Northcentral New Mexico Road Trip
Where would you go if you want to enjoy incredible and diverse landscapes, glimpse into prehistoric human lives, experience eclectic art, and distinctive cuisine? Of course – New Mexico! A land of contrasts, formed by folding, faulting, and erupting earth. Our first road trip to New Mexico was a prelude to a deep admiration for the Land of Enchantment. We decided to explore the northcentral part of the state for its cultural richness, gorgeous mountain ranges, high deserts, and fascinating art.
It was a packed road trip to experience the New Mexico spirit. With a tank full of petrol, a car full of excited family, assorted snacks, and updated apps, we cranked up our favorite tunes and got on roads to soak in New Mexico’s bliss.
Come along for a two-week journey of exploring northcentral New Mexico.
Day 1: Acoma Pueblo (drive time about an hour)
Day 2: Petroglyph national monument (drive time about 15 mins)
Los Alamos (drive time about 2 hours)
Day 3: Journey to Los Alamos
Day 4: Los Alamos
Day 5: Bandelier National Monument (drive time less than 30 mins)
Abiquiu (drive time less than an hour)
Day 6: Town exploration
Day 7: Echo Amphitheater, Monastery of Christ in the Desert, and Ghost Ranch
Santa Fe (drive time less than an hour)
Day 8: Town exploration
Day 9: Galleries and Museums
Taos (drive time about 2 hours)
Day 10: Journey to Taos via High Road
Day 11: Carson National Forest
Day 12: Taos Pueblo and museums an Earthship
Day 13: San Francisco de Asís Mission Church
COVID NOTE: Some of the museums are either temporarily closed or required pre-booking for visiting. Please make sure to check their websites for updates.
We made it to Albuquerque after a ten hours drive from home – everyone is alive and kicking. It was fun reading about the history of road tripping in the USA with kids. Half the family wanted to jump and run around, and the other half wanted to eat and get into a horizontal position. After some compromises and promises, we called it a day.
Tip: Albuquerque is home to the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. Balloon Fiesta Festival is held in October every year when the sky lights up with thousands of colorful balloons.
Day 1: Acoma Pueblo
From miles away, we saw a board mesa with sheer walls and as we drove closer dwellings perched atop this 367-foot sandstone became visible. Acoma Pueblo is considered the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States (along with Hopi and Taos pueblos).
Kids were excited to visit a village in the sky, and so were we. We spent some time at the Haak’u Museum to understand Acoma’s history. Museum exhibits and videos at Ts’ikinum’a Theater give great insights into the heartbreaking history and rich culture of Acoma Pueblo. Acoma Pueblo was built sometime between 1100 and 1250 A.D. Pueblo life started changing for the worse with the arrival of Spanish conquistadors. Juan de Onate, the first colonial governor of New Mexico, filled Acoma’s history with extreme atrocities and cruelty. Those scars are still very fresh.
We climbed up the mesa and walked through the pueblo. I was thinking about the morning on January 24, 1599, when about 70 soldiers destroyed this village and killed men, women, and children. All men over the age of twenty-five had their right foot chopped off and were enslaved. All men between the ages of twelve to twenty-five and all women over the age of twelve were enslaved.
Today, fewer than 50 of the 3,000 Acomans live at the pueblo, the remaining residents live in the nearby villages.
A huge San Estévan del Rey Mission Church dominates the otherwise humble skyline of Acoma Pueblo. For Native Americans, this impressive work of architecture is a symbol of ruthless suppression of religious practices and persistent abuse of Pueblo labor. It was built in 1640 as a gesture of peace and to Christianize the Indians. It took eleven years to complete the San Estévan del Rey Mission which included a massive church, convent, and cemetery. All the building materials were hauled up by the enslaved inhabitants. Today, San Estevan del Rey Mission church features a large collection of Spanish colonial paintings, an original hand-hewn circular staircase, and hand-carved rails.
Overwhelmed by the bloody history of Acoma, we walked around adobe homes – stone and wood structures covered in a mud mixture, big ovens, and long skyward ladders. These wooden ladders are not just a means to access rooms above, they are also a symbol of cultural continuity, connecting adobe-dwellers to one another, their ancestors, and the universe.
