Mary & Samb's Honeymoon in New Mexico 2008
This is a page of Samb & Mary's Honeymoon in New Mexico. For pics of the Wedding Ceremony or Reception at Starr's in Mocksville click on the corresponding word in this sentence. We plan to leave these three pages up until next year, so enjoy.
This travelogue is taken entirely from Mary's journal, with a little editing from Samb. The pictures are arranged in the order of the day's events (ie; Luhan House, soup at Antonio's, blizzard) which hopefully isn't too confusing. Here we go...
Tuesday & Wednesday January 22 & 23
We'll skip the details of our plane being late and Samb's first commercial airline flight (yikes!) and jump straight to Albequerque. We were so tired we just stopped at the first place we saw from the airport, a La Quinta motel. The deskclerk recommended we eat at a nearby locally owned spot called Las Cervantes. This was our first encounter with a New Mexican business that looks like one thing, but is something totally different. Las Cervantes appeared to be some crazy dive tavern with a "Dining Room" entrance around back. With much trepidation we entered and found a beautiful dining room (full of people) decorated like an old Spanish Hacienda. Our first New Mexico meal didn't disappoint. Sam got a red chile stew with pork and posole, and Mary got a chicken enchilada with green chile sauce. Amazing! Spicy! We discovered that places here automatically bring a big basket with puffy sopapillas to sop up all the tasty chile sauce and when you're ready for desert there's a container full of local honey which you drench the rest of your sopapilla in! (Sorry there aren't any pics of this night, we were too worn out to remember the camera.)
The next morning we headed for the University of N.M. ABQ and drove through the funky Nob Hill neighborhood. Circling around we found our way into the Old Towne area and tracked down the Gertrude Zachary Showroom, which sells silver and turquoise jewelry at wholesale prices. When we walked in Mary almost swooned; she had NEVER seen so much beautiful jewelry in one spot! Two and a half hours later we left with gifts for a half dozen people and ourselves. We never saw any better quality (only equal) and the prices proved to be unbeatable anywhere else in ABQ, St Fe or Taos.
When we were done shopping we went to eat at a place near-by that Lee Ann (from the Lascivious Biddies) recommended called the Duran Pharmacy; a real pharmacy with a small cafe inside! Once again we each had one red and one green chile dish, this time served with giant fresh tortillas which we watched hand rolled and grilled. Amazing!
Afterward we headed out of town on a beautiful drive to the Acoma Pueblo where the last tour was loading up. The tour bus took us the 400 feet up onto this amazing flat top mesa, with simple Adobe houses where 50 people still live without electricity or running water! It was fascinating... like stepping into another time. The native people were so kind and gracious. This experience was so mindblowing we decided to digest it as we drove on to Santa Fe. There we found this famous place called El Rey Inn. It was really neat with lots of buildings and rooms all painted white and embelished with different paintings, murals & sculptures; on huge grounds!
Thursday January 24
The next morning we drove in to downtown Santa Fe, which feels like a small village... not a capitol city. There are no tall buildings, only lots of small, adobe dwellings.
We went to two beautiful and ornate old churches, and then to the Palace of the Governors where the Native Americans sell their hand-made wares. One guy's personality and workmanship really caught Mary's attention, so she got two more presents. There are so many fabulous little stores...all very pricey! We even saw Ali McGraw buying jewelry at one.
After shopping we went to a little cafe called Tia Sophia. It reminded us a lot of MOC; breakfast & lunch only, family owned, crazy fun waitstaff, and fantastic food! Mary had Huevos Rancheros in red chile and Samb; a plate of Carne Adovada and Chicken Enchiladas in green chile sauce. They had wonderful sopapillas, but this time not only was there honey, but a large shaker of cinnamon sugar!! Growing tired we went to the Green Palace Teahouse and had amazing Chai breves and a piece of Lavendar Vanilla and Almond cheesecake. This turned out to be our favorite teahouse in the state. That night we went cheap and stayed at a Budget Host Inn.
