Santa Fe and Western Arizona

Old Jul 19th, 2019, 11:36 AM
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Santa Fe and Western Arizona

Trying to decide if we can combine a visit to Santa Fe (for opera performances) which will take up at least three nights with a visit to Petrified Forest/Painted Desert. Yes, we will have a rental car and wondering if after we drive over to Petrified and probably stay the night somewhere (I hope) if there might be some recommended scenic loop we could do to get back to Albequerque (flying in and out of ABQ). I think I'd rather do it this way than flying into ABQ and out of PHX and avoid the rental car drop charge (looks to be about $300).

I hate to fly all that way and just do Santa Fe (with apologies to those who adore the place); perhaps I am overlooking other destinations like Taos I have not yet seen. Timeframe will be August (yes I know, the heat but the opera schedule is driving this)

Do not want to spend more than a week or so max.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old Jul 19th, 2019, 06:21 PM
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In August, I'd rather go north. Taos, Pegosa Springs, Durango, take the Durango-Silverton train ride...
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Old Jul 19th, 2019, 08:30 PM
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Yes, August consider staying in the higher elevations of Northern NM. Plenty to keep you occupied, IMHO. Besides Taos there’s Bandelier, Los Alamos (the lab/museum is an interesting visit), maybe Acoma Pueblo which is closer to ABX.

Petrified Forest is interesting, but a lot of people are underwhelmed by it. However you could sleep in a teepee and/or a historic old hotel around there. Though I understand if it might not be up your alley!

http://www.sleepinawigwam.com/index.html

https://elranchohotelgallup.com/

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Old Jul 19th, 2019, 11:50 PM
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Also, not mentioned much, Pecos National Historic Park just off I-25 beyond Santa Fe in the direction of Las Vegas, NM.

https://www.nps.gov/peco/index.htm
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Old Jul 20th, 2019, 04:40 AM
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Thank you everyone for these thoughts and recommendations which are very helpful.
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Old Jul 20th, 2019, 07:49 AM
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We loved exploring Las Vegas for a day: old buildings around pretty and historic town plaza and old main street, renewing railroad area ( with the newly restored La Casteneda, an original Harvey hotel; Harvey girls dorm across the street).
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Old Jul 20th, 2019, 03:57 PM
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You could do a really nice loop from the Petrified Forest to Flagstaff if you wanted (or skip it) then to Mexican Hat, Monument Valley, Cortez, Durango, Taos, Santa Fe.
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Old Jul 20th, 2019, 11:22 PM
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Sylvia3 and Birdie, thank you very much for these additional recommendations which I will also consider.
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Old Jul 21st, 2019, 04:17 AM
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Is this next year? I’m flying out to Flagstaff next month to drive across the country with DD, starting in Monument Valley.
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Old Jul 21st, 2019, 05:44 AM
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Yes, Birdie it is in 2020 since I have bought Santa Fe Opera tickets for August
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Old Jul 21st, 2019, 08:50 AM
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And to avoid confusion,your title nees to corrected, the Petrified Forest isn’t in Western AZ rather North Eastern AZ.
We always visit Taos when we go to Santa Fe. Often stay in interesting Taos too.
If you want off the beaten path, an incredible site to visit in AZ is Canyon de Chelly..
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Old Jul 21st, 2019, 09:33 AM
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If you do head to Flagstaff, there is a lovely hotel in Winslow, AZ, La Posada.

Home - La Posada Hotel
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Old Jul 21st, 2019, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
And to avoid confusion,your title nees to corrected, the Petrified Forest isnít in Western AZ rather North Eastern AZ.
We always visit Taos when we go to Santa Fe. Often stay in interesting Taos too.
If you want off the beaten path, an incredible site to visit in AZ is Canyon de Chelly..
Thank you. Yes, you are correct. I've actually been there before believe it or not.
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Old Jul 21st, 2019, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Barbara View Post
If you do head to Flagstaff, there is a lovely hotel in Winslow, AZ, La Posada. Home - La Posada Hotel
I know it's completely subjective and I'm not a fancy hotel person as a rule. But not sure I'd say "lovely," more interesting - funky - historic - quirky. I've stayed there and it was fine but not upscale by any means. Just read reviews if you're interested, to make sure it's your kind of experience.