Our 10-year old daughter made it simple for her little brother in her wise tone, “These are Native American’s apartments, they used to call them pueblos.” Her brother nodded in agreement.
Back in Albuquerque, it is time to keep our promise and take kids to the Balloon Museum for some pure wonder and fun.
Tip: I will highly recommend taking a guided tour to Acoma Pueblo, which is about an hour and a half long. Check here for the pricing, timings, and other information about the tours.
Day 2: Petroglyph National Monument
No brutal oppressing history for today. Today we peeked at the cultural expressions of Native Americans and early Spanish settlers etched in rocks. First, we had to explain to our 3-year old son, what is a petroglyph, as he is not satisfied with his sister’s explanation. “You make art using crayons and paper. When crayons and paper were not invented yet, people made art with a sharp stone on a flat stone. And guess what? This rock art is still there after so many hundreds of years. Let’s go and see it”, putting his thumb in his mouth he looked pleased. We saved rock chemistry talk for our daughter and contemplation of profound cultural significance for us.
Petroglyph National Monument is just 15 minutes away from Albuquerque. It is one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America. There may be over 25,000 petroglyph images along with hundreds of small archaeological sites, within three small canyons – Boca Negra, Rinconada, and Piedras Marcadas. Monument also protects five extinct volcanic cones.
I will suggest budgeting one-two hours for hiking each canyon. Our kids were thrilled to explore thousands of depictions of animals, people, and stars, and abstract images in the canyons. If you have to pick only one, my recommendation is Rinconada Canyon. Boca Negra Canyon is the most developed one and worth exploring if you have time.
Little brother nodded his head again in agreement when his sister summed it for him, “It is a big ancient art gallery without a building.”
Tip: Wear sturdy walking shoes, slather all exposed skin with sunscreen, carry plenty of water, bring binoculars, and stay alert of rattlesnakes from spring through fall. Park is for day use only.
Day 3: Journey to Los Alamos
“It is about the journey, not a destination”, such a cliché! Today it is about journey and destination both. We took a 90-mile section of Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway, quite a mouthful, huh! Like its name, the scenery is also expansive and spectacular dotted with living ancient cultures. We made several stops along the way to keep everyone in a happy mood. I have learned the key to success while road tripping with kids is to give them a sense of empowerment (note the word “a sense of”). But first, a short 5-mile detour to see Gilman Tunnels check what the hype is all about.
We got off Highway 4 and turned to NM 486. The canyon gradually narrows and the slopes become near-vertical cliffs of hard red rock. A century ago a logging railroad blasted two holes through the steep, granite walls of this box canyon to haul timber out of the western Jemez Mountains. The company train tracks are long gone along with countless ponderosa pines, two holes in the mountain remain. Named after William H. Gilman, CEO of Santa Fe Northwestern Railway, these tunnels are a gateway to the forest beyond, a road back in time, and a great filming location. 3:10 to Yuma, The Lone Ranger, and The Scorch Trials were filmed here.
The next stop was worth stopping. Jemez National Historic Landmark is a stone ruin of a 700-year-old village. We got down and walked around a bit before stopping again at Jemez Spring Soda Dam. It is not a man-made dam, it is an interesting bridge of calcium carbonate over the Jemez River formed by hot springs. These hot springs are heated by the hot rock and magma beneath Valles Caldera, the aftermath of an ancient volcano.
Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway passes through the wilderness of Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera National Preserve. Hiking, biking, fishing, so much to do here! We hiked a 2-mile Las Conchas Trail to shake out the kinks in our legs and tire out two bouncy kids. A serene stroll along the East Fork of the Jemez River through a series of open meadows filled with wildflowers did well to our spirits.
With calmness restored inside the car, we continued our journey. Valles Caldera was the next and last stop for today. A caldera is a large, shallow crater formed when a volcano explodes and collapses in on itself. A 13-mile wide circular depression created by a volcanic eruption about 1.25 million years ago, now it contains beautiful mountain meadows and meandering streams.
