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Old 02-09-2020, 06:57 PM
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Sightseeing advice in New Mexico / Sante Fe / on the way to Carlsbad Caverns


We're going on a family vacation to New Mexico in a week to avoid the Seattle rain! Wanted to see if anyone had any advice for not-to-be-missed attractions, etc.

Our accommodation is booked and non-refundable, so the non-changeable plans involve touching down in Albuquerque Sunday morning and driving down to Carlsbad. We'll stay one night, catch the caverns on Monday and drive up to Santa Fe Monday evening. We'll stay in Santa Fe until Friday before driving back to Albuquerque for our flight home.

Certainly not the most direct trip but that's a decent amount of "road trip" driving, which we'll enjoy. I read that flying into El Paso would have been quicker in terms of getting to the caverns but the flights from Seattle weren't great and I'd rather be on the road in the desert than hanging around for airport connections ...

We don't mind arriving in Carlsbad quite late, so would prefer to take the more scenic route. I'm thinking of catching I-25 down past Socorro, turn east on 380 until Carrizozo, south on 54 until about Alamogordo, and east on 82 until 285 into Carlsbad. It looks like that captures some scenic drives. On the way up to Santa Fe it'll probably be dark for a bunch of it so we'd just do the fast and boring 285 route.

Does that sound sane? Anything we should not miss on the drive down? We have some ideas of what we should catch in Santa Fe / Los Alamos but would be delighted to hear some advice from locals on what we shouldn't miss in the area!
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:15 PM
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Depends how early you arrive/leave Albuquerque, but if you go down I-25 to route 60 and go West about 50 miles, you'll be at the Very Large Array (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_Large_Array). Depends on if you are science-interested or not. If you'd rather see more natural wonders, take I-25 to route 70 and go East to White Sands Missile Range (nice Museum there), White Sands National Park, and Alamagordo, which has a nice space museum and the World's Largest Pistachio. Take 82 East to 285 and South to Carlsbad.

Suspect others who live out that way will have more ideas.
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:37 PM
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First off, I would arrange your plans to Carlsbad to 1) either arrive early enough on the Sunday, or 2) stay another night (which might be worthwhile given all the driving - give your butts some time out of the car) to catch the "bat show". I visited the caverns way back in '71, and the bat show (when they leave for their hunting grounds in the evening) is my most vivid memory. They have seats and a whole viewing area. It is amazing - not to be missed if you're visiting the caverns. (and no, you don't have to worry about any bats getting into your hair ;-)

It's just a short side trip, but I second visiting the VLA. You don't need to spend a lot of time there, but it is very cool to see in person.

As to Santa Fe area there is a lot to see/do:
- Bandelier park is very cool. Cliff dwellings and just great scenery. Part of the park, but kind of "outside" the area is a very cool place call Tsankawei (sp ?). You can take a nice hike along and through a number of the cliff dwellings.
- Los Alamos is a cool city. There's kind of a small museum, but very informative about the Manhattan Project. It's also in a very scenic area.
- Taos is very cool. The drive along the Rio Grande when you come up from the river to the plain where the city is provides a spectacular view. If you do go, it is worth the drive to cross the Rio Grande bridge as well.
- Depending on how interested you are, there are a number of smaller, lesser known cliff dwellings and historic sites all in the Santa Fe - Los Alamos area.

In Santa Fe itself:
- The Georgia O'Keefe museum is always great
- I also enjoy the Folk Art museum (on museum hill)
- Right off the downtown plaza is the church with the "impossible" staircase. Very cool to see.
- I don't know if they're still there, but there used be some shops on the plaza with Hopi (as opposed to Navajo) kachina dolls. Amazing to see, and like a museum just in the shop.

