New Mexico True Stories

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STORIES Santa Fe River

An Insider’s Guide to Discovering New Mexico


Finalist

New Mexico True Stories

New Mexico True Stories

Finalist

Fort Union National Monument

STORIES

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST

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BirdGIRL Photo (Previous Page), Laurence Parent

In May 2013, the New Mexico Tourism Department, in conjunction with its New Mexico True campaign, asked New Mexico residents and out-of-state visitors to share their personal stories about traveling in the state. Each submission included photographs and descriptions of favorite adventures, meals, and authentic moments. A few months and hundreds of submissions later, we put the stories to a public vote, and tens of thousands of people chose their favorite stories. The following pages include the top 20 story submissions sent in by enthusiastic visitors. The full library can be explored at nmtruestories.com.

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST

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WINNER

New Mexico True Stories

New Mexico True Stories

David Bexfield

Patricia Freeman

Founder, ActiveMSers.org Albuquerque, NM

Dietetic Technician Glendora, CA

“As the mist and clouds trundled into the canyon, the golden aspens only turned more breathtaking.”

“We walked in the footsteps of my ancestors who were born, got married, and raised families in New Mexico, and we made new discoveries while here! ”

Describe your favorite meal from the trip.

What place, or places did you go?

Cimarron Canyon State Park Cimarron

Southwest to Southeast New Mexico is the travel route we took to explore my ancestral roots. This was our first trip to this part of the state and Las Cruces was our base. We visited birthplaces and gravesites, glimpsing into the life my ancestors led in the 1850s as well as present day New Mexico.

Capulin Volcano Na onal Monument I – 40

Albuquerque

Tucumcari Clovis

US 28

Portales

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation?

I–

RÍo Gr ande

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In the middle of nowhere on a vacant stretch of Highway 64, swallowed by rolling plains in all directions, there is a single red building: Colfax Tavern. But no local knows it as Colfax Tavern—it’s simply called Cold Beer. And as soon as we drove up, it was unmistakably clear why. Gargantuan white letters boasting of chilled cerveza blotted out the surrounding prairie. Proprietor Roger Smith greeted us like we were neighbors living just down the road. Soon we were eating one of his signature pizzas smothered in roasted New Mexico green chile (and topped with his own fiery Chipotle seasoning). Right then a cold beer sure sounded good. We were in the right place.

We walked in the footsteps of my ancestors who were born, got married, and raised families in New Mexico, and we made new discoveries while here! We stayed several days, eating and drinking traditional foods, reflecting in churches, walking though villages, researching, and catching the sun setting over land that my ancestors saw many years before me.

I – 10

Describe the most beautiful thing you saw while on your trip.

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RÍo Gr ande

Describe the most beautiful thing you saw while on your trip.Clovis 28

White Sands Na onal Monument Deming I – 10

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE WINNER In the northeast corner of New Mexico, the plains meet the Rockies in most dramatic fashion. A few quick tips we learned on our latest Land of Enchantment adventure: enter Cimarron from Taos’s Enchanted Circle. Drive to the top of Capulin volcano— from the crater’s rim you can see into Colorado and Oklahoma.

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Tucumcari

I – 40

US

Fall is arguably the most enchanting time in New Mexico. And while the hugely popular Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta should not be missed, it’s nice to know that you can still enjoy quiet solitude just a short drive away. That October weekend the fall colors were blazing outside of Taos at Cimarron Canyon State Park, hidden and virtually untouristed, between Eagle Nest and Cimarron off twisty Highway 64. As the mist and clouds trundled into the canyon, the golden aspens only turned more breathtaking, so much so that the wildflowers lining our walking paths almost went unnoticed. Almost.

Finalist

Alamogordo Las Cruces

Chamberino

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST Whether it is Route 66, NM 28, the Santa Fe Trail, or other favorites, grab your map and go! As with any kind of exploring, be prepared. Spend some time in historical societies, museums, libraries and tourism offices. Save ephemera if you are a collector. Stop to read historical markers and talk to the locals.

