Trip report: New Mexico for spring break

Old Apr 5th, 2008, 09:27 AM
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Trip report: New Mexico for spring break

Hello all
DH and I returned late last night from a week in New Mexico. I'm already thinking about when I can return. I took lots of notes and will begin writing later today. Right now it's time for laundry and groceries.
ST
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 01:10 PM
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Suzie: Lived in NM twice (two intervals) and love it; part of my heart is buried there, and we leave for NM in a week....what part did you like the best?
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 02:33 PM
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Sounds like you enjoyed your time here! I'll look forward to reading your report.

Lee Ann
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 04:15 PM
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Finally to the report!

Day 1

NWA flight to Minneapolis is uneventful with a 3 hour lay-over. Boarding is smooth but we sit waiting. Pilot announces we are waiting for cargo to be loaded. There had been a gate change and the cargo wasn’t moved. DH and I didn’t mind the wait after seeing that it was a body being taken to New Mexico for burial. The pilot never announced what the cargo was, but I don’t think he was told. We just happened to see the box being loaded onto the plane.

Arrival in ABQ was smooth and luggage retrieval quick. The rental car companies are all in the same location near the airport with a single transport service. Being Avis preferred members, we walked up, found the car and were on our way.

Because of the delay in MSP and the time, we decided to drive I-25 to Santa Fe instead of the Turquoise Trail. I wanted to see the O’Keefe Museum and the Palace of the Governors during the “Free Friday Night” special. Both places were busy because of the special. I felt rushed at the O'Keefe, too many people moving around to truly have the time to appreciate the work.

We picked Il Vicino for dinner that night. Even with a line out the door, we ordered and were seated within 10 minutes. The pizza and home-made root beer hit the spot. Also it was an easy walk to where we were staying, the Hilton.
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 04:16 PM
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I was thinking about you, as I ended up in ABQ this week for several days to visit with my children. The weather was really nice and I was hoping that you had a great time. Glad to know you did, waiting for the Trip Report!
Deb
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 05:14 PM
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Deb, saw another post and wondered if we might have crossed paths. On with the report.

Day 2

We headed to Canyon Road and The Teahouse for breakfast. Contrary to information I had read, cups of tea ranged from $2.50-$3.50. They do sell loose tea for up to $28 per 4 oz bag. The eggs DH and I ordered hit the spot. I also ordered a scone with clotted cream. It was huge and dotted with dried cranberries and sliced almonds. That alone could have been breakfast.

After breakfast we continued up Canyon Road and Upper Canyon Road to the Davey Audubon Center. It was a clear morning, perfect for a hike and bird watching. We saw some different species of familiar birds and enjoyed the view.

Next we headed back through Santa Fe and out Bishop’s Lodge Road to Shidoni to watch the bronze pouring. While waiting for the pour to begin we explored the sculptures scattered between the main building and the foundry. Adjacent to Shidoni are glassworks where we watched vases being created. The bronze pour was fascinating. I can understand why the pieces are so expensive. For you LSU fans, we saw one of the newest tigers for campus in the foundry.

We had lunch at Tesque Village Market – fish tacos and shrimp quesadillas. On the recommendation of an artist we talked with near The Teahouse, we drove up to the Santa Fe ski area. The road starts less than a mile from the Plaza and gave us great views over the city and surrounding area.

We headed back to the Hilton for a soak in the outdoor hottub and a nap. It is vacation after all!

Dinner that night was at Ore House on the plaza. I had the filet topped with crab while DH had the Ahi with crabcake. We enjoyed the food but the restaurant was TOO HOT. They had the fireplace blasting and many patrons changed seats because of it.
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 05:33 PM
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Smiling and nodding my head with you so far! Great choices - I love Il Vicino's root beer and their tuna sandwiches on focaccia bread. Their pizza is excellent too.

Shidoni is an amazing place that often gets overlooked. Glad you got to see them in action. Tesuque Market is a wonderful place that locals love.

More report, please!
Deb
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 06:42 PM
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I'm coming, Deb, be patient.

Day 3 –

We picked the Chocolate Maven for Sunday brunch. How they ever came to be located in an industrial building is beyond explanation. We arrived close to 9:30 and had no trouble being seated. By the time we left, there was a considerable line. DH had the Ménage a trois – eggs benedict, eggs Florentine and eggs with salmon, very filling. I picked the eggs Brookstone. This was a version of eggs benedict using challah bread and avocados. It was delicious but difficult to eat since the bread was very thick.