It is home to elks, prairie dogs, coyotes, badgers, black bears, Eastern mountain bluebirds, and golden eagles. La Jara Loop is a beautiful, easy hike that passes through a prairie dog colony. Our plan was to hike this loop but the kids refused to hike further. They were thrilled to see so many prairie dogs and we ended up observing them as our daughter pretended to be Sir Attenborough. The joys of traveling with kids are endless!
Day 4: Los Alamos
Sitting atop Pajarito Plateau and forged by a volcano Los Alamos town holds incredible stories written all over its buildings and streets. First Pueblo ancestors and then Hispanic homesteaders called it home for many years. Then for twenty-five years, boys from rich families come here for the prestigious Los Alamos Ranch School. It was sealed for fifteen years during World War II and opened in 1957. That’s some incredible history for any town!
It was a day for time-travel and our daughter took it literally. We started from the museum managed by the Los Alamos Historical Society to get the full story of the area and plan our time-travel route. This building used to be the guest cottage for Los Alamos Ranch School. Now a small museum is packed with impressive exhibits about the geological and human history of the area. Guided walking tours are available on certain days of the week, though we preferred to walk at our slow pace.
After a little over an hour of going through exhibits, we were ready to start from the beginning – the Ancestral Pueblo site built around 800 years ago by the ancestors of modern Pueblo people. Looking at the original footprints of the rooms and kiva, and imagining their lives so long ago is fascinating.
We jumped into 1913 at Romero Cabin. This cabin was moved from the Army owned plateau. It is open on select days and unfortunately, today was not one of the select days. By crossing the road we skipped just a few years ahead into the original main building for the Los Alamos Ranch School. We stayed in the 1920s for some time admiring Fuller Lodge, a beautiful three-story log building that served as a dining hall of the school and then for scientists of the Manhattan Project. In the 1960s, the Atomic Energy Commission sold the lodge to the County of Los Alamos for $1, with the condition that it always remain a community center. That is what it is today.
We stepped into the atomic age, as we walked inside the historic Post Office, where for many years all mail came from only one address – PO Box 1663, Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1942 the US Army took over Los Alamos Ranch School for a top-secret project with the code name “Manhattan Project”. Brilliant scientific minds were brought in to work under Dr. Robert Oppenheimer at Los Alamos Laboratory – a weapons laboratory for the Manhattan Project. A modern city was built to house thousands of employees for the laboratory. None of them knew about the atom bomb building. Secrecy was paramount, only a few top scientists knew about the goal of this project. In fact, Vice-President Truman had no clue about the project until he became president. We walked the same streets where exceptional physicists walked down once and shaped modern history.
Our hearts were racing fast, as we approached 1945 and stood at the site of Ranch School Ice House. Something profoundly consequential is happening here, the nuclear core of the “Gadget” is being assembled. It will be transported to a remote desert location near Alamogordo and on July 16, 1945, will be successfully detonated. A blinding flash and 40,000 feet mushroom cloud will remind Dr. Oppenheimer of the words from Bhagavad Gita – “Now I become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/manhattan-project-robert-oppenheimer
The Allied Forces won World War II, and the cold war had started. We traveled through the 1950s and walked back towards Bathtub Row, this time for Hans Bethe House. It houses the Harold Agnew Cold War Gallery, with exhibits showcasing the post-World War II history of the Los Alamos community and the laboratory. I felt shivers down my spine as I stood in front of a replica of a Cold War Los Alamos living room. Were we happier and safer in Pueblos or now?
Grambling sounds from our bellies brought us back into the present. After a lunch break and some rest, we took the kids to Bradbury Science Museum. Somewhat tired from all the shuffling through time, kids enjoyed interactive exhibits at the museum. Take your time to explore the museum and contemplate if the use of atomic bombs was necessary. There is a lot to observe, absorb, and to ponder in Los Alamos. Museum also displays replicas of the uranium-based atom bomb “Little Boy” that destroyed Hiroshima and the plutonium-based atom bomb called “Fat Man” that targeted Nagasaki.
