New Mexico

It was my friend Jen’s birthday at the end of September and she wanted to celebrate in style so she and I headed down to New Mexico for a few days.  I have been through the state a couple of times and really like it.  For one thing the whole place is pink, from the flowers to the rocks to the earth from which they make the adobe buildings.

It is also pretty much empty.  There are only about two million people in the whole state – that’s about half a million less than in Toronto alone.  About 500,000 make their home in Albuquerque and only 70,000 in Santa Fe which are the two places we spent the most time.  It is truly beautiful and quiet.  The food looks like this:

Th landscape looks like this:

and the architecture has this to offer:

No complaints here.

New Mexico is not that easy a place to get to (I guess that would be a complaint, wouldn’t it?).  We drove for two hours to the Buffalo airport then flew to Atlanta and transferred after an hour lay over to a flight to Albuquerque.  About 12 hours all told.  I think the most surprising thing for me was the Buffalo airport where it wasn’t the least bit crowded and everyone was smiling and friendly.  They seemed unaware that A) they were working in an airport and B) they were in Buffalo.

We packed a great deal in to the trip.  The first day we hiked through a couple of National parks to see the petroglyphs

We spent several hours in Old Town Albuquerque shopping and managed to squeeze in an authentic Mexican meal at the eating counter of an ancient drug store.  We rode the Sandia tram 2.7  to the top of a mountain at an elevation of more than 10,000 feet above sea level and over thousand foot deep crevasses.

We had an ever so healthy meal at a picnic table at the State Fair (admission – $3.00) that consisted of pulled pork, deep fried peanut butter cups and deep fried Cap’n Crunch.  The latter was truly repulsive but I am ashamed to admit the PB cups were pretty damn fine.  And that was day one.

Saturday took the two of us to Santa Fe which is a beautiful town if only a bit overrun with tourists.  You have to forgive it though.  All the shops and museums are filled with beautiful things and the town itself is exquisite.

That night we surprised our friend Stacey Bernstein, who was performing her one woman show at the Santa Fe Solo Performance Festival.  She was shocked and delighted that we came, the show was great and we joined Stacey and her family and friends for a fantastic dinner afterwards.

The next day was Jen’s birthday proper and we spoiled ourselves with a night at the Ojo Caliente spa.  It hosts the oldest mineral springs spa in North America and our package included massages and an hour in a private hot tub with a wood burning kiva stove.  We enjoyed the waters and the mud bath and the spectacular surroundings which included a truly charming guest cottage with its own patio, kitchen, access to a private pool and a couple of rugs I would happily have stolen for my own home.

We elected to soak in the tub after our dinner under a canopy of stars.  Utterly fantastic (although I must confess we were both lamenting our single status while bobbing about in our own private pool).

The last day we did a quick shot up to Taos, had a great lunch and then skipped back to Albuquerque for our return journey home.

Whirlwind and wonderful.  I would do it again in a minute.


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