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Old Jul 21st, 2019, 06:12 PM
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And its sister hotel is in Las Vegas, NM near where you'll be. We stayed there last year and MmePerdu's description fits perfectly. Kind of fun if it's up your alley.

The hotel's stairway was used in No Country For Old Men, and the plaza out if front was where they filmed some of the outdoor scenes for Longmire. Decent bar and dining room located off the lobby.

Home - The Plaza Hotel Las Vegas, New Mexico
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Old Jul 22nd, 2019, 04:02 AM
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Barbara, MmePerdu, and Nelson, I really appreciate these additional comments and I agree that doing as much research as possible helps before you make any lodging decisions. Earlier this morning I went ahead and made reservations for the hotel in Santa Fe itself now that we actually have the opera tickets reserved.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2019, 05:20 AM
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Dukey,
I agree with the other posters about heading north and/or into the higher elevations. I love Bandelier and will try to attach a picture of a dwelling there

One of the dwellings you can enter if you dare at Bandelier.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2019, 05:29 AM
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That worked. Bandelier is about an hour west of Santa Fe, an easy day trip if your Opera tickets are for the evening performance. Of course you also could head up to Mesa Verde too if you wanted a more extensive early Native American fix.

If you do decide to head to Painted Desert/Petrified Forest, you could stop at other sites along the way like Acoma Pueblo, El Morro/Inscription Rock, Meteor Crater.

If you have a National Parks Senior Pass, it will get you into Bandelier, Painted Desert/Petrified Forest, and El Morro/Inscription rock. If you are too young for that I'm sorry, if you do qualify but don't have one, the lifetime one is now $80 but they let you do it one year at a time for $20 per year. I guess that $20 per is for pessimists.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2019, 06:15 AM
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Emalloy, thanks very much for the suggestions and the picture. I remember seeing Meteor Crater as a child of 12 or so as we made our way to the East Coast from the Los Angeles area where we had been living. This is the same trip on which we also saw Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. Those were memorable days for me. Have never been to Taos or Mesa Verde and now trying to catch up beofre it becomes impossible. Best wishes to you.
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Old Jul 31st, 2019, 12:25 PM
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When we were in New Mexico last year we spent a couple of nights in Abiquiu before heading to Santa Fe so we could tour Georgia O'Keeffe's home and studio (offered through the Georgia O'Keefe Museum in Santa Fe) and also take a tour at Ghost Ranch of the landscapes she painted there. We stayed at the lovely Abiquiu Inn. You could also do this as a day trip from Santa Fe if you got an early start, but we enjoyed driving around and looking at the fascinating scenery in the area and were happy to have a more relaxed time of it.

We did a day trip to Taos, taking the low road there and the high road back to Santa Fe for two different scenic experiences. A few miles before arriving in Taos we turned off in Pilar and drove along the Rio Grande for several miles until we got to the bridge where the road turns to gravel, then went back the way we came for some spectacular scenery. We had stopped at the visitors center just before the turn -off, and they recommended the drive; we were glad we did it!

We went to Los Alamos on two different days, once to visit the Los Alamos History Museum, and another to visit the Bradbury Science Center, both really fascinating. You could probably do both in one day if you start early, but we found the history museum so interesting we ran out of time to go to the Science Center the first day.

The State Capitol building in Santa Fe has some wonderful galleries of art by New Mexican artists, and it's free to visit, we really enjoyed that.

As HappyTravlr said above, Canyon de Chelly is a wonderful place to visit in western Arizona. It's on Navajo land, and if you want to go into the canyon (highly recommended) you have to book a tour with a Navajo Guide, who will take you there in a jeep or similar vehicle. You can drive along the rims of the canyon for views from above without booking a tour, but if you go there you should really do both.

There's so much to see and do in the area, good luck deciding what to see!

Last edited by Sara; Jul 31st, 2019 at 12:28 PM.
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