JANUARY 25 – APRIL 19
Join us as we explore the three stages of Christ’s life: his incarnation, in the form of the Nativity; his Crucifixion; and finally the Resurrection in a rare opportunity to view traveling master works on paper. Through 53 drawings and prints from the British Museum, we examine the way that master artists differently envisioned these key moments of Christ’s life.
107 West Palace Ave. on the Plaza in Santa Fe · NMArtMuseum.org · 505-476-5072 de’Ferrari, The Nativity, 1675 Image © The Trustees of the British Museum. This exhibition is presented in collaboration 2 Gregorio travelnewmex.com | winter 2020
by the British Museum, the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and the New Mexico Museum of Art, a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.
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index 5: 10: 16: 18: 19: 22:
Stop the Vacation Whining with 10 Child-Friendly Attractions
PUBLISHERS MATT GANTNER WILLIAM HALSEY
New Mexico Expecting One of Best Winters for Snowy Activities Museum Hill: Santa Fe’s ‘Other Plaza’ Offers Six Must-See Sites New Mexico Home to Most U.S. World Heritage Sites Chama: New Mexico’s Mecca for Winter Fun Route 66 Casino • Hotel
9400 Holly Avenue NE Albuquerque, NM 87122 (505) 259-7969 TRAVELNEWMEX.COM
ASHLEY CONNER DANA BENJAMIN
WRITER AUTUMN GRAY
The New Mexico Top Destinations Magazine is published once a year by Moon Dog Publishing. The publisher does not take responsibility for the accuracy or legitimacy of the advertisers’ messages or that of the guest writers/columnists or any aspect of the business operation or conduct of the advertisers in the magazine. Moon Dog Publishing reserves the right to edit all articles for accuracy and style. For more information and advertising rates,
call (505) 350-8695 or (505) 259-7969.
Cover Photo Credits: Top left: pony ride at New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, Dawn Santiago; top right: snowmobiling in Chama, Roger Hogan; center far left: Day of the Dead exhibit at the Museum of International Folk Art, Peter Ellzey; center middle top: sleigh rides in Angel Fire, Janet Sailor; center middle bottom: Native dancers at Museum Hill Community Day, Peter Ellzey; center far right: Sipapu Lodge and the Rio Pueblo, Sipapu Ski Valley; bottom left: Sandia Tram, Jay Blackwood; bottom right: skier, Taos Ski Valley.
travelnewmex.com | winter 2020
Stop the Vacation Whining with 10 ChildFriendly Attractions Numerous stories get written about New Mexico’s abundance of art galleries and history museums, its emerging craft brewery scene, wine and margarita tours, world-class dining, and breathtaking scenery – all of which make our state a premier destination for adults, again and again. But if you’ve got kids in tow and want to keep the “I’m bored” complaints to a minimum, there’s no shortage of family-friendly activities statewide. The following is just a sampling of excursions and venues that will not only spare you the whining but that are also likely to be fun - and shhh, even educational - for all ages. From rock hunting, sand dune sledding and high-wire biking, to interactions with animals and aliens, these 10 family favorites (in no particular order or ranking) have got you covered from corner to corner of the state.
1) Explora, Albuquerque Explora, by its own description, is “part science center, part children’s museum, part free-choice school, part grandma’s attic, part grandpa’s garage, part laboratory, part neighborhood full Bubble exploration at Explora. Courtesy of Explora. of interesting people, and part of many people’s lives.” Exhibits, which are largely STEM-related, are interactive and designed to encourage engagement by visitors of all ages and interests. You can conduct tests with balls and ramps to slow down the effects of gravity; play with light; make stuff out of recycled materials; experiment (safely) with electricity; investigate bubbles; ride the High Wire Bike two stories high; and so much more. The fun to be had while learning is endless.
Explora’s rock and mineral exhibit. Courtesy of Explora.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission costs $6 for children ages
Playground at Twirl. Courtesy of Twirl.
1-11, $10 for adults and $7 for seniors age 65 and older with an ID. Explora is located in the heart of Albuquerque’s historic Old Town district, so it’s easy to combine your play time with a day of historic visits and shopping. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History are also within walking distance, and the Albuquerque BioPark is a short drive away. Programs and activities are constantly changing at Explora. For the most current information, visit https://www.explora.us/.
2) Albuquerque BioPark: Zoo, Botanic Garden, BUGarium and Aquarium, Albuquerque The BioPark is your one-stop shop for total immersion in family fun. Without setting foot on a plane, visit animals and plants that reside in coral reefs, the plains of Africa, the Amazon rainforest, the Arctic and beyond. To enjoy it all, a few days is suggested. Here’s a snapshot of what’s awaiting you: Zoo: Albuquerque’s 64-acre zoo provides big-city exhibits in a manageable space that’s easily viewable inside of a few hours. In addition to the enjoyment of watching the animals in naturalistic habitats, you’ll find educational exhibits that offer information about wildlife conservation efforts. Be sure not to miss the new Penguin Chill exhibit, featuring Marconi, gentoo and king penguins, which opened in summer 2018. A gift shop and café are also onsite. BUGarium: The 3,500-square-foot BUGarium features insect and other arthropod species from around the world in naturalistic habitats. Exhibits include a working bee hive; a tropical tree home to leaf cutter ants; a nocturnal exhibit allowing viewing of tarantulas, giant katydids and African scorpions under infrared light; and a cluster of individual bubbles housing the social communities of naked mole rats. Aquarium: Visit sharks, coral reefs, salt marshes, river otters named Chaos and Mayhem, colorful tropical fish, and (continued on Page 6)
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many more underwater delights. Touchpools that provide the opportunity for gentle touching of sharks, rays, fish and invertebrates are open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with some variation depending on the schedules of volunteers who operate them. The Shark Reef Café allows you to grab a bite, get off your feet and be mesmerized table-side by a floor-to-ceiling shark tank. Botanic Garden: The Travel Channel has named this 36-acre garden among the Top 12 in the country. Two popular exhibits are the Japanese garden, which was designed by noted landscape architect Toru Tanaka, and the children’s garden, which is guarded by a 14-foot topiary dragon. Let more than 1.5 miles of pathway lead you on a sublime self-guided journey of color, whimsy and natural wonder. Ticket prices vary for admission to each venue, and New Mexico residents with ID enjoy reduced rates. For details on prices, hours and exhibits, visit https://www.cabq.gov/ culturalservices/biopark.