Portales During our stay, we were witness to a rare snow system. The day prior was a cloudless day with blue sky! We headed south again, stopping to photograph the landscape Carlsbad transformed by snowfall. Among many beautiful sights were groves of barren pecan trees, blanketed in snow. As we approached the aptly named Snow Rd., the snowfall there was the thickest. That evening was ended by the New Mexican sun setting on the same acres of pecan trees.

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Finalist

New Mexico True Stories

New Mexico True Stories

Maryann Pawlyshyn

Finalist

Maryann Pawlyshyn

Retail Sales Portales, NM

Trip #2

“The sunset was awesome in Albuquerque, one of the most beautiful I have ever photographed.”

“You will see cave pearls, helictites, draperies, columns, and soda-straw formations that are millions of years old.”

Who went on the trip? Just me.

Who went on the trip? Me . . . it was my New Mexican staycation.

When did your trip take place? May, 2012

What place, or places did you go? From Clovis to Carlsbad and many interesting places in between . . . with a side trip to Tucumcari.

What place, or places did you go? Santa Fe, Santa Rosa, Fort Sumner, Albuquerque

Tucumcari

I – 40

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation?

Clovis US 28

Portales

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I did the Santa Fe Canyon Road tourist walk. Beautiful shops, sculptures, and great food.

Carlsbad

Describe the most beautiful thing you saw while on your trip.

I – 10

The sunset was awesome in Albuquerque, one of the most beautiful I have ever photographed. Santa Fe I – 40

Santa Rosa Fort Sumner

Albuquerque US 28

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RÍo Gr ande

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Portales

I – 10

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST Don’t just walk by the shops and art galleries—take time to go in. Many galleries have artwork behind them, too.

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So many beautiful things it is hard to narrow it down to just one. I guess I would have to say the interior of the Carlsbad Caverns. My favorite was the Kings Palace tour, it is the deepest cavern tour and lasts about one-and-a-half hours. You will see cave pearls, helictites, draperies, columns, and soda straw formations that are millions of years old.

Tell us about your greatest outdoor adventure.

Tell us about your greatest outdoor adventure. It was being in the right place at the right time to photograph the flicker in Santa Fe. He was beautiful and very fast, just enough time to take his picture and he was off.

Describe the most beautiful thing you saw while on your trip.

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST Don’t forget to visit the smaller towns and also the back roads of New Mexico. Get off the beaten path and see native flora and fauna . . . from desert to alpine, yuccas to bighorn sheep, it is here in New Mexico. Also New Mexico is a photographer’s dream when it comes to rustic buildings, farmhouses, and vintage signs.

My greatest outdoor adventure of the trip had to be seeing my first roadrunner. I have lived in New Mexico for more than 10 years and had never seen one before; other people have because they are not uncommon, but not me. This particular roadrunner was a big bird, almost two feet long, and very fast. I did not have time to get a photograph but will remember that sighting always. It ran across the road, jumped and perched on a post, looked around, and then jumped off and ran away from me down the side of the road. It was amazing to see how fast and unique they really are. I can see why it is New Mexico’s state bird, and also why they named the Rail Runner Express commuter train after it.

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Finalist

New Mexico True Stories

New Mexico True Stories

Gail Dodgin

Finalist

Jill Ellington

Explorer Roswell, NM

Stay-at-home-mom Odem, TX

“We chose to rediscover the state of New Mexico in a new way—a New Mexico True experience.”

“I opened the curtain to see the sun rising over 10 inches of glistening fresh powder!”

Where did you go?

Who went on the trip?

Our trip took us across half the state of New Mexico, north to south.

Jill and Josh Ellington, with our three kids, Mark and Glenda Comiskey, with their five kids.

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation?

Where did you go?

