Tour New Mexico; Observe Listen, Engage, and Learn.

Tour New Mexico; Observe, Listen, Engage, and Learn. An Awesome Way to Travel.

If you’re a visual learner, you’d be able to understand how important our senses are to learning.

Listening to experts, engaging in conversations, asking questions, and seeking further information helps stimulate our thinking process, challenges our preconceived notions and beliefs, and helps our minds grow.

For these and other reasons, Tours are an awesome way to experience New Mexico.

Here is a list of Tours in our area you won’t be able to find anywhere else!

Click on any one of these if you’re interested in learning about the beautiful Land of Enchantment.

Petroglyphs; Sun, Wind, and Inner Peace.

What is The Spirit of the American Southwest?

 It is a body of rich Traditions: Native American spirituality, Spanish culture, Mexican resilience, and the wild, rugged and free character of the American cowboy.

History has blurred ethnicity lines, and although several features of these strong traditions can be identified in the elements of the Southwestern culture, they are, simultaneously, one in substance and nature – The Spirit of the American Southwest.

Native American Spirituality is without a doubt the chief influence and foundational creative force in the Spirit of the Southwest. Being able to experience the Southwest means being in direct contact with its essential elements, and these Petroglyphs speak of that holy communion between man and nature.

The Spirit won’t admit your problems and worries. It won’t allow distractions or lack of commitment. It requires your full focus and undivided attention. It needs a clear mind in order to make a connection with your soul.

The petroglyphs at Three Rivers testify to the connection that can be made.

Take a 360 look at this 360 degree Virtual Tour.

Authentic Southwestern Cuisine; New Mexico Style

New Mexican cuisine has its own particular style. It is not Mexican. It is not Mexican-American. And it is most definitely not Tex-Mex. It is true to the Southwestern Spirit of New Mexico’s rich cultural heritage: American Cowboy, Native American, Spanish Colonial, and post-Columbian Mexican.

The Chiricahua, Comanche, Mescalero, and Navajo influence on New Mexican food is expressed through the use of piñones, corn, chile, beans, and squash.

The use of wheat, rice, and lamb were introduced to the Southwestern Cuisine by the Spaniards. Arroz con leche, atole, bizcochitos, calabacitas, and flan are some of the Spanish dishes that have come to enrich New Mexican traditions.

Another example of cultural influence in New Mexican cooking is the Puebloan Horno; a mud adobe-built outdoor oven. Originally introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors, it was quickly adopted and carried to all Spanish-occupied lands. The Puebloan Horno was used by Native Americans and early settlers of North America, and became an authentic tradition in the Southwest.

The most iconic characteristic of true New Mexican Cuisine is the use of Hatch Chile, which is not the same as the serrano chile used in Mexican Cuisine.  Within our local food landscape you will find green chile cheeseburgers, green chile cornbread, and even more creative dishes like green chile sundaes.

So, what should you be looking for when you are in search of a true, authentic experience of the southwest?

  • Bizcochitos (The Official New Mexican Cookie)
  • Carne adovada (slow-cooked cubes of pork marinated in red chile sauce, oregano, and garlic)
  • Green chile stew (stew of meat and green chile)
  • Navajo Tacos (a taco made with fry bread instead of a tortilla)
  • Sopapillas (fried pastry dough typically used as an edible scoop for salsas and sauces)
  • Albondigas (meatball soup)
  • Chiles Rellenos (whole green chiles stuffed with cheese, dipped in egg batter and fried)
  • Enchiladas (corn tortillas filled with chicken, meat or cheese, rolled or stacked and covered with chile sauce and cheese)
  • Flan (caramel custard)
  • Tamales (meat rolled in cornmeal dough and wrapped in corn husks)
  • Indian fry bread (a traditional thick flatbread of deep-fried dough)

What to do in Tularosa, NM?

Tularosa is a small village north of White Sands National Monument. It is an oasis and the center of operations for travelers visiting the area.

The Village Historical Museum is the repository of the village’s history.

In the Historic Commercial Granado Street, you will not only find beautiful buildings that have been part of the community for a long time, but art galleries and amazing shops where local artists display and sell the fruit of their varied skills.

Saint Francis De Paula Historic Church, right on the main street, should be on your must-visit-list. This is a beautiful church of great historical importance to the area, with beautiful architectural details inside and out.

The Acequia System in Tularosa remains in its original state, and is one of the most attractive features of the village. It also is what ultimately turned this piece of land into an oasis for local farmers and wildlife alike.