3) Santa Fe Children’s Museum, Santa Fe Though called a museum, what you’ll find is a dynamic, handson, exploratory environment that offers weekly programs for children of all ages, including toddlers. Dedicated to fostering play as a tool for childhood learning, interactive exhibits and programs focus on a variety of subjects including art, gardening, trains, science, astronomy and more. The organization also encourages socialization of children, creating activities that foster connections among visiting children and families. In addition to its indoor offerings, the museum has a 1.5-acre outdoor play space. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Admission costs $5 for children and $7.50 or adults. Children under 1 year get in free. See website for hours and detailed information about programming and exhibits: https://santafechildrensmuseum.org.
4) Twirl, A Play and Discovery Space, Taos Adults think of Twirl as a boutique toy store to stock their vacation rentals with the latest games and puzzles, and as the go-to for a unique addition to weekly game night. Children just think of it as magical.
Courtyard play equipment at Twirl. Courtesy of Twirl.
Housed in a 150-year-old adobe building in the heart of historical Taos, this colorful, labyrinthine space was once inhabited by actor Dennis Hopper and world-renowned abstract painter Agnes Martin. Architectural and artistic treasures are hidden throughout this incredible property, including a fish pond, wishing well, secret staircase with dragons and snakes, and Ali Baba fireplace. Twirl was designed to encourage open-ended play and selfdirected discovery by careful placement of play installations, interactive exhibits and incidental learning stations mixed with artistic touches. A small, grassy courtyard houses a hand-crafted timber hobbit house, a variety of oversize musical instruments, crazy mirrors, a sand play area, chalk and magnet walls, and a kinetic solar system. A larger paved play yard has a certified Play Smart climbing structure, a fountain for paddling and water play, a giant’s chair, and a variety of ride-ons and outdoor games. An indoor playroom features free access to high-quality educational toys and games, pretend play equipment, musical instruments and imagination stations, including a Magnet Play Wall, a Marble Maze Wall, Lego Wall and Light Table. The toy store also sells high-quality building blocks and toys, board games and puzzles, science and robotics kits, art supplies, and crafts for all ages. This kaleidoscope of services is provided at no charge, in part due to the generous support of the Brindle Foundation, the Grace Family Foundation and numerous individual donations. Twirl is not a drop-off location, and children should be accompanied and supervised by a responsible adult at all times. The content in this section has been taken from Twirl’s website, where you’ll also find a full list of monthly activities: http://www.twirltaos.org/. Twirl is open 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. daily.
5) White Sands National Monument, between the cities of Alamogordo and Las Cruces It’s the biggest and tallest “beach” you’ve ever seen, without water anywhere close. White Sands National Monument comprises about 40 percent of the Tularosa Basin’s 275 square miles of soft, sparkling sand - the largest gypsum dunefield in the world. The remainder is on military land that is not open to the public. 6 travelnewmex.com | winter Courtesy 2020 Twirl’s rainbow climbing structure. of Twirl.
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The most popular activity for children here is sledding. Waxed plastic snow saucers work best on the sand, which, unlike snow, is not slippery. Sleds can be purchased at the monument gift shop, or you can take your own. It’s advisable to call the gift shop at 575-479-1629 before arriving to confirm the availability of sleds. To get to the park, take Dunes Drive, an eight-mile scenic path that leads from the visitor center into the heart of the gypsum dunefield. Driving round-trip takes about 45 minutes. However, you may want to allow additional time to explore the dunes, take photos, and/or learn about the natural and cultural history of the dunefield. Along the road, you will find outdoor exhibits, hiking trails, picnic areas, toilets and parking areas. White Sands is open year-round, but hours change throughout the year. It’s wise to call in advance of your visit, especially during winter and early spring, when inclement weather could cause an unexpected closure. More detailed information about things to do and what to take for your visit can be found at https://www.nps.gov/whsa/index.htm.
6) New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, Las Cruces As its name suggests, this museum brings to life the 4,000-year history of farming and ranching in New Mexico. To do that effectively requires a lot of space. The museum occupies 47 acres that provide visitors ample room for hands-on access to a variety of animals, farm and ranch industry tours, exhibits and demonstrations. The museum has beef cattle, dairy cattle, horses, sheep, goats and donkeys on site, and even offers pony rides for children every Saturday Pony ride at New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage from 10:30 a.m. to noon at a cost of $5 Museum. Credit: Dawn per ride. A dairy barn showcases New Santiago. Mexico’s dairy industry, and livestock tours cart visitors to the livestock corrals for an experience in cattle raising – a unique opportunity for little buckaroos. Period demonstrations include wool spinning, sewing, weaving and quilting, and an opportunity to see how metal is forged into tools and decorative items in the Blacksmith Shop (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only, until about 3 p.m.). It’s pretty close to time-traveling! The demonstration schedule is subject to change, so it’s a good idea to call ahead, (575) 522-4100. Also, many of the demonstrations take place outside, so dress warmly if you go in winter or early spring. The museum’s permanent exhibits also take you back to frontier days. See what the inside of a New Mexico Colonial home would have looked like circa 1815, or check out a 8
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Wheels & Gears collection of wagons, buggies, vehicles and implements from different eras in New Mexico. Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission costs $5 for adults, $4 for seniors (60 and over), $3 for children ages 4 to 17 and $2 for active U.S. military and veterans. Children younger than 4 are admitted free of charge. For more details on all there is to do here and a calendar of special events held throughout the year, visit http://www.nmfarmandranchmuseum.org/.
7) Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park, Carlsbad This living desert zoo provides a glimpse into the abundance of life in the Chihuahuan Desert, the largest desert in North America. It’s a great way to see animals in the wild and learn about how a place that only gets 9 inches of rain a year can sustain so much life. The park displays more than 40 species of animals and hundreds of types of plants in their native habitat. A leisurely stroll along the park’s 1.3-mile nature trail can introduce you to grey fox, bison, elk, jackrabbits, snakes, lizards and roadrunners, to name a few, as well as cacti, yuccas, agave and other native plant life that thrive here. After your walk, pay a visit to the park’s resident black bear, Maggie, who enjoys her very own living quarters, including a pool and “enrichment” items to keep her mind active. Maggie came to the park as an orphan and is well known for painting pictures with her paws. Her paintings and book markers are for sale in the Visitors Center. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Labor Day to Memorial Day and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year. Last entry is at 3:30 p.m. Admission costs $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 7-12; ages 6 and younger get in free. No camping or pets are allowed. For more information, visit http://www.livingdesertnm.org/.
8) International UFO Museum & Research Center, Roswell For a truly out-of-this-world experience, the International UFO Museum & Research Center is worth a visit whether you’re a believer or a skeptic. The museum was originally organized to inform the public about what has become known as The Roswell Incident. However, it now endeavors to be the leading information source in history, science and research about UFO events worldwide. Visitors will see loads of historical newspaper articles, government documents, videos and news clips, replicas of supposed alien life forms, and other exhibits both fanciful and educational. Children are likely to have even more fun in the gift shop, which sells a host of alien- and spacecraft-related novelty souvenirs – many in fluorescent colors or that glow in the dark. Shop keychains, magnets, plush toys, clothes, accessories and more. Admission to the museum costs $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 5-15 and $3 for seniors, military and first responders. https://www.roswellufomuseum.com/. (continued on Page 21)
SOCORRO unlike any other city
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New Mexico Expecting One of the Best Winters for Snowy Activities Courtesy of Taos Ski Valley
The snow came so fast and early at the start of the winter season in New Mexico that “the season” may soon require redefining. Ski and boarding enthusiasts took to the slopes as early as Halloween at Sipapu Ski Resort. The Oct. 31 opening set a record for the location, which was one of only seven resorts open at that time across the country. For much of the rest of Northern New Mexico, off-the-charts record Thanksgiving snowfalls set the foundation for a phenomenal winter. The six to eight inches dumped in parts of Albuquerque and Santa Fe that day marked an early, low-elevation accumulation that is beyond unusual. Meteorologists say it’s an effect of climate change, which has winter tourist spots wondering each year which extreme they’ll get – drought or a white wonderland. Andrew Church, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, says this season “it looks good for us in terms of above average precipitation, especially for the Western half of the state…through the end of January. As long as it doesn’t warm up too much we should hang on to that snowpack into the spring.” In fact, this winter in New Mexico may be among the best in recorded history for anyone who enjoys snow-based outdoor activities or just taking in alpine scenery from a resort fireplace. Not only does New Mexico have an ideal weather forecast, but it also has world-class amenities from which to enjoy its bounty. At least two New Mexico ski resorts received national rankings as top vacation spots within the last few months. Santa Fe was listed as a top ski destination by Conde Nast Traveler, which released in November its 2019 Readers Choice Awards for best ski resorts between the U.S. and Canada: “Set at a base elevation of 10,350 feet, Ski Santa Fe ranks as one of the highest ski areas in the continental U.S. and its 660 acres offers an impressive variety of terrain, including steep bump runs, gladed-tree skiing, bowls, chutes and loads of beginnerfriendly groomers,” it said. U.S. News ranked Taos among the nation’s best ski vacations in 2019. The publication applauded Taos for its annual 300plus inches of snow and 110 trails, 51 percent of which cater to expert skiers. Taos Ski Valley will remain open longer than usual this year, through mid-April. The resort announced in December that it had been chosen to host the World Pro Ski Tour World Championships, set for April 10-12. The three-day world championships features a dual slalom format in which two skiers race against each other.
Further, MSN recently recognized The Blake at Taos Ski Valley as the top hotel in New Mexico. The new Europeanstyle accommodation has been at the heart of an estimated $350 million redevelopment of the entire ski village. Taos Ski Valley’s CEO David Norden told the Taos News that the resort in 2018-2019 enjoyed its best season in two decades thanks to new amenities - including a high-speed quad chairlift, a lift to its upper mountain at Kachina Peak, and a state-of-the-art children’s center – as well as record snowfall that year. While downhill skiing, snowboarding and terrain park options are the main tourism draws for New Mexico’s 10 ski resorts, you don’t have to be a skier or snowboarder to enjoy a momentous winter in New Mexico. The state offers plenty of activities for every age and every interest, in addition to a number of ways to enjoy abundant wildlife and serene snowy vistas. Here’s a sampling:
Sleigh rides in Angel Fire. Credit: Janet Sailor.