As a family, we have hiked, biked, fished, boated, skied, camped—done about everything a New Mexican family can do. But as the children have grown and gone their way, life has left my husband and I with an empty nest and a desire for new adventures. This summer marks 30 years together. We chose to rediscover the state of New Mexico in a new way—a New Mexico True experience. On this adventure, we seek rest and relaxation.

We were so blessed to be able to vacation in Red River this past winter. We spent a week in a beautiful log cabin along the Red River itself. It snowed an amazing 30-plus inches during our stay! We couldn’t have been happier, since the whole point of our trip was to bring our Texas kids to see snow for the first time.

Taos Santa Fe Tucumcari

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Clovis

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Roswell 5 US 28

RÍo Gr ande

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Portales

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation?

Carlsbad

I – 10

Describe the most beautiful thing you saw while on your trip. Red River

Las Vegas I – 40

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INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST My recommendation for travelers in New Mexico: Be open minded. Relax. Don’t rush. Take the scenic route. Put your feet up. Enjoy the uniqueness of our state. Enjoy its people and their lives, and what they offer the world. And stop at Orlando’s in Taos. The food is fresh, flavorful, and authentically New Mexican.

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Clovis US

We, like a lot of couples, seek serenity and beauty, and a quieter, slower pace to reflect on life. New Mexico can offer you this as well. I wanted to search areas of our state for the best in local foods, art/culture, and music—to explore and experience “the good life.” Not many people know our state is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the country. A wine-lover myself, my quest was to travel the state to learn about the uniqueness of the wine produced and to learn how to pair them with New Mexican cuisine. The local twist in each area is unsurpassed. From Mexican food to New Mexican, from steak to burgers— green chile remains supreme and king.

We all went skiing, including our young children. Everyone had a blast and can’t wait to go back and do it again! It was amazing how quickly the little ones got the hang of it!

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST

Describe the most beautiful thing you saw while on your trip. The most beautiful thing I saw while in New Mexico has to be waking up in Red River on the first morning of our vacation. I opened the curtain to the huge picture window to see the sun rising over 10 inches of glistening fresh powder! The snow actually sparkled like glitter! It was absolutely breathtaking. To a family from South Texas it truely was a miracle to see. Unforgettable!

Definitely try skiing, even if you have young children and think it won’t be worth it— it will be. They were better first-time skiers than us adults! The memories we made with our kids are priceless! Take the family on a guided snowmobile tour with Bobcat Pass Snowmobile Tours, and stop in at the Black Diamond Grill for a green-chile burger.

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Finalist

New Mexico True Stories

New Mexico True Stories

Finalist

Mark Krasberg

mark krasberg

Trip #2

Neurophysicist Albuquerque, NM

“After the snow melted, at the end of June, we climbed up the mountain above 10,000 feet in search of the lost ski.”

“Where in the USA can you see hundreds of thousands of snow geese and thousands of sandhill cranes all in one place on a warm day in December? New Mexico of course!”

When did your trip take place? February, March, and June of 2013.

Who went on the trip?

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation?

Mark & Ray & Alene.

Dec. 2, 2012.

Albuquerque

I – 40

US

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation?

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Where in the USA can you see hundreds of thousands of snow geese and thousands of sandhill cranes all in one place on a warm day in December? The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, of course! We also saw a bald eagle, upside-down ducks, and lots of photographers with really nice cameras.

Our friend Jilin lost a ski during a huge powder day (32 inches of new snow the previous two days) while skiing amongst the trees at Taos Ski Valley. He was charged $600 by the ski rental company for failing to return one of the skis (they graciously let him keep the other one). We went back to Taos the following month equipped with a magnetometer. The rocks there are fairly metallic, so this idea to find the ski failed. After the snow melted, at the end of June, we climbed up the mountain above 10,000 feet in search of the lost ski. The terrain was tough, very steep and dangerous (there were large unstable rocks held in place by moss). It was a little shocking to find out what the terrain is like up there without the snow! Searching for the ski seemed hopeless. We gave up looking for it and we started to hike back down the mountain. Incredibly, Jilin found the ski hidden amongst the rocks and the felled trees, approximately 50 feet below where he had originally fallen.