In the evening, we sat near Ashley Pond, while the kids laughed and played. Children have the enviable capability to enjoy the present. With closed eyes, I wondered if Richard Feynman or Oppenheimer sat at this very spot to relax and contemplate the mysteries of atoms. Stars started appearing and we headed back to our hotel after a day packed with unforgettable experiences.
Day 5: Bandelier National Monument
“What! More houses of the ancient people?” was the reaction of my daughter. “How about a fun hike in the forest?” I suggested and both looked happy with the idea of goofing around on a hike.
Here is the story of the Bandelier National Monument, an unusual and delightful ancient ruin: Several thousand years ago a volcano erupted and filled the landscape with volcanic rock and ash. Once everything cooled down, a creek started eroding the softer rock and exposing air pockets. A unique canyon with up to twenty feet in diameter holes in its walls formed. About 700 years ago people came and stayed here, they enlarged these holes, interconnected them, and made their homes. After 400 years they suffered a drought and abandoned it and moved on to some other life-sustaining place. We have named the canyon Frijoles Canyon, the creek the Frijoles Creek, and ancient people the Anasazi.
My son was 100% certain that Batman lives in one of those rock holes. After a quick walk around the conventional ruins on the canyon floor, we spent a long time following kids as they hopped from one rock-dwelling to another. The 1.5-mile Pueblo loop trail took us three hours, that’s the slow travel, my friend! The biggest thrill for my daughter was climbing long ponderosa pine ladders going 140 feet up the canyon floor to Alcove House. Once home to more than a dozen families, it has a reconstructed kiva, viga holes, and niches of ancient homes. Stay here long enough and I promise you will hear the whispers from the past echoing through the alcove walls.
We had enough time for one short hike, before driving about an hour to Abiquiu. Falls trail came with the ranger’s recommendation and it was a nice break from history and culture.
Tip: Buy a trail guide at the Park Store before starting Pueblo Loop. It has great descriptions of 21 marked stops.
Day 6: Abiquiu
We woke up in Abiquiu to another gorgeous New Mexico morning. Abiquiu is a soulful town surrounded by a desolate yet peaceful landscape. Its inspiring red-ochre mountains and cliffs compelled legendary Georgia O’Keeffe to call it home.
We saddled up bikes to roam around the town, peek inside local shops, sip coffee at cafes and visit Georgia O’Keeffe home and museum. Her home and Studio were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1998. It is a single-story house built in traditional style with modern elements like big picture windows and skylights. Georgia O’Keeffe moved here in 1946 and lived until 1984. She painted New Mexico landscapes, abstracts, flowers, animal bones and so much more. After her home, we visited the museum that has an impressive collection including the bones which she painted.
After dedicating the morning to iconic paintings of the enigmatic artist, we went for a scavenger hunt for O’Keeffe’s inspirations. About ten minutes from town is Plaza Blanca, the inspiration for O’Keeffe’s “The White Place” painting. This unusual landscape of towering white stone pillars and gnome-like hoodoos exceeded our exceptions. Kids loved running through the washes, badlands, and mesa tops, chasing each other, pretending to be a cowboy and alien. Although none of them had seen the Cowboys and Aliens movie that was filmed here.
With an exhausted cowboy and thirsty alien, we walked up to a beautiful abode mosque, a centerpiece of the Dar al Islam community that opened in 1992. Plaza Blanca is owned by Dar al Islam, a non-profit organization, no reservations or permissions are required for visiting and hiking it.
Tip: Make sure to buy advance tickets to visit Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio. While visiting Plaza Blanca wear sturdy shoes, and take plenty of water with you. Don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen, it is quite a desolate place.
Day 7: Echo Amphitheater, Monastery of Christ in the Desert, and Ghost Ranch
We drove Forest Road 151, a dirt road running along Chama River to spend some peaceful time at the remote Monastery of Christ in the Desert. The monks of this monastery are part of the 1,500-year tradition of Benedictine monasticism. It is a beautiful building surrounded by towering red and yellow cliffs.
On the way back, we took a little detour to the Echo Amphitheater. A huge curved stone cliff creates an echoing chamber. Vertical reddish stripes running down the cliff walls have inspired quite gruesome imaginations over time, these are just mineral streaks, not blood. Kids sang all the songs they knew and we shouted out their names and “i-love-yous”, and walls bounced back our voices with some added effects.
