Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico

After our beautiful drive into the mountains around Taos ski area, we stayed in Taos town center.  The Town Plaza is cute, and of course there are lots of shops and restaurants.  If you like American Indian Art, a little Spanish art thrown in, and once in a while some Cowboy are, you’ll fall in love with shopping.  There is a lot of sterling silver earrings and necklaces.  But always remember just because it looks good out there, it might not fit in so well when you get home.  I find that I like the jewelry look so did indulge myself with a few pieces this trip.

While in Taos, do not miss the Taos Pueblo.  It is historically significant, something like you have never seen before, and just plain interesting.  You are on an Indian Pueblo where people are living their daily lives, so there are many restrictions, so be aware of what is OK and what is not, and photography is certainly not allowed.  Once you see the Pueblo, you will recognize it many paintings you see while shopping, it is a popular scene to paint.  The history is quite amazing.

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Around Taos and South to Albuquerque there are approximately 19 Pueblos, and you can visit each one.  Each Pueblo offers its own uniqueness, from as little as a visitor center selling their wares, to casinos and beautiful golf courses.  definitely should put on your list and visit a few.

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There are many missions along the way, and each with its own significance.  Most are off the main routes, so when you visit the missions, you’re also getting a scenic drive a long the way.  Also, just west of Taos is a really cool bridge that goes over a gorge, definitely worth the 8 mile drive out-of-town. 

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Arriving in Santa Fe, you realize it is a much bigger city.  There is the new section of town where the Shopping Mall and all the chain restaurants are at, but where you want to be is in the city center, the historic Santa Fe Town Plaza.  The old town area is about 3 times bigger than Taos.  The shops are not only on the Plaza, but down many side streets.  There are some nice local museums including some art museums you don’t want to miss.  There are some beautiful Churches and Missions around the Plaza, and the oldest house in the Country is located right off the Plaza.  A short drive away is Canyon Road and its about a mile long of Art Galleries.  There are all kinds of art, not just Indian or Cowboy art, but everything.  You could spend a day just walking up and down Canyon Road.  If you’re looking for a new painting, or a piece of art, you need to put this on your list before you buy.  But remember to bring your checkbook, this is not for the faint of heart.

I could consider Santa Fe a great place for a women’s weekend.  If shopping is your thing and you want everything contained in one area, what a great weekend get-away.  But if you’re looking for a special something that you and your husband want, then this is  a great couples escape also.  I didn’t see a lot of things that would keep children interested.  The weather was warm in July, but the mornings and evenings refreshing.  There was some rain, but nothing that ruined our days.

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These were just some of the sights along the way.  We drove along the Rio Grande River and saw tubers, looked like that would be fun.  After Santa Fe, we drove on to Albuquerque, another nice destination in our travels.  Until next time, happy travels to whatever destination you choose…….

 

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Taos Ski Area, New Mexico

As mentioned in my last blog we recently traveled to New Mexico to find some cooler weather                                                          New Mexico 2013 047

and relief from another Texas hot summer.  Out day time temperatures in central Texas was just starting to hang around 100 to 105 degrees.  I know there are some people who don’t think this his hot and go about life like any other time of year.  For us, this is nothing but Hot!  So off to New Mexico we went.  We heard that Ruidoso, New Mexico was very popular with people from our area as this is the closest drive where you can get cooler weather.  Although we were going to stop and see Ruidoso, we drove a little farther and headed off to the Taos area.

What can I say, if you like Mountains, tall pine trees, high elevations, Mountain streams, brisk weather and a lovely breeze, than Taos is a good mix.  We stopped at Taos Ski lodge just to see what was there.  It was a little over 8000 feet and we were both feeling the shortness of breath.  The ski lift was open which would have taken us up to a little over 10,000 feet.  It was a standard open chair lift, we heard the vistas were beautiful, but we felt with us already having issues adapting to the height we thought it best not to go up.  Since we have left, I do regret not taking the time.

When you’re at Taos ski area, what you see is a very small portion of the ski terrain, so you think there’s not much there, but in reality it’s very deceiving.  In addition we saw horseback riding, I’m sure that would have been fun also.  You can stay in the area and enjoy some mountain biking also.  The ski area is about a 20 minute mountain drive back to the town of Taos.  So you need to know what you want for your vacation, seclusion and the mountain experience, or the town with shops, and restaurants.   The distance is not bad, so no matter where you choose to stay I’m sure you will enjoy the area.  I have attached some photos of both the ski area.  Next post will be to the town of Taos.

Enjoy the drive, it’s a fun road to travel……..

