This post is based on a question-and-answer exchange between myself and a colleague at The Weekly Alibi.
dilemma is this: I’ve got my mom coming in this weekend and I wanna plan a drive to somewhere within a couple of hours of here that would be nice for a two-night stay. She’ll be renting the hotel rooms so as long as it ain’t the Four Seasons, price is pretty flexible. Basically I just want to take her somewhere nice and scenic and relaxing that’s a little less of a tourist trap than Santa Fe or Taos. Being new to the area, I don’t know much about travel in these parts. Something with outdoor activities, but nothing to rigorous–just kinda somewhere to chill and paint and see some historic sites and eat good food. I’d greatly appreciate any ideas you might have.
Mom’s are tricky, but you’re right to want to steer clear of Santa Fe in the summer tourist high season.
Ghost Ranch is just south of the town and it’s pretty amazing. Driving up on 84 you can clearly recognize the mountains that are the subject of some of O’Keefe’s most famous paintings. I did a google search and came up with a good looking B&B mom-type place…
I can’t vouch for em personally, but the website looks good.
Another Abiquiu place I’ve heard good things about is the Benedictine Abbey of Christ in the desert. Apparently you can stay there, and hike where Georgia hiked. It’s a monastery, so it’s kind of spartan and there are some people there who have taken a vow of silence, but it’s open to the public and the rent rooms. They also brew beer.
There are galleries in Abiquiu, and a big giant lake. I don’t have any notion what’s up there food-wise, but it seems like a fairly upscale outpost and I’m sure they have something. My best advice about going ANYWHERE in this state, bring a cooler and hit up trader joes for wine, bread, cheese, fruit, because when you get outta Albuquerque many towns don’t even have a grocery store and, you might end up eating a gas station burrito.
If you got totally bored you could just take a scenic sunset drive up 84 towards Heron Lake and El Vado damn, I covered all that in my Alibi piece a few weeks back.
Another idea, that would be more remote, is the Circle A Guest Ranch and Hostel in Cuba, NM. It’s north of Jemez Springs in Cuba, NM
I think there’s less to do up there, more hiking & sitting around looking at the mountains, and Cuba is pretty desolate (like there’s a mcdonalds and a gas station). Again I can’t personally vouch for it, but it’s been on my wishlist for some time.
You might want to time it, so you could spend some time in Jemez Springs on the way up, or the way back, there’s more cutesy mom-type activity in that town – pottery, a restaurant, some shops ect.