Sleigh Rides They’re not just for Santa around here. You can take a horsedrawn carriage or sleigh ride, or even go horseback riding, all winter - as long as snow blankets the ground. See Northern New Mexico’s alpine forests and snowcapped mountains with only the whoosh of the breeze and soft stomp of horse feet as you wind through woodsy trails. Roadrunner Tours in Angel Fire has been offering rides for over 30 years. (https://www.nancyburch. com/sleigh-carriage)
Hot Tubbing & Mineral Soaking Grand Bath at 10,000 Waves. Credit: Deborah Fleig.
Get out of the cold and into a natural hot spring soaking bath with a view. Maybe even get a massage while you’re in spa mode. Three of the most iconic places for healing waters in Northern New Mexico are 10,000 Waves in Santa Fe, Ojo Caliente just outside of Taos and Jemez Springs just north of Albuquerque. (continued on Page 14)
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Places to Stay. Options for Eating. Fun Things To Do. Interesting Articles.
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Snowmobiling in Chama. Credit: Roger Hogan.
For a more fast-paced, adrenaline- pumping tour of New Mexico’s scenic landscape, snowmobiles provide adventure and views. Companies offer tours in Angel Fire, Taos and Red River. You can also rent one and head off on your own in the Carson National Forest, where more than 50 miles of snowmobile-accessible trails await. Stop by the Visitors Center for a trail map and rules of the snow.
Just about any of the state’s ski resorts offer incredible cross-country opportunities. Among the best may be the Enchanted Forest Ski Area at Red River, the state’s only full-service cross-country ski and snowshoe area. It has 20 miles of well-marked and widely-groomed, patrolled trails and Courtesy of Enchanted is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. Forest Ski Area. to 4:30 p.m. For a list and description of some of the state’s other top destinations, visit https://bestthingsnm.com/cross-country-skiingtrail/. The Chama area, too, is a cross-country skiers paradise, with marked trails that make it easy to explore the Sargent’s Wildlife Area. Maps are available at the Chama Visitors Center.
Tubing & Sledding There’s no better place to take your rear end for a glide down a mountain than Ruidoso Winter Park in Alto, N.M., the “Holy Grail” of tubing. Boasting the most twists, turns, bumps, jumps, and bobsled curves, the area has more lift capacity and the largest tubing snowmaking system in the Rockies, according to its website, https:// www.ruidosowinterpark.com/. Other ski areas with official tubing slopes: Angel Fire and Red River. Tubing is no longer available in Taos, but visitors can take their own sled for a run on the hill next to the Edelweiss Lodge and Spa and La Gondolita.
Ski Biking If you love to mountain bike and ski, this combines the two. Ski biking can be done at Angel Fire, Taos and Sipapu ski areas. Sipapu offers ski bike lessons and rentals.
Ski bike demo class at Sipapu (Courtesy Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort).
Snowshoeing Get an incredible workout while seeing wildlife and stunning scenery that’s not on the screen of gym equipment! If Snowshoeing in Chama. you have your own gear, check out the Credit: Roger Hogan. deep woods snow of the Valles Caldera National Preserve in the Jemez Mountains, located within a crater that is the remnants of an ancient volcano: https://www.nps.gov/ vall/planyourvisit/winter-activities.htm. A limited number of snowshoes can be rented at the preserve. Another pristine area is the San Juan Wilderness near Chama, where you can snowshoe along well-marked trails right up to a yurt for an overnight stay. See the Chama Visitors Center for maps.
Ice Fishing Eagle Nest Lake State Park, 11 miles northeast of Angel Fire, is a local favorite for winter fishing. The 2,200-surface acre lake contains Credit: Kim Jarigese. trout, salmon and perch. A license is required, so check with the Department of Game and Fish at 888-248-6866 before you head out. Also, be sure to check with authorities to ensure the lake is fully frozen.
Rent a Yurt in the Wilderness As long as you’re trekking through the woods, why not take a break by getting a good night’s rest in a backcountry yurt? They are available in Red River, Taos and just outside Chama, near Cumbres Pass in Southern Colorado: https://enchantedforestxc. com/lodging/, http://www.yurtsogood.com/Home.html and https:// southwestnordiccenter.com/.
Rent an Igloo in the Wilderness An igloo, which is like a yurt but built of snow and ice, offers the chance to overnight in a frozen fortress. Ruidoso Winter Park has a package that includes a heated 12-foot by 12-foot igloo with tables and chairs, unlimited snow tubing, and zipline passes for six guests, reserved tubes, handmade pizza, beverages, and much more. https://www.ruidosowinterpark.com/
Tram Rides Climb aboard the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway for a breathtaking 2.7-mile cable car trip over the snowy Sandia Mountains and their deep canyons. The ride ends at an observation deck atop the 10,378-foot Sandia Peak in the Cibola National Forest, affording an 11,000 square-mile panoramic winter wonderland view of the Rio Grande Valley and the Land of Enchantment. A new restaurant, Ten 3, has recently opened for lunch and dinner at the top as well, replacing the former High Finance. Ski or snowboard back down, or buy a round trip Tram ticket if you just want to see the sights. For hours, directions, ticket prices and more, call 505-856-7325 or visit https://sandiapeak.com/.
Credit: Jay Blackwood.
Skiing at Sandia. Credit: Jay Blackwood.
William Penhallow Henderson, Holy Week in New Mexico/Penitent Procession, 1919, oil on panel. Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art. Gift of Mrs. Edgar L. Rossin, 1952 (83.23P)
picturing passion Artists Interpret the Penitente Brotherhood
As artists gravitated to New Mexico from the East Coast in the twentieth century, many found the cultures of the Southwest unfamiliar and exotic. One regional community that captured their imagination was the Penitente Brotherhood. Picturing Passion brings together the works of artists who looked to the group’s processions, traditions, and materials as inspiration for their art. The exhibition also examines myths and stereotypes stemming from sensationalizing the group’s beliefs and practices while endeavoring to create a space to address these misconceptions.