I – 25

When did your trip take place?

Friends of the Bosque del Apache Na onal Wildlife Refuge

I – 10

Taos Ski Valley

Describe the most beautiful thing you saw while on your trip.

Albuquerque

I – 40

US

The magnificent sandhill cranes landing gracefully in the pond just a few yards in front of us were amazing!

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Describe your favorite meal from the trip.

I – 10

The New Mexico green-chile soup between runs at Taos Ski Valley is fantastic.

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST You want to be sure to get to the ponds, where the sandhill cranes land for the night, at least an hour before dark. The ponds are occupied during the day by the snow geese, but when the large cranes start returning the geese decide the neighborhood’s gone to hell and they fly off—it’s an amazing sight to see them all take off at once, a sight which is only surpassed by the graceful landings of the sandhills.

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INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST Don’t ski off into the woods at Taos by yourself and lose a ski.

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Finalist

New Mexico True Stories

New Mexico True Stories

Juliana Halvorson

Finalist

HARRISON MILANIAN

Graphic Designer Roswell, NM

Chef turned Professional Vagabond Tampa, FL

“We camped out in so many unique locations and really enjoyed the outdoor experience.”

“I will never forget walking into Albuquerque during sunrise with the watermelon mountains on all sides.”

What place, or places did you go?

What place, or places did you go?

Every corner of New Mexico.

The entire southern portion of North America but in New Mexico, I visited San Jon, Tucumcari, the Blue Hole scubadiving pool in Santa Rosa, Albuquerque, the Ice Cave in Grants, and Gallup.

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation? We have always wanted to travel all over New Mexico. Traveling through the beautiful Basin Range, the stunning Colorado Plateau, wide-open Great Plains and stunning Rocky Mountains was an experience that I recommend to everyone. Driving on the Scenic Byways, Historic Route 66, the Santa Fe Trail, and the Enchanted Circle gave us a view of New Mexico that we could never have imagined seeing. We camped out in so many unique locations and really enjoyed the outdoor experience. We also stayed in many historic hotels. We did our best to enjoy as much of the history as possible.

I – 40

Santa Rosa

San Jon Clovis

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Portales

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RÍo Gr ande

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Aside from walking along Route 66 for a couple of hundred miles and pitching my tent on red dirt, I had the opportunity to cliff dive into the Blue Hole. Although the surrounding temperature can reach as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the Blue Hole is always cold, crystal clear, and refreshing.

I – 10

Describe your favorite meal from the trip. I had “green” enchiladas with the Ross family from the Church of Christ in Santa Rosa. The local restaurant only serves this meal on Sunday because that is when they have access to the farm fresh green chiles! Que delicioso!

Red River Taos

Shiprock

Abiquiú

Eagle Nest Las Vegas

Albuquerque RÍo Gr ande

I – 40

Describe the most beautiful thing you saw while on your trip. The Sandía Mountains were truly breathtaking. I will never forget walking into Albuquerque during sunrise with the watermelon mountains on all sides.

5

Roswell

I–2

Mogollon

I – 10

Las Cruces

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST I highly recommend people take the time to travel the entire state, as we did. It took several trips and weeks, but was well worth it. Take the road less traveled and you will be amazed at the people and things you see.

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Tucumcari

Albuquerque

5 U S 28

There were so many wonderful dining experiences on this trip. From Peppers in Roswell, Doc Martin’s in Taos, Texas Red’s in Red River, to the Landmark Grill in the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas. We had to decide on one and that is Doc Martin’s in Taos. Just being in Taos gives you an unique New Mexico feel. The charming restaurant provided a wonderful true New Mexican meal with fresh green chile grown in New Mexico!

Grants

US

Describe your favorite meal from the trip.

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation?