Driving from Santa Fe back to Albuquerque I'd recommend the "backway" via the "turquoise trail" through Madrid. Madrid is a pretty cool city, and it is a scenic drive, If you have time the drive will also take you to the backside of Sandia Peak. So you can pop up to the summit and get great views of ABQ.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:22 PM
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You have picked a tight schedule with only one day in Carlsbad, driving down Sunday and returning Monday. It's about 4-5 hours one way, and since Monday will be mostly at the caverns I'm only going to suggest an activity for Sunday. Rather than going out of your way to see the VLA, take I-25 south to Socorro, and stop at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge and/or Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Right now there are tons of sandhill cranes in the Rio Grande valley. Sevilleta is on the way to Socorro, Bosque Del Apache is just a minor detour and not near as far out of the way as the VLA. From Bosque Del Apache you can take 380 on your planned route. The road from Alamogordo up to Cloudcroft is a nice scenic drive. If it's getting late watch for elk on the road.

The weather should be good for the next week or so, but if it gets iffy use NM Roads to check road conditions.

Last edited by Dag Otto; 02-09-2020 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:30 PM
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Missed the edit window: I've been seeing cranes farther north this year, you may try Bernardo Wildlife Area too (just south of Belen, not far off the 25). There were birds there last week.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:33 PM
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South of Santa Fe is Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Really neat hike there up into some slot canyons, conditions permitting.

I always suggest Meow Wolf to people looking for fun things to do in Santa Fe.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:46 AM
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The Billy the Kid Scenic Byway is interesting, I was just there last May. You can visit the old Lincoln court house, see his grave outside of Ft. Sumner, a museum or 2.

Do a little research and you'll be surprised at how much of the things on Young Guns/Young Guns 2 is historically accurate. Not all of it, but a good chunk.

Stay out of Roswell. It's cheesy as hell.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:06 AM
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About the Very Large Array. I visited the VLA back in 2015 as a side trip to the Trinity Atomic Test Site. It is out-of-the-way and if you and the family are not science oriented is probably not worth the 50 mile (one-way) drive. I'm a space nut so seeing the VLA up close and touring the exhibits was worth the 100 mile deviation coming back from Trinity. But only once.

P.S. If you do go make sure to purchase some gift shop trinket. Most of them are only sold at the VLA facility so if you have one it's proof you've been there.

Last edited by ASGuy; 02-10-2020 at 02:09 AM. Reason: souvenir
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Old 02-10-2020, 03:48 AM
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The Very Large Array is extremely impressive! There's a nice film in the Visitor's Center, and you can even take a walking tour of the grounds!

We enjoyed Roswell. It's a college town, nice wide streets, very clean, and tacky references to the UFOs. Even an UFO museum! Souvenirs from there have a lot of cachet!

The valley where Hatch Chiles are grown means good food, and do bring some home!

And then there is Pie Town...


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Old 02-10-2020, 06:05 AM
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I've never taken the route you've proposed and on the map it does look more scenic. 285 indeed is pretty boring until around Vaughn. I'd agree that one possibility is to make sure you get to Carlsbad early enough on Sunday to see the bat show.
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Old 02-10-2020, 08:05 AM
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The bat flight at Carlsbad Caverns is very impressive, but it's the wrong time of year to see much. The bats are either hibernating or have migrated. They usually start showing up again in mid-April.

Your proposed route to Carrizozo then south to Alamogordo is a good one. Halfway between the two cities is Three Rivers Petroglyphs, with thousands of examples of Native American rock art. Above Alamogordo, in the mountains near Cloudcroft is the National Solar Observatory, also worth a visit. The space museum in Alamogordo is nice too.

You could also continue west on 380 from Carrizozo and visit Capitan and Lincoln. As pkbites mentioned, it's an interesting area (scenic too). Capitan is the home of Smokey Bear and Lincoln has a lot of history surrounding Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War.

You could also follow Dag Otto's suggestion and visit Bosque Del Apache, just south of the Hwy. 380 exit on I-25, to see thousands of birds including huge flocks of sandhill cranes (mostly in the morning and evening). It's easy to get to, close to I-25 and you can pop back up to 380 and continue to Carrizozo. Or continue south on Hwy. 1 when you're done to get back on southbound I-25 without backtracking. Then take 70 east from Las Cruces to White Sands (well worth visiting), as The Stainless Steel Rat suggests. That puts you very close to Alamogordo.