107 West Palace Avenue • On the Plaza in Santa Fe • (505) 476-5072 • NMArtMuseum.org travelnewmex.com | winter 2020
Museum Hill: Santa Fe’s ‘Other Plaza’ Offers Six Must- See Sites The ‘wanderability’ of Santa Fe’s narrow, European-style streets is half the appeal of visiting the town’s famous Plaza and Canyon Road. Every turn seems to offer up a surprise gift for pedestrians – a tucked-away chocolate boutique, fanciful art space or handmade leather goods shop, perhaps. But anyone with two days or more to linger in the City Different should get in a car and head to Museum Hill, just a couple of miles south of the primary tourist hub. The Hill has its own walkable collection of sites - four worldclass museums and their related gift shops; the Santa Fe Botanical Garden; an upscale-casual café; a former National Parks Service building of architectural significance; and panoramic forest views, spectacular at sunset. Together, the extraordinary offerings encapsulate and connect Santa Fe’s history, multi-cultural influences, art and natural beauty like no other location. “Museum Hill is ‘the other Plaza,’” said Clayton Bass, CEO of the botanical garden and past president of the Museum Hill Partners. For tourists who have never been, Museum Hill is a must-see destination for a holistic understanding of Santa Fe and New Mexico. Repeat visitors will notice some improvements are underway, making the Hill easier to navigate and even more pleasant to walk about. The Hill is accessed by turning onto Camino Lejo from Old Santa Fe Trail, the pre-railroad 19th-century route for horsedrawn wagons headed west across the plains from as far away as Missouri. The museums, nestled independently amid the rise’s high desert brush, are the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Indian Art & Culture and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts. An adjacent National Park Service building is a treasure in itself and will soon be open to tourists for the first time. Dating back to Pres. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, the historic adobe structure contains original tinwork and woodwork, pottery collections and murals. The former office building has received funding for preservation and restoration, and is anticipated to open as a National Park Service interpretive center later this year. “It will become a gateway to New Mexico’s national park offerings,” Bass said. This and other changes are part of a Museum Hill master plan to be implemented over the next five to eight years, Bass said. To improve the experience for the destination’s 325,000 annual visitors, an intermodal path for hikers and bicyclists is being designed parallel with Museum Hill’s central street, Camino Lejo. Signage throughout will be upgraded to provide clear information about the facilities that exist, the distances between 16
travelnewmex.com | winter 2020
Day of the Dead exhibit at the Museum of International Folk Art. Credit: Peter Ellzey.
the sites and directions to each. Camino Lejo has already been widened for improved safety. At the turn-in on Camino Lejo to Museum Hill, a group of related bronze sculptures called Journey’s End sets the stage for the riches to be discovered down the street. The monument, constructed close to Santa Fe Trail wagon ruts, depicts the weary arrival to Santa Fe of the lead wagon in a caravan, along with a Pueblo woman, Hispanic boy and his dog looking on. Down the road to the left is the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts. Opened in 2002, it features objects from throughout the Spanish Colonial world, housed in a historical building designed by renowned architect John Gaw Meem. Next in line are the Museum of Indian Art & Culture (1987) and the Museum of International Folk Art (1953), bookends to an expansive elevated plaza shared with the Museum Hill Café. It serves a variety of salads, sandwiches and New Mexican fare, along with coffee, wine and homemade desserts, complete with a patio providing some of the best views in town. The Museum of Indian Art & Culture showcases Native cultures and artifacts of the Southwest, from ancestral to contemporary times, while the folk art museum highlights the world’s cultures in an explosion of colorful pieces both utilitarian and decorative. In addition to revolving exhibits, it houses a permanent and vibrant exhibit of toys, textiles, miniatures and more collected from more than 100 countries by the famous mid-century modern artist Alexander Girard. The botanical garden across the street provides an opportunity to get outside and see local culture from a different perspective. “The four museums deal with fine art and craft and cultural history,” Bass said. “We begin where the others leave off and turn to native plants, the relationship between the humans that have lived here for so many years, and the plants that are available locally that they have built their cultures upon and with.” Since opening in 2013, the gardens have expanded from 11 acres to 21 acres. In addition to seeing how colorful and varied high-desert plants are, visitors will enjoy walking among outdoor sculptures by local artists. A series of trails with long views of pristine woodland provide shaded seating for rest or contemplation. At the far end of Camino Lejo sits the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, the first constructed on the site and New Mexico’s oldest private nonprofit museum (1937). It emphasizes (continued on Page 21)
4 Decades In Old Town! The Candy Lady has delicious sweets, great service and continues to be among Albuquerque’s most popular sweet shops. BREAKING BAD BLUE ICE CANDY ADULT CHOCOLATES
Don’t be fooled by imitators, there is only one Candy Lady! Over 50 Kinds of Black Licorice 21 Flavors of Homemade Fudge Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Cherries and Raspberries Customized Cakes And Much More! Monday - Saturday 10 - 6 & Sunday 10 - 5 -WE SHIP424 San Felipe St NW, Old Town Albuquerque, NM 87104
505-243-6239 • www.CandyLady.com travelnewmex.com | winter 2020
New Mexico Home to Most U.S. World Heritage Sites Three of globe’s most valuable locations easily visited within a week