Friday January 25
Today we took the High Road to Taos. It's an astounding ride up into the Carson State Forest where the view of the mountains is just stunning. We hit a few spots on the way; the first being Chimayo, which is famous for it's chiles (which have grown there so long the pepper bushes are now the size of apple trees)! There we visited the most primitive church of our stay in N.M., and a restaurant called Rancho de Chimayo; which has been family owned and operated for like nine generations. The tamales were very good with rich red chiles, so Mary bought some to use at MOC.
In Taos we stayed at La Dona Luz Inn, up two flights of spiral stairs in a tiny room with ridiculously picturesque views! Note the industrial plastic luminaries along the roof edge...we'll see them again later.
We went around the corner to cozy little Cafe Tazza for tea and Vanilla and Lavender ice creams. They served Northern New Mexico's favorite ice cream, the locally made Taos Cow; which is undoubtedly some of the best ice cream we've ever had! Dinner was at this charming old place called Roberto's Restaraunt. The food was really good and the staff, like all the people we met in N.M; SO nice!
Saturday January 26
This morning we drove to the Millicent Rogers Museum, which had a breathtaking collection of the most beautiful Native turquoise jewelry we've ever seen!
From there we drove over the freakily high bridge across the Rio Grande Gorge, to see the Earthship community; something Samb wanted to see since he was twelve! The Earthships are completely self-sustained homes, that collect their own water, heat and electricity; off the grid! Mary posed by a banana palm inside, while it was 30 degrees with snow on the ground outside.
Next we headed to Arroyo Seco, where all the freaks and hippes have moved, mainly to eat ice cream at Taos Cow! This little cafe was alot like MOC, with blackened turkey, gouda and chipotle sandwiches, homemade Black Bean Chili, and the best ice cream ever made! Mary had Cinnamon (which tasted like a frozen sopapilla) and Samb had Cherry Ristra (chocolate, cherries and pinon)! YUM!! We found delicious homemade Chai at a precious tea house called Seco Pearl, which was in an old house run by a young, hippie woman who sewed her own shopping bags out of old t-shirts; Ingenious! She helped us find a potter's studio, with handmade teapots that were wood-fired for 6 hours; replete with a dog showing the scars of a recent fight with a bear. We skipped dinner and had tasty fresh ginger and honey tea at a place that we'll simply refer to as the 'ghetto' Tea House.
Sunday January 27
We walked to breakfast at Doc Martin's, which had good red chile sauce and hot tea, but Mary's favorite was the blue corn and blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup! Then we drove up to the Ski Valley resort, even though we don't ski; and soaked in the crisp air and peaceful atmosphere and watched lots of little kids learning to ski. At an outdoor espresso kiosk we had delicious and warming Mexican hot chocolate (flavored with vanilla, cinnamon and almond) where the guy running it told us about the big snow storm coming in. The sky had already begun to look ominous, so we took our rented Ford Focus on down the mountain!
We stopped at Taos Cow for more ice cream, of course; Samb had Mexican Chocolate and Mary had Coconut! On the way back we decided to go to the Taos Pueblo where, much to our delight, they were having a dance!! This social dance had everyone dressed out in full regalia, 50 of whom were in outfits showing the new positions they'd been elected to in this year's tribal government. Later we ate dinner at Orlando's where the great food and atmosphere inspired Mary to buy a t-shirt and a candle with their cool skeleton logo. We both had large chile bowls filled with all kinds of goodness (Samb's was Frito Pie), including superb chile sauce (Mary's sauce was from an especially hot pepper that we encountered no where else)!
Monday January 28
Visited Mable and Tony Luhan's house, which is now a Bed & Breakfast. It was beautiful and their life story is amazing. Later we ended up at Antonio's Cafe Rellenos! What a teeny tiny place! We ordered a creamy soup with carmalized onions, green chile pepper and roasted corn; Ecstasy!! One of the best soups ever! Mary had a Chile Relleno stuffed with ground beef, raisins, apples, pears, tomatoes, onion, cinnamon and spices; topped with a creamy walnut sauce; Oh My Goodness! Even the pinto beans and rice were not standard. When Mary met the chef Antonio, they immediately spoke the same language. After going to Cafe Tazza again for a strange revisit (don't ask), we settled in for the night with snacks from Cid's Grocery which we'd hit earlier. The wind woke us up in the night. It was the remnants of the fierce blizzard that had the mountains socked in all day with 60 mph gusts! (Note the same plastic luminaries along the roof edge. All the street lights are ON, but it's a near white-out!)
