New Mexico Road Trip

I have the post-vacation blues. I got home last night at 9pm and went to work this morning. I was in a good mood, but after work, it sunk in that my vacation was over. This was one of my favorites thus far, and here’s why.

I landed in ALBUQUERQUE on Saturday, right at the same time my college housemate/BFF arrived to pick me up.

We headed to the Balloon Fiesta that afternoon. Though the balloons weren’t out because it was too windy, the experience was magical. Being out on this big open field with families and friends just hanging out was relaxing.

We walked several miles to the Balloon Fiesta on Sunday morning but unfortunately, it was too windy for flight. It was a disappointment, but a few balloons did display.

Favorite spots in Albuquerque:

  • Deep Space Coffee is minimalist but does it without having too much white space. Get the black latte made with probiotics and charcoal.
  • Green Jeans Farmery, a food and drink hub made from shipping containers. We shared a pizza from Amore and ate it upstairs at the Santa Fe Brewing Co. Get the Happy Camper IPA.
  • Marble Brewery is a two-story brewery with indoor and outdoor seating, two bars, live music, a food truck outside, and the best beer I had on this trip. Try the Double White IPA or their Oktoberfest.

Sunday afternoon, we headed to SANTA FE. We skipped over the Georgia O’Keefe Museum and went to Meow Wolf. I can’t describe the experience of the interactive art installation except to say, I slid down the inside of a washing machine, ducked into a fireplace into a magical neon-light filled world, and played The Simpsons arcade game for free. We stayed there for 2 hours – it’s a maze, an adult’s playground, and what an escape room should be.

Our stay in Santa Fe, at El Rey Inn, was dreamy. It was a standard room but had an extra little room with another bed. In the evening, we had some wine, swam in the heated pool, and watched stars from the outdoor hot tub. All of that sounds romantic unless you know us.

Favorites in Santa Fe:

  • El Rey Inn
  • Meow Wolf
  • Fire & Hops is a tiny house turned gastropub. It was a cozy spot for a beer and brussel sprouts. They have other innovative food offerings too.
  • Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen They serve healthy food in a bright space. I got their paleo breakfast burrito with green chiles, avocado, sweet potato, bacon, and eggs – everything I love!
  • Prescott Art Studio I saw this at night and made a u-turn to see what it was. We came back in the morning to take photos and then found out all the sculptures move!
  • Atalaya Trail in the Santa Fe National Forest The trailhead is at St. John’s College. The hike is about 7 miles and I had a hard time breathing the last 1.5 miles up. Most reviews say it’s steep but well-maintained, but I was able to get up and down without too much of a problem. You get a great view of the city and greenery.

We drove through Roswell on Monday, but it was complete bust. We went to a McDonald’s that’s somewhat spaceship-themed. Everything else was a chain – any chain you can imagine is there. Yet somehow Roswell is the 5th largest city in New Mexico…

We made it to the Fiddler’s Inn B&B in CARLSBAD pretty late, but we immediately got into robes and relaxed in the hot tub they had ready for us. The inn was breathtaking – they decorated for the holidays, left us homemade cookies, and we got breakfast vouchers for a cafe/house two doors down.


In the morning, we quickly ran through Carlsbad Caverns before I had to leave. None of my photos can capture how big it is. It took us 30 minutes to walk down the paved walkway and an hour to explore the main room before going back up (the elevator). If you can see my former roomie in the bottom of the photo, you can grasp the expanse of the caves.


Last stop was EL PASO for a drink before getting on the plane. I didn’t get to explore my friend’s hometown, but I got to swing at the bar with a Bloody Mary and say some last goodbyes.


Unfortunately, I didn’t get to Taos or White Sands, which was well enough since it was so hot in Southern New Mexico anyways.

I normally travel alone, but if I had to pick, this is the one friend I’d go with. We lived together for 5 years, went on other road trips, and had so many crazy memories together partying or just sitting on our respective couch not talking. HAPPY 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF FRIENDSHIP!


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