Whether a place qualifies as worthy of your limited vacation time and money is subjective, but friends, family and the occasional tourism magazine are quick to offer their opinions. Some people swear by a mountain retreat; others require the presence of bodies of water so much you’d think they had gills. But there are 19 places in the continental U.S. that just about guarantee your time off will be well spent. They are our country’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, places recognized as irreplaceable natural and cultural masterpieces. New Mexico is remarkably blessed with three - the most of any state. They are Carlsbad Caverns near the West Texas border, Taos Pueblo in northern New Mexico and Chaco Culture National Historical Park in the northwest section of the state. Visiting all three is easily doable inside of a week, especially if you enjoy the down time of hours on the open road, peppered with opportunity for a few scenic byways. UNESCO, or the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, is a key part of the United Nations, created in 1945 to promote peace through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms. To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be deemed to have “outstanding universal value,” according to the World Heritage Convention Committee. Each is then classified as being of cultural, natural or mixed importance. New Mexico’s World Heritage Sites are in the company of 1,121 worldwide, including the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty in the United States, and such esteemed locations overseas as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Taj Mahal in India and the Forbidden City in Beijing. Below is more information about each of New Mexico’s precious sites: Carlsbad Caverns National Park Year Inscripted: 1995 Type: Natural Carlsbad Caverns National Park, located in Carlsbad, is comprised of 120 known natural limestone caverns. More are certain to be discovered as exploration NPS credit: Shawn Thomas. continues. The site, popular for its size, diversity and accessibility, is one of more than 300 limestone caves in a fossil reef created by a sea about 265 million years ago. The land is now home to the Chihuahuan Desert. The arid land teems with an unexpected diversity of plants and animals that live above the extraterrestrial18
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like caverns, decorated with spectacular rock formations reminiscent of Gaudi architecture in Spain. About 410,000 people visit the park annually, most in spring and summer. So, January and February are the best months to avoid crowds. Winter cold doesn’t affect the temperature inside the caverns, which stay at a cool 56 degrees year-round. You will miss the opportunity to see bat flights from the caves if you visit in spring or winter, as the bats head to Mexico for the period between late October and May. Guided cave tours, typically for the more adventure-minded, may also be limited during the winter off-season. No matter the time of year, you’ll need to call ahead, as reservations for tours require 48 hours advance notice (877.444.6777 or www.recreation.gov). Two self-guided tours are available year-round. The Natural Entrance Trail takes visitors down a steep asphalt 1.25-mile path into the Big Room, or it can be accessed via elevator. At 8.2 acres, it is the largest readily accessible cave chamber in North America. Visitors can also walk within the Big Room, taking another 1.25mile walkway. A few things to note: Take a jacket, wear shoes with good grip or rubber soles, and leave snacks in the car. No food is allowed. Carlsbad Caverns does have a unique lunchroom located 750 feet underground, right inside the caves. Tourists can even write a postcard and mail it from inside, stamped with, “Mailed from 750 feet below ground.” Visitor center hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through May 22; on May 23, they extend to 7 p.m., effective through September 7. Be sure to check the Carlsbad Cavern website, https://www.nps.gov/cave/ index.htm, for costs and more details. Chaco Culture National Historical Park Year Inscripted: 1987 Type: Cultural Chaco Culture National Historical Park, located about 90 minutes from Farmington, N.M., will transport you to what was the commercial, Credit: NPS. religious and government center of the Southwest more than a thousand years ago. Residents of the region, known as the Chaco Anasazi, were linked by roads spanning the Four Corners area. They were the ancestors of about 20 of today’s Native American tribes in Arizona and New Mexico. (continued on Page 20)
Chama: New Mexico’s Mecca for Winter Fun One of the best - kept secrets in New Mexico is the enchanting little village of Chama at the top of the state. It is the western home of the Cumbres & Toltec steam railroad, and the home of great trout fishing and horseback riding in its summer meadows. Oh yeah, and it’s an absolute mecca for winter sports, too! Cross - country skiing, snowmobiling, snow- shoeing - everything but downhill skiing - is abundantly available in Chama’s gorgeous natural open country. Every Martin Luther King weekend, in January, Chama hosts the Chama Chile Ski Classic, a cross-country ski event. There are races and special events occurring all weekend. There’s also a fabulous hot air balloon rally the last weekend in February. Chama, with its lively Western - style business district, several hotels and cozy dining establishments, is located on U.S.
84 (take the “Chama Highway” out of Española) in the beautiful and diverse Chama Valley near the Colorado border. The valley, created and traversed by the Rio Chama, is situated in the southern Rockies at 7,860 feet elevation, with nearby Brazos Peaks offering mountain vistas and scenic gorges. The valley’s human history is rich with stories of toil and innovation, from the indigenous Native people, to Hispanic settlers, to trappers, and latter-day business people attracted by the varied resources. Winter especially offers breathtaking beauty in the Rio Chama Valley. Days are sunny; nights are clear and filled with stars. In the valley, the combination of bright sunshine and lack of humidity make for surprisingly comfortable days. In the surrounding mountain passes, you’ll find a reliable base of snow. The gentle
Photo credit Chama Valley Chamber of Commerce.
terrain of the mesas makes for perfect cross - country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Groomed trails and marked tracks crisscross easily accessible public lands. This area has five yurts available for those wishing to spend the night. In colder years, visitors and residents gather for fine ice fishing on Heron Reservoir. For your safety and comfort, Chama locals warn to always check with the appropriate ranger district before heading out; never travel alone, and make sure you are adequately prepared. For more information, go to Chama Valley Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-477-0149. For yurt information, go to www.skichama.com.
