasons for the trip. Mitchel is a writer, and if you'd like to see his current book follow this link to Uncle Bubba's Chicken Wing Fling. It's a novel of humorous fiction about life in the small town of Cut Plug, TX.

The Conference Ends

After the conference sessions let out, we were treated to a visit with our good friends Ron & Kathy Jones. Ron is the author of the new Sci-Fi thriller Black Breath of the Lutron, and you can find out more at here.

Luna Mansion

For dinner, we joined up with Ron & Kathy and drove about twenty minutes south of Albuquerque to an old mansion built in 1881 for Don Antonio Jose Luna. The Luna Mansion, located at 110 W. Main in Los Lunas, NM, has a wonderful menu, great atmosphere and even a few ghosts. The four of us dined upstairs and had a wonderful time.

Up to Santa Fe
September 24, 2000


Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site

We headed out for Santa Fe this morning. Just off of I-40 The guidebook said that we would find "an unrestored, 80-room, 600 year old Indian pueblo". What we found was a hill. It turns out that after archaeologists finished researching the pueblo, they covered it over with dirt to preserve it. So now there's a hill there. If you really have a desire to see the hill, then don't miss this stop. This photo pretty much sums the place up, though.

Turquoise Trail

Instead of taking I-25 from Albuquerque, we decided to take a drive called the Turquoise Trail. It was supposed to take about thirty minutes longer (an hour and a half total), but have beautiful scenery and some interesting stops along the way. Since the interstate between Albuquerque and Santa Fe is torn up at the moment, we were informed that the straight drive would take just as long. As it turned out, the Turquoise Trail was the perfect choice!

Golden, New Mexico

The town of Golden was once a mining town, and the remains of some of the old shafts and buildings are in the hills around the highway. We really didn't spend any time here, other than to take a look at the remnants form the old days.

Madrid, New Mexico

Pronounced MAD-rid, this old mining community has been turned into a funky little arts & crafts village. Parking seems to be pretty much anywhere you can find a place to stop your car, and there are plenty of shops and galleries to explore. This town is great stop to make along the way to Santa Fe.

Backroad Pizza

We were getting hungry while in Madrid, and this little pizza restaurant looked perfect. As it turns out, this was probably the best pizza that we've ever had. It was hand-made right in front of us, and was wonderfully tasty. We had a half "Gerald" (spinach, roma tomatoes, feta cheese and pesto) and half "Texan" (pepperoni, sausage and Canadian bacon).

Our Santa Fe Bed & Breakfast

When we rolled into Santa Fe, we made our way into the heart of the city and our Bed & Breakfast, El Farolito Inn. It has pueblo-styled cottages that were built before 1912, but have been restored with all the modern conveniences. The place was really beautiful. You can see a few more photos here.

Governor's Palace

After checking in, we drove down to Santa Fe's plaza and FINALLY found a parking place. The lesson that we learned was to leave the car back at the B&B and walk! Fortunately it was close to the plaza area, something that we highly recommend for picking out a hotel. We ended up walking all over around the plaza area, though, and even checked out the Indian merchants that set up on the sidewalk of the Governor's Palace.

Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery

For dinner we found this restaurant at the corner of Galisteo and Water streets. The microbrewed beers were very tasty, and we had the Sunday Evening Special: New Mexico Shepherd's Pie, one of the best meals of the trip.

Getting Acquainted with Santa Fe
September 25, 2000


Historic Walking Tour

The morning started out with a historic walking tour of the city. There are several available, and we chose the Desert Trails tour which met at Garrett's Desert Inn at 10:00 AM. The tour lasted about an hour and a half, and covered all the major historical sites in the city. To see some of these places, click here.

The Miracle Stairs

Although this is covered in the walking tour page, it's worth mentioning since this is an engineering marvel. The stairs spiral up from the floor to the chior loft without a center support beam, which is unheard of in the stair-building world. It still supports the weight of people climbing up, though, and has been studied by architecturial scholars worldwide. To read the legend about the miracle, go back up and check out the walking tour webpage.

The Cowgirl Hall of Fame

This place seemed to go by several names, including the "Cowgirl BBQ & Western Grill". It is located at 319 S. Guadalupe St, which is just on the outside area of the historic plaza area. Voted one of Santa Fe's best restaurants, it was the perfect place to sit outside in the courtyard and enjoy lunch. Mitchel had the buffalo burger, while Tami had the Tortilla soup and salad. Everything was tasty, and we definitely recommend this place for something a little different. After this, we did a full afternoon of exploring and then went back to the room. By that time, our thoughts were turning to dinner.

Bert's La Taqueria

We asked one of the people along the way where the locals went for authentic Santa Fe cuisine, and he pointed us to Bert's. We were warned that it was far off the tourist path, and we found the place in a strip shopping center behind a Chevron station (the actual address was 1620 St. Michaels Dr, Sante Fe). It was a clean restaurant with excellent service, and we knew that we were in for a treat when they brought the chips and salsa (all five flavors!). When they brought out the entrees, though, we were in heaven!
Exquisite food at a very reasonable price. Our selection was the Iztaccihuatl, which consisted of heaping portions of their three favorite taco fixings: Pastor, Alambres and Bistec, served on a sizzling skillet complete with grilled onions, beans, rice and corn tortillas. Chef/owner Fernando Olea did himself proud.

