New Mexico | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com Trip Ideas, Itineraries, Maps & Area Experts Wed, 17 Jan 2018 21:18:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 https://deathstar-650a.kxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cropped-moon_logo_M-32x32.jpg New Mexico | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com 32 32 125073523 Taking the Low Road to Taos from Santa Fe https://moon.com/2017/08/taking-the-low-road-to-taos-from-santa-fe/ https://moon.com/2017/08/taking-the-low-road-to-taos-from-santa-fe/#respond Thu, 10 Aug 2017 18:02:33 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=6467 Following the winding Rio Grande up into the mountains is the highlight of this drive north. The route begins past the modern town of Española, passing into a narrowing canyon and finally emerging at the point where the high plains meet the mountains. This dramatic arrival makes it the better route for heading north to Taos; you can then loop back south via the high road.

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Following the winding Rio Grande up into the mountains is the highlight of this drive north. The low road to Taos begins past the modern town of Española, passing into a narrowing canyon and finally emerging at the point where the high plains meet the mountains. This dramatic arrival makes it the better route for heading north to Taos; you can then loop back south via the high road.

the Rio Grande winds through the Orilla Verde Recreation Area in New Mexico

Stop in the Orilla Verde Recreation Area to camp on the banks of the Rio Grande or go rafting. Photo © Davor Lovincic/iStock.

Embudo and Dixon

The village of Embudo is really just a bend in the river where the Chili Line railroad from Denver used to stop (the old station is across the river). But it offers a random roadside attraction in the Classical Gas Museum (1819 Hwy. 68, 505/852-2995, free), a front yard filled with old service station accoutrements. If the gate is open, the owner is probably home, and you can peek inside to see a beautiful collection of neon signs and restored gas pumps. There’s also a good eating option: Sugar’s (1799 Hwy. 68, 505/852-0604, 11am-6pm Thurs.-Sun., $6), a small roadside trailer that doles out seriously big food, such as barbecue brisket burritos. It’s takeout only, but there are a few plastic picnic tables where you can sit down.

If you’re into wine, keep an eye out for the various wineries just north of here: Vivác (2075 Hwy. 68, 505/579-4441, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.) is on the main highway, and La Chiripada (505/579-4437, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun.) is down Highway 75 a few miles in the pleasant little town of Dixon, known for its dense concentration of artists, organic farmers, and vintners.

The convivial farmers market runs on summer and fall Wednesdays (4:30pm-7pm), and in early November, look for the long-running Dixon Studio Tour. A good year-round reason to make the turn is Zuly’s (234 Hwy. 275, 505/579-4001, 8:30am-3pm Tues.-Thurs., 8:30am-7pm Fri., 9am-7pm Sat., $8), serving strong coffee and classic New Mexican food with a bit of hippie flair; hours cut back slightly in winter.

Pilar

Beginning just south of the village of Pilar and stretching several miles north, Orilla Verde Recreation Area ($3/car) is public land along either side of the Rio Grande, used primarily as a put-in or haul-out for rafting, but you can camp on the riverbanks as well. Petaca and Taos Junction have the best sites ($7 per night).

Running about 1.2 miles one-way along the west edge of the river, the Vista Verde Trail is an easy walk with great views and a few petroglyphs to spot in a small arroyo about a third of the way out. The trailhead is located on the other side of the river, half a mile up the hill from the Taos Junction Bridge off the dirt road Highway 567 (turn left off the highway in Pilar, then follow signs into Orilla Verde). Stop first on the main highway at the Rio Grande Gorge Visitors Center (Hwy. 68, 575/751-4899, 8:30am-4:30pm daily June-Aug., 10am-2pm daily Sept.-May) for maps and other information.

Across the road, Pilar Yacht Club (Hwy. 68, 575/758-9072, 8am-6pm daily mid-May-Aug., 9am-2pm daily Apr.-mid-May and Sept.-Oct.) is the center of the action, selling tubes for lazy floats, serving food to hungry river rats, and functioning as an office for a couple of outfitters.

Getting There

This low-road route is more direct than the high road to Taos, and has fewer potential diversions. Driving the 70 miles from downtown Santa Fe to Taos (on U.S. 84/285 and Hwy. 68), with no stops, takes about an hour and a half. There are no gas stations between Española and Taos.