After brunch we headed to Museum Hill. We took in the Indian Arts & Culture Museum and the Folk Art Museum. We would have also done the Spanish Colonial Art Museum but DH’s eye was bothering him, so we headed back to the hotel for a rest. He had cataract surgery in early March.

After a rest, we walked over to the plaza and the Native American market on the porch of the Palace of the Governors. We picked out a Turquoise pendant for DD, 2 pairs of earrings for me and a chili pepper Christmas ornament. Talking to the artists was very informative. We also went over to the Lorreto Chapel to see the staircase before our ritual hot tub and nap.

We kept it simple for dinner and ended up at the Sleeping Dog Tavern. I had the Lobster salad and DH had fish and chips – the fish being salmon.
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 08:00 PM
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I'm so glad you had a good time. I'm waiting to see if you made it to Ten Thousand Waves.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 08:33 AM
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Follow, we did drive by Ten Waves but didn't stop.

Day 4

Since this was Monday, we headed out of Santa Fe proper to Bandelier NM and Los Alamos. First we had breakfast at Tia Sophia. So glad this place was recommended to us on Fodor’s. We both love cinnamon sugar on toast and they have large containers on every table.

Since I teach fifth grade and Southwest Indians are in the curriculum, this was a must visit place. The sun was out but the wind was strong. We both kept our fleece jackets on until later in the day. The best part of this visit was getting to climb the ladders to the ceremonial kiva. I can’t imagine how the natives climbed them day after day, plus carried things up and down. My hands were firmly holding on both up and down. Being able to stand in the kiva was amazing. I will be able to share this with my students and hopefully give them a better understanding of what is in the book.

After leaving Bandelier, we completed the circle to Los Alamos and headed to the Bradbury Science Museum. This is run by the National Laboratory and is free. We particularly enjoyed the movie about the creation of the lab for the Manhattan Project.

After the museum, we stopped at a grocery store deli and picked up some sandwiches and coleslaw for lunch. Back in Santa Fe we again did our ritual hot tub and nap!

For dinner, we took a chance on getting into the Coyote Cafe. There was an hour wait for a table but we could sit at the bar immediately. We opted for the bar. We got to watch the chef and his assistant as we looked over the menu. We asked the customers on either side about the dished they had chosen. We ended up picking crab cakes as an appetizer, DH had the Elk and I had the Vegetable tart. Both were great choices. I had an interesting margarita that was topped with lime foam – delicious. For dessert, DH picked the chocolate & caramel cake and I had the strawberry shortcake with two types of coulees. Talked with the chef and another couple also sitting at the bar – we were all from the Midwest [MI, OH, IL.].

So glad we are doing so much walking, the meals have been top notch.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 04:27 PM
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On to another day.

Day 5

We again had breakfast at Tia Sophia then headed out to Taos. Took the High Road but was a little disappointed since many of the places were not open. Not sure if that was because of time of year, day of the week or time of day. The views on the drive made up for the lack of places to stop. DH commented on how the forest reminded him of Philmont Boy Scout Ranch near Cimmaron.

Once in Taos, we stopped at the Kit Carson House & Museum. This is small and not worth the time/money in my opinion. I asked about Taos Pueblo at the museum and found out it was still closed for the “quiet time”. I obviously didn’t research this enough. That was a big disappointment for us. We headed over to the Plaza, explored some of the shops and had lunch at Ogilve’s.

We had reservations at the Best Western Kachina Lodge. I had picked this motel because of how close it is to the pueblo. Oh well! We checked in then headed out to see the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, so glad I had that on my list. The gorge is quite spectacular.

We had dinner at the motel that night – nothing special but it was easier than driving down to the plaza.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 05:13 PM
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I am enjoying your trip report. Since I am also a teacher, we were thinking about going to New Mexico during Christmas break next year. Is this part of the "quiet time" you mention?
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 07:55 PM
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Kerry, the lady at Kit Carson mentioned beginning of Lent to mid-April. It may vary from year to year. Definitely check before planning your dates. Next time, I'll plan to visit at a different time of year.
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Old Apr 7th, 2008, 02:22 AM
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Old Apr 7th, 2008, 02:11 PM
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Suzie, enjoying reading your report. Especially the food!! The April/May issue of Santa Fean came and Coyote Cafe was picked #1 by the chefs in Santa Fe. Was just starting up the last time we were there.

