I had never been to New Mexico before and I really didn’t know what to expect as I approached the state border. It was the 2nd state on this lil’ impromptu road trip and I was so excited to explore somewhere new!
[fast forward through this small few day trip and you’ll find my New Mexico adventure turning into an entire solo 48 state road trip…read all about it here.]
I can’t say it loud enough, New Mexico is A D O R A B L E ! Here’s how I fell in love with Santa Fe & Taos!
You rarely hear anything about this state other than the endless desert views from the highway or alien sightings down south in Roswell. It was approaching nighttime, and I was by myself, so I decided not to freak myself out by driving south to investigate alien abductions lol.
My Interesting Visit to Albuquerque
Instead I headed to Albuquerque and found pretty flat top mountains with various shades of pink and orange dirt along the way. With zero plans of where to begin, I saw signs for the Old Town District and headed there [they are always a fun way to start].
As I rearranged my belongings I heard the loud hiss of air exiting my back passenger tire. Upon further inspection the inside had worn down to the mesh and I realized just how lucky I was to not have experienced a blow out on the highway! OH EM GEE!!!
So, I put on the spare* and searched for a place to sleep as all stores were closed. To say that I was attacked by bugs during this process would be an understatement! Later, locals explained to me that due to lack of rain this year there are way more bugs than usual. Even grasshoppers ended up trapped inside my car!
*Safety Note: Prior to a road trip make sure to check your oil, tire pressure, and know how to change a spare…by yourself…and most likely in the dark. Lol. Things can happen no matter how much you prepare so just make sure to know what to do in emergency situations.
Luckily, I have a lot of points at various hotels. So I made a quick reservation and checked in to the closest one to me. A real bed and shower is always a nice treat. The next morning I found a local tire shop. Unfortunately, 4 new tires were needed.
What can I say? Priscilla [my Prius] wanted some new accessories. It is the least I can do for her – she gets me to all my destinations safely! 🙂
Unplanned financial setbacks tend to happen on road trips but even if I had stayed home I would have had to get new tires eventually. So I decided it was time put some mileage on these tires and see some new stuff! [Read about my exact road trip costs here].
As I pulled out of the tire shop I saw a dude on the corner with a large rug sign encouraging people to check out the rug store nearby. He had a goat. With him. Tied to the telephone pole.
Apparently he had found a job that allowed him to bring his goat to work. Good for him! 😉
Cuteness Overload in Santa Fe
I then headed North to Santa Fe and was overwhelmed with just how adorable it is! Pueblo-style buildings everywhere, countless art galleries and shops, a beautiful cathedral, and a central plaza with live music & lots of yummy places to eat!
How have I never been here before?!
I found parking and explored the town. There is a camera shop with the most helpful people and I was so grateful because my huge lens, Niklaus [yes, I like to name inanimate objects], needed some TLC after my dusty hike in the Grand Canyon.
I made my way to the art museum and they had two ladies playing harps in the garden. Harps in a garden! Magical!
There is also a small chapel in town with a very mysterious staircase. Yup, you read that correctly.
The story goes that the architect passed away before finishing the chapel leaving the nuns/choir unable to get to the second floor. So they prayed. Continuously. One day, a stranger arrived (this is in 1877) and created a beautiful, perfectly designed spiral staircase. It is made from non-native wood and absolutely no nails nor center support are present. It still stands today.
Stop by the oldest house in the USA circa 1646 AD! So cool! After checking out the sights, I found a delicious New Mexican restaurant…yummy food and an endless list of margarita options combined with friendly locals and I am still in disbelief that I rarely hear about this city!
Accidentally Discovering Taos
After a food and tequila induced sleep I headed North to Colorado. 2 days prior I had just gone to Arizona for a couple of days. When I realized how close New Mexico was I thought, well…might as well check it out! And today, in New Mexico, I thought the same about Colorado.
I love the Rockies and again, it is just right there so I might as well! [and now you see how my tiny road trip quickly escalated into an exploration of the 48 Continental States!]
Luckily, I got to drive through the New Mexico National Forest where lush green is scattered with color pueblo-style homes. And on my way to Colorado I saw signs for the town of Taos.
Taos was delightful as well! Basically, it is a miniature Santa Fe. Bent street [the Historic District – again, they are just a great place to start in each town/city you visit] has super cute shops, art galleries, restaurants and food carts.
This Northern New Mexico town borders the Sangre de Cristo Mountains making the climate vary greatly throughout the year. It was summer when I visited, but in the winter I heard you must check out the ski valley.
I cannot recommend enough that you plan a visit to New Mexico soon! Have any fav New Mexico spots that I missed? Or have you been to Santa Fe & Taos? I would love to hear from you in the comments below. 🙂
And a lil’ AHC shout out to Santa Fe locals Robert & Sattva for all the recommendations!
P.S. Read about Amy’s solo 48 state road trip [on a small budget] here.
Amy’s 48 state road trip route [starting @ home = Southern California]: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming [again], Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada & UTAH!