Taking a Day Trip
September 26, 2000


The High Road to Taos

We'd been reading about the Indian pueblos, and wanted to visit one. Taos Pueblo was one of the oldest, so we decided that it would be our destination. Taos is actually only an hour and a half away, but the guidebooks suggested taking the "High Road" which was much more scenic. The winding country roads gave us spectacular views of the New Mexico countryside.

El Santuario

We'd heard about a catholic church that was the "Lourdes of America" where the dirt from the chapel floor had healing power. That was interesting enough for us to take a small detour, and it was interesting to say the least. To read the legend of El Santuario, click here.

Back on the High Road

After stopping by El Santuario, we got back on the road to Taos. We'd been reading up on the etiquette for visiting Indian pueblos, and were ready for the experience. While enjoying the mountians along the way, we learned the appropriate and respectful way to conduct ourselves at the Taos pueblo.

Big Dawg's Chuck Wagon Cafe

It was lunch time, and we'd taken a few unexpected turns. We found ourselves in Espanola - so we'd taken a kind of High Road to Low Road transition. Stopping for gas, though, we asked for a lunch recommendation and found out about Big Dawg's. Everything was hand-cooked, and a little on the greasy side like you'd expect from a down-home small town restaurant. We loved it! Maybe it wasn't heart-healthy, but it was a delicious stop. We'd been taking a leisurely drive, so from here we decided that it was actually time to get serious about hitting Taos Pueblo.

Striking out at Taos Pueblo

Did you see the Chevy Chase movie "Vacation"? He takes his family across the country to "Wally World", only to get there and find out that it's closed. That's exactly what happened to us - the pueblo was closed for religious purposes when we arrived. We turned around and pointed the car toward Santa Fe. It was our own fault, of course, since we should have checked with the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque (800.766.4405) before making the drive, but what the heck. We wouldn't have traded the day for anything... still, we felt a little foolish.

Aspook about Ghosts

We got back to Santa Fe in time for another walking tour. This ghost tour takes place on Tues, Fri & Sat at 5:30 PM. It is part historical, part haunting, and a little scary once it gets dark and the other members start dropping out. By the time this one and a half tour was over, it had run over by another half hour (and we loved it!). This was one of the high points of the trip, and we definitely recommend that you take it for a spin. The contact phone number is 505.988.2774. To get a feel for the haunted aspect of Santa Fe, click here.

The Ore House

We were starving after the walking tour, and our guide recommended the Ore House. This Restaurant on the Plaza had excellent food, complete with standard American food fares as well as elaborate Santa Fe entrees. Mitchel had Chimao Chile Chicken, while Tami had a grilled chicken breast. Dinner was excellent, but since we were running so late from the Ghost Tour, they seemed anxious to shoo us out. For that reason, we'll rank the food high but the service low - the staff could have been a little nicer. Although it was getting late, we've put a daytime photo of the place here for you to use as a reference. Just tell them that you want your waitstaff to be a little more attentive.

Santa Fe by Night

After the meal, we walked around and did a little window shopping. Most places were closed, but that was okay - it was a clear, cool evening and we'd brought our jackets. Santa Fe felt very safe, and here around the plaza (and down to our B&B, for that matter) we never felt threatened. It was a very relaxing evening.

The Final Day
September 27, 2000


Striking out at Georgia O'Keeffe's

Georgia O'Keeffe is a favorite of ours, so there was no way that we were going to leave town without a visit. We'd heard that the museums were generally closed on Monday, so Wednesday morning seemed perfect. Of course, after we checked out of the B&B and headed to the museum we discovered that that it doesn't open until noon on Wednesdays. Since at that time we'd have be on the road back to Albuquerque, we heaved a heavy sigh and decided that it just wasn't to be on this trip. Plan accordingly on your visit!

Museum of New Mexico

This is housed in the historic Palace of the Governers, which is the perfect backdrop for the all of the artifacts and information here. Tours are self-guided or led by docents, and there are rooms dedicated to the Indians who originally inhabitated the area, and the various governments that followed. If you enjoy history, this is a must-see.

Museum of Fine Arts

A very nice museum containing outstanding paintings, photographs and sculptures. Unfortunately, we didn't recognize any of the names, but they were fascinating nonetheless. There was one exhibit that contained someone's work with chewing gum and other non-traditional art items that we simply didn't get. We breezed through it, though, to find some beautiful works in their permanent collection.

Geronimo

Before leaving the city for the airport in Albuquerque, we stopped by Geronimo's for lunch. It's a high-end stop, but lunch was affordable and exquisite. Geronimo is located on Canyon Road, a street lined with galleries. We didn't get to visit any, but have put this on the list for our return trip.

Heading Home

We finished eating, wishing that we had a few more days in New Mexico. Vaudeville entertainers used to say, "Always leave them wanting more," and that's exactly how we felt. New Mexico is a beautiful, spiritual state, and we will definately be back.

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Clipart gratiously provided by About Phoenix