Lots of cool stuff between Albuquerque and Carlsbad! You'll have to pick and choose, no way to see it all in one day.

Last edited by Bumbershoot; 02-10-2020 at 08:06 AM.
  #12  
Old 02-10-2020, 09:02 AM
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While in Santa Fe you could take a drive up Hwy. 84 through Espanola (watch for where it splits from 68) to Ghost Ranch, home and studio of Georgia O'Keeffe. Then continue just a few miles to Echo Amphitheater, a huge natural formation in the red rock cliffs. That whole area, including Abiquiu reservoir and the Chama river, is just beautiful.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks is pretty cool, as blondebear mentioned. Some very unusual rock formations and the hike to the top above the slot canyon is worth it.

The Rio Grande gorge near Taos is spectacular, as cormac262 says, and be sure to drive out to the bridge west of town.

If you visit Los Alamos, take a very scenic drive on Hwy. 4 west through the Jemez mountains and Valles Caldera. If you make it to the town of Jemez Springs have lunch at Los Ojos tavern where they serve a very good green chile cheeseburger.

If you go to Taos, continue north on 522 to Questa, then take 38 to Eagle Nest and 64 back to Taos for a very scenic loop tour.

Last edited by Bumbershoot; 02-10-2020 at 09:05 AM.
  #13  
Old 02-10-2020, 09:08 AM
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The Sandia Peak Tramway is about 10 miles NE of Albuquerque. My coworker and I rode it a few months ago. A fantastic experience, and well worth the $25.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:39 PM
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Wow, so many great replies. Thank you, I've read them all!

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Stainless Steel Rat
Depends how early you arrive/leave Albuquerque, but if you go down I-25 to route 60 and go West about 50 miles, you'll be at the Very Large Array (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_Large_Array). Depends on if you are science-interested or not.
I did look into this and it is something I'd be interested in. But I don't think the rest of my party would be as interested and it isn't feasible from a time perspective. That's an additional 100 miles on the Sunday and we barely have time to stop for much as it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cormac262
First off, I would arrange your plans to Carlsbad to 1) either arrive early enough on the Sunday, or 2) stay another night (which might be worthwhile given all the driving - give your butts some time out of the car) to catch the "bat show". I visited the caverns way back in '71, and the bat show (when they leave for their hunting grounds in the evening) is my most vivid memory. They have seats and a whole viewing area. It is amazing - not to be missed if you're visiting the caverns. (and no, you don't have to worry about any bats getting into your hair ;-)
It doesn't look like the "bat show" is running at this time of year. I think what we'll do is catch as much as we can on the drive down to Carlsbad (it doesn't matter if it's already night when we arrive) and spend most of Monday at the caverns. We can spend the late afternoon / evening driving to Santa Fe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dag Otto
You have picked a tight schedule with only one day in Carlsbad, driving down Sunday and returning Monday. It's about 4-5 hours one way, and since Monday will be mostly at the caverns I'm only going to suggest an activity for Sunday. Rather than going out of your way to see the VLA, take I-25 south to Socorro, and stop at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge and/or Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Right now there are tons of sandhill cranes in the Rio Grande valley. Sevilleta is on the way to Socorro, Bosque Del Apache is just a minor detour and not near as far out of the way as the VLA. From Bosque Del Apache you can take 380 on your planned route. The road from Alamogordo up to Cloudcroft is a nice scenic drive. If it's getting late watch for elk on the road.
Yeah, in an ideal world we would have had an additional couple of days to work with and would have split the drive over two days or so. Seems like we'll miss not being able to linger at some of the stops on the way. But flight prices, school schedules and weekend plans kept us from adding a few more days at the end, and we'd like to stay in one place (Santa Fe) for four nights too. I think we'll get to leisurely enjoy the caverns but it'll be a little bit of a whirlwind on the drive down. Hopefully we can take notes on what deserves a second look for our next trip down!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dag Otto
The weather should be good for the next week or so, but if it gets iffy use NM Roads to check road conditions.
Can the route I proposed (I assume 82 in particular) get quite dicey in the winter? Would you recommend I bring our chains along?