Gallup

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST Definitely stop by the Blue Hole and experience its rejuvenating waters and the warm hospitality of the locals. When driving into Albuquerque . . . Slow down! Take in the sights, you won’t regret it!

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Finalist

New Mexico True Stories

New Mexico True Stories

Lenore Chiarello

Finalist

Mary Searing

Administrator Rio Rancho, NM

Teacher Albuquerque, NM

“Route 66 through New Mexico perfectly embodies the spirit of our state.”

“That is the one thing about New Mexico: There is no one thing.”

Tell us about your greatest outdoor adventure.

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation?

Windows down, cruising the “Mother Road,” Route 66.

More years ago than I care to remember, I met a young man, Frank, who was born and raised in Albuquerque. Many years later we reconnected and I accepted Frank’s invitation for me to visit. The moment I stepped off the plane I knew I was in for the time of my life. The following day, Frank took me to the Albuquerque Balloon Park for a festival, where we danced at the outdoor venue to a Salsa band. The last day of my short visit was spent at a family event where I found out how genuinely friendly and generous the people of Albuquerque are. I had to leave the next morning but promised to return soon.

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation? Chama I – 25

Angel Fire

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Tent Rocks Na onal Monument

Chimayó Santa Fe

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Jemez Springs

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Our journey retracing Route 66 was uniquely New Mexico True. Route 66 through New Mexico perfectly embodies the spirit of our state. That same sense of adventure symbolized by the “Mother Road” echoes around every turn. Route 66 is a reflection of New Mexico’s past, as well as a glimpse into our future. Central Avenue in Albuquerque combines beautifully preserved, vintage era architecture, with thoughtfully designed modern structures. Just east, you find yourself winding through the Sandía Mountains. Ghost towns, neon relics, mid-century treasures and rustic ruins await you on the road to Tucumcari.

I kept my promise and returned time and again for I had fallen in love with that man I met so many years ago, and with the place where he lived. We have hiked in Tent Rocks National Monument, where I looked up between the sheer rocks to see a sliver of blue sky. We took a winter hike along the river and to the old railroad yard in Chama, where the snow fell over the top of my boots. We also explored numerous museums, investigating everything from dinosaur bones to the cultures that make up this area’s heritage. There are so many things that we plan to do on our ongoing adventure. That is the one thing about New Mexico: There is no one thing.

I – 10

Describe the most beautiful thing you saw while on your trip. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. The faded glamor of the “Paradise Motel” neon sign in Tucumcari is a thing of beauty to me. The architecture of the Sunshine Building in Albuquerque is a thing of beauty to me. The “Club Cafe” sign in Santa Rosa, and the stories it could tell of its glory days . . . that is a thing of beauty to me.

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST Don’t rush along. Stop at every stop. Investigate every exit. Check out every stretch of weathered road. Stay at a vintage motel. Eat at a roadside cafe or diner. Share the adventure with friends and/or family. Explore . . . there is so much more to see and experience than you ever could imagine.

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INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST My advice is this: Choose a direction and go. It does not matter where you travel across this state, you will find an adventure. Keep the wonder as you wander, and you will be rewarded in amazing memories.

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Finalist

New Mexico True Stories

New Mexico True Stories

Isabel bearman bucher

Finalist

Howard Whitehouse

Retired Educator Alamogordo, NM

Writer New City, NY

“Ancient brown-walled adobes drown in the sea of sunflowers; metal roofs glint under a warm sun.”

“... sitting with brush and palette, watching the subtle changes in light and shadow ...”

What place, or places did you go?

When did your trip take place?

I go home to the wilderness—to my mountains and valleys. The towns of Cundiyo, El Valle, and Llano Largo drift by, places of no-time; not on any sort of regulation map. Ancient brown-walled adobes drown in the sea of sunflowers; metal roofs glint under a warm sun. Morning glories climb trellises. Deep set windows frame potted geraniums. I wind down, around and up, passing through time warps into places that have etched their history in adobe mud since the 1500s. Aging churches strike center pose, re-mudded yearly by the faithful, ministered to by traveling priests. By late afternoon, the great mountain patriarchs come into view.

