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New Mexico

New Mexico…. The Land of Enchantment. I was looking forward to finding out how it earned its name. I started my trip in Albuquerque, made my way up to Santa Fe and then up north to Taos. Each place had its own unique character and I’d recommend checking out each of them. I started my trip in Old Town, Albuquerque, where I enjoyed lunch at a Mexican restaurant and browsed the many jewelry, pottery and souvenir shops. That night I made my way up to Santa Fe and stayed in an extremely relaxing, eco-friendly resort, The Sunshine Springs Resort Spa. The resort is about twenty minutes south of downtown Santa Fe, which provides a perfect balance to the day. You can spend your day shopping and sightseeing in the Santa Fe Plaza and Museum Hill and when everything is closing down around five, head back to the resort for a quiet, delicious dinner with some organic wine at their restaurant, the Blue Heron. You can get in a workout or unwind in the sauna, pool, or hot tub. The resort is the perfect getaway for the girls, a great location for a retreat, or for anyone simply looking to unwind.

Artist Megan Lloyd Hill, whose beautiful work lines the walls of the resort, locally owns Sunrise Springs Resort. The property is a compound of 70 acres of spring fed ponds, walking trails, and healing gardens. Sunrise Springs is an eco-resort and features organic and green products in the spa and restaurant. I personally loved the ayurvedic shampoo and conditioner in my peaceful casita. In the mini apartment, I had a gas fireplace, kitchenette, meditation room and a patio so I could sit out and look up at the perfectly clear sky with all the stars. The other rooms on property feature patios or balconies overlooking the spring-fed ponds or healing gardens. In addition to the wonderful spa Samadhi with its many treatments from hot stone massages to intuitive readings, the resort houses the Sages Art Center which offers yoga, tai Chi, Raku Pottery, and art instruction. The Peace Lodge, designed and built by a member of the Cheyenne Tribe, is used for ceremony and purification. They also hold tea ceremonies in their Japanese teahouse to help guests get away from their everyday stresses. My only wish was that I had more time there to enjoy everything. The next morning, I made my way into town to do some exploring. The Santa Fe Plaza is similar to the one in Old Town Albuquerque with its variety of shops, but you’ll also find several museums and attractions. If you’re looking for a little nightlife to complement your trip, there are numerous casinos just north of Santa Fe.

Taos was my next stop. About an hour and a half from Santa Fe, Taos is absolutely beautiful. With ski season in full swing, the snowcapped mountains were breathtaking and the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge was definitely a sight to see. Taos Pueblo should also be another stop on your trip. Here you can see adobe housing where artists live and have shops. Since I was there after it had snowed, there was a ton of mud everywhere you walked, so be prepared with the right shoes. Taos also has a shopping plaza in the middle of town and a 100% smokefree casino.

The last stop on my journey really defined the enchantment part of my trip. Every October, Albuquerque has a balloon fiesta, where hundreds of hot air balloons take to the sky for a week. I was thrilled to learn that I could take a hot air balloon ride over the Rio Grande Valley any day I wanted. I’d never been in one before, so I was definitely very excited. Although there are many companies that offer rides, I contacted Rainbow Ryders, as they are the official Ride Concession for the International Balloon Fiesta with an impeccable safety record and thousands of hours of flight experience. They picked me up at the hotel at 6:30am and brought me to the field to watch them blow up the balloons. It was a spectacular sight! There were twelve of us headed for the sky, so you can imagine how big the balloon was! The first moments as we lifted off the ground were amazing and then it was a very peaceful ride after that. Mike, our pilot, explained everything we were seeing below and the history behind ballooning. After an hour ride, we were treated to a champagne brunch and we each received a flight certificate and pin. If you are going to do just one thing while in Albuquerque, this should be it! The Sandia Peak tramway, the longest aerial tram in the world is also here and a definite must see. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and didn’t make it here, but with over 300 days of sunshine, you better believe I’m heading back there soon!

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