Last edited by Driver8; 02-10-2020 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:49 PM
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Driving in southern NM is pretty boring. It's generally flat, scrubby desert. That may make the drive seem to take a long time since there's not a lot of beautiful things to look at to pass the time. When I think about doing all that driving right off the bat, it seems exhausting. Although the caverns are awesome, I might instead recommend staying more in SF/ABQ and northern NM and doing day trips. There's a lot to do in that area and the drives will be more scenic.

There's this resort just outside of ABQ: https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/ne...-and-spa/tamay It has horseback riding and all kinds of activities. It would be fun for a few days if you're into that.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:31 PM
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That's true: if the OP had not already make plans for exactly where to stay, and they had already seen the Caverns at some point, but had not done the road trip before to know if it would not seem overlong, I'd agree that a valid alternative would be to stay closer to SF/ABQ. But even if they were making plans now, if they were interested in the Caverns and had never been, I'd say it's a must: it's an order of magnitude better than any cave I've seen.

Although I'm doing vaguely the same route as part of a road trip later this year and plan to camp somewhere in the northern Lincoln National Forest in order to break up the trip into two legs and to save on hotel money.
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Old 02-10-2020, 03:06 PM
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NM is beautiful. I've seen all the places mentioned here. There is a lot to see. Too bad your schedule is so tight; it's a big state and hence most of your time will be spent on the road.

Maybe just stop by Roswell and/or White Sands? Alamogordo is, to me, really lovely (the town not the atomic site). There's a space museum there, if you're interested.
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Old 02-10-2020, 03:14 PM
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Can you spend an overnight in Albuquerque? While it's not Fiesta time, you could then do a morning hot-air balloon flight.
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Old 02-10-2020, 03:19 PM
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Can the route I proposed (I assume 82 in particular) get quite dicey in the winter? Would you recommend I bring our chains along?
If a snowstorm hits just about any road could become difficult and closed for a day. I wouldn't worry about it, but if it happens you can use the website to find a new route if needed. Cloudcroft on 82 is at about 8700 ft but the road crews are good at clearing the roads fairly quickly. Chains would be overkill.
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludovic
That's true: if the OP had not already make plans for exactly where to stay, and they had already seen the Caverns at some point, but had not done the road trip before to know if it would not seem overlong, I'd agree that a valid alternative would be to stay closer to SF/ABQ. But even if they were making plans now, if they were interested in the Caverns and had never been, I'd say it's a must: it's an order of magnitude better than any cave I've seen.
Yeah, that's pretty much where I'm at too. This was a fairly impromptu "OMG it's been raining straight for three weeks, we've got to get out of here when the kids are on break!" decision. We really started out thinking "Santa Fe" rather than "New Mexico" but once I read about the caverns it became a must-do addition. It's something all of myself, my wife and my kids will love.

I think we're gonna end up with the schedule feeling a little tight for the drive down and maybe the drive up, but we'll relax a bit once we're in Santa Fe and maybe slow down a bit.