We’ve been there twice together—in September 2008 to celebrate our 25th anniversary, and in August 2012 to visit Ghost Ranch.

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation? We live in a franchised, branded modern world, where history and authenticity are hard to find. So I’d particularly mention Taos Pueblo, where the people work hard to live in both their traditional world and the modern one. The tour guide is both a keeper of history and an accounting student at a local college.

Describe your favorite meal from the trip.

Describe your favorite meal from the trip.

El Valle Llano Largo

Española

Chimayó

Bandelier Na onal Monument Albuquerque

I – 40

Madrid & Cerrillos

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Alamogordo

I – 10

Carry layered warm clothes. Even when it’s hot, mountain nights dip to freezing. Invest in the right footwear in case you’ve got to trek many unexpected miles. Tuck little snacks in every pocket. Always carry rain gear and water.

RÍo Gr ande

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Taos

Española Santa Fe

US

28

RÍo Gr ande

Abiquiú

I – 40

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST

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Ghost Ranch

US

North of Española, I was drawn by the aroma of roasting green chile—the New Mexican herald of the coming-of-fall. One of the sellers gently placed a gigantic, just-done pod into my open, warming hand. I carefully finger-nailed off its burnt skin, and began eating the whole thing bit by bit, down to the crown of seeds and stem. I sucked the last of the juices, wiped my mouth, and smiled at my benefactor, whose gathered companions clapped and gave me a “Bueno Chavella!” I can still taste the perfect heat and the flesh which tells the story of the New Mexico earth it captured to become itself. The aroma of the sackful filled my car for the next three hours.

The Plaza Cafe in Santa Fe is filled with workers from the courthouse, not just visitors. I like to stop at those mom-andpop places where the food is good, the welcome is real, and the decor is—whatever it is!

I – 10

Describe the most beautiful thing you saw while on your trip. Aside from my beautiful wife? Kitchen Mesa, as seen from the bank of the arroyo at Ghost Ranch. I painted an abstract landscape of the mesa, sitting with brush and palette watching the subtle changes in light and shadow as the day wore on. Pinks turned to orange, tans to deep shadowy greys. Amazing.

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST I’d say, “Take your time.” Traveling isn’t about checking off the boxes of famous sites. You don’t have to go to every museum or monument or gallery. You don’t have to collect the postcards and T-shirts. You really don’t need to drive four hours to Chaco Canyon, spend an hour there and race back to your hotel. New Mexico is best sampled at leisure, as each bend in the road brings a new stretch of breathtaking landscape.

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Finalist

New Mexico True Stories

New Mexico True Stories

Finalist

Wyatt Lane

LISA CHAN

Server Albuquerque, NM

Domestic relations and logistics expert (aka mom) Chicago, IL

“The trip represented true New Mexico living through an ongoing connection to land, culture, and family.”

“The most beautiful thing I saw was the huge smiles on my kids’ faces as they had a great time being free in New Mexico!”

Who went on the trip?

What place, or places did you go?

My girlfriend Joshlyn, the dog Stormy, and myself.

We visited northeastern New Mexico. We stayed in Red River, and from there we explored the surrounding area including the Carson National Forest, the Río Grande River, the fish hatchery in Questa, the Enchanted Circle scenic drive, and chair lifts to the peaks at Angel Fire and Red River ski areas. We also had a great time at various FREE activities held at the Red River Community House, including geocaching and dancing.

What place, or places did you go?

Los Pinos River Taos/Wheeler Peak

Northern New Mexico: Rio Arriba, Taos, and Santa Fe counties. Highlights included the Los Pinos River and an ascent of Wheeler Peak.

Chimayó Santa Fe Albuquerque

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Describe your favorite meal from the trip.

