Six Things to Do and See in New Mexico by Derek Topper

New Mexico is an amazing state with an array of natural resources. Recently, I took a weekend trip there, and here are my top six picks:

1) Walk Around The Plaza…

There are main plazas in each city of New Mexico. I loved walking around Santa Fe, Taos, and Albuquerque. Santa Fe was my favorite because it had the Georgia O’Keefe museum, the Loretto Chapel and a so much art right in the middle of the square.

The Georgia O’Keefe Museum is worth visiting. You will learn O’Keefe’s complete story on how she painted flowers and was inspired by the New Mexican landscape. My favorite pieces were her landscape pieces because it was a change of pace from close up of flowers. The audio tour, which was an app, was helpful and free. Museum cost: $13. Tour length: 1.5 hours.

2) Go to the Hot Springs!

I went to the Ten Thousand Waves and Ojo Caliente! Both were incredibly relaxing.

10,000 Waves Japanese Hot Springs

This natural thermal spring is only 10 minutes from downtown Santa Fe. You could easily spend the entire day there, with some added packages, going into their communal pool, foot baths and more! The view is gorgeous. It started to snow and it was incredible sitting in a 106-degree tub while watching the snow fall.

They was a women’s only pool in a separate area. Chamomile tea and Jasmine tea were offered as part of the entry. They even had a meditation room with heated floors. Cost for the day: $30

Ojo Caliente

This was a resort and natural mineral spring facility. Volcanic pressure heated the water. They had 8 different tubs consisting of:

  • lithium (for depression and aid digestion),
  • sodium,
  • iron (the pebbles on the floor felt good on the feet. This tub is good for blood and immune system),
  • arsenic (arthritis, skin conditions and ulcers),
  • and soda (digestion and relaxation).

They had a steam room, sauna and mud bath. The mud bath was an additional fee. You could easily stay for the whole day. This resort is 45 minutes away from Santa fe. The fee was $32 for the day.

3) Watch the Sunset!

There are two amazing spots to watch the sunset and they are definitely worth seeing. I really enjoyed going to Sandia Peak Tramway, where you can see the Alburquerque.

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge was also a great spot to view the magnificent sun setting! This area is nicknamed, “New Mexico’s Grand Canyon,” because of the deep crevices. The bridge runs across it where you could see views of the mountains and the river. Walk across the bridge. It’s only about a quarter mile long. From the bridge you can see downtown Taos, mountains and the river. It’s a beautiful 360 degree view!

4) The Turqoise Trail.

This is the road that is between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. You will pass through small towns filled with lots of cool shops and artists along the route.

Highlights included:

Cerillos Trading Post and Mining Museum, where they had all different types of stones. This was run by a lovely couple. And, there was a nice petting zoo and turquoise museum.

Town of Madrid – they had a row of different art shops, including rock works, carvings, paintings, and hand crafted goods. There was ample Turquoise, along with cowboy boots and saddles.

My favorite along the trail was the Ticker Town Museum, which was an entire town built in miniature. Everything had wood carvings and was moving. This was definitely worth seeing!

5) Ski at Taos

I love skiing so I’m biased but this was a great day. At around 9,000 feet above sea level, Taos is the perfect place to ski. It was hard skiing though. This was a great mountain for an expert or experienced skier because they had many black diamonds. The intermediate runs were manageable. There was lots of powder. It was warm on the mountain at 29 degrees. However, the mountain was hard to navigate. The main chair went to one place but you needed to take multiple chair lifts to get to where you wanted to be. Taos is a hidden gem. I went the last day of the season and there was a ton of snow. The scenery was beautiful. It cost $110 for the lift.

6. Santa Fe School of Cooking

Where can you taste authentic Native America cuisine? Chef Lois Ellen Frank, a James Baird Award winning chef, specializes in South Western Native American Cooking. She lead the class and provided insight into the cuisine.

The menu included: Blue Corn Gnocchi Arrowheads with Guajilo Chile Sauce. This was followed by a seasonal salad with fiery Jalapeno dressing. For the main course, he had lamb stuffed Rellenos with tomato sauce. Dessert consisted of Sweet Frybread and Seasonal Berries with Prickly pear Syrup. I thought the food was absolutely, “delicious!”

My only disappointment was that it wasn’t a cooking class. The chef prepared the food and there was no “hands-on” experience. However, she demonstrated how to cook everything on the menu and also provided a history of Native American foods.

There was so much more to experience there, but if you have a short time in New Mexico, don’t miss these gems!

Derek Topper is a contributing blogger.

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