Excerpted from the Tenth Edition of Moon New Mexico.

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Southwest Road Trip: Two Days Along Route 66 https://moon.com/2016/11/southwest-road-trip-two-days-along-route-66/ https://moon.com/2016/11/southwest-road-trip-two-days-along-route-66/#respond Sun, 06 Nov 2016 16:05:07 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=45466 The 600 miles of Route 66 from Albuquerque to Kingman make an excellent two-day road trip filled with sights and memorabilia. Here's your itinerary.

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Moon Southwest Road Trip - Two Days Along Route 66

The 600 miles of Route 66 from Albuquerque to Kingman make an excellent two-day southwest road trip filled with sights and memorabilia. Here’s your itinerary, complete with where to stay and where to eat for a genuine Route 66 experience.

Day 1: Albuquerque to Winslow

270 miles, 4.5 hours

Get an early start, setting out on Albuquerque’s Central Avenue, aka Route 66. Pick up I-40 west of town after passing the Rio Puerco Bridge. Get back on Historic Route 66 at Laguna (exit 114) and drive about six miles to Paraje. Take Indian Route 23 south to Sky City Cultural Center and book the first tour to Acoma Pueblo’s mesa-top settlement (9:30am in summer), which should take about two hours. Have lunch at the cultural center’s café and hit the road.

After lunch, drive the surviving sections of Historic Route 66 from McCartys, New Mexico, to Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, about 150 miles. Spend the final few hours of the day driving the main road through the national park, stopping at various viewpoints.
A final 45-minute sprint on I-40 west to Winslow and you’re in the refined atmosphere of La Posada, a former Harvey House railroad hotel that has been restored to its former glory. Have dinner at the hotel’s exceptional restaurant, The Turquoise Room.

Seligman, Arizona.

Seligman, Arizona. Photo © Larisa Duka/123rf.

Day 2: Winslow to Kingman

220 miles, 4 hours

Have breakfast at The Turquoise Room before driving an hour west on I-40 to Flagstaff, stopping to photograph a few of the Route 66 ruins along the way. Take a stroll around Flagstaff’s historic downtown and Southside District, which are divided by Route 66 and the railroad. Hop back in the car and drive about 30 minutes west to Williams, which has a quaint downtown that celebrates the town’s Mother Road heritage. Have lunch at one of the restaurants along Route 66 in downtown Williams.

Drive about 15 minutes farther west to Ash Fork and gas up before heading out on a 120-mile uninterrupted drive along Historic Route 66 to Kingman. Along the way, stop for a one-hour tour of Grand Canyon Caverns, a stroll through the gift shops in Seligman, and a bottle of soda pop at the Hackberry General Store.

Spend the night in Kingman at the Route 66-themed El Trovatore Motel or the Hill Top Motel and have dinner at Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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Top 5 Santa Fe Open-Air Bars https://moon.com/2016/10/top-5-santa-fe-open-air-bars/ https://moon.com/2016/10/top-5-santa-fe-open-air-bars/#respond Sat, 15 Oct 2016 11:35:22 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=45429 There's no shortage of Santa Fe open-air bars taking advantage of New Mexico's weather. The top five have great happy hours and late-night fun.

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There’s no shortage of Santa Fe open-air bars taking advantage of New Mexico’s weather. Here are the best of the lot.

Bell Tower Bar

Get to the Bell Tower Bar (100 E. San Francisco St., 505/982-5511, 11am-sunset Apr.-Oct.) early if you can, as this spot on the rooftop at La Fonda fills up fast. It’s usually packed with tourists, but the view—from the fifth floor, the highest in the center of town—is inspiring.

The Belltower at night. Photo © Ryan Heffernan, courtesy of La Fonda.

The Belltower at night. Photo © Ryan Heffernan, courtesy of La Fonda.

Thunderbird

If there’s no room at Bell Tower, the next best spot is Thunderbird (50 Lincoln Ave., 505/490-6550, 11:30am-midnight daily), which has a second-floor porch with views onto the plaza. At happy hour, margaritas are $5; it starts early (4pm-6pm), but kicks in again after 10pm.