RÍo Gr ande

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We returned to Sundance Mexican Restaurant in Red River where we had celebrated a family dinner 35 years ago. The Mexican meal was delicious, but the highlight was the New Mexican sopaipillas, hot pillows of lightly fried dough with melted honey butter to put inside. They were just as amazing as I remembered!

I – 10

Questa Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Red River Angel Fire

Taos

Describe the most beautiful thing you saw while on your trip.

I – 40

US 28

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Tell us about your greatest outdoor adventure. It is hard to beat the alpine landscape of the Sangre de Cristo range. Marmots darting between rocks; bighorn charging down a hillside; osha plants dotting the landscape alongside wildflowers and alpine grasses.

I – 10

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST Take time to research the history of New Mexico, for it will enrich your own experience no matter what part of the state you visit. Our native communities are some of the longest-inhabited in the world. Culture and landscape are always inextricably linked, but the subtleties of this relationship come to life in New Mexico.

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RÍo Gr ande

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Photographer Nancy Wood said that the New Mexico way of life puts nature at “the center,” and it was from this perspective that she developed “a new way of being and seeing” as an artist. Whether soaking up the early summer sights of acequias and flooded fields near Los Pinos, dining on traditional New Mexican cuisine at Rancho de Chimayó, or climbing our state’s highest peak, this trip was all about the continuation of our way of life in this beautiful state. The trip represented true New Mexico living through an ongoing connection to land, culture, and family.

US

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation?

I – 40

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST

As a mom I’m tempted to say that the most beautiful things I saw were the huge smiles on my kids’ faces as they had a great time being free in New Mexico! The scenery was breathtakingly beautiful. It’s difficult to choose between the tranquility of Middle Fork Lake after an early morning hike, and the dramatic depth of the Río Grande Gorge near the Río Grande Gorge Bridge on Highway 64.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and ask for advice from the friendly and helpful locals. Our group ranged from 5-year-olds to 60- and 70-year-olds, and we had no trouble finding activities to accommodate everyone since there is such a variety of things to see and do.

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Finalist

New Mexico True Stories

New Mexico True Stories

Steve black

DAVID STEEL

Environmental Engineer Albuquerque, NM

Copyeditor Offenbach, Germany

“I picked southwest New Mexico, and boy what a great choice.”

“The connection between landscape and spirituality really sticks with you.”

Who went on the trip?

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation?

Dad and his two daughters.

There were many special moments, but the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque brought it all together. It wonderfully immerses you in the history of the Native Americans in New Mexico and beyond. The connection between landscape and spirituality really sticks with you. We had lunch in the restaurant, which draws your attention to how New Mexican cuisine is really a mix of ancient indigenous food, Spanish colonial influences, and modern absurdities like Alien Amber Ale.

When did your trip take place? August, 2005.

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Gr an de

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What place, or places did you go?

La Ventana Natural Arch

Albuquerque

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Tucumcari Clovis

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Portales

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Gila Cliff Dwellings Na onal Monument

5

A few years back my young, Californiaraised daughters came to visit Dad in Albuquerque. I wanted to take them on an adventure to remember. I picked southwest New Mexico, and boy what a great choice. We had an unforgettable trip. I loved it so much that a few years later I did it all over again with my wife and stepson!

Describe your favorite meal from the trip. Monica’s El Portal Restaurant is just a few steps away from Old Town Albuquerque. I had the chile rellenos, which are divine. The whole atmosphere is very homey and not too flashy. There are old cooking utensils on display.

Lake Roberts

Describe your favorite meal from the trip.

Silver City

A home-cooked lunch at the Spirit Canyon Lodge and Cafe. While dining on delicious food we were mesmerized by dozens of hummingbirds feeding outside the window right next to our table!

Carlsbad I – 10

Chama Spence Hot Springs

Describe the most beautiful thing you saw while on your trip.