Once kids got tired of shouting, we headed back towards Abiquiu to our next stop – Ghost Ranch.
Sprawling over 21,000 acres of the colorful landscape once inhabited by dinosaurs, Ghost Ranch is a destination of its own. Long ago a safe haven for cattle rustlers and now a retreat center, Ghost Ranch has an interesting colorful history. It was also the summer home of Georgia O’Keeffe, though it is not open to the public. We kicked our Ghost Ranch experience with the Museum of Paleontology, needless to say, kids were thrilled to know that bones of dinosaurs were found at Ghost Ranch.
There are several well-maintained hikes to choose from. We opted for Chimney Rock trail going to a chimney-like stone formation. The sweeping views of Abiquiu and Abiquiu Reservoir extend all the way to a flat-top mountain. It is Pedernal Mountain, the mountain loved and painted the most by Georgia O’Keeffe, it is the mountain on which her ashes were scattered. Sunset from the top was profoundly peaceful. It was a beautiful day, indeed!
Tip: Chama River offers fun river rafting or kayaking options if you have time to consider it. Ghost Ranch has lodging and a restaurant. Book in advance, and you won’t be disappointed like us.
Day 8: Santa Fe
After an hour of drive, we reached the oldest capital city of North America, the city of art and museums – Santa Fe. At 7,200 feet above sea level, light does pretty magical things to a place.
We have lots of cover in three days here without overwhelming kids (and ourselves). We rode bikes to avoid parking hassles and a change.
What better option, then the Palace of the Governors to begin the Santa Fe experience. Situated in the heart of the city, it was built between 1610 and 1612 for Pedro de Peralta, the founder of Santa Fe. It is the oldest government building in the country and serves as New Mexico’s state history museum. Its covered portal serves as a mini market for the artists from the surrounding Pueblos. A great place to interact with local artists and buy from them.
The next stop was the adjacent New Mexico Museum of Art. The museum building is a pleasant blend of Native American and Spanish Colonial architecture styles. Opened in 1917, the New Mexico Museum of Art, was the first building in the state dedicated to art. There was not much for kids to do and in situations like this, I carry two little drawing pads with some colored pencils in my bag to keep them engaged. By the time we finished our museum visit, the plaza was bustling with festivities at the tail-end of the summer weekend.
We devoured the best home-made tamales from a street vendor and headed towards the oldest church in the United States – San Miguel Chapel. It was constructed around the same time as the Palace.
The next stop was Loretto Chapel, a favorite wedding destination. It is famous for its circular wooden 20-foot high staircase that has two 360-degree turns, no visible means of support, and no metal nails. And it was designed and constructed by a mystery man.
Kids were losing their interest and needed some distraction soon. We made a quick stop at Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. This church has a magnificent structure that was built in 1850 to replace an old adobe church.
Now it was the kids’ turn, we went to the Children’s Museum. This Waldorf-inspired, hands-on museum was the best part of Santa Fe in kids’ opinion.
Day 9: Santa Fe – Galleries and Museums
Art, art, and art! We started from famed Museum Hill. Out of four museums at the Museum Hill, we selected two to visit this time – the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and Museum of International Folk Art.
The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture has an impressive selection of Native art and tells the story of diverse worlds and sacred spaces of the Pueblo, Navajo (Diné), and Apache cultures of the Southwest through wonderful exhibits.
The Museum of International Folk Art was voted the best unanimously by all of us. It has about 150,000 artifacts from more than 150 countries. The collection includes toys and dolls, costumes, masks, textiles of all kinds, religious folk art, paintings, beadwork, and more. A full wing is dedicated to miniature dioramas from the collection of Alexander Girard.
Everyone was happy and ready for a lunch break at Museum Hill Cafe.
The rest of the day, we strolled through art galleries and gift shops to soak in Santa Fe’s creativity and bought one or two memorabilia to take home. Santa Fe was the first city in the USA to become a UNESCO Creative City in 2005.