Tuesday January 29
For our last morning in Taos it was once again calm and beautiful, and we could see the mountain again. We went to have breakfast where all the locals go, at Michael's Kitchen. Mary built an omelet with bacon, avocado, green chiles and provolone; while Samb got a Christmas (red & green chile) breakfast burrito with crumbled sausage. Both came with blue corn pancakes with pinon (pinenuts)! The green chiles were nice and hot (equal only to Tia Sophia). Sadly we left Taos for Santa Fe; this time on the 'Low Road', which follows the Rio Grande. Mary was homesick, but so grateful for the realization of another life dream; to return to Taos! The day was sunny, clear and bright. In Santa Fe we went straight to the Aztec Cafe, which reminded us of the old Rainbow Cafe in Winston. After big glasses of housemade Chai we hit Double-Take; the consignment shop across the street, which reminded us of Winston's SNOB Shop (only 4 times as big). We decided to go ahead to Albequerque, since we'd actually spent very little time there. We stayed at the Sandia Peak Inn in the Olde Towne area and had a relaxing evening eating trailmix for dinner.
Wednesday January 30
So, back to Duran Pharmacy Cafe for a Huevos Rancheros breakfast with fresh tortillas and great chile sauce. Then off to the strip of funky stores in the Nob Hill area that we passed up on our first visit. There were so many wonderful places and nice people. We ended up at this cool diner called Flying Star where we had hot tea, a giant chocolate macaroon and a croissant filled with cream cheese and almond paste. DELISH! After that we went to this wacky antique mall that was built as White's Department Store in 1950 (where Mary posed for a Mary Tyler Moore Show-style pic). After naptime at the hotel we decided to go eat dinner at the famous Frontier Restaurant. It was really fun! A huge local hangout which has eventually taken over four other storefronts (our pic only shows a third of the building), that's obviously ancient. Mary's chicken tortilla soup and Samb's chicken enchilada were yummy. Our experience has been that every restaurant has their own take on red and green chile sauce... all delicious, but very different. I think our favorites were Tia Sophia and Orlando's. We stayed at Frontier and watched all the people for awhile.
Thursday January 31
This trip was completely amazing, but we were ready to be home. We got up and went to this ayuervedic restaraunt called Annapurna's. It was simply divine. We had delicious Chai, a tofu scramble with avocado beets and mozerella and cardomom pancakes with mango sauce toasted coconut and almonds. It came with these delicious, crisp fries, butternut squash and green beans, chile sauce and chipotle sauce. Our favorite meals overall, were at Antonio's and Annapurna. We stopped at a jewelry outlet and got a few last minute gifts, then headed to the airport, where Samb had another relaxing flight (heh, heh).
P.S. - The man beside Samb is a saint! Seriously, one of the nicest people I've ever met.
P.P.S. - We found the Avalon Travel series, AKA "Moon Handbooks", (specifically, "Santa Fe, Taos & Albequerque" by Zora O'Neill) to be the best travel reference for Northeast New Mexico.
P.P.P.S.etc. - Unless you are a lawyer who speaks fluent legalise, we could not more staunchly recommend avoiding BUDGET RENT-A-CAR (or as we now refer to them "Blow Your Budget")! They neglected to help us understand their fees when we were at our most vulnerable (exhausted, in the middle of the night after an entire day of dealing with airtravel), and make absolutely NO effort to address any problems you have with their fees and policies. Other than that unexpected extra $525, our trip was flawless, and we hope you enjoyed our travelogue and find a way to visit New Mexico yourself.