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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report New Mexico Trip Report

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Had a lovely time in New Mexico last week--what a beautiful state!

On Saturday after landing at ABQ, we picked up our rental car and drove to Cerillos where we had lunch at Indigo Crow. Very nice and pleasant patio. Then we checked in to the Hyatt Tamaya, where we had a mountain view room with a beautiful view and nice private balcony.

We took a walk around their grounds down to the Rio Grande, and had dinner at their restaurant. Dinner was just ok, and we realized we should have just eaten at their bar, which has a great patio overlooking the mountains.

The next day, Sunday, we drove to Tent Rocks. It was crowded but awesome! Never saw anything like it and we were glad we had rearranged our trip to be able to get there before they close for the rest of the summer. We took our time hiking there (lots of photos). It was very hot. When we got back to the Hyatt, we were glad to swim in their pool. Had dinner that night (our 30th anniversary) at the Corn Maiden Restaurant. Dinner was good, they had a special where you could get 4 tapas and two glasses of wine each. We loved the tapas and were glad that was available, because the large hunks of rotisserie meat they feature didn't appeal to us. The atmosphere was a bit stuffy, and once again we wished we could have sat outside to admire the beautiful view.

On Monday, we drove to Taos, which ended up being my favorite of our destinations. We took the high road and had lunch at Rancho De Chimayo (yummy). Stopped at the Santuario de Chimayo which was very interesting and strangely moving. Also stopped in Truchas at San Jose de Gracia Church. Lots of good photo ops for my hubby!

After checking into our hotel (El Monte Sagrado, very nice), we walked around town and had dinner at Graham's which was excellent.

Tuesday, we drove to the Wild Rivers area near Questa and took a hike to where the Rio Grande meets the Red River. It was very hot and a grueling hike straight down about 900 feet in less than 2 miles. Going down was actually harder for me than getting back up because of all the loose rocks and boulders. Also very little shade. It was beautiful, but I did jokingly tell my husband I thought he was trying to kill me so he could trade me in for a younger model. The elevation and heat were taking a toll, but luckily we had hats and plenty of water and good hiking boots.

Dinner that night was at La Tierra in El Monte Sagrado. This was probably the only meal we had all week that was disappointing.

The weather was much warmer than we were expecting based on our research before we left Chicago. We knew Albuquerque would be hot, but highs in Taos and Santa Fe were predicted in the 70s, maybe up to 80 with lows in the 40s at night. It was actually closer to 90 during the day, and 70s and 60s at night. The day we left ABQ, it was supposed to hit 100. They did say it was unusually hot for the time of year (late May, beginning of June).

On Wed, we took a tour of the Taos Pueblo, which was fascinating, very enjoyable. Afterwards we lunched in Taos at Doc Martins (more yummy green enchiladas) and then did some shopping. I liked the little town and there were some nice shops. I liked the whole atmosphere of the place, laid back, kind of hippyish.

We drove to Santa Fe later that afternoon for our final 3 nights. I was surprised by Santa Fe, thought it would be smaller, but I liked it very much. We weren't thrilled with Inn on the Alameda, but I think it must depend what room you get. We were very close to a busy road with truck and bus traffic. I was expecting it to have a river running through the property and be a bit bucolic. It was pretty jammed in and our balcony looked out over a driveway/parking lot. Not private or scenic, we never sat out there. The room was nice and the breakfasts very good, but I don't think I'd stay there again. Especially after our smoke alarm battery quit in the middle of the night and started chirping.

Our first night in Santa Fe we ate at Aqua Santa, very good, then we walked through the Plaza.

On Thursday, we got up and headed to Bandelier, where we took the 5 mile round trip hike to the waterfall. Another beautiful hike with different scenery than the first two, and this time some shade! When we got back to Santa Fe we had dinner at La Boca, a tapas place. It was very good although not as good as our local tapas restaurant. We did a bit of shopping before and after dinner, but most of the stores closed by 5. I never really got to shop much while we were there (only drove down Canyon Road) because we spent every day hiking. Guess I'll have to go back!

Our last day we drove to Ghost Ranch and hiked to Chimney Rock. I have to admit by this time I was not really up for another "death march" in the heat, but I knew my husband really wanted to go there and take some pictures. It turned out to be beautiful, really stunning, so I was glad we went. Also the hike wasn't as difficult as the others we'd done, or as long.

We had dinner that night at La Choza. More delicious blue corn tortilla enchiladas. Can't find those in the Chicago area. I liked this restaurant but wished we could have gone to one within walking distance from our hotel so I could have walked around Santa Fe a little more. The sister restaurant, The Shed, had no open tables and we didn't feel like waiting after our long drive/hike that day.

All in all it was a great trip and I'd love to go back someday. I'm really glad we didn't spend the whole week in Santa Fe because we aren't big shoppers and I enjoyed my time in Taos. I don't see how we would have done Taos justice just as a day trip, especially if you take the scenic high route and stop at interesting spots along the way.

Our last morning, we drove the Turquoise Trail back to ABQ airport. It was a really pretty drive and not much traffic so I was glad we went that way. Unfortunately we didn't have time to detour to Coralles so we didn't see that town. We drove through Madrid and I loved the look of it and wished I had time to stop for a meal and poke around the little stores.

Thanks to everyone who helped plan this trip, your advice was invaluable!

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