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New Mexico Bound

If anyone has ever lived in central Texas, just visited or vacationed here in the summer, you know Texas summers are Hot, I would say sizzling!  I thought we would make it through the summer but by early July I knew we had to get to some cooler weather.  So after doing some research and talking to folks we decided we would head to New Mexico.  I’ll cover our trip over the next few posts, and include lots of photos, but I do want to say now before I go any further, it was a wonderful trip.  The weather was wonderful (meaning cool) and we saw some beautiful sights.  Both of us had never been to this part of New Mexico before so it was fun and exciting to share in the experience.

Our trip consisted of seeing Taos, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Albuquerque and Ruidoso.  You probably see one thing in common here if you have been to New Mexico – Mountains!  We love mountain vistas.  Not only are they beautiful, but usually mountains means cooler weather.  So to start off the trip here are a few photos of our trip.

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Our outbound trip, that dark sky would intimidate anyone!

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Our Drive to Taos from Las Vegas, NM

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Historic Taos Plaza

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Gorge outside Santa Fe, NM

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Awesome Bridge over Gorge.

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Rafting down the Rio Grande River

Those are some of the photos, more to come.  Each area and city had something special to offer.  If you haven’t considered a trip to New Mexico, it’s worth putting on your list of “to do’s”.  Until next time, happy travels……..

Long Time Coming…….

I didn’t realize that the end of May was my last post.  It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything fun or exciting, I just haven’t found the time to sit at the computer for any length of time and write.  It’s now July,  it’sTexas, and it’s hot out, so it’s a great afternoon to get caught up on life over the last month.  We haven’t gone on any special trips, but we certainly have been busy.  We’ve been here in Sun City for about 9 months now, and we’re still as active and having fun as we were earlier this year.  June flew by with all of the activities, events, parties and game nights.  But now we’re into July and as I kept hearing people say, now in the month of July and August things are getting a little slower.

But to fill in for the game nights, events and parties, I have now started to partake in the wonderful sport of golf!  Where do I begin.  Golf is truly a love, hate relationship.  It’s maddening when you go out and you get bad shots, missed putts, or just do something really stupid, but then it always seems that last hole or that last putt is the best of the day and you want to come back for more.  You always think I ‘ll do better on the next shot, or the next hole.  It’s amazing how you keep fooling yourself.

This Sun City has 3 beautiful 18 hole courses with driving ranges, chipping and putting greens.  They’re very nice courses and for many it is the main reason for moving here.  You can always get a tee time, it just might not be exactly when you wanted it, but they do try hard to meet everyone’s request.  Of course, like anywhere, someone is always not happy or satisfied.  It is so convenient to leave your clubs on your golf cart in the garage.  You put on your golf shoes and less than 5 minutes you’re on the 1st tee.  You truly can be spoiled very quickly.

If I haven’t said it once, I have probably said it each post, and I still feel this way, living here is like life on a big cruise ship.  You have to be careful though and pick and choose carefully what you want to get involved in, because you can easily take on too much and get burned out very fast.  I am finding it best to try something for a while, see if you like it, if not move onto the next thing.  You can always keep what you like but keep filling in the time with one of those new activities.  Your day can fill up very quickly.

So although some game nights have been stopped for the summer, we now have a weekly neighborhood pool party, not only is it a great place to cool off, it’s a really nice place to sit and visit, how refreshing.  I have to say for any person or couple thinking of retiring, and you want to stay active and get involved, then please don’t hesitate to check out an Adult community in your area.  I have learned since I quit working last August that you can be prepared financially, and be secure in that path, but if you don’t have a hobby or special interest you will be shocked how long a week can be.  You can’t eat out every day, you can’t shop every day.  Think of all the hours that you have sat in traffic to and from work, and all the hours you have worked, now look at that time and figure out what you’re going to fill it with.  You can’t sit on the computer every day, it’s certainly not healthy, so when you are financially planning your retirement, if you don’t have a passion for something or a hobby you want to pursue I strongly suggest you put that on your to do list so when that magical day comes and you leave that office for the last time, you’re not staring at unlimited hours of nothingness, but looking at activities and being social.

So 9 months later I’m still a fan of Sun City.  If that ever changes believe me you’ll be the first to know.  But for now and the foreseeable future I’m a big fan!  Shortly we’ll be taking a driving trip to NM and I hope to be able to provide you some great insights of places to see and things to do.  We’re off to Santa Fe and the Taos area, hoping that 8000 – 10000 ft in elevation will provide us a little change from the 100 degree Texas weather.  July 4th has come and gone, and the lazy days of July and August are in front of us.  Enjoy the summer, and I’m  looking forward to our vacation travels, will keep you posted on the roads we travel.  Until next time as the song states “Happy Trails”………..

 

A Great Family Day in Small Town Texas

Last weekend we had a really great day. We attended the Bluebonnet Festival in Burnett, TX.
As I have stated in previous posts there are many great small Texas towns that have some really nice festivals during the year, and Spring in Texas is the perfect time to attend these.
The weather is usually great this time of year and although the activities certainly can’t compare to a large city like Dallas or Houston, for small towns they put on a really good show.