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Composed of the ruins of massive stone buildings and hundreds of petroglyphs, the site is one of the most important preColumbian archaeological areas in the country and among the most sacred sites for indigenous peoples to this day. Structures and artifacts date as far back as the 200s A.D., though Chaco’s heyday dates closer to the years between 850 A.D. and 1250 A.D. If time is limited, Pueblo Bonito, arguably the best example of great house architecture, is the must-see structure of the complex. The biggest of all Chacoan great houses, it is composed of 32 kivas, three great kivas, and more than 350 ground-floor rooms, covering about 2½ acres. It would have stood taller than four stories in some places and was among the first multi-storied complexes in the Southwest thanks to advanced engineering and masonry techniques. As you stand within the walls of Pueblo Bonito’s massive grandeur, beneath the open sky and listening to the sounds of the canyon, it’s easy to feel the spirit of the land that attracted its first inhabitants. Based on approximately 4,000 prehistoric and historic archaeological sites, Chaco represents more than 10,000 years of human cultural history in the Chaco Canyon. Located 4½ miles from the Visitor Center on the 9-mile Canyon Loop Drive, the gravel trail to access it is 0.6-mile roundtrip, with a few short rises. To see some of the area’s most striking petroglyphs, take the ¼-mile Petroglyph Trail between Pueblo Bonito and the Chetro Ketl, the site’s second largest great house. Visitors can spend a few hours or a few days at the park, depending on your interest and time. Campsites are available, and hike and bike trails offer plenty of opportunity for those wanting a mix of exercise and education. A Visitor Center Museum provides a sampling of artifacts from the 3,600+ prehistoric and historic sites identified to date and gives a detailed but easily digestible history of the area. Trail guides are also available at the Visitor Center, open daily 8 a.m.-5 p.m. May through October and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. NovemberApril. Hiking trails and archaeological sites are open daily from 7 a.m. to sunset. Individual entrance fees start from $15 for a seven-day pass, or $25 per vehicle. Additional camping fees apply. For a complete list of fees, accessible structures and things to do, including astronomical talks and events at the Chaco Observatory, visit https://www.nps.gov/chcu/index.htm. No matter the time of year you visit, take a hat, plenty of water, and wear sunscreen. Unless you’re prepared for some cold camping in winter months, plan to stay in the nearest towns of
Bloomfield, Aztec and Farmington, all about 60 miles away. Also of note: The park is on the Trails of the Ancients Byway, one of the designated New Mexico Scenic Byways. Taos Pueblo Year Inscripted: 1992 Type: Cultural Taos Pueblo, located on a land base of 99,000 acres just three miles northeast of the town of Taos, is the oldest continuously inhabited site in the U.S. Ancestors of modernCredit: NPS. day residents, the Red Willow people (Taos means ‘red willow’), lived here as long as 1,000 years ago, and little has changed in that time. The Pueblo is composed of many individual homes, built side-by-side and in layers, with common walls but no connecting doorways. About 150 people live at the site year-round. The Pueblo’s multi-storied adobe buildings appear much as they did when the first Spanish explorers arrived in Northern New Mexico in 1540 and believed that the Pueblo was one of the fabled golden cities of Cibola. Adobe is earth mixed with water and straw, then either poured into forms or made into sundried bricks. The straw can make the mud appear to shimmer with gold when the sun hits just right. The buildings are visually stunning and are an architectural wonder, capturing artists’ canvases and cameras for more than a century. In addition to the clusters of residences set against the backdrop of Taos Mountain, visitors can see the San Geronimo Chapel, completed in 1850 to replace the original church that was destroyed in the War with Mexico by the U.S. Army in 1847. Also, mica-flecked pottery, silver jewelry, clay figurines and other items made by local artisans can be purchased at privately-owned shops within the Pueblo. The Pueblo, which is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark, is open to the public 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, with the exception of closures due to ceremonies. Guided tours that take you to significant areas of the village are usually available beginning at 9 a.m. and run every 20 to 30 minutes. The Pueblo closes from late winter to early spring for about 10 weeks, though precise dates are not available. It is always advisable to call ahead to be sure the Pueblo is open (575-7581028). Admission costs $16 for adults, $14 for seniors (no age requirement was available), and children 10 and younger get in free. Please visit www.taospueblo.com in advance of your visit to read about rules to follow while on the site. Cameras are allowed, but no photos of tribal members may be taken without permission.
Information for this story was provided by official websites for Carlsbad Caverns, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, the U.S. National Park Service and Taos Pueblo. Caverns National Park. Credit: NPS. 20 Carlsbad travelnewmex.com | winter 2020
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important Native American art in an eight-sided building inspired by a traditional Navajo hooghan. On its bottom floor, the Case Trading Post is a gallery-quality gift shop built to resemble a turn-of-the-century Navajo reservation trading post. Most recently added to this building is the Center for the Study of Southwestern Jewelry. It houses a masterful collection of both historical and contemporary work focused on Navajo and Pueblo jewelry and related traditions. The Center spans two exhibit galleries and covers 2,000 square feet. The Museum Hill Partners and the individual facilities also host special events throughout the year. Among some of the most notable are the Santa Fe Folk Art Market, held over one weekend every July. The festival showcases about 200 artists from more than 50 countries. Their work - a variety of handmade textiles, ceramics, jewelry, basketry and clothing - are displayed in a vibrant open bazaar that includes food, demonstrations and live music. Tens of thousands attend this global event, which celebrates cherished craft traditions and contributes to global unity and economic change (www.artisanalliance.org). In September, Museum Hill Partners hosts Community Day, a free, family-friendly lineup of events and activities, including Native dances, live music, storytelling, hands on activities, artist demonstrations and food.
In December, there is an annual night-time holiday stroll with cookies, cider and caroling, and the Botanical Gardens lights up all month for its winter wonderland lights event, GLOW. Large-scale light installations make the Native dancers at Museum Hill Community Day. Credit Peter Ellzey. garden sparkle, enchant visitors with fantastic color displays, as well as live music, festive beverages, and Santa. For event schedules and details, visit the individual websites for each Museum Hill attraction. Getting to Museum Hill from downtown Santa Fe is quick and easy. Free shuttle service from a number of hotels is available via The Santa Fe Pickup, https://www.santafenm.gov/santa_ fe_pickup_shuttle. If you have your own vehicle, free parking is available on-site. Museums open at 10 a.m. but are closed Mondays during the winter. The gardens open at 9 a.m. April – October and at 10 a.m. the rest of the year. Admission costs vary from about $5 to $12 depending on the site and visitor age.
