Guest Post: New Mexico TravelPosted by in Travel
Please welcome my friend Donna Hull, who blogs at My Itchy Travel Feet and has just published an ebook called New Mexico Backroads Adventure. I eagerly bought and read this ebook since we’ve been to NM and plan to go again. It’s the perfect little guide for a weekend trip and Donna tells you where to stay, where to eat, what to see and how to get there. It’s a must-have. Today Donna is sharing some information about 5 places to see in NM beyond Santa Fe, which is where we visited when we went.
Five New Mexico Destinations Beyond Santa Fe
What could be better than a fall road trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico? There’s a nip in the air as you explore the shops and restaurants bordering The Plaza, browse the art galleries on Canyon Road or admire the paintings in the Georgia
After experiencing Santa Fe’s history, architecture and art, I recommend extending your trip to more off-the-beaten-path destinations in New Mexico, where history ad culture are combined with adventure.
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
One of the nation’s highest suspension bridges is located near Taos. Sidewalks lead to a viewing platform where visitors look over the rail to the Rio Grande River some 650 feet below. During the tourist season, artists—many of them Native American—set up near the bridge to sell handcrafted items.
El Morro National Monument
Through the years, when visitors stopped to refresh themselves near the limestone outcropping of El Morro National Monument, located near Grants, they left their mark on the walls. While modern visitors are not allowed to add to history’s graffiti, they can observe petroglyphs from ancient travelers, inscriptions left by Spanish conquistadors and messages from adventurous explorers traveling the West. If you’re looking for more of an adventure, climb the trail to the top of Mesa Rock to explore an ancient pueblo.
El Malpais National Monument
The lava flows and cinder cones of El Malpais National Monument offer dramatic scenery worthy of a hike or two. According to the National Park Service: “This stark landscape preserves one of the best continuous geologic records of volcanism on the planet. El Malpais is also located near Grants and is easily added to a road trip that includes El Morro National Monument.
Before the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. was even a drawing on paper, Dr. Victor Westfall had erected a chapel overlooking the peaceful Moreno Valley to honor his son, David, a 1986 casualty of the Vietnam War. Located near the popular resort, Angle Fire, the memorial includes a visitor’s center where a moving HBO documentary, Dear America, Letters Home From Vietnam, depicts scenes from the Vietnam era as actors read letters written by soldiers, friends and parents. It’s a moving stop on your New Mexico tour.
Santuario de Chimayó on the High Road to Taos
There’s plenty of history and culture to be found on the High Road to Taos (a route that travels between Santa Fe and Taos). And Santuario de Chimayó is one of the most interesting. According to legend, a miracle occurred here around 200 years ago. Since then, pilgrims have come to the church to be healed, scooping a spoonful of sacred dirt into vials to take home with them. If a healing occurs, the pilgrim returns to the church and leaves braces, crutches or rosaries behind as a show of thanks. While you’re here, stop in at one of the weaving shops to purchase an exquisite Chimayó weaving to take home along with your spoonful of sacred dirt.
As you can see, New Mexico is brimming with off-the-beaten-path culture and history just a few miles beyond Santa Fe. Which adventure will you choose?
Donna L. Hull writes about active travel for baby boomers at My Itchy Travel Feet, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel. Read more about off-the-beaten-path travel to New Mexico in her latest book: New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure.
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