Taberna La Boca

Hidden away inside a block near the plaza, Taberna La Boca (125 Lincoln Ave., 505/988-7102, 11:30am-2pm and 5pm-11pm daily) has a nice patio with a chummy scene starting at happy hour (5pm-7pm). At that time, wine or sherry can be had from $3 a glass, and traditional tapas start at $2.

El Farol

Over on Canyon Road, El Farol (808 Canyon Rd., 505/983-9912, 11am-11pm Sun.-Thurs., 11am-midnight Fri.-Sat.) is a perennial favorite. A bar since 1835, it’s the gallery owners’ clubhouse, and exuberant dancing occasionally breaks out on the tiny dance floor. There’s a long front deck, and a nice back patio too. Happy hour is 3pm-6pm.

The Mary Hatch is El Farol's most famous cocktail. Photo courtesy of El Farol.

The Mary Hatch is El Farol’s most famous cocktail. Photo courtesy of El Farol.

Cowgirl BBQ

The mellow patio scene at Cowgirl BBQ (319 S. Guadalupe St., 505/982-2565, 11:30am-midnight Mon.-Thurs., 11am-1am Fri.-Sat., 11am-11:30pm Sun.) gets started early, with happy hour kicking off at 3pm and lasting till 6pm, with two-for-one apps and $4 margaritas. It’s good later, too, with live music many nights.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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Visiting New Mexico Reservations and Pueblos https://moon.com/2016/10/visit-reservations-and-pueblos-etiquette-events/ https://moon.com/2016/10/visit-reservations-and-pueblos-etiquette-events/#respond Wed, 05 Oct 2016 19:18:53 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=45431 Get a primer on etiquette for visitors to reservations and pueblos, and take a look at the upcoming schedule of dances, feasts, and festivals taking place at New Mexico pueblos to experience Native American culture firsthand.

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When visiting reservations and pueblos, remember that you are not at a tourist attraction—you are walking around someone’s neighborhood. So peeking in windows and wandering off the suggested route isn’t polite. If you want to take photos, you’ll usually need a camera permit, for an additional fee. Always ask permission before taking photos of people, and ask parents, rather than children, for their consent. Virtually all pueblos ban alcohol.

Red adobe structure at Taos Pueblo, New Mexico.

Taos Pueblo—one of the most beautiful spots in the state, the organic adobe structures seemingly untouched by time (only seemingly—in fact, they get a fresh coat of mud nearly every year). Photo © Florian Blümm/123rf.

The most rewarding time to visit is on a big feast day.Some pueblos are more welcoming than others. Some are open year-round, whereas others are completely closed, except for some feast days. It’s flawed logic to seek out the less-visited places or go in the off times in order to have a less “touristy” experience. In fact, the most rewarding time to visit is on a big feast day—you may not be the only tourist there, but you have a better chance of being invited into a local’s home.

Some Pueblo Indians find loud voices, direct eye contact, and firm handshakes off-putting and, by the same token, may not express themselves in the forthright way a lot of visitors are used to. Similarly, a subdued reaction doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of enthusiasm.

Don’t drive off road for any reason—that’s somebody’s land and livelihood. It’s a good idea to hire a guide to take you around, as there are can be places that are off limits without one.

Dances, Feasts, and Festivals

The following are only approximate schedules—dates can vary from year to year. Annual feast days typically involve carnivals and markets in addition to dances. Confirm details and start times—usually afternoon, but sometimes following an evening or midnight Mass—with the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (505/843-7270) before setting out.

Vicinity of Albuquerque

  • January 1: Jemez and Matachines
  • January 6: Most pueblos hold various dances
  • February 2: San Felipe, various dances for Candlemas (Día de la Candelaria)
  • Easter: Most pueblos hold various dances
  • May 1: San Felipe, Feast of San Felipe
  • June 13: Sandia, Feast of San Antonio
  • June 29: Santa Ana, Feast of San Pedro
  • July 14: Cochiti, Feast of San Bonaventura
  • July 26: Santa Ana, Feast of Santa Ana
  • August 2: Jemez, Feast of Santa Persingula
  • August 15: Zia, Feast of the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother
  • September 4: Isleta, Feast of Saint Augustine
  • September 8: Isleta (Encinal), Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin
  • November 12: Jemez, Feast of San Diego
  • December 12: Jemez and Los Matachines

Taos Pueblo

Taos’s biggest annual festivity (for which many local businesses close) is the Feast of San Geronimo, the patron saint assigned to Taos Pueblo by the Spanish when they built their first mission there in 1619. The holiday starts the evening of September 29 with vespers in the pueblo church and continues the next day with footraces and a pole-climbing contest. La Hacienda de los Martinez usually reenacts a 19th-century Taos trade fair, with mountain men, music, and artisans’ demonstrations.