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9) Rockhound State Park, Deming In a remote southwest corner of New Mexico, just south of Interstate 10, you’ll discover a true gem of a site. Aptly named Rockhound State Park, your child will think he or she has found heaven on earth if they a) love digging in the dirt, b) always want to take natural souvenirs from national or state parks but are never allowed, c) have an affinity for collecting rocks and/ or d) display signs of becoming a blossoming geologist. Contrary to most state and national parks, where removal of any natural objects is illegal, visitors here are encouraged to excavate semi-precious mineral specimens such as quartz crystals, geodes, jasper and perlite. The only limitation is how much you can take – a maximum of 15 pounds. It’s unlikely you’ll find that much, however. Quartz crystals are fairly easy to locate, but geodes will require luck and excessive digging for several feet. Jasper, which occurs in red, white and pink, is mostly found in small outcroppings and also requires an investment of time to find and extract. Locating perlite is your best bet. The shiny black glassy rock is exposed at various locations that can have deposits several feet thick. You can break it off in smaller pieces with a hammer or other implement, like a chisel or spade. If you’re intent on leaving with treasure, be prepared to spend several hours on the hillside. A good website for more information and a map is https:// www.americansouthwest.net/new_mexico/rock_hound/state_
park.html. Camp sites are available nearby. The nearest towns with hotels are in Deming (11 miles) and Las Cruces (58 miles).
10) Hot-air Balloon Flights, statewide If New Mexico and hot-air balloons are synonymous for you and your family – and you’ve missed Albuquerque’s International Balloon Fiesta in October – hot-air balloon rides are available year-round many places in the state. Private companies in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Las Cruces and Gallup, to name a few, offer year-round excursions. So, your choice may be dictated by where vacation plans take you or by what you want to see from above. For example, Taos rides will provide a bird’s eye view of the Rio Grande Gorge. Albuquerque rides let you see the expanse of the city against the Sandia Mountains; some pilots will add to the excitement by lowering the balloon for a near-dip into the Rio Grande before lifting skyward again. In Gallup, float through red sandstone canyons and towering rock spires. Many companies provide light refreshments and even champagne for the older kids. Expect to pay about $200-$300 per person. Set aside a few hours for the adventure, even though actual flight time typically won’t last longer than an hour.
Bonus #11) Carlsbad Caverns National Park See our story about New Mexico’s World Heritage Sites on page 18 for information about tours of the world-renowned caves and rock formations at this underground limestone palace. travelnewmex.com | winter 2020
The open road to excitement is at Route 66 Casino Hotel. Rev it up with thrilling casino action featuring over 1,300 slot games and 15 action-packed table games. Fill up with delicious dining options, including New Mexico’s best casino buffet. Switch gears with top-notch, toe-tapping entertainment. Coast into indulgence and stay the night in our classy and comfortable hotel. Have an out-of-this-world experience. An unidentified flying object has landed in the center of the Route 66 Casino Hotel gaming floor, and its alien presence has drawn the newest slot games in the country. The larger-than-life flying saucer draws inspiration from both Area 51 and Route 66. Slot machines within the Area 66 realm will be regularly replaced with brand new exclusive machines, making Route 66 Casino first-to-market with 18 new games every 90 days! Experience world-class quality, service and value at one of our award-winning restaurants and three lounges. Tempt your taste buds at Thunder Road Steakhouse and Cantina. Located in the heart of the casino, this multi-level restaurant serves up sizzling steaks, spicy tacos and specialty drinks from the tequila bar. Enjoy free entertainment by the best local bands every weekend on the bar-top stage. Voted best buffet many times over, Buffet 66 is a world of fresh choices all in one place, with an array of international flavors on the menu. When it comes to All-American comfort foods and cocktails, we’ve got it all! Flashback to the good ol’ days in the newly renovated Johnny Rockets restaurant. Swing by the '50s-inspired diner for an All-American burger, onion rings, and milkshake. Main Street Restaurant & Bar is the perfect place for
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breakfast, or order a home-style special. Grab an indoor patio table and watch all of the casino excitement. If you’re looking to simply wet your whistle, swing by the 360 Lounge, Poker Pub or Main Street Bar, and ask about the drink specials. Let us entertain you. With 2,800 plush theaterstyle seats in Legends Theater, every seat is a good seat. Experience performances from some of the best comedians, rock legends, country superstars, and premier tribute bands in the business. Legends Theater features more than 20 headliner performances every year. The fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down. Relax in one of the 154 newly renovated rooms at Route 66 Hotel. Refreshed from floor to ceiling, a recent $2 million remodel features an inviting ambiance of lively designs, modern furnishings and many upgrades to make your stay comfortable. Re-energize with in-room amenities from top brands like Simmons Beautyrest®, Starbucks®, and Bath & Body Works®. Hotel reservations are available now. For rates, member discounts and reservations, please call 866-711-STAY (7829). The entire family can get their kicks at Route 66 at Kids Quest and Cyber Quest, the on-site hourly child care and a nonviolent game arcade. Route 66 Casino Hotel is the only casino property in New Mexico to offer this children's program. Open seven days a week, Kids Quest accepts children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. The best gaming, dining and entertainment is just a hop, skip and short 18-minute drive west of Albuquerque, exit 140 on Interstate 40. Get all the latest Route 66 Casino Hotel news and announcements at www.rt66casino.com.
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Winter /Spring-- Where to go and what to do in the Land Of Enchantment.