BY: JD CONROY
Last fall, a group of American Classic Travelers returned from a 8-day journey to New Mexico. I wanted to share some of our experiences with you.
WE ARE DOING THIS TRIP AGAIN NEXT YEAR!
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Old Town Albuquerque
The first stop of our journey was in Old Town Albuquerque. We enjoyed free time for 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.
Hotel La Fonda
The Hotel La Fonda is the only hotel situated on Santa Fe’s historic plaza. It is listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation list of Historic Hotels of America. The La Fonda’s authentic southwestern decor, beautiful artwork, and boutique shops embody the spirit of Santa Fe. Combining luxurious, comfortable rooms with meticulous historic preservation, the Hotel La Fonda is truly a special hotel.
Dinner at La Casa Sena
We enjoyed gourmet food, tasty cocktails, and some wonderful singing performances at La Casa Sena Cantina! La Casa Sena is one of Santa Fe’s most lovely restaurants and it was located just a block away from our hotel!
Loretto Chapel miraculous staircase
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.
Guided Tour of Santa Fe
After visiting the Loretto Chapel, we took a guided 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.
Dinner at Hotel La Fonda
We ended the second day of our tour with a delicious meal in this lovely private dining room at the Hotel La Fonda.
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, Peter, told us the story of the Ancestral Pueblos.
white rock overlook Point
We enjoyed stunning, scenic views at the White Rock Overlook Point!
Bradbury Science Museum
The little town of Los Alamos, situated in the Jemez Mountains, was a major site 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.
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.
We enjoyed free time for lunch and shopping at the charming mountain-town of Taos. Home to upscale shops, boutique restaurants, and adobe-style architecture, the town of Taos is a must-see!
San Francisco De Asis Mission
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
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.
El Sanctuario 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.
Rancho De Chimayo
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.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
We began Day 5 of our trip with a visit to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in downtown Santa Fe. We learned about O'Keeffe's life, her artistic style, and her love of the state of New Mexico.
Sandia Peak Tramway
The video below was taken as we road 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.
Mass ASCENSION of Balloons
The New Mexico Balloon Fiesta is an experience of lifetime. The video above from National Geographic shows a time lapse of the balloons ascending up in the air throughout the morning ascension.
A group photo taken from our exclusive Chaser’s Club seating & viewing area.
Guided Tour of Albuquerque
Albuquerque is the most populous city in New Mexico and the 32nd-most populous city in the United States. Our local guide Tam showed us around her city which sits beautifully under wide-open, blue skies and next to the sharp Sandia Peak Mountain Range.
Dinner at El Pinto
El Pinto is one of New Mexico’s most popular restaurants. We enjoyed an amazing meal here to end day 6 of our tour.
Known as the “Sky City,” the Acoma Pueblo sits dramatically atop a butte 60 miles outside of Albuquerque. The Acoma Pueblo is still an active, inhabited Peublo. Our local guide showed us around the Pueblo and told us about the rich history of the Pueblo People.
We enjoyed a delicious dinner, open bar, and firework show at the Balloon Glowdeo!
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
At the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center as we learned about the history of the Pueblo people.
On the last day of our trip we ate breakfast at our hotel before heading to the Albuquerque airport to catch a flight home to Chicago.
thanks for the memories!!!
We had an awesome group of travelers join us on this tour. Thank you for the memories! We hope to travel with you all again soon!
Thanks to our motorcoach operator!
Thanks to our amazing local guides and our motorcoach operator Lyn!