By: JD Conroy
A couple of weeks ago a group of American Classic Travelers returned from an 8-day excursion to New Mexico. I was lucky enough to join this amazing group of American Classic Travelers on this journey throughout the unspoiled land of New Mexico. We saw so much and had a lot of fun. I wanted to share some of our experiences with you! Enjoy reading this Trip Recap!
We flew into Albuquerque and drove up to Santa Fe where we spent the first 6 days of our trip. During our stay in Santa Fe we made day trips to Los Alamos, Taos, Embudo, and Chimayo. On Day 7 we traveled back to Albuquerque for a 1-night stay before flying home on Day 8.
Free Time in Old Town Albuquerque
The first stop of our journey was in Old Town Albuquerque. We grabbed lunch, explored the Spanish-styled town plaza, and snapped photos of the stunning St. Phillip Neri Church in Old Town Albuquerque before heading up to Santa Fe.
Drury Plaza Hotel in Downtown Santa Fe
We stayed at the Drury Plaza Hotel for the first six nights of our trip. It was located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe within walking distance of Santa Fe's iconic attractions. With spacious, clean rooms, an awesome rooftop pool, and complementary 5:30 PM "Kickbacks" (free snacks and alcoholic beverages), the Drury Plaza made a nice home away from home for our first six nights.
Guided Tram Tour of Santa Fe
We started Day 2 of our trip to New Mexico with a guided tram tour of Santa Fe. We learned about what makes Santa Fe one of America's most unique cities. The video above tells the story of Santa Fe and how it became a crossroads of culture, an architectural gem, and an artistic hotbed.
Miraculous Staircase at the Loretto Chapel
Our guided tram tour of Santa Fe concluded at the Loretto Chapel. The Miraculous Staircase is considered to be miraculous because its unique, helix-shaped design shows no signs of visible support. It is considered an architectural masterpiece, and many believe it was near-impossible to build this staircase without modern tools and technology. The Miraculous Staircase was built in the late 1800's. The name and origin of the man who built the staircase have still not been verified. At the time, The Sisters of Loretto credited the construction of the stairs to a miraculous work performed by St. Joseph.
Bradbury Science Museum & Los Alamos Musuem
The little town of Los Alamos, situated in the Jemez Mountains, was a major sight of the Manhattan Project during World War II. We visited the Bradbury Science Museum and the Los Alamos Historical Museum to learn about the Manhattan Project.
Bandelier National MOnument
Bandelier National Monument was once home to the Ancestral Puebloan people. The Ancestral Pueblos lived in the cliffs of the scenic Jemez Mountains. We climbed the ladders into some of the cliff dwellings, we learned about the region's unique geology, and our local guide, Clay, told us the story of the Ancestral Pueblos.
White Rock PEak Overlook
On our ride back to Santa Fe from Los Alamos we stopped at White Rock Overlook Point for an amazing view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range.
Rio Grande Float Trip
We started Day 4 with a float trip down the Rio Grande. We enjoyed gorgeous scenery and learned about the area's geological history. The video above shows our three rafts floating down the river.
The Little Town of Chimayo
El Sanctuario De Chimayo & Rancho De Chimayo
We went off the beaten path to see the small town of Chimayo. Home to two remarkable little chapels - El Sanctuario De Chimayo and the Chapel of the Little Child of Atocha - this little town with a population of just 4,000 people welcomes over 300,000 pilgrims from across the world every year. After we toured El Sanctuario de Chimayo we visited Rancho de Chimayo for lunch. We enjoyed an authentic New Mexican meal. This rugged, little town of Chimayo is definitely a hidden gem.
The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
We began Day 5 of our trip with a visit to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in downtown Santa Fe. Tom, our guide, showed us around the museum's colorful galleries which are home to over 1,000 pieces of O'Keeffe's art. We learned about O'Keeffe's life, her artistic style, and her love of the state of New Mexico.
With the peaks of the Rockies to its back and a peaceful river cutting through its boundaries, the Taos Pueblo is situated perfectly in northern New Mexico. This UNESCO World Heritage Sight is the longest continually inhabited place in North America. The Pueblo people have lived in this Pueblo for over 1,000 years.
San Francisco de Asis Mission Church
This old, adobe-styled church was built by a group of Spanish Franciscans who had settled in the Taos area. It is home to the famous mystery painting of Christ at the Sea of Galilee. This church is one of the most photographed churches in the country. It was a favorite of Georgia O'Keeffe who painted it multiple times. O'Keeffe said that the Church was one the prettiest remaining Spanish-built structures in North America.
High Road to Taos And Carson National Forest
On our way back from Taos we drove through the Rocky Mountains and Carson National Forest on the famous High Road to Taos. The drive was filled with stunning vies of white-peaked mountains, seas of Ponderosa Pines, and amazing overlooks like the one shown above.
Sandia Peak Tramway
The video above was taken as we took a ride down the Sandia Peak Aerial Tram. The video begins when we were 10,000 feet in elevation. The ride was smooth and the scenery was tremendous. The Sandia Peak Tramway is the second largest tramway in the world.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque we saw live performances from Pueblo Dancers and we learned about the history of the Pueblo people.
We checked into the Marriott Albuquerque for a 1-night stay on the last night of our trip.
Flight Home to Chicago
On the last day of our trip we enjoyed breakfast at the Marriott before heading to the Albuquerque airport to catch a flight home to Chicago.
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