The Land of Enchantment
Mexico is called The Land of Enchantment for a reason. The light, the
land, the people and the food enchant everyone who visits here. New Mexico
is small in population, large in area and huge in heart. The very names
of New Mexico evoke strong images. Mountains called Sangre de Cristo (Blood
of Christ) and rivers named Rio Grande and Pecos come to life. Other New
Mexico names are part of our American folklore: Ghost Ranch, Georgia O’Keeffe,
Los Alamos, Billy the Kid, Roswell, Carlsbad Caverns, Taos, Truth or Consequences,
Route 66, White Sands, Santa Fe Trail, Chaco Canyon, Albuquerque Isotopes,
Adobe, Balloon Fiesta, Alamogordo, Anasazi, Geronimo, Red and Green Chile,
Chimayo, D.H. Lawrence, Navajo, Kit Carson, Zia and Zuni Pueblos. The
area between Santa Fe and Taos is the most popular tourist destination
in the state.
Culture & Spirit
New Mexico began as a tropical ocean. When the ocean dried up the dinosaurs
lived here. Millions of years later Man appeared. The ancestors of the
present Pueblo Indians were the Anasazi. Their sites can be visited at
Bandelier and Puye (close by) and Chaco Canyon (2 hrs). In the 1500’s
the Spaniards came up the Rio Grande Valley, conquered the Pueblos and
started their own settlements in Espanola, Santa Fe and other parts. Among
these settlers were “hidden Jews” fleeing the Inquisition
in Europe. In August of 1680 The Pueblo Revolt began. The Indians drove
out the Spanish settlers from northern New Mexico. Twelve years later
the Spaniards reconquered Santa Fe and New Mexico. New Mexico became part
of the independent nation of Mexico until August 1846 when, during the
Mexican-American War, American troops marched into Santa Fe. New Mexico
became a state in 1912, the only bi-lingual one in the union. New Mexicans
are proud of their tri-cultural heritage- Indian, Hispanic and Anglo.
In the 1940’s the atomic bomb was developed at Los Alamos. It was
first tested at Alamogordo. In the 1960’s the “hippies”
came to northern New Mexico and settled communes. In the 1970’s
they evolved into a New Age movement. Lama Foundation, 3HO and other holistic
and spiritual organizations, clinics and communities are still here. New
Mexico has always been a sacred land for the people here. There are many
spiritual and pilgrimage sites of all denominations. The most famous is
the Santuario de Chimayo. Every Easter thousands of pilgrims walk to this
humble church from all over the southwest.
& Cultural Events
Another kind of pilgrimage happens each year in northern New Mexico-a
pilgrimage to the arts. Each summer many come to enjoy the open air Santa
Fe Opera. In July/August, around the Santa Fe Plaza, there is Spanish
Market and Indian Market, one of the biggest art and crafts events in
the world. In the fall, small towns in northern New Mexico have weekly
artist studio tours. Northern New Mexico is the second largest art market
in the USA after New York. The nearby Flea Market is another good place
to find crafts and gifts.
On certain feast days the pueblos are open to the public. There are dances,
food, and crafts. Many of these pueblos are in the Espanola Valley.
New Mexico is a recreational playground. Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking
on the Rio Grande and Chama Rivers are only 30 minutes from our properties.
Hiking, Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding and Rock Climbing can be done
in the Sangre de Cristo or Jemez Mountains or down in the Rio Grande Valley.
Downhill Ski season is from Thanksgiving to Easter. Most ski resorts are
within an hour drive of our properties. These include Santa Fe, Pajarito,
Taos, Sipapu, Red River and Angel Fire. There is also cross-country skiing,
ice-skating and snowshoeing.
World class Fly Fishing is nearby in the streams and rivers of the area.
There is also lake fishing.
Golf Courses are a recent addition to the area but their numbers are increasing
quickly. They include Black Mesa, Towa (36 holes), Los Alamos, and Santa
Fe just minutes away.
New Mexico is a land of geological change. There are extinct volcanoes
and active hot springs. Most of the hot springs are in the wild, open
to all for the price of an exhilarating hike. Many are in the mountains
and some are right on the Rio Grande where you can plunge into the cold
water. There are also commercial spas such as Ojo Caliente, Jemez Springs
and Pagosa Springs. Wherever you go the hot springs of northern New Mexico
are a treat.
When you think of New Mexico food you think of hot chile peppers. It is
the state obsession. Chile here is not the Texas chili powder; it is the
fresh pepper, which comes in red or green. If you want both together ask
for “Christmas.” Chile goes on everything from burritos and
enchiladas to stuffed sopaipillas. New Mexican food is a combination of
Indian and Spanish food and is similar to Mexican food but different.
It doesn’t have to be spicy but often is. The Espanola Valley is
the heart of this cuisine and every fall you can smell green chile being
roasted. Santa Fe has over 200 restaurants of every kind. Many like Coyote
Café serve nouveau southwestern cuisine.