I also don't mind the driving, even if it isn't the most exciting landscape all of the time. I particularly enjoyed the road trip I did some years ago through Arizona and Utah. Some of that was endless and devoid of landmarks too, but it's just so atmospheric and different from what I'm used to here in the PNW and back on the southeast coast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiderman
Can you spend an overnight in Albuquerque? While it's not Fiesta time, you could then do a morning hot-air balloon flight.
That's probably a little too exciting for my family. Well, me. I don't like heights We might look at Albuquerque adjacent stuff when we're in Santa Fe. The Turquoise trail might be a good option for when we need to get back to our flight.
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:21 PM
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If a snowstorm hits just about any road could become difficult and closed for a day. I wouldn't worry about it, but if it happens you can use the website to find a new route if needed. Cloudcroft on 82 is at about 8700 ft but the road crews are good at clearing the roads fairly quickly. Chains would be overkill.
Thanks. That sounds manageable. Sort of assume it's going to be okay but verify in the days before ...
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:44 PM
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I also don't mind the driving, even if it isn't the most exciting landscape all of the time. I particularly enjoyed the road trip I did some years ago through Arizona and Utah. Some of that was endless and devoid of landmarks too, but it's just so atmospheric and different from what I'm used to here in the PNW and back on the southeast coast.
I wish I remembered the road I took that had an ostensibly devoid and boring but nonetheless very atmospheric field of red-brown lava boulders that looked great in the sunset. i want to say it was 285 near Vaughn but I've driven there again after I saw the rocks and didn't see them again: maybe it had to be in the right light.
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Old 02-10-2020, 06:25 PM
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I wish I remembered the road I took that had an ostensibly devoid and boring but nonetheless very atmospheric field of red-brown lava boulders that looked great in the sunset. i want to say it was 285 near Vaughn but I've driven there again after I saw the rocks and didn't see them again: maybe it had to be in the right light.
It wasn't the Valley of Fires was it? (https://www.blm.gov/visit/valley-of-fires). It looks like we'll drive through this, not sure if it's worth a significant stop.
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Old 02-10-2020, 07:21 PM
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That looks like the right type of rock but I didn't have to pay and it was on an arterial road. You did however give me an idea for my road trip, I might stop by there since I will be in that general area.
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Old 02-10-2020, 07:31 PM
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That's probably a little too exciting for my family.
Noted your response.


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Well, me. I don't like heights.
How are you on an airplane? There's something psychologically different about being attached to the ground, whether on top of a building or a ladder vs. being in an aircraft which is separated from the ground. It's magical floating up there & many people say that they feel like they're under something rather than up high.
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:32 PM
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That looks like the right type of rock but I didn't have to pay and it was on an arterial road. You did however give me an idea for my road trip, I might stop by there since I will be in that general area.
I'll let you know what it's like

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiderman
How are you on an airplane? There's something psychologically different about being attached to the ground, whether on top of a building or a ladder vs. being in an aircraft which is separated from the ground. It's magical floating up there & many people say that they feel like they're under something rather than up high.
That's true. I'm okay in an airplane (although I'd much prefer to be somewhere else). Actually I went on a balloon ride at the San Diego Zoo a few years back (tethered, but still fairly high). I was mildly uncomfortable but not enough to not enjoy the views.

I think if I went on a proper balloon ride I'd enjoy parts of the experience but still be enormously relieved when it was over. I'm still leaning towards "pass", especially since we'd need to take our kids. The youngest will still be four, which looks like it is too young for the companies that I looked at.
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Old 02-11-2020, 09:33 AM
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- Los Alamos is a cool city. There's kind of a small museum, but very informative about the Manhattan Project. It's also in a very scenic area.
Seconded. And I know this because I am here. I'd be happy to show you around, too, if you do swing through! This goes for all of the other cool Dopers, too..

Albuquerque also has a nifty Nuclear Museum on the south end of Eubank on the corner of Southern. It's good for a few hours of family, educational fun.

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While in Santa Fe you could take a drive up Hwy. 84 through Espanola (watch for where it splits from 68) to Ghost Ranch, home and studio of Georgia O'Keeffe. Then continue just a few miles to Echo Amphitheater, a huge natural formation in the red rock cliffs. That whole area, including Abiquiu reservoir and the Chama river, is just beautiful.
Thirded.

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If you visit Los Alamos, take a very scenic drive on Hwy. 4 west through the Jemez mountains and Valles Caldera. If you make it to the town of Jemez Springs have lunch at Los Ojos tavern where they serve a very good green chile cheeseburger.
Fourth-ed.

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Old 02-11-2020, 11:09 AM
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Here is a link to some webcams (the drop-down menu lists three) in Cloudcroft, the little town in the mountains above Alamogordo on Hwy. 82. Burro Avenue is one block north of 82. They've been getting snow but it should end by tomorrow morning at the latest and the roads should be fine by the weekend. 82 slowly descends as it heads east towards Artesia so you'll be out of the mountains and the snow well before you get to 285.