Chaco Culture Na onal Historical Park

Tell us about your greatest outdoor adventure. Santa Fe Albuquerque

I know this is a very minor hike, but it was going to Spence Hot Springs. My parents were very outdoorsy and took us camping all the time, yet none of that seemed to rub off on the rest of us. I remember trying to go to Spence Hot Springs several years ago and being daunted by crossing the Jemez River, which is not much more than a little creek there. Now there is a bridge. So I was thrilled to be able to finally experience it.

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The amazing Native American Gila Cliff Dwellings.

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Hiking the Catwalk National Recreation Trail. Take your time and enjoy the wide variety of sites and sounds, wildlife, and raw natural beauty!

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Tell us about your greatest outdoor adventure.

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INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST Research the area online, choose your destinations, and map it out in advance—and don’t miss the Catwalk or the Gila Cliff Dwellings!

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Finalist

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST Take your time. Don’t try to do too much in one day. Come back. I recently met someone who went to New Mexico only to see The Lightning Field by Walter De Maria. It’s a bunch of lightning rods spread out over a large area of land. Apparently, you can only go there if you stay overnight to increase your chances of actually seeing some lightning. We’ll do that next time.

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Finalist

New Mexico True Stories

New Mexico True Stories

Barbara McDonald

CAROL GARDNER

Retired Educator Alamogordo, NM

Administrator Sunderland, United Kingdom

“The magical moonlight attracts photographers, campers, stargazers, picnickers, filmmakers, and children of all ages.”

“The scenery is magnificent, a plethora of colours at every turn of the wheel is truly unique to New Mexico.” What place, or places did you go? Mesilla was our first port of call in New Mexico. We marveled at the dusty roads and sidewalks, and saw where the notorious Billy the Kid was imprisoned before he famously escaped. We waded into the Río Grande before the steepbut-beautiful ascent to Cloudcroft. We climbed the tower where Judy Garland and Clark Gable inscribed famous graffiti back in the 30s. Then, we moved on to Carlsbad Caverns, and marveled at the unique rock formations.

When did your trip take place? Our date was on the evening of May 24, 2013, during the full moon.

What place, or places did you go?

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White Sands Na onal Monument

Alamogordo

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What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation?

Lincoln

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Tularosa Basin

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We began our date at the Sunset Run Restaurant, tucked away among ancient trees at a historic old farm off of the Alamogordo relief route. We ate outside on the patio so we could watch the darkening sky on the Sleeping Lady mountain that rests on the edge of the Sacramentos, looking down across the Tularosa basin. We chose the vegetarian green-chile stew, spicy from Hatch green chile. We watched kid goats springing into the air and cows and donkeys, more relaxed, grazing in the greening fields. As we shared a sweet cherry cobbler topped with ice cream, the twinkling Alamogordo city lights in the distant made us aware of the time. Not wanting the evening to end, we drove east to the White Sands National Monument.

Cloudcro

Carlsbad

Mesilla

Wading into the Río Grande, drenched in sunshine and greedily absorbing the surrounding colours of amber, golden yellow, sombre brown, dusky greys, blue hues, and green!

Describe your favorite meal from the trip. Rebecca’s Restaurant in the Lodge Resort in Cloudcroft was unforgettable—highend food in a restaurant high in altitude, and not a ghostly maid in sight!

What was the most uniquely New Mexico True thing you did while on your vacation?

Describe the most beautiful thing you saw while on your trip.

Visiting White Sands during the full moon is uniquely New Mexican. The magical moonlight attracts photographers, yoga enthusiasts, soccer players, strolling lovers, campers, sledders, stargazers, picnickers, filmmakers, and children of all ages.

The scenery is magnificent—a plethora of colours at every turn of the wheel is truly unique to New Mexico.

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST Sit on a White Sands desert dune on a full-moon evening with someone you love. You never know what adventures and dreams will come true when you embrace in the moonlit magnitude of the universe.

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Finalist

INSIDER SCOOP FROM THE FINALIST Stay longer at Cloudcroft to take hikes into the beautiful, enchanted forest.

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