The Original Townsite District is comprised of the original 49 blocks with which Tularosa was established. Historic houses architectured with local techniques particular to the area fill these 49 blocks and the acequia system lines its streets.

At the Tularosa Travel Center you will be able to find local pecans and pecan goodies grown by the Tularosa Pecan Company; a family owned operation established in 1969.

Before California wines were, New Mexico wines were. And if you wish to learn about and taste the local history of wine going back to the Spanish settlers, you need to visit the Tularosa Vineyards.

Shopping for rocks and fossils? Tesoros de la Tierra has the most unique and interesting souvenirs you will find for miles and miles…and miles…and miles. And even if you are not going to shop, give them a visit and enjoy. This place is like a beautiful museum and the owners are knowledgeable and happy to share stories and facts.

In the mood for a beer? The local bar is a place where many bikers (on their way to Ruidoso) stop by.

The Three Rivers Petroglyph site is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Tularosa, and a must visit when you come. I took a few pictures on my last visit and created a video for YouTube:

What to do In Carrizozo, NM? You won’t find these on TripAdvisor…

Easy and Fun, with kids or without, romantic or not, these are four things you must do when you visit Carrizozo, NM.

Valley of Fires

This attraction (is actually on TripAdvisor…) and is awesome for everyone.

Kids, adults, grandparents and wheelchair-accessible, THIS IS IT!

What you won’t find on TripAdvisor:

  1. The Burro Challenge. Not on TripAdvisor (though I wonder why not?!) this was such a fun thing to do. We did walk around town a bit, but did not notice how far we traveled or for how long. One cannot visit Carrizozo without doing this, as this is the area of donkeys (“burro” means donkey) and the art is fun and beautiful. And if you are in Carrizozo, you must be into nature and art…and if you are not, you are missing out.

2.  MoMaZoZo’s Gallery. 12th Historic Street in Carrizozo is awesome. Stop at all the spots, including the Malkerson Gallery!

3. Chamber of Commerce. The El Paso and Northeastern Railroad built a depot on Carrizozo Flats, and the town was born.

This is a video we took on our last visit:

#NMeats Culture, History, and Tradition; Bizcochitos.

So, you are visiting The Land of Enchantment and are looking for the culture, the tradition, the history…and also happen to have a sweet tooth?

Then a must try for you is bizcochitos; a treat where culture, history, tradition (and sugar) collide.

Bizcochitos became New Mexico’s official State Cookie in 1989, in an effort to help preserve this cultural tradition. The Spanish roots of this traditional cookie were, for centuries, influenced by all the local cultures  until it became a traditional New Mexican delight served at weddings, baptisms, and during the Christmas season.

“Bizcochito” is Spanish for “pastry”, and is flavored with cinnamon and anise. They are traditionally shaped like stars or crescent moons, and are paired with hot chocolate. Don’t worry if anise is just not what you are into, most bakeries avoid it for that reason.

If you are in the area, you can find traditional bizcochitos at Alamogordo‘s Amigo’s Bakery, Tularosa‘s Loredo’s Bakery, and Ruidoso‘s Cornerstone Bakery.

As with all foods, there is a slight difference between made from scratch, and store bought. If you enjoy baking, there are many different recipes for bizcochitos online.

Bizcochito recipes are family heirlooms handed down from generation to generation, and ingredients may vary. Lard, bourbon, Brandy, anise, orange juice, vanilla, red wine, etc.

NOTE: My personal preference is having milk hot-chocolate, instead of water chocolate. The richness and creaminess make for a great palate experience.

 

Wood’s Inspiring Nature

The previous owner of Casa del Rio (the home our family lives in today), told me a few of her stories about being a kid in New Mexico. One of those stories was going for walks with her Dad, and picking up palitos (sticks) and piedras (rocks) to bring back home. She had a couple of them in the house to hold doors open, which she left behind.

A google search showed me this is not an unusual practice, and it is strange to see that for so many of us, wood; with it’s shades, shapes, and textures, provokes such fascination. We bend it, shape it, carve it, roast it,  burn it, weave it, glue it, chip it…

And we chainsaw it…

Up on the mountain towns of the southwest, chainsaw carving is becoming a strong tradition. A bit because of the inspiring nature of wood; and a bit because chainsaw carving matches so well with the ruggedness, and wildness of the Spirit of the Southwest.

My friends at Bears R Us in Ruidoso posted this video, showing their process. After you watch the video, head over to their Instagram Gallery and see their work!