Santa Fe is overloaded with art galleries and to see everything we will need a month here. Since we had only one day, we decided to spend it in Santa Fe’s oldest and most historic district – Canyon Road Arts District. Canyon Road, a less than a mile long street has a long tradition to attract artists and writers. Once a quiet residential street was transformed by 20th Century emerging painters – Will Shuster, Fremont Ellis, Walter Mruk, Jozef Bakos, and Willard Nash (known as Los Cinco Pintores) made a home here. Now it has more than 100 galleries among the historic adobes with artistic doors. Each gallery is a unique expression of creativity through paintings, photographs, sculptures, and crafts.
We all took turns to select the galleries which we want to visit. In the end, our feet were tired and hearts were inspired and energized by the sheer diversity of the overflowing creativity. Santa Fe made an everlasting impression on our hearts, I am certain we will visit it again in the future.
Tip: If you have one more day, I will highly recommend the Downtown Arts District, which also has the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
Day 10: Taos via High Road
We thought an 18-mile train ride from Santa Fe to the small village of Lamy would be fun. Riding historic rail cars from the 1920s on a railway that is more than 120 years old would be great. But it was okay, perhaps our expectations were too high.
Back on the road, we pointed to the north towards Taos. We took High Road, a scenic byway not just for the scenery but for historic landmarks along the road.
The first historic landmark, El Santuario de Chimayo, is in a small fertile village of Chimayo about 40 minutes north of Santa Fe. This humble abode chapel was built in 1816 and receives about 300,000 visitors per year. Many believers come for its magical healing soil hoping to find a cure for their afflictions. Rancho De Chimayo is a more than 100-year-old family home-turned-restaurant, where we had the best New Mexican food.
Slowly enjoying the vast landscape, we reached another village Las Trampas. Las Trampas Historic District and San José de Gracia Church are both National Historic Landmarks. The church was built between 1760 and 1776, and well-preserved. Its wide-plank wooden floors, decorative interior, and strong adobe walls reflect original 18th-century features.
Perhaps New Mexico’s air and water has boosted our metabolism, our tummies were grumbling again and Sugar Nymph Bistro was a perfect choice to savor yet another authentic food.
Day 11: Williams lake Wheeler Peak – 9.5 miles (40 mins drive from Taos)
It is a hike-day today, just to create a buffer between history-laden days. We drove to Taos Ski Valley, a part of Carson National Forest to hike to Williams Lake. This four-mile moderate out and back trail climbs steadily through the forest, scree, open meadow, and reaches a beautiful glacial lake. Stopping quite often to admire every flower, every stone, and mushroom along the way, we made it to the lake. If you have time, keep hiking for another 2.5 miles to Wheeler Peak. On return, we stopped at picturesque Arroyo Seco for a relaxed evening.
Day 12: Pueblo de Taos
We woke up early to visit Pueblo de Taos, a living community, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and National Historic Landmark. We had the entire Pueblo almost to ourselves. We took time and captured photos in the magical morning light, while kids ran around making friends with sleepy dogs.
For at least 1,000 years, the people of Taos Pueblo have lived in their quaint multi-story-apartment-like town in the shadows of Sangre de Cristo mountains. Near the entrance is the San Geronimo church. It was built in the mid-19th century to replace the Spanish mission that was destroyed in 1847 by U.S. troops bombarding, ruins are still visible today.
After three hours, when tourist buses started arriving, we left Taos Pueblo and drove for 30 minutes to visit Earthship Biotecture. Set on a beautiful mesa across the river, these self-sustained, uniquely designed houses are built using natural and reclaimed materials. Visiting an Earthship felt like coming to a full circle. Native Americans build adobe houses in harmony with nature and after many centuries we are seeking our innate connection with nature. It was certainly a memorable and learning experience for all of us.
Day 13: Biking to San Francisco de Asís Mission Church
Every journey has an end, and our first New Mexico road trip is coming to its end. We rode bikes around Taos’s backroads and visited the remarkable San Francisco De Asis Mission Church. A historic building on the main plaza of Ranchos de Taos, about four miles away from Taos. .An inspiration for so many artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams, and Paul Strand. It is indeed an awe-inspiring building with tall adobe walls. We stayed there for a long time, admiring how light dances around its facade.