  • January 1: Turtle dance
  • January 6: Deer or buffalo dance
  • May 3: Feast of Santa Cruz, corn dance
  • June 13: Feast of San Antonio, corn dance
  • June 24: Feast of San Juan, corn dance
  • July 25-26: Feast of Santiago and Santa Ana, corn dances and footraces
  • September 29-30: Feast of San Geronimo
  • December 24: Sundown procession and children’s dance
  • December 25: Various dances

Zuni Pueblo

Zuni’s largest event of the year is the ritual of Shalako (also spelled Sha’la’ko). This marks the end of the agricultural season and the beginning of winter in late November or early December. Although many of the prayers and dances take place in areas closed to visitors, it is still a remarkable time to visit the pueblo.

Other secular events throughout the year include the Zuni Cultural Arts Expo, in late July or early August; the McKinley County Fair, also in August; the Ancient Way Fall Festival, an arts and harvest festival all along Highway 53 in early October; and the Holiday Arts Market, in early December. The visitors center can confirm dates.

Travel map of New Mexico

New Mexico


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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Accessibility in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico https://moon.com/2016/09/accessibility-in-arizona-utah-new-mexico/ https://moon.com/2016/09/accessibility-in-arizona-utah-new-mexico/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:35:27 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=45432 While travelers with disabilities will find about the same accessibility in the Southwest as in the rest of the US, these tips can make your travels easier.

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Accessibility for travelers throughout the southwest varies from state to state, but in general you’ll find levels on par with the rest of the United States. Utah takes the lead for leaping ahead of providing the bare necessities; Arizona’s a close runner-up; and New Mexico trails behind due to its number of historic properties.

Inside the Visitors Center at the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

Inside the Visitors Center at the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

But first things first: If you’ll be visiting a lot of wilderness areas, you should get the National Park Service’s Access Pass (888/467-2757), a free lifetime pass that grants admission for the pass-holder and three adults to all national parks, national forests, and the like, as well as discounts on interpretive services, camping fees, fishing licenses, and more. Apply in person at any federally managed park or wilderness area; you must show medical documentation of blindness or permanent disability.

The NPS Access Pass. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

The NPS Access Pass. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

Wheelchair access can be frustrating in some historic properties and on the narrower sidewalks of Santa Fe and Taos.The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority provides for information on the assistance available in Las Vegas.

Travelers with disabilities will find Utah quite progressive when it comes to accessibility issues, especially in the heavily traveled national parks in southern Utah. Most parks offer all-abilities trails, and many hotels advertise their fully accessible facilities.

Wheelchair access can be frustrating in some historic properties and on the narrower sidewalks of Santa Fe and Taos, but in most other respects, travelers with disabilities should find no more problems in New Mexico than elsewhere in the United States. Public buses are wheelchair-accessible, an increasing number of hotels have ADA-compliant rooms, and you can even get out in nature a bit on paved trails such as the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve loop or the Paseo del Bosque in Albuquerque.

Many of the best sights in Arizona are accessible in one way or another. Grand Canyon National Park operates wheelchair-accessible park shuttles and the park’s website has a downloadable accessibility guide. The Grand Canyon and most of the other major federal parks have accessible trails and viewpoints. For advice and links to other helpful Internet resources, go to www.disabledtravelers.com, which is based in Arizona and is full of accessible travel information, though it’s not specific to the state. The National Accessible Travelers Database may also be helpful. For questions specific to Arizona, you may want to contact the state Department of Administration’s Office for Americans with Disabilities (100 N. 15th Ave., Ste. 361, Phoenix, 602/542-6276 or 800/358-3617, or TTY 602/542-6686).


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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Fun for Kids in Santa Fe https://moon.com/2016/09/fun-for-kids-santa-fe/ https://moon.com/2016/09/fun-for-kids-santa-fe/#respond Sun, 18 Sep 2016 13:31:48 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=44735 Santa Fe is full of fun for kids, from museums and bookstores to creepy crawlies and mud pies. Here's where to go to get kids involved.

