Scenic Drive: Mora to Peñasco

The drive from Mora to Peñasco. From Cleveland Roller Mill you can either return via NM 518 to Las Vegas (about 30 mi) or continue north on NM 518 over the gorgeous eastern face of the Sangre de Cristo range. You'll eventually come to Peñasco, on the High Road to Taos, from which you can either go south to Santa Fe or north to Taos. The drive from Mora to Peñasco offers spectacular mountain views, and passes by old farmsteads and adobe hamlets slowly being worn down by the wind and weather. La Cueva, New Mexico.

La Cueva Historic District. As you head south on NM 518 toward Las Vegas, be sure to stop in the La Cueva Historic District. Among the buildings here, which date to the 1850s, is a stone-walled mill that supplied flour to the soldiers of Fort Union. Pioneer rancher Vicente Romero's mill also supplied power to the area until 1950; at what is now called the Salman Ranch, you can pick raspberries mid-August to mid-October, or buy fresh berries, raspberry jam and vinegar, and dried flowers and herbs at the original La Cueva Ranch Store. Brilliantly colored wildflower gardens, and homemade tamales, burgers, and raspberry sundaes served at the café draw families during "U Pick" raspberry season. The historic district's San Rafael Church, dating from the 1870s, is also worth a look. NM 518 at NM 442, 10 miles south of Mora, 20 miles north of Las Vegas, La Cueva, New Mexico, 87712. 575/387–2900; 866/281–1515; Store Jan.–June, Thurs.–Mon. 9–4; July–Dec., daily 9–5; café mid-Aug.–mid-Oct., Tues.–Sat. 11–4; U Pick field, mid-Aug.–mid-Oct., Tues.–Sun. 10–4..

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