Kerry392, Christmas/New Year is a very busy time so no worries about it being 'quiet'. Jan-Apr is quiet time.

Keep it comin' Suzie!

BeachGirl
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Old Apr 7th, 2008, 02:12 PM
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Another installment.

Day 6

Free breakfast at the motel coffee shop and off to ABQ.

We took the main road south and stopped at Kasha-Katawa Tent Rocks National Monument not far from Santa Fe. This was an amazing hike. We did the canyon hike to the overlook as well as the loop to the cave. The rock formations were fascinating and the slot canyon was unbelievable. We were amazed at the number of people on the trail. Luckily we were able to do the hike without too much stopping for others. This was the one day when shorts would have been doable mainly because we were out of the wind for most of the hike.

We stayed at the Embassy Suites just off of I-25. It was nice to have free parking & free breakfast plus the manager’s reception each evening. We had a simple lunch in the bar and settled in. This was the only place that had an indoor pool. The hot tub felt good after our hike but was noisy because of the kids in the pool.

After drinks and snacks during the free cocktail time, we decided on Yanni’s for dinner. Thanks Deb. I had spanakopita and DH had souvlaki. Delicious!
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Old Apr 7th, 2008, 02:16 PM
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BeachGirl, the host at Coyote Cafe mentioned they have been booked pretty solid the last 4 months due to all the publicity. We were just glad to get in at the last minute. Worth every penny!

I discovered the SantaFean magazine at Barnes & Noble while doing research for the trip. Both copies got used extensively.

ST

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Old Apr 7th, 2008, 04:07 PM
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Close to being done!

Day 7

After our free breakfast, we headed out to Acoma Pueblo about 50 miles west of ABQ. Since we weren’t able to visit Taos Pueblo, this was going to be our only pueblo. We arrived only minutes from the start of the guided tour. Gary was our guide and he was good. The winds had been strong most of the week and on top of the mesa they were fierce. Once again, I was amazed at the information I gained to share with my students. Gary’s talk inside the mission church brought tears to my eyes. I only hope I can get back during a feast day. His description of the events and invitation to join his family was very sincere. The only disappointment at Acoma was being unable to climb the steps down the side of the mesa. That darn wind!

Gary helped me pick some books at the gift shop to use with my students and we had lunch at the cafe. We watched the video before heading back to ABQ.

This was the only day with clouds. As we approached ABQ, the clouds thickened and threatened rain. Nothing happened, so we stopped at the Petroglyphs. So sad to see how the city has encroached on them.

Back to the hotel for our final hot tub session. We skipped the nap to start packing. DH was in the mood for a good steak dinner. Once again Deb’s list came in handy. We picked Rancher’s Club at the Hilton. DH had the Bison and I finally had lamb chops. Both were done to perfection. We kept dessert simple, sorbet and ice cream. The portions were huge. I had a scoop of raspberry and a scoop of mango sorbert, I was unable to finish them, they were so big. DH’s vanilla ice cream was some of the best I ever tasted.
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Old Apr 7th, 2008, 05:31 PM
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You done good, Suzie True!

Deb
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Old Apr 7th, 2008, 05:57 PM
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Almost!

Day 8 – Last day

After breakfast and finishing packing, we headed over to the Turquoise Museum. It is part of a jewelry/ flower shop. The owner’s family has this wonderful turquoise collection and shares it through the “museum”. We picked up some very nice pieces of turquoise for DD. She is an art student and does some jewelry.

Back to the hotel to check out and head to the airport. Dropping the car off was very simple and getting the shuttle to the terminal very quick. After checking in we had a small snack/lunch before going through security. While eating, the fire alarm goes off in the restaurant. The employees said it happens frequently. It took more than 5 minutes to get the alarm to stop. We both had headaches after that.

ABQ only has one gate for NWA in the same wing with the Southwest gates. There was not enough seating in any of the gate areas. Not good! Both flights were uneventful with another 3 hour lay-over in MSP. Our flight arrived in MI after 11 pm then the fun began. There was trouble unloading luggage from our flight and also the previous flight. It was midnight before we finally got our luggage. Luckily it is less than 20 minutes to home from the airport.
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