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Santa Fe is full of fun for kids, from museums and bookstores to creepy crawlies and mud pies. The following are all open 10am-5pm Monday-Saturday, except where noted.
The plaza in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photo © Thomas Fikar/123rf.

The plaza in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photo © Thomas Fikar/123rf.

  • Santa Fe Children’s Museum (1050 Old Pecos Tr., 505/989-8359, 10am-6pm Tues.-Wed., Fri.-Sat., 10am-6:30pm Thurs., noon-5pm Sun., $7.50) A free-ranging landscape for kids focused on discovery and play. Expect mud pies, dinosaurs, puddle-jumping, and robots.
  • Bee Hive (328 Montezuma Ave., 505/780-8051, also open noon-4pm Sun.) A lovingly curated kids’ bookstore, often with story time on Saturdays.
  • Dinosaurs & More (137 W. San Francisco St., 505/988-3299, also open Sun.) The owner can tell a story about nearly every meteorite, fossil, and geode in the place.
  • Doodlet’s (120 Don Gaspar St., 505/983-3771) Open since 1955, this corner shop is filled with bits and bobs for kids and adults, from toy accordions to kitchen tchotchkes.
taxidermy display at Harrell House of Natural Oddities in Santa Fe

A taxidermy display at Harrell House of Natural Oddities in Santa Fe. Photo © McLevn, licensed CC BY-SA.

  • Harrell House of Natural Oddities (DeVargas Center, 177-B Paseo de Peralta, 505/695-8569, 10am-7pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-6pm Sat., noon-5pm Sun., $5) An amazing live collection of spiders, snakes, lizards, and more. Kids can pet giant millipedes and fuzzy tarantulas.
  • Moon Rabbit Toys (112 W. San Francisco St., 505/982-9373, also open noon-4pm Sun.) Worth seeking out inside the Plaza Mercado, for its house-designed strategy games.
  • Toyopolis (150 Washington Ave., 505/988-5422) The closest toy store to the plaza, for emergency distraction.
  • Warehouse 21 (1614 Paseo de Peralta, 505/989-4423) This teen arts center hosts a range of workshops, performances, and more.

Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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Route 66 Through New Mexico https://moon.com/2016/09/route-66-through-new-mexico/ https://moon.com/2016/09/route-66-through-new-mexico/#respond Sun, 18 Sep 2016 12:54:44 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=42268 New Mexico’s culture, food, and landscape set it apart from any other place on Route 66. Learn about the route's history and where to eat the best chiles, plus get tips on driving across the state and advice on planning your time.

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New Mexico’s culture, food, and landscape set it apart from any other place on Route 66.

Welcome to the “Land of Enchantment.”Here you’ll see the oldest community in the country, one of the oldest churches, and the oldest continuously used public building in the United States. As Route 66 crosses New Mexico, it passes over three distinct topographies, with elevations ranging from 3,800 to 7,500 feet; these include the Pecos and Canadian Valleys of the Great Plains, the Basin and Range Plateau, and the Intermountain Plateau. Hidden amid the valleys and curves are quaint Spanish villages, soul-stirring sunsets, rustic adobe-brick chapels, and sun-kissed pueblos set against a cerulean sky. Welcome to the “Land of Enchantment.”

New Mexico was the wildest part of the West—nothing compared to the all-out revolts that took place here. The state’s deep, multicultural history encompasses the Spaniards, Mexicans, and Indians who fought to claim the territory and retain their independence. Once the violence subsided, the state was filled with native communities that were walled off like fortresses. Today, New Mexico is home to 19 pueblos, each of which has its own distinct culture and traditions, as well as two Apache tribes and about 107,000 members of the Navajo Nation.

A crumbling church bell tower and wooden crosses mark the site of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.

A crumbling church bell tower and wooden crosses mark the site of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Photo © Goran Bogicevic/123rf.

In 1912, there were only 28 miles of paved roads in New Mexico. Between 1933 and 1941, government spending to build roads increased, but the state’s diverse topography gave early highway engineers quite a challenge. Originally, Route 66 zigzagged northwest along the Santa Fe Trail, from Santa Rosa to Santa Fe, and then dipped south to Albuquerque and Los Lunas before heading west to Gallup.