Back in Taos, we roamed around town feeling emotional about leaving New Mexico tomorrow.
New Mexico’s high desert landscape, stories of human struggle and resilience, rich culture, and red chile will forever stay with me. New Mexico drenched my heart and soul with its simplicity and creativity.
Suggested Books for New Mexico:
I love to read books to understand the soul of the place I am visiting. Books help me connect to the story for a deeper appreciation. Here is the list of books which I will highly recommend to take your New Mexico experience to another level.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
It is a thoroughly researched and well-documented account of the systematic destruction of the Native Americans during the latter half of the nineteenth century. A unique and disturbing narrative told with force and clarity will compel you to re-evaluate history.
Death Comes For The Archbishop by Willa Cather
I am so glad I read this book before our road trip. Exceptional prose, vivid description of the landscape of this classic made the High Road drive extra special for me. This book is not a story rather it is a mural of time, a place, and an inspiring relationship between two very different historic characters – Joseph Projectus Machebeuf, a missionary bishop, and Jean-Baptiste Lamy, a vicar.
109 East Palace: Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos by Jennet Conant
It is a story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the brilliant, charismatic head of the Manhattan Project. It is a human story, not a bomb story narrated through the eyes of Dorthy Mckibbion, who ran the project’s office in Santa Fe and worked closely with Oppenheimer.
Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life by Roxana Robinson
Not just a rundown of O’Keeffe’s achievements, this book showcases her human side. It talks about her personality and forces that shaped her life. This is one of the best biographies I have read.
Hope you are excited to plan your next road trips, there are several reasons to take a road trip. Check out these essential tips to prepare for a road trip with the family. Feel free to contact me if you are looking for any suggestions to plan your New Mexico road trip.
Happy and safe travels!
December 4, 2020 @ 11:59 am
We briefly visited New Mexico years and years ago. Your photos make me want to go back!
December 4, 2020 @ 1:48 am
I love New Mexico. I only spent 2 weeks in it, but I want to come back for a longer time. I am delighted with its nature, history, and architecture—a great guide. I love Santa Fe and Taos, magical places.
December 1, 2020 @ 1:24 pm
I love New Mexico and have visited the north central part of the state a few times. From your post I realized I still miss a lot of places, like the Acoma Pueblo, Gilman Tunnels, and San Miguel Mission. There are places that we didn’t get to visit yet because of the timing, like Abiquiu, Ghost Ranch, and Wheeler Peak. But, we will always go back to New Mexico.
December 1, 2020 @ 4:31 pm
There is something special about New Mexico. There is so much to explore there.
Linda (LD Holland)
December 1, 2020 @ 12:29 pm
We had a great time when we visited New Mexico but did not see this much of the state. That landscape variety between the hills and flat valleys is one memory that stands out from our visit. Fascinating to learn about the history of the Acomo Pueblo sitting high on the mesa. We have seen petroglyphs in many other spots but none that were as clear as these. That climb up at Bandelier National Monument sure looks scary from the bottom! The Monastery of Christ in the Desert reminded me of the church in Sedona built into the rocks. What a great road trip.
December 1, 2020 @ 4:32 pm
Thanks Linda, it was indeed a memorable road trip which made us go back to New Mexico multiple times.
December 1, 2020 @ 10:27 am
This looks like my kind of road trip, it had everything, fun, history, nature, science. I felt bad after reading the history of Acoma, those senseless killings were disappointing. Another thing I loved was the Petroglyph National Monument. Those drawings on the cave walls are amazing. By the way, your daughter is quite witty. New Mexico was never on my travel list, but after reading your article, I have added it to the must-visit list.
December 1, 2020 @ 4:34 pm
Thanks Ramya, it is a big state with so much to explore. You will enjoy it.
December 1, 2020 @ 3:47 am
We did this itinerary but I don’t know why we missed so many of the attractions you saw! We were too fast!
November 30, 2020 @ 5:40 pm
Amazing photos. Road trips are my favorite way to travel. I like how you put the time it takes to get from one place to another. It is key to planning.