A mini-Dopefest in Los Alamos or Santa Fe (with Tripler and whoever else shows up) is something I could probably attend, even if it's just for lunch at one of the fine eating establishments in the area. I don't know your schedule, Driver8, but if you think it's doable that would be cool.

Edit: The webcam seems to be having issues at the moment, maybe weather-related, but it normally works.

Last edited by Bumbershoot; 02-11-2020 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 02-11-2020, 06:39 PM
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Meow Wolf


When my wife and I, our friends and their three-year-old son landed in Albuquerque we headed to a local burger place. It was nearly empty and I got talking to the guy working there, mostly about the beers on tap. He asked what brought us to town and I said that we were from California and heading to Santa Fe, mostly to see the historical sights. When he learned that we'd never been, he said "Oh, you guys have to go to Meow Wolf! Especially with a kid."

Apparently, author George R.R. Martin invested about three million dollars into the purchase and renovation of a huge, unused bowling alley so it could be turned into this artist's space/collective ... thing. Their main attraction is The House of Eternal Return, which I've most often heard described as "I don't know how to describe it." It's sort of like if the T.A.R.D.I.S crashed into a Victorian house. It's essentially an incredibly elaborate, interactive haunted house, but it's not horror-themed. It's more science fiction/retro kitsch/time travel stuff.

The first part of it is designed to look like an actual lived-in house, complete with full bookshelves, desks scattered with papers and notebooks, drawers full of knickknacks, etc. There is apparently an entire narrative that one can piece together through reading the materials in the desks, browsing the bookshelves, clicking through the files on the desktop computer and finding other clues scattered throughout, but I have no idea how many tens of hours it would take to piece it all together. We were just content to explore and play with stuff.

PBS News Hour did a segment on its potential impact on the Santa Fe economy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2ldy8EbKQU

Anyway, we had a great time and I'd love to go back.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:01 PM
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Ghost Ranch sounds good, as do the other Sante Fe suggestions. My wife is a Georgia O'Keeffe fan, so sheíd like that.

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Here is a link to some webcams (the drop-down menu lists three) in Cloudcroft, the little town in the mountains above Alamogordo on Hwy. 82. Burro Avenue is one block north of 82. They've been getting snow but it should end by tomorrow morning at the latest and the roads should be fine by the weekend. 82 slowly descends as it heads east towards Artesia so you'll be out of the mountains and the snow well before you get to 285.
Oh, the webcam worked for me. That already looks clear and completely manageable.

Meow Wolf looks interesting. Some local friends recommended it too. It looks like something our kids (ages 5ish and 8) might appreciate too.
  #31  
Old 02-11-2020, 10:06 PM
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I kind of thought our friends' 3-year-old was a little too young to really appreciate it. 5 and 8 (and anything above) sound just about right.
  #32  
Old 02-11-2020, 11:25 PM
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While Iím at it, what are the music venues that I should be paying attention to in Santa Fe? In particular the sort of small to medium venue an indie band might touch on their tour. Iím not opposed to sneaking out to a good music show once the kids are asleep
  #33  
Old 02-12-2020, 12:03 AM
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Believe it or not, Meow Wolf has live music in the evenings. The Lensic Theater is another good place to see a variety of bands. I've seen Richard Thompson there, and Bela Fleck a time or two.
  #34  
Old 02-12-2020, 12:07 PM
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Thanks! As for the mini-Dopefest I could be down if it’s a later evening watering hole type activity in Santa Fe. Say past 8pm on one of Tue, Wed, Thu next week. I think we’ll be too engaged with family stuff during the days and the other evenings.
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Old 02-12-2020, 01:13 PM
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I could probably make it up there one of those evenings. Santa Fe has some craft breweries that are pretty good; I'm most familiar with Santa Fe Brewing and Blue Corn Brewery. Del Charro is a nice bar that's near the Plaza.
  #36  
Old 02-14-2020, 10:10 AM
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I started a thread here about getting together for a Dopefest next week. There aren't many Dopers in northern New Mexico but who knows? We might get something going.
  #37  
Old 02-14-2020, 01:28 PM
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By the way, Driver8, if you make it up to Taos there's a great place to have lunch (or breakfast anytime) called Michael's Kitchen. It's also a bakery with some incredible breads, pastries, cookies etc.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:55 PM
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Most of the things I would recommend have already been mentioned, white sands, Meow wolf, the Folk art museum, Meow Wolf, Bandelier, Meow wolf, and of course Meow Wolf. There is also a nice little sculpture garden near Santa Fe, that is fun to look around. With a kids in tow you may also want to consider the Santa Fe Childrens museum. My parents have taken my Niece up there several times and she has a blast.