Then in 1937, a major realignment changed Route 66’s north-south trajectory into an east-west corridor (and made Albuquerque one of the few Route 66 towns with two alignments that intersect). The new, more direct road shortened the route through the state from 506 to 399 miles. After all was said and done, Route 66 became New Mexico’s first completely paved highway.

Planning Your Time

You can speed across New Mexico in 2-3 days, but there’s a lot to do. Route 66 enters the state near Glenrio. Spend the night in Tucumcari, just 40 miles west. The next day, follow the pre-1937 alignment along the scenic “Santa Fe Loop” (rather than following I-40 between Santa Rosa and Albuquerque), ending in Santa Fe for a second overnight.

From Santa Fe, a side trip to Taos will add a day, but is completely worth it to visit the Earthship Biotecture. Another overnight—either Taos or Albuquerque—is recommended so that there’s time to visit the Acoma Pueblo before zipping through Gallup to cross the border into Arizona.

blue swallow motel

The Blue Swallow Motel on Route 66. Photo © Sylvain L., licensed CC BY.

Local Eats

New Mexico grows more chile peppers than any other state in the United States. In fact, it takes its chile so seriously that it’s even spelled differently (Chil is an Aztec word that means pepper; the Spanish added the “e” at the end). Chile is both the state vegetable and its largest agricultural crop. New Mexican chiles have a distinct and delicious flavor—perhaps it’s the convergence of 400 years of Spanish and American Indian history. Farmers have been perfecting the art of growing, drying, and roasting chiles in the southwestern sunshine for centuries. The climate of warm days and cool nights with a steady wind produce the best-tasting chile. If you visit in the fall during roasting season, the air is perfumed with their sweet, earthy aroma.

Route 66 road-trippers will have a big decision to make with each meal: whether to order red or green chile. Green has a tangy flavor, similar to a green tomato, while red is imbued with a rich, deep, earthy flavor. If you can’t decide, just order “Christmas-style” for a bit of both.

Best Restaurants

  • Comet II Drive-In, Santa Rosa: This former carhop serves up some serious green chile.
  • Santa Fe Bite, Santa Fe: Bite into the best green-chile cheeseburger in New Mexico.
  • Tia Sophia’s, Santa Fe: This locals’ hangout serves New Mexican cuisine and some of the best green chile in Santa Fe.
  • Sugar Nymphs Bistro, Peñasco: It’s worth the drive just to dine on locally sourced cuisine served by the former executive chef of the famed Greens Restaurant in San Francisco.
  • Jerry’s, Gallup: Don’t leave New Mexico without trying the chiles rellenos at this classic.

Driving Considerations

There’s so much to see and do in New Mexico that you could easily spend two weeks here. Plan ahead in order to experience much as you can in one of the most magnificent states on the Mother Road. If time is running out, I-40 and I-25 will quickly get you to the next destination. Gas is available in Tucumcari, Santa Rosa, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos, and Gallup.

A storm gathers over the desert in New Mexico. Photo © Paul Moore/123rf.

A storm gathers over the desert in New Mexico. Photo © Paul Moore/123rf.


If you happen to be driving through New Mexico from mid-June through September, this is monsoon season. Practically every afternoon, the sky opens up like clockwork to rain for about an hour. Sometimes the showers are quite dramatic with lightning and thunder. But as soon as the storm passes, the sun usually comes out and the skies are even more gorgeous.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Route 66 Road Trip.

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Southwest Road Trip: Quick Stops and Roadside Attractions https://moon.com/2016/08/southwest-road-trip-roadside-attractions/ https://moon.com/2016/08/southwest-road-trip-roadside-attractions/#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 12:28:37 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=44920 Quick roadside pullovers recharge your batteries and fight road weariness. Here's where to stop and stretch your legs on a southwest road trip.

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Quick roadside pullovers recharge your batteries and fight road weariness. The Southwest Road Trip loop is flush with worthwhile roadside attractions, like caverns, ruins, and hot springs. Here are a few ideas to get you out of the car along different legs of the trip.

Don't just drive through the Virgin River Gorge, take some time to get out and really see the area!

Don’t just drive through the Virgin River Gorge, take some time to get out and really see the area! Photo © Malgorzata Litkowska/123rf.

