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Autumn in New Mexico

 

Autumn in New Mexico

New Mexico has a (possibly under-acknowledged) reputation as one of the most enchanting states in North America, and from what I’ve seen of it, it’s not only true, it’s startlingly true. The air in New Mexico is fresher and more invigorating, the views more dramatic and breathtaking than anything you see in Houston’s great hustle and bustle… (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) So on my way to visit my sis Jennifer…

Over this Thanksgiving holiday, and in a departure from the shopping/movies plan Jen and I usually adhere to, Jen suggested we spend most of our time wandering around/discovering different delightful  parts of the state…from neighborhoods exhibiting the reds and golds of Autumn, to mountain peaks and far away towns.

The day before Thanksgiving, under skies a clear, vivid blue, we walked the surrounding neighborhoods, taking in the autumn colors, and enjoying the architecture, from adobe cottages to rambling structures beautifully landscaped,

and something I really love: the different gates set in the garden walls. There’s something so sculptural and individualistic about these…

And then, dinner at our favorite: The Rojo Grille, which has beautiful views of the mountains, and is so cozy and charming…

The following day, Thanksgiving, dinner at the dimly lit, elegant Cattle Rancher’s Club was relaxed, and the food, terrific.

After which, Jen and I decided to drive up to the Sandia Peak, rolling through narrow mountain passes and alongside beautiful valleys and fir forests…

The Peak’s spectacular views, which seem to go on forever, showcased the beauty of New Mexico vividly…

Over mountains and valleys, fir-filled or treeless, the icy air spoke of the winter to come, but brought out the amazing blue of the sky,

against which branches of indigenous trees framed the majesty of the far-off mountaintops.

On the following day, after a very “green” and enjoyable lunch at what is becoming one of my favorite Albuquerque restaurants, Vinaigrette …

we decided to revisit Old Town, which we hadn’t been to for some years. From what I could tell, it hadn’t changed in the slightest. The golden adobe structure of the church was once again etched against a deep blue sky, as it has been in years past.

The shops and restaurants and B&Bs still abound… Southwest cuisine is still the fare of choice, and the Plaza on this particular day was busy, but not jam-packed, which made it easy to get around.  It’s lovely to be in such a changeless environment… the continuity of place and time is so appealing…

On Saturday, we planned to drive to Taos, where I had not been before.

It was such an adventure. I love the open road, and here it led into far blue distances…

At times we passed through small towns that spoke of cowboys and history, of long ago Southwestern spaces and lives…

And drove along the banks of the storied Rio Grande… what a kick!

Then we arrived in Taos, which was everything I had hoped it would be.

I do crave back of beyond. Well, maybe Taos no longer has that reputation, but it certainly seemed to meet the criteria! We wandered round the town square…

And ate lunch at Doc Martin’s, where the food was delicious and the atmosphere, friendly and delightful.

As we ambled down the street, taking in the mountain vistas, the small boutiques and cafes, we couldn’t believe our luck that the weather was so perfect throughout.

We decided on our way home to stop in The Black Mesa Winery for a little wine-tasting and just to stray off the beaten path. This is such a terrrific place to kick back – in the sunshine – and enjoy both the wine (great) and the feel of the great Southwest. What a perfect day!

It was all I could do to leave!

But every great trip comes to an end…there’s always that little frisson of “…if only” and I felt it quite strongly in Taos… Another magical part of the enchantment of New Mexico, and I know we’ll go back there when I visit again.

 

 

About carpediemrosemary

I was born in England...and moved to Wales when I was two years old...to a small fishing village called The Mumbles, just down the railroad track from Swansea, along the sea. Back in the day, this village was everything you'd want to live in as a kid...surrounded by the sea and the mountains, cliffs and fields full of buttercups, hedgerows high and filled with brambly scrambling vines and flowers...Red currants and peas from village vegetable gardens were plentiful, and we were able to play among the sheep wandering everywhere. The green of the fields was intense. We left Wales to come to Houston, the other side of the world and not QUITE as green, and since then I've travelled more or less constantly...later in life I took up hiking, when my first hike with a friend took me to the Cornish coast in England. There I was able to walk the causeway from Marazion to Mount St. Michael, visit Mousehole where my mother was born, and return to The Mumbles decades after I first lived there. Cornwall is one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth...but then, there are so many beautiful places...you have to seize the day, or it passes you by...gone in the wink of an eye.

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