If you do go up to Los Alamos, the things to see are probably the science and historical museums, both are pretty small and each can be seen in under an hour.

One last thing, if anyone asks you the state question (Red or Green?) the answer is green, or possibly Christmas if you want to explore all options.

Last edited by Buck Godot; 02-14-2020 at 01:59 PM.
  #39  
Old 02-14-2020, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
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If you do go up to Los Alamos, the things to see are probably the science and historical museums, both are pretty small and each can be seen in under an hour.
The Bradbury Science Museum
Fuller Lodge and the attached Los Alamos Historical Society Museum


Some others:
Bandelier National Park (for a long-day trip)
Tsankawi Prehistoric Sites
Valles Caldera

Unfortunately closed: "The Black Hole" (just recently torn down).

Yep, and that's just the family friendly stuff!

Tripler
Nerds know how to party, yo.

Last edited by Tripler; 02-14-2020 at 09:50 PM.
  #40  
Old 02-15-2020, 01:14 PM
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The New Mexico Rail Runner is an inexpensive and simple way to see some impressive scenery between Santa Fe and Belen without driving. It only costs $11 round trip from Santa Fe to Belen. Bring your own snacks and drinks; the only thing available on the train is water in a paper cup. If starting in Santa Fe, get on at the South Capitol station where there is plenty of free parking. If you leave early enough, you can get off in downtown Albuquerque for a few hours and still catch a train back to Santa Fe. Your Rail Runner ticket functions as a bus pass in Albuquerque.
  #41  
Old 02-15-2020, 04:22 PM
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Thought I'd throw out one more suggestion- if you want to try some authentic New Mexican cuisine, Tomasita's in Santa Fe is very good.
  #42  
Old 02-17-2020, 08:22 AM
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Our accommodation is booked and non-refundable
I'm curious how OP managed to get stuck with this.
  #43  
Old 02-17-2020, 08:24 AM
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Sometimes hotels offer a discount if you reserve non-refundably. It's usually not much of a difference, less than 10% IME.
  #44  
Old 02-17-2020, 08:27 AM
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I'm curious how OP managed to get stuck with this.
Lots of hotels have cheap deals that are non-refundable. My hotel does it periodically, either by booking directly through us or via third party.
  #45  
Old 02-17-2020, 08:31 AM
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So bone up the entire schedule for a few bucks. Got it.
  #46  
Old 02-17-2020, 08:51 AM
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So bone up the entire schedule for a few bucks. Got it.
It works for a lot of people. If you know, barring WW3 or your own death, that you're going to be at the hotel on the dates eligible, why not?
  #47  
Old 02-18-2020, 01:59 AM
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Our accommodation is AirBNB houses, and itís not uncommon for them to be prepaid with no cancellation allowed. Not always, and most of ours havenít been, but itís certainly not unusual especially if youíre booking close to the date. Itís spelled out up front, so I donít have a problem with it, and Iíll decide on a case by case basis if I want to take the calculated risk to get the specific place that I want.

Iím currently lounging in an absolutely spectacular adobe house just south of the Sante Fe plaza, so Iíll say it worked out yet again . The house we stayed in one night in Carlsbad was perfectly fine too.
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