Las Vegas to Zion

Don’t risk missing the spectacular Virgin River Gorge while you’re driving through it at 75 mph. Pull over and visit the Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area to see it in all its glory.

Zion to Bryce Canyon

Take time out from driving to tour the Maynard Dixon Living History Museum, where you’ll see the great painter’s charming home and studio and his unique impressions of the landscape.

Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef

Learn about Ancestral Puebloans and their architecture at the Anasazi State Park Museum.

Owatomo Bridge in Utah's Natural Bridges National Monument.

Owatomo Bridge in Utah’s Natural Bridges National Monument. Photo © amadeustx/123rf.

Capitol Reef to Moab

At Utah’s first national monument, Natural Bridges National Monument, see a few of Mother Nature’s wonders.

Moab to Monument Valley

See the ruins of a Chacoan great house at Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum.

Both Goosenecks State Park and Valley of the Gods offer stunning views of the Utah landscape.

Mesa Verde to Santa Fe

Stop at Pagosa Springs, a wooded resort town along the San Juan River, to soak your road-weary bones in the world’s deepest natural hot spring.

Travel map - Southwest Road Trip Driving Distances

Southwest Road Trip Driving Distances


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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Route 66 New Mexico Side Trip: Fort Sumner Historic Site https://moon.com/2016/08/route-66-new-mexico-side-trip-fort-sumner-historic-site/ https://moon.com/2016/08/route-66-new-mexico-side-trip-fort-sumner-historic-site/#respond Sat, 27 Aug 2016 14:04:53 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=42271 Today, the Fort Sumner Historic Site memorializes the internment of 9,000 Native Americans, teaching visitors about the tragic history of the doomed Bosque Redondo Reservation.

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In the 1860s, more than 8,500 Navajo and 500 Mescalero Apache were interned on the one-million-acre Bosque Redondo reservation along the banks of the Pecos River overseen by the troops of Fort Sumner.

After the U.S. Army forced the Mescalero Apache people to leave their homeland, they brought them to Bosque Redondo in 1863. The Navajo were forced to walk hundreds of miles here, starving along the way. Upon arrival, they were then forced to build the fort, a dam, dig ditches, and plant cottonwood trees. The plan was to “teach” the Navajo and Mescalero Apache how to be self-sufficient—but they had already been self-sufficient for centuries before the Europeans arrived. No shelter was provided; instead the Navajo lived in pits and used tree branches for protection. As the U.S. government severely underestimated the amount of food needed to feed the population at the fort, approximately 20 percent of the American Indians starved to death.

bosque redondo illustration

Illustration from The History and Government of New Mexico by John H. Vaughan, published by State College, NM. Public domain photo.

Bosque Redondo Memorial

In the 1860s, more than 8,500 Navajo and 500 Mescalero Apache were interned on the one-million-acre Bosque Redondo reservation along the banks of the Pecos River.The site today is the Bosque Redondo Memorial (3647 Billy the Kid Rd., 575/355-2573, 8:30am-4:30pm Wed.-Sun., $3).

Navajo architect David Sloan designed the Mescalero Apache and Navajo memorial in the shape of an Apache teepee. Take the 0.75-mile outdoor interpretive trail to see the Indian Commissary where crops were stored, the area where the 1868 Navajo treaty was signed, and the entrance to the Fort Sumner Military Center and barracks with 30-inch adobe walls that housed 637 soldiers. There’s also a plaque at the site where Billy the Kid was killed by Sherriff Pat Garrett in 1881. The museum is being redesigned, but there are informative panels and a video recapping the history of the site. The on-site gift shop sells hand-woven rugs, pottery, books, mugs, clothing, and tribal jewelry.

Bosque Redondo Memorial in new Mexico

Bosque Redondo Memorial Site. Photo taken by Norbert Herrera and provided courtesy of Bosque Redondo Memorial.

Getting to Fort Sumner

From I-40 in Santa Rosa, take Exit 277 to get on U.S. 84 South. Drive 40 miles to the village of Fort Sumner. Turn left (east) on Highway 60 and continue on U.S. 84. Turn right (south) on Billy the Kid Road. The site is 3.5 miles on the right (west).

