New Mexico

Under the New Mexican Sun: Four Hours in Albuquerque Part II

This is part II of the series “Under the New Mexican Sun”.  For part I, click here.  

My daughter Sophia and I truly enjoyed our morning at the fabulous Albuquerque Zoo where we were truly able to get up close and personal with the animals.  Instead of a sad place, it was a happy environment full of life and in close contact with nature.  There were several times when it was just Sophia, myself and the big, black hairy gorillas peering over at us and questioning.  It was surreal how humanlike the apes were!  We could have spent an entire day at the zoo exploring yet there was more of Albuquerque that I wanted to see, namely the infamous Old Town.

Historic Old Town is the heart and soul of the city. It was built over seventy years before the American Revolution in 1706 by the Spanish and remains relatively unchanged.  The centerpiece of Old Town remains the city’s oldest building, the Felipe de Neri Church which was constructed adobe-style in 1793.   The main square is centered around the church and contains charming, tree-shaded side streets and alleyways full of art galleries, shops and restaurants.  The adobe architecture is marvelous and I could have spent hours wandering around.  Yet we only had a short time before we had to head back to the airport to catch our flight.

I had read the following descriptions of Albuquerque’s art and culture in the visitor’s guide, and it was easy to see what they meant.  Art was everywhere!

“Authentic art reflects the city’s history, culture and creative spirit, blending centuries-old traditions and contemporary life in urban Albuquerque”.

This one is my favorite (from the visitor’s guide again) as it is a very accurate description of this enchanting city:

“Art is everywhere in Albuquerque: in world-class museums, in artist-owned galleries and in outdoor public places.  The city is a tapestry of unique architecture and signage, from Pueblo Revival-style buildings in Old Town to pulsing neon signs on old Route 66”.

On our way to Old Town from the zoo, a meager couple of miles, I stopped numerous times to snap photos of some of this “al fresco” art.  Murals were everywhere—-on abandoned building, sides of small shops and homes.  It was fabulous!  Poor Sophia sat in her car seat asking me why I kept pulling over, getting out of the car and bouncing with joy at each masterpiece.  “Look at this art!  It is beautiful” I beamed.  “Yes mama” Soph replied.  “Can we go now”?  She’s only five…what a trouper!

Here are some of my favorites…..

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Under the New Mexican Sun: Four hours in Albuquerque Part I

We rose at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning to head back to Albuquerque where my dad would be catching an early morning flight.  The sky was jet black and the tiny town of Taos was still fast asleep.

As we followed along the Rio Grande, the sky began to brighten and turn from inky black to a pale, milky blue.  Weather had come in and the royal blue sky of the last few days had disappeared.  It was a good day to head back.

The two and a half hour drive back to Albuquerque was peaceful and serene.  Hardly a soul was on the road.  I admired the lone western countryside and saw real rugged beauty in its jagged mountains and unique southwestern landscape.  It is not like Arizona;  there are no cactus in sight.  Yet it still has that dessert, western feel to it.  It was lovely.

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A three generational ski trip

As you have probably gathered from my last few posts, I did something very special over the last few days.  Me, my father and my five-year-old daughter Sophia took a three-generational ski trip to Taos, New Mexico.  It was the first time (except when Sophia was a meager four-months old) that I had ever truly traveled alone with my daughter and it also was the first time the three generations got together for a weekend away.  My son and husband were off on their own adventure thus it was just me and Sophia this time.

We picked Taos for many reasons.  First, it is relatively easy for us to access.  It is a non-stop flight from Tucson where my father lives as well as from Minneapolis (where I live).  Second, it is really a cool little trendy ski town.  Nothing at all like the big ski resorts in Colorado or even Utah.  Taos is tiny, tough and has a unique southwestern style and flair that quite honestly can’t compare.  Finally, for some reason New Mexico is the only place in the country this winter that actually has good snow.  Colorado, Utah and Northern California are struggling with terrible snow.  Meanwhile relatively untouristy, trendy Taos has plenty of snow.  That fluffy, powdery, heavenly snow that skiers dream and drool about having.

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Road trip out in the wild west: Albuquerque to Taos New Mexico

Yesterday my five-year-old daughter Sophia and I left for our first three-generational ski trip. My father, me and Sophia headed west to test out the slopes in Taos, New Mexico.

The last time I’d been to Taos was at least fifteen years ago, when my family and I took the ten-hour drive from Tucson to Taos in the “purple people-eater” minivan. (Don’t have any idea where the name came from but it stuck). Over the years, Taos has become quite an interesting albeit historic town known for its flavorful mix of art culture, gay community and Bohemianism. If that isn’t enough to bring you there, Taos’ world class skiing should (without the insane crowds as trendy venues like Vail and Telluride). When my dad proposed taking our annual weekend ski trip out west, Taos instantly came to mind as a place to revisit.

Getting to Taos is pretty much equivalent to going to Colorado as it requires a two and a half hour flight followed by a two to three-hour drive. But the main difference between the two is size. Colorado ski areas are huge and Taos is just one little resort tucked away and isolated in the mountains.

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