We went to the Bluebonnet Airsho on Saturday and it was a really good afternoon. The stunt planes were very good, they had a B17 on display, they did a small reenactment, and some good displays of flying. There were no Blue Angels and no fancy military jets, but just good old fashion fun. We brought our chairs and for 3 hours we were entertained. The activity was continuous and it kept you interested.

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Once we finished the air show we drove about a mile down the road back to the historic square for a great arts and crafts fair, food and 2 stages for entertainment. It was our frist time to this festival and I would reccomend anyone who is looking for something to do mid-April next year, make sure you watch for this festival and plan on attending. They had a nice carnival section for the kids. Again, keep in mind this is a small town, but I would give this festival a solid 9 on the rating scale measuring this against other towns simliar in size. I hope if you plan to attend next year, sure hope you have a fun day.  Hope one of the roads you travel down takes you this direction…….

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San Antonio and the Alamo Go Together

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A trip to San Antonio must include a stop at the Alamo and the Riverwalk.  These are both downtown and there is access to the Riverwalk right across the street from the Alamo.  While on the Riverwalk there is plenty of places to stop to eat and drink, and you should plan a trip on the Rio River Cruise also.  It’s about a 1/2 boat ride that you see the sights of the Riverwalk and also hear some history on some of the buildings along the way.  You can certainly walk around the same way you take the boat ride, but unless you have a lot of time the river cruise is probably the best way to see it, plus much easier on the feet.

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The Riverwalk has been expanded many miles over the last few years and although downtown San Antonio is the heart of the Riverwalk with all the shops and restaurants, there is also the Museum Reach and the Mission Reach portions of the walk that are well worth a visit.  There are many things to do in San Antonio,  the two mentioned here are only an introduction.  It’s a great place to visit, hopefully your next travels will take you this direction.  Happy Trails……………….

A Day’s Adventure

Back on the Texas road of adventures. If you have enough money and lucky enough to have the time and someone to travel with, seeing the U.S. or the World is exciting. But not everyone can take multiple weeks off to travel half way around the world. Many more only have the opportunity to visit sights that are closer to home. For those who enjoy a weekend get-away or are looking to put a vacation together another fun day to add to your trip if visiting central Texas is a visit to Fredericksburg, TX. You certainly can stay in town and visit these sights from there, but we made a day trip from our home and we stopped and visited many places en route to Fredericksburg. There is much to do and a variety for everyone.

Rt 290 is where the wine trail starts. If you like wine and want a relaxing day, you can spend the entire day traveling from one winery to the next. Every time we travel from Johnson City to Fredericksburg it seems a new wine tasting room is opening up. Even if you don’t drink much wine you should stop at least at one or two just to try some Texas wines. We happened to be visiting the area the 3rd weekend of the month so we went to Fredericksburg Trade Days. This is one of the biggest “market” days in the area. Most towns in this area have a certain weekend day of the month that they have a market days and usually it is on Saturday. But Fredericksburg calls their event “Trade Days” and it is for 3 days – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It costs a few dollars to park but the entrance to the Trade Days is free. There is all kinds of stuff there. Probably not that much fun for kids but the Mom’s and probably even some Dads will really like this.

Another stop along the way is Wildseed Farms. In the Spring you can’t miss it. The fields are full of all types of wildflowers and the color is spectacular. They have a nursery where they sell plants, a cute store that sells knick knacks and on some days they have music in the afternoon. A nice rest stop along the way. There is also a place that sells pottery, so if traveling by car and you have room, definitely worth a stop. There is also LBJ’s ranch along the route, stop by and visit, always good to get a refresher history lesson.

 

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Along the way we stopped at a store, that I haven’t seen before. It was so cool! They had all kinds of wagons for sale – like the wagons from the  old Western movies. It was an interesting store to walk around and look at some of the unique items they have. Here are some photos of those wagons.  This Longhorn was eye level, very big!

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When you finally reach Fredericksburg there is a very good museum “Pacific War Museum” that is if you have a family member that is a history buff, this museum should not be missed. You can spend a 1/2 day in this museum.  I see many a family split up, the men go the museum and the ladies go shopping. And that is what Fredericksburg is also about – shopping! They have blocks and blocks of shops. You could spend a day just visiting all the shops and hope that your wallet won’t be empty at the end of it.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, there are other things to do in the area, and many festivals during the year, depending on when your visit is scheduled. There are good restaurants so you can have dinner before you head home. If you haven’t been this direction for awhile, or looking for something new, I think you would enjoy the day, and also not having to deal with city traffic. If this is a road you decide to go down, have a great time on your travels…….