Billy the Kid’s Gravesite

Also in Fort Sumner is Billy the Kid’s gravesite; the famous outlaw was killed here in 1881. There are several signs claiming to have the “real grave of Billy the Kid”; it’s still unclear where he actually is, but his headstone is in the graveyard behind the Old Fort Sumner Museum. It was stolen more than once so now it’s caged up. The Billy the Kid Museum (1435 E. Sumner Ave., 575/355-2380, 8:30am-5pm daily, $5) has more stories about the infamous teenage outlaw’s life. Also on-site are his chaps, spurs, rifle, and other memorabilia.

Billy the Kid grave at Fort Sumner

Gravesite of Billy the Kid at Fort Sumner. Photo © Megan Eaves, licensed CC BY-SA.

Getting There

The gravestone is in the Old Fort Sumner Cemetery in the Fort Sumner Park near Billy the Kid Drive and Old Fort Park Road. The museum is on U.S. 60/84 in the east side of the town of Fort Sumner.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Route 66 Road Trip.

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The Burning of Zozobra https://moon.com/2016/08/the-burning-of-zozobra/ https://moon.com/2016/08/the-burning-of-zozobra/#respond Fri, 19 Aug 2016 13:28:43 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=44921 Every fall a raucous chant fills the air in Santa Fe’s Fort Marcy Park: “Burn him! Burn him! Burn him!” It’s not a witch hunt, but the ritual torching of Zozobra, a 50-foot-tall marionette with long, grasping arms, glowering eyes, and a moaning voice.

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Moon Southwest Road Trip: The Burning of Zozobra

Every fall a raucous chant fills the air in Santa Fe’s Fort Marcy Park: “Burn him! Burn him! Burn him!” It’s not a witch hunt, but the ritual torching of Zozobra, a 50-foot-tall marionette with long, grasping arms, glowering eyes, and a moaning voice. Old Man Gloom, as he’s also known, represents the accumulated sorrows of the populace, as in the weeks before the event, he’s stuffed with divorce papers, pictures of ex-girlfriends, hospital gowns, and other anxiety-inducing scraps. Setting this aflame purges these troubles and allows for a fresh start.

Old Man Gloom, as he’s also known, represents the accumulated sorrows of the populace.This Santa Fe tradition sounds like a medieval rite, but it dates only from the 1920s, when artist Will Shuster—a bit of a local legend who’s also credited with inventing piñon-juniper incense and starting the tradition of citywide bonfires on Christmas Eve—wanted to lighten up the heavily Catholic Fiesta de Santa Fe. Shuster, who had moved to Santa Fe in 1920 to treat his tuberculosis, was inspired by the Mummers Parade from his native Philadelphia, as well as the Yaqui Indians in Tucson, Arizona, who burn Judas in effigy in the week before Easter. A 1926 Santa Fe New Mexican article describes the spectacle Shuster developed, with the help of the Kiwanis Club:

Zozobra … stood in ghastly silence illuminated by weird green fires. While the band played a funeral march, a group of Kiwanians in black robes and hoods stole around the figure…. [Then] red fires blazed at the foot … and leaped into a column of many colored flames…. And throwing off their black robes the spectators emerged in gala costume, joining an invading army of bright-hued harlequins with torches in a dance around the fires as the band struck up “La Cucaracha.”

Old Man Gloom through the years.

Old Man Gloom through the years. Photos courtesy of Zozobra.

Shuster oversaw Zozobra nearly every year until 1964. In the late 1930s, Errol Flynn, in town with Olivia de Havilland and Ronald Reagan to film The Santa Fe Trail, set Zozobra aflame. A few years later, during World War II, the puppet was dubbed Hirohitlomus. In 1950, Zozobra appeared on the New Mexico state float in the Rose Bowl parade and won the national trophy.

Although Zozobra (aka O.M.G.) has a Twitter account these days and accepts worries-to-burn online, the spectacle is roughly unchanged, with dozens of white-clad children playing “glooms,” followed by a “fire dancer” who taunts Zozo until he bursts into flame; fireworks cap it off. It’s a fine sight, and a great cross section of Santa Feans attend. But anyone leery of crowds may prefer to watch from outside the perimeter of the ball field.

Zozobra is packed full of the sorrows of the populace.

Zozobra is packed full of the sorrows of the populace. Photo © Andreas Maestas.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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