New Mexico is a haunting and fascinating state, whose nickname is the “Land of Enchantment” and nothing could possibly be more fitting. From the awe inspiring pink mountain range of the Sandias, to Old Town Albuquerque there is always something to see and do in New Mexico that will keep you returning.
There is great diversity of landscapes and a rich cultural history, derived from a combination of Spanish, American Indian and European cultures. Most interest centers on the ancient ruins, adobe towns, Indian pueblos and artist colonies.
New Mexico has two world-famous Parks in White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns, whose caves weren’t occupied until 1,000 years ago, when paleo-Indians first sought refuge there. Visitors today can enjoy self-guided or guided tours, backcountry explorations and camping, and more.
The park contains more than 100 known caves, including Lechuguilla Cave – the nation’s deepest limestone cave (1,567 feet) and third longest.and scenic terrain that varies from 14,000 foot mountain peaks to low, sandy deserts, and from endless grassy prairie to lush green forests.
While having more than its share of beauty, the scenery of New Mexico is a little less spectacular than Arizona, Utah or California. It has a few very famous locations surrounded by vast areas of scenic land that is emptier, less-visited and generally more peaceful than other parts of the Southwest.
Albuquerque is a city of great diversity where geography and history brought Native American, Hispanic and Anglo cultures together to create a unique multicultural community. The land is both awesome and inspiring. To the east of Albuquerque, are Sandia and Manzano Mountains and the Rio Grande cuts through the city. To the west is the West Mesa escarpment with its past of volcanic activity. Albuquerque’s weather is mild and it is not unusual for a 70 degree day during the winter and people can be seen skiing in shorts.
Albuquerque is a mixture of old and new architectural styles is stunning. In spite of the size of the city and all of the amenities that go along with big city life, Albuquerque manages to retain a small town charm.
It boasts one of the longest Trams in the world traversing the Sandia Mountains to take you to Sandia Peak, as well as the Cibola national Forest, and multiple types of wildlife.
Albuquerque is also home to the annual hot air balloon festival which draws crowds of thousands to watch the first day launch of hot air balloons over the city.
Sitting peacefully in the foothills of New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe is a city of extraordinary natural beauty, crisp mountain air and rich heritage. Santa Fe is city with a small-town atmosphere, combined with a variety of cultural activities and exotic scenery. This makes for a quality of life appreciated by all who happen upon it. Santa Fe houses the riches of one of largest art markets in the world.
The city of Santa Fe has nearly four centuries of history and is recognized as the oldest capitol city in the United States. Over these years, Santa Fe has served as the seat of provincial government for the Northern Spanish Empire, the temporary headquarters of the Pueblo Tribes during the Pueblo Revolt and the capitol of the northern territory of the Mexican Republic.
When the United States obtained these lands, Santa Fe became the capitol of the New Mexico Territory and it is now the capitol of New Mexico. Despite its rich and turbulent past, Santa Fe’s population has been slow to grow. In the 1960’s, it was not a major city by any standard. It is still a small city but the population is growing. Zoning laws from the 1950’s, written by visionary civic leaders, helped Santa Fe retain the enchanting charm that makes it one of the most fascinating and romantic cities in the Western Hemisphere.
Santa Fe features some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, and among its other charms are old world Native American Dancers who offer examples of their art on nearly a daily basis.
Smaller towns such as Silver City boast an annual native American Powwow, Red Paint Powwow & Indian Market at the Western New Mexico University campus located in Silver City, New Mexico. The event is held in memory and recognition of the Chihene Apache, (Warm Springs Apache), whose traditional homeland is in southwest New Mexico, particularly the area of the Gila National Forest.
Friday is market day with vendors, dance demonstrations and story tellers. Saturday and Sunday are dance competition days. There will be plenty of social dancing in-between the competition and everyone is encourage to participate. The Red Paint Powwow is open to everyone.
Both Albuquerque and Santa Fe feature some outstanding older buildings, particularly mission churches that are historically as well as architecturally significant and well worth paying a visit to.